At six feet tall, Courtney Henry cuts an unforgettable silhouette across the stage. Diligent attention to detail and an ear for syncopation allow her to traverse memorably through the solos and duets of Alonzo King’s work. Articulating impossibly long limbs, attuned like the antennae of a creature in unknown territory, there seems no limit to this Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer’s potential.
“Her stellar attributes and humility supply all the ingredients needed in a recipe for greatness.”
Company: Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL
Training: Palm Beach Ballet Center, The Ailey School, Ailey/Fordham BFA Program
Accolades: Youth America Grand Prix “Stars of Tomorrow” finalist, 2013 Princess Grace Award
Breakout moment: Henry celebrated her one-year anniversary with the company when LINES performed Scheherazade and Resin at the Joyce Theater in May 2012. Working through performance anxiety that she describes as “Mt. Everest–sized fears,” a recent breakup and a dance partner with the flu, Henry responded with abandon. Her lack of confidence dropped with her first entrance on to the stage, spurred on by an inner fire that surprised even her.
In King’s eyes: “Early in her training she decided that she was going to be herself. And she has remained true to that, not in indulgence but in the constant search for her unique contribution to the field.”
Challenges: Due to her long limbs, Henry did not receive many opportunities to work on partnering during her training. Though she is now fortunate to be in a tall environment at LINES, she says, “partnering is still an issue for me.” Letting her guard down has been difficult. “I have had so much personal growth, and now I am building a relationship with my colleague Robb Beresford. But I still have thoughts: Can he handle my limbs and weight?”
On the horizon: Henry is looking forward to an upcoming LINES collaboration with R&B vocalist Lisa Fischer. And she's excited about her future: "I'm sure I'll be making countless more mistakes, but I’m learning from the journey."
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.