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.

Career Advice
Audrey Rachelle recommends not drawing on personal experience when performing difficult roles. Aeric Meredith-Goujon, Courtesy Rachelle

Even though it's been a year since he took his last bow in the piece, Kidd Pivot dancer Jermaine Maurice Spivey still feels the aftermath of touring in Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young's Betroffenheit. The harrowing piece chronicles Young's own journey through tragedy, with dancers embodying his grief, trauma, guilt, addiction, euphoria and glee. "We endured an emotional negotiation each night because of how much the show cost. It was a weird kind of dread, because you wanted to pay the full cost. Otherwise you couldn't do the show justice."

Dance psychologist JoAnne La Fleche says there's little research on the emotional fallout from challenging performances like Betroffenheit, but dancers with poor self-care may be at risk of developing secondhand trauma or PTSD-like symptoms. These can range from fatigue, anxiety and depression to flashbacks and panic episodes.

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Day in the Life

Most people may know Derek Dunn for his impeccable turns and alluring onstage charisma. But the Boston Ballet principal dancer is just as charming offstage, whether he's playing with his 3-year-old miniature labradoodle or working in the studio. Dance Magazine recently spent the day with Dunn as he prepared for his debut as Albrecht in the company's upcoming run of Giselle.

The USC Kaufman graduating class with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gus Ruelas/USC

Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.

Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:

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Dance Training
Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Mark Morris Dance Group

You know compelling musicality when you see it. But how do you cultivate it? It's not as elusive as it might seem. Musicality, like any facet of dance, can be developed and honed over time—with dedicated, detailed practice. At its most fundamental, it's "respect for the music, that this is your partner," says Kate Linsley, academy principal of the School of Nashville Ballet.

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