“Off Kilter” Is the Ballet Comedy We’ve Been Waiting For
More often than not, we're disappointed when ballet is depicted in pop culture. Sometimes, the dance world is made out to be incredibly dark and depressing. Or, worse, non-dancers are hired to play dancers. (Gasp!)
But a new series is giving us hope that it is possible to make ballet content that is both entertaining and true to what the dance world is actually like. "Off Kilter," created by former Compania Nacional de Danza and Ballet Frankfurt dancer Alejandro Alvarez Cadilla and comedian Amy Cunningham, follows fictional choreographer Milton Frank as he creates his first work in over two decades.
The show's dry humor is enough to have us hooked (imagine if "Parks and Recreation" was set in a dance company), but "Off Kilter" also cleverly tackles important issues in the ballet world like sexism, ageism and ego.
National Ballet of Canada principal Harrison James and former Royal Winnipeg Ballet soloist Sarah Murphy-Dyson play the dancer roles, so obviously their technique is gorgeous. And they aren't bad actors, either.
Our other favorite thing about "Off Kilter": It contains delightful dance insider references, but is still relatable to non-dancers (we think?!). From the ridiculous nonsense sounds Milton uses when he's choreographing to his refusal to call his return to choreography a "comeback," we can all recognize these sometimes-quirky, sometimes-irritating behaviors in people we've worked with. But as the show's teaser points out, "You don't have to be a ballerina to know a Milton Frank."
The show is in early stages of development, but we can't wait to see more.
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:
While you might think of dance as a primarily visual art form, performances engage us on multiple levels. Our ears take in the score, the artists' breathing patterns, fellow audience members' reactions, and the physical percussion made by the dancers' footfalls and partnering. All of this information is available to audience members with limited to no vision, and when it comes to providing them with the rest, there are multiple approaches being refined by experts in the field generally referred to as "audience accessibility."