This week, the Royal Ballet has been performing at the glittering Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. But two senior dancers, who the company has declined to name, are absent. Earlier this month, the dancers—one man and one woman—pulled out of the Royal’s tour to Moscow in protest of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay legislation, including a law that prohibits distributing information about homosexuality to minors.
“Out of the 96-strong dancers in The Royal Ballet, just two dancers have chosen not to go for political reasons,” the company released in a statement. It went on to say that several other dancers were staying home for other reasons, making the protestors identities harder to pinpoint. “On any overseas tour, there are inevitably some dancers who are not required in the repertory being taken on tour, or who have family or other commitments that do not allow them to go overseas for the duration of the tour.” According to a BBC news report, Moscow’s homegrown talent Natalia Osipova, along with Carlos Acosta, Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, are among those performing.
The protests make a strong statement, especially since this year marks the UK-Russia Year of Culture, which, according to organization’s website, “aims to foster cultural exchange, increase the flow of ideas and develop stronger relationships between people, institutions and governments.”
Todd Rosenberg, Courtesy Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Alexandra Wells can always tell when a dancer hasn't read her summer intensive information packet. Sometimes, says Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's director of artist training, there's a quick fix for the lack of preparation. "You can go and buy a long-sleeve shirt after you burn your shoulder really badly in that first floorwork class," she says. But not bringing enough of your special-order pointe shoes? "That's really dire."
Between reading the fine print, shopping for necessities and ramping up physically, getting ready for a summer intensive takes more than just dancing a lot. We broke down a step-by-step timeline: