Alice Sheppard in Kinetic Light's DESCENT

Courtesy MANCC

News of Note: What You Might Have Missed in October 2020

Here are the latest promotions, appointments and departures, plus notable awards and accomplishments, from the last month.

Comings & Goings

Kim Y. Bears-Bailey has been named artistic director of Philadanco. Founder Joan Myers Brown is now artistic advisor; Janine Beckles assistant artistic director; Donald T. Lunsford II artistic director of D/2.

Wayne McGregor has been appointed director of dance for La Biennale di Venezia for 2021–24.

Jose Sebastian has been appointed director of ABT Incubator, succeeding David Hallberg.

Chun Wai Chan will join New York City Ballet as a soloist beginning with the 2021–22 season. Principal dancers Maria Kowroski, Gonzalo Garcia and Ask la Cour will retire from the company during the 2021–22 season.

Awards & Honors

Ralph Lemon, an older Black man with graying hair, wearing a blue button down, looks seriously at the camera through square-rimmed glasses.

Ralph Lemon

Courtesy John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ralph Lemon was named a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, which comes with a $625,000 unrestricted grant.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko received a 2020 Pew Fellowship, which includes a $75,000 unrestricted grant. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage also awarded project grants to Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers for WHERE IS MY B-O-D-Y, a collaboration with Gus Solomons jr and Pallabi Chakravorty, and Pig Iron Theatre Company for The Pregnant Speakeasy, which will feature choreography by Faye Driscoll.

The first cohort of Disability Futures Fellows includes Alice Sheppard, Jerron Herman and Perel. Each Fellow will receive a $50,000 grant.

Recipients of 2020 Olivier Awards include Mthuthuzeli November (Best New Dance Production for Ingoma, created for Ballet Black), Sarah Baras (Outstanding Achievement in Dance for Ballet Flamenco—Sombras), and Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear (Best Theatre Choreographer for Mary Poppins).

National Ballet of Canada received the 2019/20 Pat Arato Community Partner Award.

Toni Pimble received one of Oregon's 2020 Governor's Arts Awards.

Latest Posts

Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

December 2020