NYCB Has Officially Started Its Search for a New Leader. Here's What We Know So Far.
Since December an interim artistic leadership team has been guiding New York City Ballet, and in January, Peter Martins officially resigned. But only now has the search for Martins' permanent replacement begun. Here's what we know about how the process will unfold.
The Company Is Seeking Dancers' Input
On Monday, a town hall-style meeting was held, allowing company members to weigh in on what they want from future leadership. The New York Times reports that this was the first of a series of conversations in the search committee's "listening tour." (The committee consists of seven voices from NYCB's board and six from the affiliated School of American Ballet's board.) More dancers, along with NYCB staff, donors and board members, are expected to offer their thoughts at future events.
The dancers will give their input during the first phase of the search. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.
The town halls aren't the only option for current company members: Dancers are also welcome to express their thoughts privately and anonymously. Hopefully, this extra option will mean that the artists are comfortable to speak freely.
Recruitment firm Phillips Oppenheim has been enlisted by the committee, and this move signals that the search will not be purely insular. The firm has prior experience with arts organizations, and its clients include the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (where NYCB performs each summer), The Washington Ballet and Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance.
The Position Won't Be Split
The new artistic director of NYCB will also lead its school. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy SAB.
Dancers, critics and fans alike have speculated if NYCB might decide to break the position into multiple roles, divvying up duties for directing the school and company amongst several people. According to the same Times article, that's not going to happen. The boards at NYCB and SAB decided more than a decade ago that its next successor would remain in charge of both.
Interviews Won't Start Right Away
Choosing an artistic leader is a multi-phase process (so hang in there, interim team). After the meetings within the company, the committee will turn to the larger ballet world: They want to hear from notable ballet figures, those involved with George Balanchine's and Jerome Robbins' trusts, and, yes, even Peter Martins. Prospective candidates will not be interviewed until this fall at the very earliest. Afterwards, the chosen candidate must go through a round of approvals: by the entire search committee and then by the boards of both NYCB and SAB.
Why Is Martins Involved?
Martins will be involved in the search for his successor. Photo by Adam Shankbone, Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
While Martins resigned amidst allegations of sexual harassment and physical and verbal abuse, an investigation did not corroborate these claims. Despite the tarnished relationship between Martins, NYCB and SAB, it does make sense to include him in this process. He stood at the helm of NYCB for 35 years, so he's more in touch with the position and the inner-workings of the company than anyone else.
Why the Snail's Pace?
Finding a new leader is a monumental decision for any dance organization, but given NYCB's status as one of the country's most foremost ballet companies, this appointment isn't going to be made hastily. The successor will only follow Balanchine (who was in place for 35 years), Robbins (who co-led with Martins at the beginning of his tenure) and Martins himself. While we're admittedly anxious to know who will be next, there's a lot at stake, so we prefer that the new leader be well worth the wait.
For choreographer Raja Feather Kelly, music is simple: "There's good music and there's bad music and I love good music and I love to hate bad music."
But, true to form, Kelly—whose past few months have included choreographing the Skittles Super Bowl musical and earning one of our first-ever Harkness Promise Awards—had some surprises up his sleeve when he made us a playlist he describes as "for moody Geminis who work over 12 hours a day and need a playlist that can shuffle and never disappoint."
Though the playlist has some whiplash-inducing twists and turns—from Coheed and Cambria to Carly Rae Jepsen to Missy Elliott to Schubert—there is a through-line: "Music that makes you feel like you're in your own movie. I love walking through the street feeling like I'm on a runway, living my best life."
Every dancer's nutrition goals are different. Maybe you're trying to go vegan, or maybe you want to cook your own dinner more often. No matter what your personal objectives are—or whether you work with a dietitian—there are all kinds of apps that can help you make smart decisions at the tap of a button.
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Growing up, I never saw a problem with my dancing and neither did my Muslim-Egyptian dad or my non-Muslim, American mom. They raised me to understand that the core principles of Islam, of any religion, are meant to help us be better people. When I married my Pakistani husband, who comes from a more conservative approach to Islam, I suddenly encountered perceptions of dance that made me question everything: Is it okay to expose a lot of skin? Is it wrong to dance with other men? Is dance inherently sexual? What guidelines come from our holy book, the Quran, and what are cultural views that have become entwined in Islam?
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Two years ago, the American Ballet Theatre soloist got a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Now he trains fellow ABT members and teaches the ABT Studio Company a strength and conditioning class alongside fellow ABT soloist Roman Zhurbin.
He shared five of his top tips for getting into top shape.
No matter how much anti–Valentine's Day sentiment I'm feeling in a given year, there's something about dancer couples that still makes me swoon. Here's a collection of wonderful posts from this year, but be warned: Continued scrolling is likely to give you a severe case of the warm fuzzies.
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The one problem? Pointe shoes have traditionally only been designed for women. Until now.
Lately I've been having recurring dreams: I'm in an audition and I can't remember the combination. Or, I'm rehearsing for an upcoming show, onstage, and I don't know what comes next. Each time I wake up relieved that it was only a dream.
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"You may have the best teacher in the world and the best work ethic and be so committed, and still not make it," says YAGP founder Larissa Saveliev. "I have seen so many extremely talented dancers end up not having enough motivation and mental strength, not having the right body type, not getting into the right company at the right time or getting injured at the wrong moment. You need so many factors, and some of these are out of your hands."
Though Polunin has long had a reputation for behaving inappropriately, in the last month his posts have been somewhat unhinged. In one, Polunin, who is Ukrainian, shows off his new tattoo of Vladimir Putin:
Camille Sturdivant, a former member of the Blue Valley Northwest High School dance team is suing the school district, alleging that she was barred from performing in a dance because her skin was "too dark."
The suit states that during Sturdivant's senior year, the Dazzlers' choreographer, Kevin Murakami, would not allow her to perform in a contemporary dance because he said her skin would clash with the costumes, and that she would steal focus from the other dancers because of her skin color.
You wander through the grocery aisles, sizing up the newest trends on the shelves. Although you're eager to try a new energy bar, you question a strange ingredient and decide to leave it behind. Your afternoons are consumed with research as you sort through endless stories about "detox" miracles.
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Aside from a solid warm-up, most dancers have something else they just have to do before performing. Whether it's putting on the right eyelashes before the left or giving a certain handshake before a second-act entrance, our backstage habits give us the comfort of familiar, consistent choices in an art form with so many variables.
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Every time you fall out of a pirouette, just remember: The stars—and literally every. single. dancer.—have been there, too. (Even Misty Copeland.)
Dancers today have an overwhelming array of options at their fingertips: New fitness tools, recovery trends, workouts and more that claim to improve performance, speed up recovery or enhance training.
But which of these actually meet the unique demands of dancers? In our new series, "We Tried It," we're going to find out, sampling new health and fitness trends to see if they're dancer-approved.
First up: Brrrn, the cold temperature fitness studio (the first and only of its kind, they claim) located in Manhattan.