Meet Ilaria Guerra, the LINES Dancer Alonzo King Says Is "Absolutely an Original"
Ilaria Guerra only joined Alonzo King LINES Ballet in January, but she's already a towering presence in the San Francisco company—and not just because she's 6' tall. Guerra employs her seemingly infinite limbs with luscious fluidity and propulsive power, instinctive musicality and a self-assured presence. And as exquisitely as she embodies King's choreography, she also makes it entirely her own.
Guerra in Alonzo King's Sutra. Photo by Chris Hardy, Courtesy Mona Baroudi
Company: Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Hometown: Born in Turin, Italy, and grew up in Palos Verdes Estates, California
Training: Lauridsen Ballet Centre in Torrance, California; BFA in dance from the LINES program at Dominican University of California and a minor in arts administration
Accolades: Shared a 2016 Isadora Duncan Dance Award with partner Alexander Vargas for in this moment, performed with her previous company, dawsondancesf
The defiant one: Classically trained since age 9, Guerra found her calling at 12. "One of our close family friends said, 'Ilaria, the odds of you becoming a ballet dancer are very slim. It's probably not going to happen.' In my mind I was like, 'I'm gonna show you.' "
Great heights: When Guerra reached 6' as a high school sophomore, her teachers encouraged her to switch to modern dance. "That's what they tell tall people," she says with a shrug. Soon after, she attended the LINES summer program—and finally felt like she fit in. "They knew how to train a body like mine," she recalls. "They thought it was great that I had so much to work with." Today she's the tallest woman in the company, whose dancers range from 5' 10" to 6' 4".
"Tons of people have skills, but it's what's behind those skills,
what is being said. To have a contributor like that is brilliant." —Alonzo King
Getting to yes: Guerra auditioned for LINES—and got rejected—three times in four years. "I wasn't willing to say, 'Oh well, it didn't work out.' I just kept trying." After her fourth audition this January, she's now a permanent company member.
Strong start: LINES tours 15 to 20 weeks a year, and Guerra gave one of her first performances at Théâtre National de la Danse Chaillot in Paris. She and Jeffrey Van Sciver danced an intense duet from The Propelled Heart, with Grammy-winning vocalist Lisa Fischer singing live. "It doesn't really get much better than that," she muses.
What King is saying: "Dancers dance who they are," he says. "She is absolutely an original."
Keeping it real: Guerra responds viscerally to King's "very human" choreography. "It's real," she says. "Being my true self onstage, not trying to emulate or mimic anyone else, is the most honest way I can give to my audience."
Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.