News

6 Can't-Miss Shows This November, Chosen By DM Editors

Bill Shannon's Touch Update makes its way to Washington, DC, and New York City this month. Photo courtesy Dance Place

The fall performance season continues at breakneck speed with everything from an international ballet company making its U.S. debut to a retrospective on one of New York City's most iconic dancemakers—not to mention more than a few intriguing new works. Here's what we've got pencilled in.


Have Your Cake

Hans van Manen's Trois Gnossiennes. Photo by Peter Rakossy, Courtesy Ellen Jacobs Associates

NEW YORK CITY Hungarian National Ballet is putting its best foot forward for its American debut at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Following a Nov. 4 gala, the company presents recent stagings of full-length staples Swan Lake (Nov. 6–8) and Don Quixote (Nov. 9–10). To close the engagement, Trois Gnossiennes, 5 Tangos and Black Cake, a trio of Hans van Manen works programmed together last year in celebration of the venerable choreographer's 85th birthday, will be performed twice on Nov. 11. opera.hu. —Courtney Escoyne

Blood Memory

Red Clay Dance Company's Destine Young. Photo by Raymond Jerome, Courtesy Red Clay Dance Company

CHICAGO Red Clay Dance Company's ongoing cultural exchange project with Uganda's Keiga Dance Company has resulted in a new work: EKILI MUNDA|What Lies Within. Created to open the Afro-contemporary troupe's 10th-anniversary season, the piece, by artistic director Vershawn Sanders-Ward and Keiga artistic director Jonas Byaruhanga, investigates the body as an archive for cultural history. Nov. 8–10. redclaydance.com. —CE

Heuristic History

Emily Coates. Photo by Anna Lee Campbell, Courtesy Danspace Project

NEW YORK CITY Emmanuèle Phuon and Emily Coates share an evening at Danspace Project that promises smart, thought-provoking new dances. Phuon's Bits & Pieces (Choreographic Donations) looks back on her eclectic, continent-spanning career with contributions from Patricia Hoffbauer, David Thomson, Elisa Monte, Yvonne Rainer and Vincent Dunoyer. A History of Light, in collaboration with artist Josiah McElheny, dives into Coates' investigation of the intersections of dance and science through the lens of the women who have advanced art and technology throughout history. Nov. 8–10. danspaceproject.org. —CE

Update in Progress

Bill Shannon. Photo by Garrett Jones, Courtesy Dance Place

WASHINGTON, DC, AND NEW YORK CITY Ballet dancers have their pointe shoes, tap dancers have their tap shoes, Spanish dancers have their castanets—and Bill Shannon has his crutches. Since childhood, he has lived with a condition in his hips that makes it hard for him to bear weight. He's created a technique of gliding, swiveling, spinning and floating with his crutches, earning him a place in New York City's underground club scene. Recently, he's taken the idea of necessary body extensions into technology. In his new Touch Update, which was developed at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography and premiered in May in Pittsburgh, Shannon has devised wearable video masks and video sculptures that seem to dismantle the human body. Performers include the couple slowdanger (2018 "25 to Watch") and Pittsburgh hip-hop crew Get Down Gang. Ultimately, Shannon is looking at the human potential for change. Dance Place, Nov. 10–11. New York Live Arts, Nov. 14–18. whatiswhat.com. —Wendy Perron

Early Twyla

Twyla Tharp in her Eight Jelly Rolls. Photo courtesy DM Archives

NEW YORK CITY Before Twyla Tharp choreographed highly technical and propulsive ballets like In the Upper Room, she made a slew of dances with a minimalist edge. Some of them were silent and austere, but when she started to use music—whoa! What a feast of sly musicality and slippery movement. Her latest program Minimalism and Me ranges from the simplicity of her first time out—Tank Dive (1965), all angles and diagonals with a yo-yo trick thrown in—to her lusciously loose, vaudeville-inspired classic, Eight Jelly Rolls (1971), with music by jazz composer Jelly Roll Morton. Our question: Who will perform Twyla's outrageously sloppy/precise drunk solo? The program comes to the Joyce Nov. 14–Dec. 9. joyce.org. —WP

Marginalia

Karen L. Charles' Sacred Feminine is one work included in Femthology. Photo by Bill Cameron, Courtesy AQUA Public Relations

ST. PAUL, MN In the Margins, a program presented by Threads Dance Project at The O'Shaughnessy this month, aims to foster empathy for communities that are often relegated to liminal spaces in society. Karen L. Charles' To Hear Like Me utilizes American Sign Language, music visualization and silence as it interrogates implicit bias against the deaf/hard-of-hearing community. Joining it is Femthology, comprising excerpts from already-existing works that explore the female experience, newly reimagined to be equally accessible to hearing and deaf/hard-of-hearing audiences. Nov. 16–17. threadsdance.org. —CE

The Conversation
News

Last night, longtime theater legends (including Chita Rivera herself!) as well as rising stars gathered to celebrate one of Broadway's danciest events: the third annual Chita Rivera Awards.

The evening paid tribute to this season's dancer standouts, fabulous ensembles, and jaw-dropping choreography—on- and off-Broadway and on film.

As usual, several of our faves made it into the mix. (With such a fabulous talent pool of nominees to choose from, we're glad that ties were allowed.) Here are the highlights from the winner's list:

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Hive by Boston Conservatory student Alyssa Markowitz. Photo by Jim Coleman

The way we create and consume dance is changing every day. Now more than ever, the field demands that dancers not only be able to perform at the highest level, but also collaborate with choreographers to bring their artistic visions to life. Dancers who miss out on choreographic training may very well find themselves at a disadvantage as they try to launch their careers.

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Career Advice
Lorenzo Di Cristina/Unsplash

When you're a foreign dancer, gaining legal rights to work in the U.S. is a challenging process. It's especially difficult if you're petitioning to work as a freelance dancer without an agent or company sponsorship.

The process requires professional muscle along with plenty of resources and heart. "There's a real misnomer that it's super easy," says Neena Dutta, immigration attorney and president of Dutta Law Firm. "People need to educate themselves and talk to a professional."

Here are four things every foreign dancer who wants to work in the U.S. needs to know to build a freelance dance career here.

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Career Advice
Quinn Wharton

What does it take to "make it" in dance? It's no secret that turning this passion into a profession can be a struggle. In such a competitive field, talent alone isn't enough to get you where you want to be.

So what kinds of steps can you take to become successful? Dance Magazine spoke to 33 people from all corners of the industry to get their advice on the lessons that could help us all, no matter where we are in our careers.

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Sponsored by McCallum Theatre
Last year's winner: Manuel Vignoulle's EARTH. Jack Hartin Photography, Courtesy McCallum Theatre

It's not often that a promising choreographer gets to stage work in a world-class theater, on a skillfully-curated program with professional dancers, and with the possibility of winning a substantial cash prize. But at the McCallum Theatre's Palm Desert Choreography Festival, that's been the status quo for over twenty years.

Since Shea New, the festival's artistic director, founded the festival in 1998, she's worked tirelessly with McCallum's director of education and festival producer, Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, and stage manager and festival production manager Joanna Fookes to build a festival that nurtures choreographers, highlights high quality work, powerfully engages the local community and cultivates an audience base for dance in the Coachella Valley. The trio is backed by a strong team of professionals at McCallum and the brilliant volunteers from the local and national level who serve as adjudicators.

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Dance History
Still of Fonteyn from the 1972 film I Am a Dancer. Photo courtesy DM Archives

On May 18, 1919, Margot "Peggy" Hookham was born. She would grow up to become Dame Margot Fonteyn, England's first homegrown prima ballerina. She joined the Sadler's Wells School in 1934 and was performing principal roles with the precursor to The Royal Ballet the next year. Fonteyn was a company-defining figure, dancing Aurora for the re-opening of the Royal Opera House after World War II, creating numerous roles with Sir Frederick Ashton and forging a legendary partnership with Rudolf Nureyev.

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Dance As Activism
Courtesy #Dance4OurLives

Memorial Day is notoriously one of Chicago's bloodiest weekends. Last year, 36 people were shot and seven died that weekend. In 2017 and 2016, the number of shootings was even higher.

When Garley "GiGi Tonyé" Briggs, a dance teacher and Chicago native, started noticing this pattern, she was preparing her second annual Memorial Day workshop for local youth.

The event's original aim was simple: "I wanted the youth of Chicago to have somewhere they could come and learn from different dancers and be off the streets on the South Side on this hot holiday," she says.

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Rant & Rave

A recent trip I took to Nashville coincided with the NFL draft. As we drove into town, my Uber driver was a fount of information on the subject.

I learned that there are 32 NFL teams and that the draft takes place over seven rounds. That the team that did the poorest during the previous season gets first pick. That during an earlier event called the scouting combine, the teams assess college football players and figure out who they want.

There is also the veteran combine for "free agents"—players who have been released from their contracts or whose contracts have expired. They might be very good players, but their team needs younger members or ones with a certain skill set. All year round, experienced NFL scouts scan games across the country, checking out players and feeding that information back to the teams. Players' agents keep their eyes on opportunities for their clients which might be more rewarding.

While I sat in the traffic of 600,000 NFL fans I got thinking, is there something ballet could learn from football? Could a draft system improve young dancers' prospects and overall company caliber and contentment?

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What Dancers Eat
Getty Images

Despite what you might think, there's no reason for dancers to be afraid of bread.

"It's looked at as this evil food," says New York State–certified dietitian and former dancer Tiffany Mendell. But the truth is, unless you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, bread can be a healthy source of carbohydrates—our body's preferred fuel—plus fiber and vitamins.

The key is choosing your loaf wisely.

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Dancers Trending

It can be hard to imagine life without—or just after—dance. Perhaps that's why we find it so fascinating to hear what our favorite dancers think they'd be doing if they weren't performing for a living.

We've been asking stars about the alternate career they'd like to try in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and their answers—from the unexpected to the predictable—do not disappoint:

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Dance in Pop Culture
Unity Phelan in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Photo by Niko Tavernise, Courtesy FRANK PR

"New York City Ballet star appears in a Keanu Reeves action movie" is not a sentence we ever thought we'd write. But moviegoers seeing John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum will be treated to two scenes featuring soloist Unity Phelan dancing choreography by colleague Tiler Peck. The guns-blazing popcorn flick cast Phelan as a ballerina who also happens to be training to become an elite assassin. Opens in theaters May 17.

News
Walsh's Moon Fate Sin at Danspace Project. Like Fame Notions, the title was derived from Yvonne Rainer's "No" manifesto. Photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy Danspace Project

The Brooklyn-based choreographer Gillian Walsh is both obsessed with and deeply conflicted about dance. With her latest work, Fame Notions, May 17–19 at Performance Space New York, she seeks to understand what she calls the "fundamentally pessimistic or alienating pursuit" of being a dancer. Noting that the piece is "quiet and introverted," like much of her other work, she sees Fame Notions as one step in a larger project examining why dancers dance.

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Career Advice
Via YouTube

What does Mikhail Baryshnikov have to say to dancers starting their careers today? On Friday, he gave the keynote speech during the graduation ceremony for the inaugural class of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

The heart of his message: Be generous.

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