Dance in Pop Culture

Emma Portner's Choreography for Maggie Rogers is the Cool-Girl Mashup of Our Dreams

Maggie Rogers performs choreography by Emma Portner in the music video for "Fallingwater." Screenshot via YouTube

Can Emma Portner get any cooler?

Between her existing credits (the youngest woman ever to choreograph a West End musical, that viral Justin Bieber video), her upcoming projects (a collaboration with Lil Buck, Jon Boogz and Blood Orange for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and a commission from New York City Ballet, for starters) and the fact that she charmed virtually every major media outlet when she secretly married actress Ellen Page, one would assume not.

But then she went and choreographed the music video for "Fallingwater," the latest single from indie-pop darling Maggie Rogers, and all bets are officially off. Portner is capable of infinite levels of cool, and we're all just trailing along in her wake.


Portner has a knack for getting non-dancers to move in surprisingly impactful ways (just check out the Instagram posts of her dancing with her wife), and that proves particularly true here. Rogers goes non-stop through the first two and a half minutes of the video, dancing amongst sand dunes in an airy red jumpsuit.

It's groovy, awkward, ecstatic, cathartic—Rogers might not be a professional dancer, but armed with Portner's choreography she embodies the emotional undercurrents of the breezy track in a raw, honest way.

Rogers/Portner is the contemporary dream team we never knew we needed until now. Here's hoping there's more to come.

The Conversation
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.

I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.

That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox