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


Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS