Congratulations to Dance Magazine Award Honoree Michael Trusnovec
Paul Taylor cultivated many brilliant dancers during his 60-plus-year career, but seldom have any commanded such a place of authority and artistry as Michael Trusnovec. He models what it takes to become a great Taylor dancer: weight of movement, thorough grasp of style, deep concentration, steadfast partnering, complete dedication to the choreography and a nuanced response to the music.
Trusnovec can simultaneously make choreography sexy and enlightened, and he can do it within one phrase of movement. Refusing to be pigeonholed, he has excelled in roles as diverse as the tormented and tormenting preacher in Speaking in Tongues; the lyrical central figure—one of Taylor's own sacred roles—in Aureole; the dogged detective in Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal); and the corporate devil in Banquet of Vultures.
"I brought a whole bunch of things in my bag of tricks that Paul was able to dig through and find things I didn't even know were in there," says Trusnovec, who has danced with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for more than two decades.
Spotlight On...Michael Trusnovec www.youtube.com
"If Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had a baby, it would be Michael Trusnovec," says fellow PTDC dancer Parisa Khobdeh. "He can make anything look 'right.' The world could be in utter turmoil, but onstage with him, it all melts away."
One of Trusnovec's most valued experiences was the creation of the Whitmanesque poet in Beloved Renegade, a figure—perhaps symbolic of Taylor's own mortality—who reconciles himself with the dying light of life as he is shepherded by the angel of death. The piece's hushed dramatic impact is singular, and its genesis hard to imagine without Trusnovec.
Now also working as both director of worldwide licensing and associate rehearsal director, Trusnovec, who had 26 Taylor dances created on him, will retire in June.
"I love being able to share the experiences I've had without ever putting those on someone and saying, 'This is the way it should feel,' because that's never how I've been treated," he says. "If I can steer somebody toward a path that might be as rich and rewarding for them as for me, I'm happy to do that."
Jennifer Kahn knew the theater industry could do better. As a professional stage manager for 17 years she worked on regional, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Nearly each time a show closed, something unsettling happened: "I would watch them throw away our shows. All of the beautiful artwork by my friends in the paint shop would go in the trash." The elaborate backdrops? Gone.
But she had an idea: What if the material used in the backdrops and legs could be upcycled into something new? And what if theater lovers could literally keep a piece of a beloved show?
"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.
For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.
New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.
"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "
She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.