Why Lincoln Center Festival No Longer Exists, and What That Means for Dance
It came as a big surprise last fall to learn that Lincoln Center Festival would cease to exist, effectively immediately. The announcement came on the heels of a summer featuring one of the festival's biggest triumphs: four days of performances in which Paris Opéra Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet danced Balanchine's Jewels side by side. What other New York institution could pull off such a thing?
The festival, a mainstay of New York City summers since 1996, has made its mark by bringing dance, music, theater and hybrids thereof from all over the world. The first sign of change came in June, when its artistic director since 1998, Nigel Redden, announced his retirement. Then, in November, Jane Moss, artistic director of the whole of Lincoln Center, announced that the festival would cease operations. According to The New York Times, the sum total of Lincoln Center summer programming will go from seven weeks to five in 2018.
The disappearance of the festival is an especially tough blow for dance in the city, given that it has a record of importing big productions from abroad that are too elaborate or expensive for other presenters. (The three-company Jewels is a perfect example.) In 2016, audiences got to see Christopher Wheeldon's acclaimed The Winter's Tale, danced by the National Ballet of Canada. The year before, the National Ballet of China (which hadn't been to New York City in a decade) brought The Red Detachment of Women and The Peony Pavilion. Contemporary dance has also been represented: 2014 featured a fascinating retrospective of works by the Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Alongside the Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Joyce Theater, the festival has been one of the city's main windows to the larger dance world.
National Ballet of Canada brought Christopher Wheeldon's The Winter's Tale to New York City audiences through Lincoln Center Festival. Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC
Some have criticized the festival for its lack of a clear curatorial voice. The New York Times' music critic Zachary Woolfe called it "jumbled and tired." But in a way, its eclecticism was its greatest strength. You never knew what you might see.
Moss recently explained by email that the decision was made in part as a response to the "constricting financial climate that all arts organizations are now facing." At the same time, she wrote, Lincoln Center "plans to maintain a strong commitment to dance, reflected in summer programs and our fall White Light Festival." Let's hope that happens. Otherwise, New York's dance scene will certainly be the poorer for it.
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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.