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On the Rise: Giuseppe Bausilio
In Broadway's CATS, Giuseppe Bausilio exploded across the stage as the wild and rascally Carbucketty. With fiery exuberance, he transformed steps into drama, songs into lullabies, dosing out magic with his sheer joy of performing. He recently left his cat suit behind to join his fifth Broadway show, Hello, Dolly! Though he's only 19, he makes dreams like "originating a leading role on Broadway" sound possible.
Broadway shows: Currently in Hello, Dolly!, starting previews this month. Past shows include CATS, Aladdin, Newsies and Billy Elliot.
Television: Plays Alfie, a dancer and runaway prince, in Season 4 of "The Next Step," a Canadian teen drama about an ultra-competitive dance team
Hometown: Bern, Switzerland
Training: Began studying ballet at age 4 at his parents' school, American Swiss Ballet, in Bern and New York City
Accolades: Youth America Grand Prix silver and bronze medals, junior division; additional awards from competitions in France and Italy
Photo by Nathan Sayers
Special sauce: Bausilio credits his family for where he is today. His parents were both professional dancers and his older brother, Yannick Bittencourt, is a dancer at the Paris Opéra Ballet. "They taught me how to be a professional at a very young age," he says. "I take a ballet class every morning."
A little luck and lots of hard work: While at YAGP, a casting director spotted Bausilio and asked him to audition for the role of Billy Elliot. He barely spoke English and his only training had been ballet. Bausilio spent the summer speed-learning tap, hip hop, gymnastics and singing. "I nodded a lot and pretty much said yes to everything." It paid off. He got the role and spent two years playing Billy Elliot on tour, in Chicago and on Broadway.
An unexpected curve: Three months into CATS, Bausilio's back gave out. Doctors found a rare vascular tumor in his spinal canal and removed it during a six-hour surgery. "I think this was kind of a sign telling me, 'Giuseppe, you've got to breathe for a second.' "
"Every choreographer in NYC will be fighting over the chance
to have Giuseppe in the trenches with us!" —Andy Blankenbuehler
Bouncing back: Bausilio was out of CATS for 15 weeks and used the downtime to work on his upcoming EP and a one-man cabaret show—he's also a singer/songwriter and plays guitar and keyboard.
What Andy Blankenbuehler is saying: "Giuseppe has impeccable dance technique. He sings like a bird and is a pro at creating a character through his performing," says the CATS choreographer. "But his passion is what makes him a standout. He has a generosity of the heart that touches everyone onstage and in the audience."
What's next: The ensemble of Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler. "It's insane, the people I get to work with," Bausilio says, and chants a litany of names: "Warren Carlyle, the choreographer, Jerry Zaks, multiple Tony Award–winning Broadway director. Amazing people, legends! I think I've used the words 'insane' and 'crazy' about a hundred times in this past hour. But that's really what my life has been."
Choosing music for your first-ever choreography commission can feel daunting enough. But when you're asked to create a ballet using the vast discography of the Rolling Stones—and you happen to be dating Stones frontman Mick Jagger—the stakes are even higher.
So it's understandable that as of Monday, American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet dancer Melanie Hamrick, whose Port Rouge will have its U.S. premiere tonight at the Youth America Grand Prix gala, was still torn about which songs to include.
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.
What is an acceptable request from a choreographer in terms of nudity? On the first day of shooting All That Jazz in the 1970s, Bob Fosse asked us men to remove everything but our jock straps and the women to remove their tops. His rationale was to shock us in order to build character, and it felt disloyal to refuse. Would this behavior be considered okay today?
As much as audiences might flock to Swan Lake or The Nutcracker, ballet can't only rely on old war horses if it wants to remain relevant. But building new full-lengths from scratch isn't exactly cheap.
So where can companies find the money?
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.
Today—April 16, 2019—marks what would have been Merce Cunningham's 100th birthday. As dancers from Los Angeles to New York City to London gear up for Night of 100 Solos (the marathon performance event being livestreamed today), and as companies and presenters worldwide continue to celebrate the Cunningham Centennial through their programming, we searched through the Dance Magazine Archives to unearth our favorite images of the groundbreaking dancemaker.
A bright disposition with a dab of astringent charm is how I remember Brock Hayhoe, a National Ballet School of Canada schoolmate. Because we were a couple years apart, we barely brushed shoulders, except at the odd Toronto dance party where we could dance all night with mutual friends letting our inhibitions subside through the music. Dancing always allows a deeper look.
But, as my late great ballet teacher Pyotr Pestov told me when I interviewed him for Dance Magazine in 2009, "You never know what a flower is going to look like until it opens up."
One night. Three cities. Seventy-five dancers. And three unique sets of 100 solos, all choreographed by Merce Cunningham.
This incredible evening of dance will honor Cunningham's 100th birthday on April 16. The Merce Cunningham Trust has teamed up with The Barbican in London, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City and the Center for the Art of Performance in Los Angeles for a tri-city celebration.
The best part? You don't have to be in those cities to watch—Night of 100 Solos is being live-streamed in its entirety for free.