A Natalia Osipova Documentary Is Hitting Theaters Tomorrow
Natalia Osipova in rehearsal. Photo by Alastair Muir, Courtesy Sadler's Wells
You never quite know what's going to happen when Natalia Osipova steps onstage—you know you're in for something extraordinary, but the exact nature of what you'll get is a mystery until it's happening. It's only fitting, then, that we would learn of Force of Nature, a new documentary following a year of the ballet superstar's career, a day before its limited release in the UK.
The film shows Osipova in rehearsal for classical roles at The Royal Ballet (where she's currently a principal) and for contemporary works with choreographers like Arthur Pita. There's no shortage of performance footage that showcases her physics-defying leaps, and old videos of her in ballet classes as a child give a glimpse of both her prodigious talent and impish personality.
We also get to hear from the woman herself through interviews in her dressing room at the Royal Opera House—but according to The Guardian, if you're hoping to hear anything about her long-since-ended engagement to Ivan Vasiliev, with whom she left the Bolshoi Ballet for the smaller Mikhailovsky, or her brief-but-intense fling with Sergei Polunin (who, meanwhile, seems to be gleefully throwing his career away with both hands), you'll be disappointed. But we're fully on board with anything that grants insight into the peculiar alchemy that makes Osipova such a magnetic performer—or any glimpse of the globe-trotting star's dancing.
Force of Nature begins a limited run in the UK on June 7; no word yet on plans for international distribution.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?