Curtain Up

March 21, 2012

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is a woman for today’s times. Spanning ballet and modern dance, the U.S. and Europe, and large companies and small, she is a nonstop worker—which I got to see firsthand at our photo shoot. She demands technical rigor but also allows her personal experiences to seep into her choreography. Another thing that makes her utterly contemporary: Even though she is focused on expanding her own palette, she also zooms in on each dancer to bring out their unique qualities. Read our cover story to find out how she juggles all these different spectrums, and what she says about working with American dancers vs. European dancers.

Cameras are so much part of our everyday lives that they can easily tempt the choreographic imagination. Sometimes it’s more economical to make a video than produce a live performance. Our feature “When the Camera Is Your Partner” interviews six dancemakers who are experimenting with film, from TV shows to rain-drenched dancers, from urban warehouses to kaleidoscopic stage sets. And then there’s making dances for the very small screen—the one you hold in the palm of your hand. Go to “Plugged In,” where you’ll find Richard Daniels’ app, Dances for an iPhone.

Since this is the Choreography Issue, you might want to check out our online resources: “Choreography Knocks,” our list of opportunities for budding choreographers, which includes workshops, grants, and residencies; “Choreography in Focus,” my video conversations with a different dance artist each month; and “A Growing List of Living Female Choreographers.”

Last fall I was blown away by Sascha Radetsky’s performance in Tharp’s In the Upper Room. Rarely have I seen such pure abandon on the American Ballet Theatre stage. Turns out he was recovering from an injury—which made his fearlessness that much more amazing. In “Breaking Free” Sascha has written an epic story about his knee surgery and recovery. It’s got suspense, love, devotion, medical surprises, and an enduring faith in the art of dance. He shows that, even being injury-prone, it’s possible for the dancing body to leap to spiritual heights.



Annabelle unbound, as aided by our trusty makeup artist, Chuck Jensen. Photos by Matthew Karas.