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Dancers Soared at the Kozlova International Ballet Competition
For a small competition, Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition is packed with 20 power judges and loads of promising talent. More than 100 serious students ages 11 to 25 gathered in New York to dance at Symphony Space, culminating in a gala Sunday June 10. Judges included top figures like Nina Ananiashvili, director of State Ballet of Georgia; Andris Liepa, People's Artist of Russia; Jeon Mi Sook, faculty of Korea National University of Arts; Victoria Morgan, artistic director of Cincinnati Ballet; choreographer Margo Sappington; and Olga Guardia de Smoak, artistic advisor to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Panama.
Classical gold medalist Yu Jeong Choi from South Korea
In its seventh year, the talent, according to de Smoak, was outstanding, especially the male contestants. For the first time at VKIBC, two grand prix were awarded: Bakhtiyar Adamzham of Kazakhstan in the senior classical division, and Sungmin Kim of South Korea in the contemporary division.
At the gala, Kozlova, who is a former principal with both the Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet, honored Arthur Mitchell, founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem. The award was accepted by Eddie Shellman, former principal of DTH.
Valentina Kozlova, in her tribute to Arthur Mitchell, all photos by Costas, courtesy VKIBC
Kozlova posted part of her speech on Facebook: "Performing art has no borders, nationalities, color and minorities. We have our love for dance, inspiration, passion. I salute anyone who is not afraid of taking risks and following their vision and their souls."
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While Solange was busy helping big sis Beyoncé give Coachella its best performances of all time, an equally compelling project was quietly circulating on Instagram:
When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one:
"Dance isn't for everyone."
This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.
In his final bow at New York City Ballet, during what should have been a heroic conclusion to a celebrated ballet career, Robert Fairchild slipped and fell. His reaction? To lie down flat on his back like he meant to do it. Then start cracking up at himself.
"He's such a ham," says his sister Megan Fairchild, with a laugh. "He's really good at selling whatever his body is doing that day. He'll turn a moment that I would totally go home and cry about into something where the audience is like, 'That's the most amazing thing ever!' "
New York City Ballet continues its first year without Peter Martins at the helm as our spring season opens tonight.
When he retired at the start of the new year, we plunged headfirst into unknown, murky waters. Who would the new director be? When would we know? Would we dancers get some say in the decision? Who would oversee the Balanchine ballets? Who would be in charge of casting? Would a new director bring along huge upheaval? Could some of us be out of a job?
In the world of ballet, Arcadian Broad is a one-stop shop: He'll come up with a story, compose its music, choreograph the movement and dance it himself. But then Broad has always been a master of versatility. As a teenager he juggled school, dance and—after the departure of his father—financial responsibility. It was Broad's income from dancing that kept his family afloat. Fast-forward six years and things are far more stable. Broad now lives on his own in an apartment, but you can usually find him in the studio.
Bales of hay, black umbrellas, bicycles—this Midsummer Night's Dream would be unrecognizable to the Bard. Alexander Ekman's full-length, inspired by Scandinavian solstice traditions and set to music by Mikael Karlsson, is a madcap celebration of the longest day of the year, when the veil between our world and that of the supernatural is said to be at its thinnest. The Joffrey Ballet's performances mark the seductively surreal work's North American premiere. April 25–May 6. joffrey.org.
"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."
Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.
"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.