Is David Hallberg the New Misty Copeland?
Over the past week, David Hallberg has been up to something unusual: He's started to become the next Misty Copeland.
I know, I know. Hear me out. While he's obviously not a black woman in a field where that population is sorely underrepresented, he seems to be taking a few pages out of Copeland's playbook, and making a go at reaching household name status.
For starters, this happened (just saying):
Last week, we learned Hallberg was working on a memoir, titled A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back. It's set to join Copeland's Life in Motion on bookshelves November 7.
Now, Women's Wear Daily just announced that Hallberg will be one-upping Copeland's Under Armour contract as the newest face of Nike(!). The $32 billion sports brand has asked him to model for its latest campaign for NikeLab's all conditions gear in both still and video ads. The images will officially premiere tonight in a exhibition called "Objects of Desire," featuring 20 years of "brand-defining" Nike campaigns.
Hallberg told WWD that Nike had been pursuing him for over five years, but this felt like the right fit at the right time: "Working with the ACG poncho, which signified weathering the outer elements, clicked with me right away. I've weathered a lot in my career, so it spoke to me."
Today's front page of WWD
Like Copeland, he'll be showcasing dance's unique blend of artistry and athleticism, and breaking long-held stereotypes about ballet being a "sissy" pastime. "We train like athletes and we push ourselves to the limit. It's great we're gaining awareness of how dancers hone their craft," he tells WWD.
So what's next? (Aside from ABT's spring season at the Met, of course.) Don't count us surprised if you hear about a movie offer.
Alicia has died. I walked around my apartment feeling her spirit, but knowing something had changed utterly.
My father, the late conductor Benjamin Steinberg, was the first music director of the Ballet de Cuba, as it was called then. I grew up in Vedado on la Calle 1ra y doce in a building called Vista al Mar. My family lived there from 1959 to 1963. My days were filled with watching Alicia teach class, rehearse and dance. She was everything: hilarious, serious, dramatic, passionate and elegiac. You lost yourself and found yourself when you loved her.
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.
It's Nutcracker time again: the season of sweet delights and a sparkling good time—if we're able to ignore the sour taste left behind by the outdated racial stereotypes so often portrayed in the second act.
In 2017, as a result of a growing list of letters from audience members, to New York City Ballet's ballet master in chief Peter Martins reached out to us asking for assistance on how to modify the elements of Chinese caricature in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Following that conversation, we founded the Final Bow for Yellowface pledge that states, "I love ballet as an art form, and acknowledge that to achieve a diversity amongst our artists, audiences, donors, students, volunteers, and staff, I am committed to eliminating outdated and offensive stereotypes of Asians (Yellowface) on our stages."
An audience member once emailed Dallas choreographer Joshua L. Peugh, claiming his work was vulgar. It complained that he shouldn't be pushing his agenda. As the artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Peugh's recent choreography largely deals with LGBTQ issues.
"I got angry when I saw that email, wrote my angry response, deleted it, and then went back and explained to him that that's exactly why I should be making those works," says Peugh.
With the current political climate as polarized as it is, many artists today feel compelled to use their work to speak out on issues they care deeply about. But touring with a message is not for the faint of heart. From considerations about how to market the work to concerns about safety, touring to cities where, in general, that message may not be so welcome, requires companies to figure out how they'll respond to opposition.