6 Reasons You Should (Re)Watch the First Season of "Pose"
Last summer, the FX television series "Pose" served us a debut season which, over eight episodes, grew from a splashy echo of the seminal vogueing documentary Paris Is Burning into an affecting portrait of one of the most marginalized, most vulnerable, most creative communities in New York City in the late 1980s.
With its second season starting soon—on June 11, to be exact—and the first season dropping on Netflix this Friday, here are six reasons why dancers should be watching the groundbreaking show.
All the world’s a stage.
Dyllón Burnside as Ricky, left, with Ryan Jamaal Swain as Damon in "Pose."
JoJo Whilden, Courtesy FX
The ballroom floor over which Pray Tell (Tony Award–winner Billy Porter) presides isn't on Broadway or at Lincoln Center, but "Pose" portrays a performance community just the same, with all of the attendant roles and backstage dynamics. Scene regulars introduce themselves to newcomers, learning their names and keeping an eye out for potential collaborators (and competitors). Brandon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) and Ricky (Dyllón Burnside) slip away to audition for a tour in secret. Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) gossips and schemes during a costume fitting. Onstage superstars work service-industry jobs to make ends meet. It's a swirl of networking, politics, sacrifice and devout craftsmanship that's familiar to anyone who's ever worked in show business—of any kind.
Movement never lies.
Indya Moore as Angel in "Pose"
Sarah Shatz, Courtesy FX
When Angel (Indya Moore) shuts down a catcaller with one sharp flick of her wrist, she shows us that gestures are just as powerful on the sidewalk as on the catwalk. It isn't just the ballroom scenes or dance sequences that are choreographed in "Pose"; rather unusually, a lot of screen time is devoted to walking. The show lingers on its characters' entrances and exits, so we can see how their posture and carriage change according to which way the wind is blowing. Brandon nearly skips on the balls of his feet when he's feeling joyful; when he's disappointed or lost, his shoulders slump and his heels drag. With nearly every frame, "Pose" reminds us just how much our movements reveal our emotions.
Momma knows best.
Mj Rodriguez as Blanca in "Pose"
JoJo Whilden, Courtesy FX
Mothers are the head of every household in the ballroom scene, and the first season of "Pose" digs deep into what all that means. Blanca gives her all for the wayward children under her roof at the House of Evangelista, thoughtfully tuning her actions and advice to each younger character's personality. Elektra (Dominique Jackson) reigns over the House of Abundance with far less forgiveness, but slowly evolves her understanding of motherhood in one of the first season's more satisfying storylines. In parallel, Helena St. Rogers (Tony Award nominee Charlayne Woodard) is a mother in the dance studio, mentoring Brandon as he trains on scholarship at the New School for Dance—a building many will recognize as the real-life Joan Weill Center for Dance, home to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Our bodies, ourselves
From left: Angelica Ross as Candy, Jason A. Rodriguez as Lemar, Jeremy McClain as Cubby and Hailie Sahar as Lulu in "Pose"
JoJo Whilden, Courtesy FX
It's not unusual for dancers to have love-hate relationships with their bodies. Delight at a breakthrough in some long-fought struggle with technique can dissolve in an instant—into frustration with an injury or anger at our reflections in the mirror. "Pose" frequently includes examples of these peaks and valleys: Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) isn't quick to pick up choreography, but triumphs when he learns how to play to his strengths.
The series so far is at its best, however, when it explores how movement liberates when the body confines. The many trans characters and actors of "Pose"—the most ever in regular roles in a television series—vogue to find their true selves in bodies that sometimes feel false.
From left: Dyllón Burnside as Ricky, Angel Bismark Curiel as Lil Papi, Mj Rodriguez as Blanca, and Billy Porter as Pray Tell in "Pose"
Jeffrey Neira, Courtesy FX
It's a minor liability that, so far, "Pose" isn't as deft with words as it is with these nonverbal means of communication. While the plot points and arcs are themselves wonderfully conceptualized, key developments are often delivered through clunky monologues and predictable pronouncements. That said, even the most hackneyed platitudes are nice to hear now and then, especially when they help guide us through our own journeys in dance. Helena tells Brandon, "For an artist, greatness happens when you can take something organized and make it feel like it's improvised." A little corny? Yes. True? Also yes.
It’s all in the name.
Ryan Jamaal Swain as Damon in "Pose"
JoJo Whilden, Courtesy FX
Pose is a four-letter word that, when it comes to this show, says it all. While competing on the ballroom floor, the characters make shapes that allow them to claim things, albeit momentarily, that may be furthest from their reach. The word pose can also mean "to assert, state, or put forward," and, throughout the first season, we find the characters learning how to identify and (re)present themselves.
Thanks to their deep expertise in the ballroom scene in which "Pose" takes place, lead choreographers Leiomy Maldonado and Danielle Polanco, plus consultants like Slim Ninja, maintain the authenticity of the balls, battles and walks. "Pose" ultimately succeeds in capturing the essential ephemerality of dance, that fleeting bond between performer and audience member which, to borrow what Angel says to Stan Bowes (Evan Peters), need not be more than simply being "good ideas in each other's minds."
- 'Pose' Season 1 Gets Netflix Release Date ›
- Ryan Murphy and Janet Mock on 'Pose,' Diversity and Netflix - The ... ›
- Pose: Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes ›
- Pose | Netflix Official Site ›
- 'Pose' Will Begin Streaming on Netflix in May ›
- 'Pose' Season 2 Gets New Premiere Date on FX | TVLine ›
- Pose 2018 Official Trailer - YouTube ›
- Pose (TV Series 2018– ) - IMDb ›
- POSE | Episodes | FX Networks ›
Thirty years ago, U.S. Joint Resolution 131, introduced by congressman John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Alphonse D'Amato (R-NY), and signed into law by President G. W. Bush declared:
"Whereas the multifaceted art form of tap dancing is a manifestation of the cultural heritage of our Nation...
Whereas tap dancing is a joyful and powerful aesthetic force providing a source of enjoyment and an outlet for creativity and self-expression...
Whereas it is in the best interest of the people of our Nation to preserve, promote, and celebrate this uniquely American art form...
Whereas May 25, as the anniversary of the birth of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is an appropriate day on which to refocus the attention of the Nation on American tap dancing: Now therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress that May 25, 1989, be designated "National Tap Dance Day."
Happy National Tap Dance Day!
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.
Over the past 15 years, Gesel Mason has asked 11 choreographers—including legends like Donald McKayle, David Roussève, Bebe Miller, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Rennie Harris and Kyle Abraham—to teach her a solo. She's performed up to seven of them in one evening for her project No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers.
Now, Mason is repackaging the essence of this work into a digital archive. This online offering shares the knowledge of a few with many, and considers how dance can live on as those who create it get older.
When a musical prepares to make the transfer from a smaller, lesser-known venue to Broadway (where theaters hold 500-plus seats), often there's a collective intake of breath from all involved. After all, a bigger house means more tickets to sell in order to stay in the black, and sometimes shows with even the most tenacious fan bases can't quite navigate such a jump. But what about the transfer from stage…to screen? Is Broadway ready to be consumed from the comfort of your couch?
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.
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Daphne Lee was dancing with Collage Dance Collective in Memphis, Tennessee, when she received two difficult pieces of news: Her mother had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer, and her father had Parkinson's disease, affecting his mobility and mental faculties.
The New Jersey native's reaction: "I really need to move home."
Summer is almost upon us, and whether you're a student about to go on break or a pro counting the days till layoff, don't forget that with warm weather comes a very serious responsibility: To maintain your cross-training routine on your own.
Those of us who've tried to craft our own cross-training routine know it's easier said than done. So we consulted the stars, and rounded up the best options for every zodiac sign. (TBH, you should probably consult an expert, too—we'd recommend a physical therapist, a personal trainer or your teacher.)
It's become second nature in dance studios: The instant anyone gets hurt, our immediate reaction is to run to the freezer to grab some ice (or, more realistically, a package of frozen peas).
But as routine as icing our injuries might be, the benefits are not actually backed up by scientific studies. And some experts now believe icing could even disrupt the healing process.
I'm a contemporary dancer, and I'm nervous about trying to get pregnant since I can't predict if it might happen during the middle of the season. We have a union contract that is supposed to protect us. But I'm scared because several of my colleagues' contracts weren't renewed for no particular reason. Having a big belly could be a big reason to get rid of me!
—Andrea, New York, NY
When the going gets tough, the tough start dancing: That's the premise behind "Dance of Urgency," a recently opened exhibit at MuseumsQuartier Vienna that features photos, video and other documentary material relating to the use of dance as political protest or social uprising.
The groups featured in the show, largely based around clubs and electronic dance music scenes, span the globe and respond to a variety of issues—from inequality and social stratification to racial divides to crackdowns on club culture itself.
Last night, longtime theater legends (including Chita Rivera herself!) as well as rising stars gathered to celebrate one of Broadway's danciest events: the third annual Chita Rivera Awards.
The evening paid tribute to this season's dancer standouts, fabulous ensembles, and jaw-dropping choreography—on- and off-Broadway and on film.
As usual, several of our faves made it into the mix. (With such a fabulous talent pool of nominees to choose from, we're glad that ties were allowed.) Here are the highlights from the winner's list:
When you're a foreign dancer, gaining legal rights to work in the U.S. is a challenging process. It's especially difficult if you're petitioning to work as a freelance dancer without an agent or company sponsorship.
The process requires professional muscle along with plenty of resources and heart. "There's a real misnomer that it's super easy," says Neena Dutta, immigration attorney and president of Dutta Law Firm. "People need to educate themselves and talk to a professional."
Here are four things every foreign dancer who wants to work in the U.S. needs to know to build a freelance dance career here.
What does it take to "make it" in dance? It's no secret that turning this passion into a profession can be a struggle. In such a competitive field, talent alone isn't enough to get you where you want to be.
So what kinds of steps can you take to become successful? Dance Magazine spoke to 33 people from all corners of the industry to get their advice on the lessons that could help us all, no matter where we are in our careers.