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Dancer and Choreographer Adam Darius Passes at 87
Adam Darius, American mime artist, dancer, choreographer and writer, died in Espoo, Finland, on December 3 at the age of 87.
Born in New York City in 1930, Darius began his dance training at 14, and studied ballet with many of the legendary Russian dancers of the era, including Anatole Oboukhov, George Goncharov and Olga Preobrajenska, as well contemporary dance with José Limón.
During the 1950s and 1960s, he danced and choreographed for numerous ballet and opera companies including Britain's International Ballet, Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Denmark's Scandinavian Ballet, the Israel National Opera and his own company the Israeli Ballet. Beginning in 1967, Darius moved away from ballet and focused on developing his own style of expressive dance and mime. In a performing career spanning seven decades, he went on to appear in over 88 countries across six continents. He also directed and/or choreographed dozens of dance and physical theatre productions across the world. His most famous ballet was The Anne Frank Ballet. He was the only choreographer ever to be given permission by Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father, to stage a ballet based on his daughter's life, during his lifetime.
Darius was known as an inspiring teacher who impacted generations of dancers and other performing artists across the world. Since 1978, he co-founded and taught at the MimeCentre, continuing to teach and coach subsequently in Finland as well as at master classes across the world. In Britain, he taught, among others, mime artist, dancer and director Kazimir Kolesnik, rock star Kate Bush, Hollywood film star Kate Beckinsale and West End principal Warren Mitchell.
Darius was also a prolific writer, whose work included 19 published books ranging from theater textbooks and autobiography to novels and poetry. Since 1994, he lived in Finland, continuing to appear across the world with Kazimir Kolesnik, his longtime performing partner. Their final appearance was in Kosovo in October 2016, after which he retired from the stage.
Bales of hay, black umbrellas, bicycles—this Midsummer Night's Dream would be unrecognizable to the Bard. Alexander Ekman's full-length, inspired by Scandinavian solstice traditions and set to music by Mikael Karlsson, is a madcap celebration of the longest day of the year, when the veil between our world and that of the supernatural is said to be at its thinnest. The Joffrey Ballet's performances mark the seductively surreal work's North American premiere. April 25–May 6. joffrey.org.
"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."
When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one:
"Dance isn't for everyone."
This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.
In his final bow at New York City Ballet, during what should have been a heroic conclusion to a celebrated ballet career, Robert Fairchild slipped and fell. His reaction? To lie down flat on his back like he meant to do it. Then start cracking up at himself.
"He's such a ham," says his sister Megan Fairchild, with a laugh. "He's really good at selling whatever his body is doing that day. He'll turn a moment that I would totally go home and cry about into something where the audience is like, 'That's the most amazing thing ever!' "
Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.
"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.
Have a scroll through Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed (@artsyagnes), and you'll notice that in between her ballet shots is a curated mix of lifestyle pics. So what exactly sets her apart from the other influencers you follow? Muljadi has made a conscious effort to only feature natural beauty products, sustainable fashion and vegan foods. With over 500k followers, her social strategy (and commitment to making ethical choices) is clearly a hit. Ahead, learn why Muljadi switched to a vegan lifestyle, and the surprising way it's helped her dance career.
He may not be a household name, but you probably know Brandon Stirling Baker's work. The 30-year-old has designed the lighting for most of Justin Peck's ballets—including Heatscape for Miami City Ballet, and the edgy The Times Are Racing for New York City Ballet—but also Jamar Roberts' new Members Don't Get Weary at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a trio of Martha Graham duets for L.A. Dance Project.
He's been fascinated by lighting ever since he attended a public performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California, where he had his first experiences lighting shows. He also has a background in music (he plays guitar and bass) and in drawing. Both, he says, are central to the way he approaches lighting dance.
Update: Due to an overwhelming response, the in-person audition has been moved to a larger location to accommodate more dancers. See details below.
For the first time in more than 10 years, Janet Jackson is holding an open audition for dancers.
Even better? You could land a spot in her #JTribe simply by posting a video on social media.
What does it take to become an international superstar? Carlos Acosta might have a few ideas.
At the Oxford Literary Festival earlier this month, the BBC sat down with Acosta to ask for his life lessons. His answers—which he says he will pass on to his kids one day—give incredible insight into how he's become such a beloved worldwide success.