Press Release: Dance Magazine Awards 2018 Announced
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Jonathan Marder + Company
Eve Hodgkinson | 212.271.4285
New York, NY (September 2018) – Misty Copeland will open the 61st annual Dance Magazine Awards. The evening will honor Ronald K. Brown, Lourdes Lopez (presented by Darren Walker), Crystal Pite, and Michael Trusnovec (presented by Patrick Corbin). A special Leadership Award will be presented to Nigel Redden. Since 1954 the Dance Magazine Awards have recognized outstanding men and women whose contributions have left a lasting impact on dance. This year's Awards will take place on Monday, December 3, 2018 at The Ailey Citigroup Theater at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $50 and can be purchased by emailing email@example.com.
A new award, The Harkness Promise Award, will shine a light on two emerging young artists for the promise of their artistic work. The inaugural awardees are Raja Feather Kelly and Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie. The Harkness Foundation For Dance received proceeds from last year's Dance Magazine Awards for this grant. The award showcases innovative thinking and how to be an effective artist-citizen who positively impacts dance and the broader community through performance, education, organization and activism. Proceeds from this year's Dance Magazine Awards will be applied to next year's Harkness Promise Awards.
"All of us at Dance Magazine are excited to partner with The Harkness Foundation For Dance for a second year and to benefit these two deserving artists. This year's Dance Magazine Awards has once again chosen a stellar group of honorees and we are thrilled to have Misty Copeland join us. We are confident that the 61st Dance Magazine Awards will be our best yet." – Frederic Seegal, CEO/Chairman Dance Media
About The 2018 Dance Magazine Honorees
Ronald K. Brown – At only 18 years old, Ronald K. Brown founded Evidence, A Dance Company, out of a desire to tell the stories of the communities around him. Thirty-three years later, Evidence is now a mainstay in the modern dance world and Brown is a vanguard among choreographers fusing Western modern dance with movement from the African diaspora. In addition to running his own troupe, he's choreographed on such companies as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (including 1999's much-beloved Grace) and won an Astaire Award for his choreography on Broadway's Porgy & Bess in 2012.
Lourdes Lopez – Since becoming artistic director of Miami City Ballet in 2012, Lourdes Lopez has successfully built upon its Balanchine legacy while also embracing Miami's unique cultural identity. She first rose to prominence as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, performing featured roles in works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Her wide-ranging career has also included stints as a cultural arts reporter on WNBC-TV, a faculty member at such institutions as Barnard College and Ballet Academy East, the executive director of The George Balanchine Foundation, and a co-founder of The Cuban Artists Fund and of Morphoses.
Crystal Pite – Since creating her company Kidd Pivot in 2002, choreographer Crystal Pite has become a critical darling for her dark, mysterious works that powerfully explore the human condition. Her increasingly ambitious productions, some featuring more than 60 dancers, span dance theater to contemporary ballet. A former dancer with Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt, Pite has created more than 50 works for companies like Paris Opéra Ballet, The Royal Ballet and Cullberg Ballet. Today, she is an associate choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater, associate dance artist of Canada's National Arts Centre and associate artist at Sadler's Wells in London.
Michael Trusnovec – As a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company for 20 years, Michael Trusnovec has commanded the repertory with authority and artistry. He has excelled in roles as diverse as the tormented and tormenting preacher in Speaking in Tongues; the lyrical central figure in Aureole; the dogged detective in Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal); and the corporate devil in Banquet of Vultures. His work has been honored with a Bessie Award and he was named the Positano Premia La Danza Dancer of the Year in 2016. Having created 26 roles in Taylor premieres, he now serves as company rehearsal director in addition to being one of PTDC's central performers.
Nigel Redden – Nigel Redden's expansive, globalist vision has guided performing arts institutions across the country. At only 25, he became director of the performing arts program at the Walker Arts Center in Minnesota, where he launched a festival called New Dance America. From 1991 to 1995, he served as executive director of the Santa Fe Opera. For two decades (1998-2017), Redden served as the director of New York City's wide-ranging Lincoln Center Festival. Today, he continues to direct the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, which he has led since 1995.
About the 2018 Harkness Promise Award
Created by the Harkness Foundation for Dance in a unique partnership with Dance Magazine, the Harkness Promise Award recognizes talented choreographers for the quality of their innovative work and for their demonstrated commitment to being an involved artist-citizen. The grant will directly benefit the awardees during the first decade of their creative careers.
Raja Feather Kelly will be honored with the inaugural 2018 Harkness Promise Award for his innovative dance-theatre works which mine popular culture to examine assumptions related to gender, race, and our shared contemporary experience; for consistently challenging performative norms; and for his efforts to build a community of radical artists through his work with large ensembles of collaborators and through his thoughtful teaching.
Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie will be honored with the inaugural 2018 Harkness Promise Award for her experimental but accessible choreography, which investigates the complexities and narrative qualities inherent in various street and club dance styles to arrive at new modes of expression; for her support of women's unique contributions to house dancing; and for her commitment to teaching as a form of collaborative creativity and community-building.
About The Harkness Foundation for Dance
The Harkness Foundation for Dance is a private grant-making foundation dedicated to invigorating and supporting the dance art-form, predominantly in New York City. Since 1959, the Harkness name has been synonymous with dance philanthropy. The Foundation carries forward the lifelong dedication to the dance art form of the great American dance patron Rebekah Harkness. Over many decades, this support has taken the form of funding, rehearsal and theater space, technical assistance, and guidance—an unrivaled legacy that has touched countless dance artists and companies in all dance styles and genres. With a broad focus that spans dance creation, presentation, education, medicine and other vital services to the dance field, from 1986 to the present the Harkness Foundation has contributed over $30 million to more than 560 organizations across the industry. For more information: harknessfoundation.org
About Dance Magazine
Dance Magazine was first published in June 1927 under the name The American Dancer. Produced by a Hollywood-based team of editors under the leadership of Ruth Eleanor Howard, it cost a quarter and was dedicated to readers who "love the dance." In the 1920s and 30s, the magazine offered monthly news of the changing dance world in Europe and America. In 1942 New York publisher Rudolf Orthwine purchased both The American Dancer and another publication, Dance, which had begun in 1936, and combined the two into what would become Dance Magazine. The magazine expanded internationally under Lydia Joel, editor from 1952 to 1970, and enjoyed continued success under long-time editors William Como, Richard Philp and Wendy Perron.
Today, under editor Jennifer Stahl, the magazine reaches dance students, dance professionals and dance lovers around with world with its monthly print and digital editions, and its website. Written by accomplished journalists and active dancers, Dance Magazine tells the stories behind the most exciting dance artists working today and keeps readers up to date with news on the buzziest projects in the field. Dance Magazine is owned by DanceMedia, which also publishes Dance Spirit, Pointe, Dance Teacher and Dance Retailer News.
These days, you don't have to be in the circus to learn how to fly. Aerial dance has grown in popularity in recent years, blending modern dance and circus traditions and enlisting the help of trapeze, silks, hammocks, lyra and cube for shows that push both viewers and performers past their comfort zones.
More dancers are learning aerial than ever before. Besides adding new skills to your resumé, becoming an aerialist opens up a new realm of possibilities.
Alicia Alonso's famed ballet company in Cuba has a new leader: the beloved hometown prima ballerina Viengsay Valdés.
Ballet Nacional of Cuba just named Valdés deputy artistic director, which means she will immediately assume the daily responsibilities of running the company. Alonso, 98, will retain the title of general director, but in practice, Valdés will be the one making all the artistic decisions.
I'm terrified of performing choreography that changes directions. I messed up last year when the stage lights caused me to become disoriented. What can I do to prevent this from happening again? I can perform the combination just fine in the studio with the mirror.
—Scared, San Francisco, CA
From the angles of your feet to the size of your head, it can sometimes seem like there is no part of a dancer's body that is not under scrutiny. It's easy to get obsessed when you are constantly in front of a mirror, trying to fit a mold.
Yet the traditional ideals seem to be exploding every day. "The days of carbon-copy dancers are over," says BalletX dancer Caili Quan. "Only when you're confident in your own body can you start truly working with what you have."
While the striving may never end, there can be unexpected benefits to what you may think of as your "imperfections."
It's the second week of Miami City Ballet School's Choreographic Intensive, and the students stand in a light-drenched studio watching as choreographer Durante Verzola sets a pas de trois. "Don't be afraid to look at the ceiling—look that high," Verzola shows one student as she holds an arabesque. "That gives so much more dimension to your dancing." Other students try the same movement from the sidelines.
When Arantxa Ochoa took over as MCB School's director of faculty and curriculum two years ago, she decided to add a second part to the summer intensive: five weeks focused on technique would be followed by a new two-week choreography session. The technique intensive is not a requirement, but students audition for both at the same time and many attend the two back-to-back.
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On a summer afternoon at The Ailey School's studios, a group of students go through a sequence of Horton exercises, radiating concentration and strength as they tilt to one side, arms outstretched and leg parallel to the ground. Later, in a studio down the hall, a theater dance class rehearses a lively medley of Broadway show tunes. With giant smiles and bouncy energy, students run through steps to "The Nicest Kids in Town" from Hairspray.
"You gotta really scream!" teacher Judine Somerville calls out as they mime their excitement. "This is live theater!" They segue into the audition number from A Chorus Line, "I Hope I Get It," their expressions becoming purposeful and slightly nervous. "Center stage is wherever I am," Somerville tells them when the music stops, making them repeat the words back to her. "Take that wherever you go."
Dance artists, as a rule, are a resilient bunch. But working in a studio in New York City without heat or electricity in the middle of winter? That's not just crazy; it's unhealthy, and too much to ask of anyone.
Unfortunately, Brooklyn Studios for Dance hasn't had heat since mid-November, making it impossible for classes or performances to take place in the community-oriented center.
So what's a studio to do? Throw a massive dance party, of course.
As winter sets in, your muscles may feel tighter than they did in warmer weather. You're not imagining it: Cold weather can cause muscles to lose heat and contract, resulting in a more limited range of motion and muscle soreness or stiffness.
But dancers need their muscles to be supple and fresh, no matter the weather outside. Here's how to maintain your mobility during the colder months so your dancing isn't affected:
A newly launched initiative hopes to change the face of ballet, both onstage and behind the scenes. Called "The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet," the three-year initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a partnership between Dance Theatre of Harlem, the International Association of Blacks in Dance and Dance/USA.
"We've seen huge amounts of change in the years since 1969, when Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded," says Virginia Johnson, artistic director of DTH. "But change is happening much too slowly, and it will continue to be too slow until we come to a little bit more of an awareness of what the underlying issues are and what needs to be done to address them."
From the outside, it seemed like the worst of New York City Ballet's problems were behind them last winter, when ballet master in chief Peter Martins retired amid accusations of abuse and sexual harassment, and an internal investigation did not substantiate those claims.
But further troubles were revealed in August when a scandal broke that led to dancer Chase Finlay's abrupt resignation and the firing of fellow principals Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro. All three were accused of "inappropriate communications" and violating "norms of conduct."
The artistic director sets the tone for a dance company and leads by example. But regardless of whether Martins, and George Balanchine before him, established a healthy organization, the issues at NYCB bespeak an industry-wide problem, says Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founding artistic director of Urban Bush Women. "From New York City Ballet to emerging artists, we've just done what's been handed down," she observes. "That has not necessarily led to great practices."
If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Dance Magazine, now's your chance to find out. Dance Magazine is seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about dance and journalism.
Through March 1, we are accepting applications for a summer intern to assist our staff onsite in New York City from June to August. The internship includes an hourly stipend and requires a minimum two-day-a-week commitment. (We do not provide assistance securing housing.)
For the past few months, the dance world has been holding its collective breath, waiting for New York City Ballet to announce who will take over the helm as artistic director.
Though former ballet master in chief Peter Martins retired over a year ago after accusations of sexual harassment and abuse (an internal investigation did not corroborate the accusations), the search for a new leader didn't begin until last May.
Nine months later, the new director's name could be released any day now. And we have some theories about who it might be:
Some people take this profession as just a chapter of their life. They feel like dance is a job—a fun job, but a job. Other people live their life through dance. I never considered being a ballerina a profession. It's a lifestyle.
If I don't have a performance, I feel like a tiger trapped in a cage. I have so many emotions, I feel I need to give them to somebody, to exhaust myself—I need to cry or laugh, or else it's suffocating. Other people might scream or throw bottles into the wall. We dancers scream onstage through our movement. For me, it's like sweeping off the dust in my soul.
What's next for the dance world? Our annual list of the dancers, choreographers and companies that are on the verge of skyrocketing has a pretty excellent track record of answering that question.
Here they are: the 25 up-and-coming artists we believe represent the future of our field.
Though Polunin has long had a reputation for behaving inappropriately, in the last month his posts have been somewhat unhinged. In one, Polunin, who is Ukrainian, shows off his new tattoo of Vladimir Putin:
Just before retiring in 2015, Sylvie Guillem appeared on "HARDtalk with Zeinab Badawi," the BBC's hard-hitting interview program. Badawi told Guillem,
"Clement Crisp of the Financial Times, 14 years ago, described your dancing as vulgar."
"Yeah, well, he said that. But at the same time, when they asked Margot Fonteyn what she thought about lifting the leg like this she said, 'Well, if I could have done it, I would have done it.' "
They were discussing Guillem's signature stroke—her 180-degree leg extension à la seconde. Ballet legs had often flashed about in the higher zones between 135 and 160 degrees before. But it wasn't until the virtuoso French ballerina regularly
extended her leg beside her ear with immaculate poise in the 1980s that leg extensions for ballet dancers in classical roles reached their zenith. Traditionalists like Clement Crisp were not taken with it.
Back in 2011, Yale University's dean of science was thinking about refreshing the program's offerings for non-majors when he happened upon a Pilobolus performance. A light bulb went off: Dance is full of physics.
That realization led to what has become an eight-year collaboration between particle physicist Sarah Demers and former New York City Ballet dancer Emily Coates, both professors at Yale who were brought together to co-teach a course called The Physics of Dance. Their partnership has involved everything from directing a short film to presenting a TedX Talk and performing a piece that Coates created, commissioned by Danspace Project. This month, they're publishing a book about what they've discovered by dialoging across two seemingly disparate disciplines.
Sebastian Abarbanell remembers being asked as an undergrad at Trinity Laban in London to perform wearing only a dance belt. "I said no," he says, "because I felt uncomfortable." Now a performer with Sidra Bell Dance New York, he's performed partially nude several times, without reservation. The difference? "It comes with more experience and maturing as a dancer," he says. "When you see a dancer living in their skin, you don't need to put anything else on them. When I said no in college, I wasn't in my skin yet."
Getting in your skin—and getting comfortable wearing only your skin onstage—requires a particular alchemy of vulnerability, agency, preparation and practice.
Birmingham Royal Ballet announced today that international star Carlos Acosta will be taking over as director in January of 2020. Current BRB director David Bintley will be stepping down this summer, at the end of the company's 2019 season, after a 24-year tenure. "It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have been appointed to lead Birmingham Royal Ballet," Acosta said in a statement.
Since retiring from The Royal Ballet in 2015, Acosta has focused much of his attention on his native Cuba, where he's proven his directorial abilities at the helm of Acosta Danza, the contemporary company that he founded in 2016. In 2017 Acosta also opened his first Dance Academy through his foundation, which provides free training to students. We don't yet know how Acosta will balance his time between his projects in Cuba and his new role at BRB.
My personal life has taken a nosedive since I broke up with my boyfriend. He's in the same show and is now dating one of my colleagues. It's heartbreaking to see them together, and I'm determined never to date a fellow dancer again. But it's challenging to find someone outside, as I practically live in the theater. Do you have any advice?
—Loveless, New York, NY
The inimitable Carol Channing, best known for her role as the titular Hello, Dolly!, passed away today at 97.
Though she became a three-time Tony winner, Channing was born in Seattle, far from the Great White Way, in 1921. After growing up in San Francisco, she attended the famed Bennington College, studying dance and drama. She later told the university, "What Bennington allows you to do is develop the thing you're going to do anyway, over everybody's dead body." For Channing, that meant decades of fiery, comical performances, bursting with energy.