News

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

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Jamar Roberts. Photo by Andrew Eccles, Courtesy Ailey

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


Comings & Goings

Tigran Mkrtchyan has joined Boston Ballet as a soloist, Chisako Oga as a second soloist.

At English National Ballet, Aitor Arrieta, Katja Khaniukova and Ken Saruhashi have been promoted to first soloist, Julia Conway, Daniel McCormick, Erik Woolhouse and Stina Quagebeur to first artist. Quagebeur has also been named associate choreographer.

At Hamburg Ballet, Madoka Sugai and Jacopo Bellussi have been promoted to principal, Florian Pohl and Lizhong Wang to soloist.

At Milwaukee Ballet, Randy Crespo has been promoted to leading artist.

Emily Molnar has been named artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater, effective August 2020.

Chanon Judson-Johnson and Samantha Speis have been named co-artistic directors of the Urban Bush Women Company. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar remains chief visioning officer and artistic director of the overall UBW organization.

Chanon Judson-Johnson

Hayim Heron, Courtesy Urban Bush Women

Jamar Roberts has been named resident choreographer at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Gia Kourlas has been named dance critic at The New York Times.

Awards & Honors

Donald Byrd and Michelle Ellsworth have been named 2019 Doris Duke Artists, which comes with a $275,000 award.

Alastair Macaulay and Kim Brandstrup have been named 2019–20 Director's Fellows at New York University's Center for Ballet and the Arts.

Ahead of its October 14 award ceremony, NY Dance and Performance Awards ("Bessies") have been awarded to Alice Sheppard (2019 Juried Bessie Award) and Daina Ashbee (2019 Outstanding Breakout Choreographer Award).

Alice Sheppard

Beverlie Lord, Courtesy Sheppard


New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded National Dance Project Production grants ($45,000 for creation of new work, $10,000 unrestricted) to Ananya Dance Theatre, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, BODYTRAFFIC, Caleb Teicher, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, DANCE iQUAIL!, GERALDCASELDANCE, KM Dance Project, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, PHILADANCO, Pioneer Winter Collective, Ragamala Dance Company, Raja Feather Kelly | the feath3r theory, RGWW (Rosanna Gamson/World Wide), Sara Juli, Step Afrika!, The Era Footwork Crew and Vanessa Sanchez.

Ayodele Casel has been named a 2019–20 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Kenny Ortega received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Dance on Broadway
Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.

Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.

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Lindsay Thomas

Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.

So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?

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News
Simon Soong, Courtesy DDT

When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.

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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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