ODC/Dance's Mia J. Chong is one of the recipients of this year's Princess Grace Awards for Dance. Photo by RJ Muna, Courtesy Mona Baroudi PR

News of Note: What You May Have Missed in August 2019

Here are the latest promotions, appointments and transfers, plus notable awards and accomplishments from the last month.


Comings & Goings

At The Royal Ballet, Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Luca Acri have been promoted to first soloist, Romany Pajdak, Isabella Gasparini, Tomas Mock and David Yudes to soloist. Gary Avis and Samantha Raine have been appointed senior ballet master and mistress, respectively.

Luke Schaufuss has joined Sarasota Ballet as a principal.

Taryn Kaschock Russell has been appointed director of Harkness Dance Center at 92Y.

Brian McSween has been appointed artistic director of Chattanooga Ballet.

Rory Hohenstein and Veronika Part have been appointed ballet masters at Atlanta Ballet.

Christine Chen has been appointed executive director at STREB.

Luca Sbrizzi will retire from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre this season. His final performance will be in October.

Maggie Small and Fernando Sabino will retire from Richmond Ballet this season. Small's final performance will be in September, Sabino's in May.

A white woman with dark brown hair smiles at the camera as she rests one hand on a wooden ballet barre. She is wearing bright blue slacks, a pale blue button down, and her hair is loose around her shoulders.

Viviana Durante

Chris McAndrew, Courtesy The Corner Shop PR

Viviana Durante has been appointed director of dance at English National Ballet School for 2019–20.

Awards & Honors

2019 Princess Grace Awards for dance went to Jared Brown (The Juilliard School), Mia J. Chong (ODC/Dance), Stanley Glover (BalletX), Roman Mejia (New York City Ballet) and Byron Tittle (Dorrance Dance). Choreography fellowships went to Rena Butler (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago) and Randy Reyes (CounterPulse). Tommie-Waheed Evans (Lula Washington Dance Theatre) received an honoraria. Kyle Abraham received a special project grant, Raja Feather Kelly a works in progress residency award and Camille A. Brown a choreography mentorship co-commission award.

Ahead of the October 14 awards ceremony, the NY Dance and Performance Awards (the "Bessies") have announced that Joan Myers Brown will receive the 2019 Bessie Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance, Louis Mofsie the 2019 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance.

Latest Posts


Brandt in Giselle. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Skylar Brandt's Taste in Music Is as Delightful as Her Dancing

American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt's dancing is clean, precise and streamlined. It's surprising, then, to learn that her taste in music is "all over the place," she says. (Even more surprising is that Brandt, who has an Instagram following of over 80k, is "in the dark ages" when it comes to her music, and was buying individual songs on iTunes up until a year ago, when her family intervened with an Apple Music plan.)

Though what she's listening to at any given time can vary dramatically, the through-line for Brandt is nostalgia: songs that take her back, whether to childhood, a favorite movie or a piece she's recently performed. Brandt told us about her eclectic taste, and made us a playlist that will keep you guessing:

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

NYCDA Is Redefining the Convention Scene Through Life-Changing Opportunities

Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.

"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."

Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.

Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Courtesy The Joyce

Dance Magazine Chairman's Award Honoree: Linda Shelton

In an industry that has been clamoring for more female leadership, Linda Shelton, executive director of New York City's The Joyce Theater Foundation since 1993, has been setting an example for decades. As a former general manager of The Joffrey Ballet, U.S. tour manager for the Bolshoi Ballet, National Endowment for the Arts panelist, Dance/NYC board member and Benois de la Danse judge, as well as a current Dance/USA board member, Shelton has served as a global leader in dance. In her tenure at The Joyce, she has not only increased the venue's commissioned programming, but also started presenting beyond The Joyce's walls in locations such as Lincoln Center.

What brought you to The Joyce?

That was many years ago, but it's still the same today: It's a belief in and passion for the mission of the theater, which is to support dance in all of its forms and varieties—every kind of dance that you could imagine.

Diversity is so important in dance leadership today. How do you approach this at The Joyce?

Darren Walker said something interesting at a Dance/NYC Symposium, which was that The Joyce is a disruptor. It was nice to hear in that context, because we don't think of it as something new. We didn't have to change our mission statement to be more diverse. We've been doing this since day one.

Is drawing in new audiences and maintaining longtime supporters ever in conflict?

Of course. I call it the blessing and the curse of our mission. We do present more experimental companies that may attract a younger audience. But it's very tricky. You're not going to tell your long-term audience, "Don't come and see this because you're not going to like the music." We've had people walk out of the theater before, but it's a response. It's important to spark those conversations.

What experimenting have you done?

We've tried a "pay what you decide" ticket the past couple of seasons with some of our more adventurous programming. You would reserve your seat for a dollar and after seeing the show pay what you decide is right for you.

Do you have advice for other dance presenters?

Find opportunities to sit with colleagues from around the country. At Dance/USA there's a presenters' council where we come together and talk about what we're putting in our seasons and what we're passionate about. Maybe there are enough presenters to collaborate and make it possible to bring a company to New York or to do a tour around the country.

Also, remember what it's all about: making that connection between what's onstage and the audience. If we can do that, despite every visa issue and missed flight and injury and changed program and whatever else comes our way, then we should feel good about the job we're doing.

To purchase tickets to the Dance Magazine Awards or become a sponsor, visit dancemediafoundation.org.

contest
Enter Our Video Contest