Michelle Dorrance is Choreographing for ABT. Yes, You Read That Right.
If we weren't already looking forward to American Ballet Theatre's spring gala with trepidation and excitement, we certainly are now. The company announced today that Michelle Dorrance, MacArthur-certified genius and tap dancer extraordinaire, will create a piece d'occasion to kick off ABT's spring season. It will premiere alongside Wayne McGregor's AFTERITE and excerpts from Alexei Ratmansky's new reconstruction of Harlequinade. This marks her first creation for the company.
The work was co-commissioned by Vail International Dance Festival, where Dorrance is artist in residence. ABT is making its first appearance at Vail this summer, during which the company will perform a second work created by Dorrance, accompanied by as-yet-unannounced guest artists from the festival roster.
And if that weren't enough, ABT will debut yet another Dorrance work this October during its fall season. There's no word yet as to whether the dancers will be donning tap shoes, slippers, pointe shoes or some combination thereof for these pieces.
It's a decidedly bold departure for the company. Though Dorrance is known for being a generous collaborator and frequently works with dancers who specialize in styles other than tap (particularly at Vail, where cross-genre collaborations are a matter of course), she has not previously worked with a classical ballet company at this scale.
Dorrance with Nicholas Van Young at the Guggenheim. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Courtesy Works & Process at the Guggenheim
But then again, it wouldn't be the first time that Dorrance has taken an unlikely project—say, making a site-specific, sound-driven work for the acoustically-difficult Guggenheim rotunda—and turned it into something magical. And even though we can't begin to imagine what a piece made for ABT by Dorrance might look like, it will be nice to see the name of one female choreographer in a spring season dominated (per usual) by after-Petipas and male-choreographed story ballets.
We're curious to see what comes of this new collaboration in the coming months.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.
You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)
Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:
While you might think of dance as a primarily visual art form, performances engage us on multiple levels. Our ears take in the score, the artists' breathing patterns, fellow audience members' reactions, and the physical percussion made by the dancers' footfalls and partnering. All of this information is available to audience members with limited to no vision, and when it comes to providing them with the rest, there are multiple approaches being refined by experts in the field generally referred to as "audience accessibility."