On the Rise: Tyler Donatelli
When it comes to a ballet matching a dancer's special talents, choreographer Justin Peck's Year of the Rabbit fit Houston Ballet demi-soloist Tyler Donatelli to a T. Built for power, flash and precision, Donatelli crashed through Peck's driving rhythms with finesse and clarity in a lead role this past March. She's a speed demon, which worked well for Peck's breakneck pacing. "His movement came so naturally to me," says Donatelli. "I could just be myself."
Company: Houston Ballet
Hometown: Huntington Beach, California Training: Southland Ballet Academy, Houston Ballet II
Accolades: Youth America Grand Prix silver medal, first place in ballet at the Music Center's Spotlight Awards
Donatelli in Peck's Year of the Rabbit. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.
Breakout moment: With no rehearsal and while still a member of HB II, Donatelli was asked to slip in with the corps swans in artistic director Stanton Welch's Swan Lake when a dancer became injured. Welch saw that she was a quick study. "I showed that I was reliable," says Donatelli. "That got me noticed."
Learning curve: Dancing the role of Clara last season in Welch's lavish new Nutcracker proved to be eye-opening. "Stanton told me that I could find a way to make my performance more personal," she says. "I started to figure out how much artistic freedom I had to play with in my dancing."
"She's a vital force within the company." —Stanton Welch
Biggest challenges: Broadening her range is high on Donatelli's list of artistic and technical goals. "I want to learn to be more delicate, and I am doing that now rehearsing 'Shades' for La Bayadère," she says. "I've often gotten the correction that the power in my legs doesn't need to add stress to my upper body. I don't always have to be putting out 110 percent."
Dream role: "I have my eye on Kitri in Don Quixote," she says. "There's such great energy in that ballet."
What Stanton Welch is saying: "I first noticed her dynamic quality and her clarity," Welch says of seeing Donatelli at the 2012 Spotlight Awards. "She moves with remarkable power—it's unlike anything I've ever seen. She's so musical and has the ability to play with phrasing, which is such a gift to any choreographer."
Coming up: Donatelli can't wait to sink her teeth into the psychological drama of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's historical ballet, Mayerling, next month. "I want to work on my acting skills. I find something new about myself in every ballet."
Alongside photos of her dancing, Donatelli's Instagram feed features updates about her yellow parakeet, Lemon.
There's a rare moment in Broadway's Hadestown where the audience is able to breathe a sigh of relief. The smash-hit success is not well-known for being light-hearted or easy-going; Hadestown is a show full of workers and walls and, well, the second act largely takes place in a slightly modernized version of hell.
But deep into the second act, the show reaches a brief homeostasis of peace, one of those bright, shining moments that allows the audience to think "maybe it will turn out this time," as the character Hermes keeps suggesting.
After songs and songs of conflict and resentment, Hades, the king of the underground, and his wife, the goddess Persephone, rekindle their love. And, unexpectedly, they dance. It's one of the most compelling moments in the show.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
There's always been something larger than life about choreographer Mark Morris. Of course, there are the more than 150 works he's made and that incisive musicality that makes dance critics drool. But there's also his idiosyncratic, no-apologies-offered personality, and his biting, no-holds-barred wit. And, well, his plan to keep debuting new dances even after he's dead.
So it should come as little surprise that his latest distinction is also a bit larger than life: The New York Landmarks Conservancy is adding Morris to its list of "Living Landmarks."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.