What Wendy's Watching: NYCB Reprises Its Immigrant Ballet—With Passion
Fourteen dancers troop in, all with suitcases as though just getting off the boat. They seem tired and anxious; they don't know what to expect in this new country.
Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti created Oltremare for New York City Ballet in 2008. This ballet plunges the dancers into a world where they have to fight for their survival. He portrays the plight of seven immigrant couples with force, passion and inventiveness. He has given the dancers feisty duets that are continually surprising. They roll, they pounce, they hurl themselves at each other. They are drumming up the courage to face the hardships of a new life. This immigrant ballet is even more relevant now than it was 10 years ago. We've all become aware of the risks of immigrating to this country and the precariousness of staying here. The NYCB dancers perform this ballet with a fierceness that makes it exciting to watch.
I've been struck by Bigonzetti's hugely inventive partnering before, especially with his Festa Barocca for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
This is Bigonzetti's third piece for NYCB; all have music by his frequent collaborator, Bruno Moretti. The choreographer was briefly director of La Scala Ballet and before that, the longterm director of Compagnia Aterballetto. He has made dozens of works for both ballet and modern companies including Stuttgart Ballet, English National Ballet, Ailey, Pennsylvania Ballet and National Ballet of China.
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
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: