Happy News: Taylor Stanley Gets Promoted
Taylor Stanley, photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe
On April 30, I saw Taylor Stanley light up two of the three ballets at New York City Ballet: Alexei Ratmansky’s vibrant Pictures at an Exhibition and Justin Peck’s complex Everywhere We Go. He seemed to be beaming out rays of sunshine, and I couldn’t help sitting a bit more forward to soak it in.
With dancing like this, it was inevitable that he would be made a principal. Sure enough, on Tuesday, just before Taylor went onstage to replace an injured dancer in ballet master in chief Peter Martins’ Hallelujah Junction, Martins anointed him principal.
Stanley began dancing at age 3 at the Rock School in Philadelphia. He came to the School of American Ballet in 2008 and was named apprentice at NYCB in 2009. His quick rise is detailed in Brian Schaefer’s cover story in Pointe magazine last year.
I named him one of my “Best of 2014,” writing, “Taylor Stanley: Warmth, clarity, and verve in every role.” He seems to spring up off the floor, whether the step is a jeté or a glissade.
He’s become a favorite of choreographers like Justin Peck and Troy Schumacher as well as Martins. In this video, Stanley characterizes himself as the quiet type, but whenever I’ve seen him onstage, he’s bursting with energy—as though he were singing or whistling or yelling with every step.
Now that he is a principal, one might wonder whether he will have time for his other interests like working with Schumacher’s BalletCollective, taking Gaga workshops or pursuing a BA through California’s LEAP program.
In any case, many of us are hungry to see Stanley in both old roles and new next season.
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
"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.