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At Last, David Hallberg Is Back at ABT
2017 has started off with some fantastic news: David Hallberg is coming back to dance in the U.S.
American Ballet Theatre announced yesterday that he'll be dancing with the company during its spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Hallberg, 34, hasn't performed with ABT since June 2014—and fans (including us) have been missing his princely presence ever since.
For two and a half years, an injured deltoid ligament in his ankle has kept him off stage both at ABT and the Bolshoi Ballet (where he holds the distinction of being the company's first American principal). It's been a major setback for such a talented dancer right at the peak of his career.
Hallberg in class yesterday, via nytimes.com
But Hallberg has literally gone to the ends of the earth to recover: He's spent the past year in Melbourne, following an intense physical therapy program designed by the Australian Ballet's dance medicine specialist Sue Mayes and her team (who are considered some of the best in the world at what they do). According to the Sydney Morning Herald, his regimen included two hours of strength training in the morning, followed by two hours of ballet, then resting with his feet in an ice bucket before two more hours of strength work. "One of the most off-the-wall things I've been doing is running up flights of stairs with a metronome in my pocket to make every step the exact same speed," he told the SMH reporter.
Although he added that he still has pain, and doesn't know if it will ever go away, he feels ready to dance again. Last month, he made a quiet comeback dancing Franz in Coppélia at the Australian Ballet.
So what will he perform with ABT? That hasn't been announced yet. He just started back in company class in New York yesterday. But a quick look at the casting lineup shows "TBA"s for the male lead in performances of Alexei Ratmansky's new Whipped Cream, plus Giselle and Onegin. Hallberg told Rosyln Sulcas of The New York Times that he was particularly excited to work with Ratmansky again, so Whipped Cream is probably a safe bet. We're keeping our fingers crossed he's healthy enough to perform much more than that this season—and for many more seasons to come.
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.