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Rolex Arts Initiative Names Ratmansky as a Mentor

Today, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative announced that Alexei Ratmansky will be one of the seven master artists participating in its mentor/protégé program in the coming year. This is the 11th year of Rolex’s biannual program; since 2002, mentoring choreographers have included JiÅ™í Kylián, William Forsythe, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Trisha Brown. (Cool fact: This year’s theater mentor is lighting design guru Jennifer Tipton—a 1991 Dance Magazine Award recipient. Ratmansky also received a DM Award in 2011.)

 

So, what happens next: The Rolex Arts Initiative will nominate three exemplary candidates to serve as Ratmansky’s protégé, and Ratmansky will then choose which young artist he’d like to work with for the six-week period. In addition to his or her mentor's guidance, each protégé will receive a large grant—25,000 Swiss francs—to participate in the program, and potentially another 25000 francs to complete a new work.

 

The protégés won’t be announced until mid 2014, but I think it may be safe to place a few bets on those in the limelight. Justin Peck? Michelle Dorrance? Kyle Abraham? Liam Scarlett? It could be one of those four well-deserving candidates’ years to shine—I’d be surprised if their names didn’t at least come up in the discussions.

The Conversation
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.

I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.

That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?

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