Miami City Ballet Principal Jovani Furlan to Join NYCB This Fall
New York City Ballet announced on Facebook earlier this week that current Miami City Ballet principal Jovani Furlan will be joining the company as a soloist this fall. Furlan, a native of Joinville, Brazil, left Brazil's Bolshoi Theater School in 2011 to train at the MCB School; he joined the company as an apprentice in 2012 and has quickly made his way through the ranks.
Though it's highly unusual for NYCB to hire dancers from other companies (out of NYCB's 90 plus dancers, only two, Gonzalo Garcia and Ask La Cour, did not come straight from School of American Ballet), the company is in need of qualified male dancers to fill its upper ranks. Last fall, the company lost four principals: Joaquin de Luz retired, while Zachary Catazaro, Chase Finlay and Amar Ramasar were fired in the midst of a scandal surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit photos. NYCB also recently announced that Justin Peck will be stepping down as soloist at the end of the spring season to focus on choreographing and his new role as artistic advisor.
For Furlan, this move is a thrilling opportunity to dive deeper into George Balanchine's repertoire. "Growing up in Brazil and training at the Bolshoi I had very little awareness about Balanchine," he says, "but once I joined MCB School and started learning about it, I instantly fell in love with all of it." Furlan credits much of this passion to former MCB artistic director and NYCB star Edward Villella. "Once I started taking classes with the company, watching him teaching class and the steps with such style and attack was unreal," he says, adding, "We were extremely lucky and blessed to have Lourdes Lopez take over and keep the Balanchine legacy alive. She's always been so committed to the integrity of all of Mr. B's works and has so much to share."
As for why he's decided to leave MCB for NYCB, Furlan stresses the importance of jumping at new opportunities. "NYCB has an unparalleled repertoire in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and that's what it's about: the repertoire and the amount of performing I'll get to do," he says. "This career is so short and demanding; you never know how long you're going to last."
In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
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:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"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.