The Story Behind that Viral Video of Spanish Dancers on the Runway
Is there anything more alluring than a group of well-dressed men who seriously know how to move? According to 15 million views of this Spanish fashion show, it seems not.
Here's Just One of the Clips That's Gone Viral:
The video shows dancers from Ballet Nacional de España performing director Antonio Najarro's choreography for a runway show introducing the Spring/Summer 2019 collection from Oteyza. The sharp, sleek unison phrases and passionate masculine energy of the dancers have entranced viewers around the world as much as it wowed the fashion influencers in the live audience.
So How Did This Collaboration Come About?
Najarro says he's long been a fan of Oteyza's designs: "He uses the aesthetic of the Spanish dancers—the cape, the high trousers, the hat, those are all very traditional costumes for men."
The BNE director first choreographed a fashion show three years ago for designer Juan Duyos, using about 20 female company dancers, to music by Björk.
Dancing in the Designs Created Unexpected Magic
This time, he wanted to capture "the energy and the spirit of the boys—with the Spanish passion." Once he convinced Oteyza to trade models for movers, Najarro spent three weeks alone in the studio creating the choreography, then took a week and a half to set it on the dancers (including himself—he makes a solo appearance in the middle and at the end).
He knew the piece might make a splash since it was so unexpected: "To see men in a fashion show dancing with castanets, stamping with their feet, it's very strange and completely unique."
Still, he wasn't expecting so many millions of views. "I'm so happy because it's my mission to introduce Spanish dance to other worlds, like painting, photography, fashion and cinema," he says. "I want everybody to know this dance in a traditional way, but also in a modern way. I feel like the ambassador of Spanish dance."
Watch the Full Show Here:
Jennifer Kahn knew the theater industry could do better. As a professional stage manager for 17 years she worked on regional, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Nearly each time a show closed, something unsettling happened: "I would watch them throw away our shows. All of the beautiful artwork by my friends in the paint shop would go in the trash." The elaborate backdrops? Gone.
But she had an idea: What if the material used in the backdrops and legs could be upcycled into something new? And what if theater lovers could literally keep a piece of a beloved show?
"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.
For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.
New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.
"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "
She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.