Looking Ahead: 2014
To bring in the new year, Dance Magazine asked several of our favorite dancers (from 2013) what they're looking forward to in 2014. Here they share their New Year's resolutions.
"As I reflect on 2013, I realize I have a lot to be thankful for: Getting promoted to soloist at Ballet West was a dream come true, and filming Breaking Pointe was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Moving into 2014, I'm making a resolution to enjoy every second that I get on stage. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the 'job' of being a ballet dancer, but after almost stepping away from dance in 2013, I've realized that this career is too short not to eat up every chance I get to perform. I am also really looking forward to dancing in Nicolo Fonte's new Rite of Spring in the coming season." —Allison DeBona
"One huge resolution is to focus on training again: house, breaking, popping, ballet, contemporary—you name it. I want to give myself more time for personal practice. I'm also on the hunt for an intern interested in arts administration... please come work with me!" —Michelle Dorrance
"My goal in the new year is to live in the present moment; celebrate the now and trust that change and opportunity will come when it's time. At this point in my career, it's all about maintaining my identity as a dancer and my skill set, while navigating an ever-changing show business. Happiness comes from within." —Sarrah Strimel
"I am very excited about 2014! The biggest thing that I'm working on is being completely fearless. I want to put myself out there and go full force for everything I want. I don't want to be afraid of auditions or afraid of trying to new things. I'm going to continue to wear my heart on my sleeve and do what I love. Sometimes we let fear control us, and we have to remember to shake it off and go for our dreams." —Paloma Garcia-Lee
"George Saunders, one of my favorite writers, recently spoke to The New Yorker about his ideal approach to art and life: 'The deeper goal is to be more loving, more courageous, more accepting, more patient, but also less full of s**t. In other words, to be able to step up to the beauties of life—and the horrors of it—without any kind of flinching, and really, for once, open your eyes and see it. And if some of that could get into your work—that would be a plus.' In 2014 (and beyond), I’d like for some of that philosophy to get into my work, and my life." —Sascha Radetsky
"I have several resolutions for 2014: I want to trust my creative instincts more. So often I get in my own way. This year, I want to trust the ideas that fly out of my mind, heart and body—believe in myself, my talent and instincts! I also want to remind myself that even at this point in my career, I'm still constantly learning. It's hard for me not to be competitive, but this year I want to let go of that pressure and just enjoy the fact that I have a dream career!" —Annie choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler
(Photo of Allison DeBona with Rex Tilton by Matthew Karas for DM; Michelle Dorrance by Matthew Murphy; Strimel and Garcia-Lee by Jayme Thornton for DM.; Sascha Radetsky by Renata Pavam; Andy Blankenbuehler by Matthew Karas for DM.)
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."
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:
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.
"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.