Dancers Trending

See the Sidi Larbi Experiment

Royal Ballet of Flanders in Fall. Photo by Filip Van Roe, courtesy Dance Salad.

Cherkaoui

Last fall, one of Europe’s most intriguing choreographers, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, took over as artistic director of one of its most intriguing companies, Royal Ballet of Flanders. What was once a small regional company in Antwerp had transformed into a fascinating powerhouse under former artistic director (and Forsythe protégé) Kathryn Bennetts, until she resigned in 2012 over budget cuts and government plans to merge the ballet and opera companies. The next director was let go within two years, after 69 percent of the dancers voted no confidence in her leadership and a third of them quit, according to Flanders Today.

So when it was announced that Cherkaoui would take over this season, the stakes were high. While some were optimistic the talented choreographer could usher in a bright new era for the troupe, locals were nervous it would mean the end of ballet in Belgium, and feared that his style was too experimental to fit the adventurous, but classically-based troupe.

How has his leadership panned out so far? American audiences will get a peek next week at the Dance Salad Festival in Houston, which will present curated sections of Fall, Cherkaoui’s first piece for the company as artistic director. Although RBF's season had already been planned by the previous director,  Cherkaoui added this ballet to the first program to give audiences a taste of his artistic vision for the troupe.

Royal Ballet of Flanders in Fall. Photo by Filip Van Roe, courtesy Dance Salad.

He explained the concept of Fall to Flanders Today: “The idea behind the performance is the fact that falling is a natural thing. It comes with gravity. The question is: Do you always stand up? Do you always land back on your feet again? Dancers are experts at falling and getting up again. For them, every fall is an opportunity.”

It’s a rich metaphor for a company that’s seen three directors in just over three years and weathered harsh budget cuts. Yet Cherkaoui remains hopeful he can lift it back on its feet.

Also on the Dance Salad lineup is his pas de deux Faun, which he created on his contemporary company, Eastman (also in Belgium), plus appearances from Spellbound Contemporary Ballet from Rome, Gartner Platz Theater from Munich, Stuttgart Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, BalletX and Northwest Dance Project. March 24–26, Wortham Center in Houston, TX.

 

Get more Dance Magazine. 

Show Comments ()
Dance Training
Courtesy Rachel Hamrick

When Rachel Hamrick was in the corps of Universal Ballet in Seoul, her determination to strengthen her flexibility turned into a side hobby that would eventually land her a new career. "I was in La Bayadere for the first time, and I was the first girl out for that arabesque sequence in The Kingdom of the Shades," she says. "I had the flexibility, but I was wobbly because I wasn't stretching in the right way. That's when I first started playing around with the idea of the Flexistretcher. It was tied together then, so it was definitely more makeshift," she says with a laugh, "But I trained with it to help me get the correct alignment so that I would have the strength to sustain the whole act."

Now, Hamrick is running her own business, complete with an ever-growing product line and her FLX training method—all because of her initial need to make it through 38 arabesques.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance on Broadway
The cast of Head Over Heels performs "We Got the Beat." Photo by Joan Marcus, Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown.

For the new Broadway season, Ellenore Scott has scored two associate choreographer gigs: For Head Over Heels, which starts previews June 23, Scott is working with choreographer Spencer Liff on an original musical mashing up The Go-Go's punk-rock hits with a narrative based on Sir Philip Sidney's 1590 book, Arcadia. Four days after that show opens, she'll head into rehearsals for this fall's King Kong, collaborating with director/choreographer Drew McOnie and a 20-foot gorilla.

Scott gave us the inside scoop about Head Over Heels, the craziness of her freelance hustle and the most surprising element of working on Broadway.

Keep reading... Show less
Get the print edition!
Just for Fun
Including, of course, Center Stage (Screenshot via Vimeo)

Dance in movies is a trend as old as time. Movies like The Red Shoes and Singin' in the Rain paved the way for Black Swan and La La Land; dancing stars like Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers led the way for Channing Tatum and Julianne Hough.

Lucky for us, some of Hollywood's most incredible dance scenes have been compiled into this amazing montage, featuring close to 300 films in only seven minutes. So grab the popcorn, cozy on up, and watch the moves that made the movies.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance on Broadway
In rehearsal for Dreamgirls. Photo Courtesy DM Archives.

Broadway musicals have been on my mind for more than half a century. I discovered them in grade school, not in a theater but electronically. On the radio, every weeknight an otherwise boring local station would play a cast album in its entirety; on television, periodically Ed Sullivan's Sunday night variety show would feature an excerpt from the latest hit—numbers from Bye Bye Birdie, West Side Story, Camelot, Flower Drum Song.

But theater lives in the here and now, and I was in middle school when I attended my first Broadway musical, Gypsy—based, of all things, on the early life of the famed burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee. I didn't know who Jerome Robbins was, but I recognized genius when I saw it—kids morphing into adults as a dance number progresses, hilarious stripping routines, a pas de deux giving concrete shape to the romantic yearnings of an ugly duckling. It proved the birth of a lifelong habit, indulged for the last 18 years in the pages of this magazine. But all long runs eventually end, and it's time to say good-bye to the "On Broadway" column. It's not the last of our Broadway coverage—there's too much great work being created and performed, and you can count on hearing from me in print and online.

Keep reading... Show less
What Wendy's Watching
Jeremy Pheiffer, Michael Watkiss in THEM, PC Rachel Papo

If you want to know how scary the AIDS epidemic was in the 1980s, come see Ishmael Houston-Jones' piece THEM from 1986. This piece reveals the subterranean fears that crept into gay relationships at the time. Houston-Jones is one of downtown's great improvisers, and his six dancers also improvise in response to his suggestions. With Chris Cochrane's edgy guitar riffs and Dennis Cooper's ominous text, there's an unpredictable, near-creepy but epic quality to THEM.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Stagestep's Encore hardwood flooring for full-service broadcast production facility, dance center and venue, Starwest, in Burbank, CA.

What is the right flooring system for us?

So many choices, companies, claims, endorsements, and recommendations to consider. The more you look, the more confusing it gets. Here is what you need to do. Here is what you need to know to get the flooring system suited to your needs.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Catherine Conley is now a member of the National Ballet of Cuba. Photo courtesy Riley Robinson

This time last year, Catherine Conley was already living a ballet dancer's dream. After an exchange between her home ballet school in Chicago and the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana, she'd been invited to train in Cuba full-time. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and one that was nearly unheard of for an American dancer. Now, though, Conley has even more exciting news: She's a full-fledged member of the National Ballet of Cuba's corps de ballet.

"In the school there were other foreigners, but in the company I'm the only foreigner—not just the only American, but the only non-Cuban," Conley says. But she doesn't feel like an outsider, or like a dancer embarking on a historic journey. "Nobody makes me feel different. They treat me as one of them," she says. Conley has become fluent in Spanish, and Cuba has come to feel like home. "The other day I was watching a movie that was dubbed in Spanish, and I understand absolutely everything now," she says.

Keep reading... Show less
Get the print edition!
What Dancers Eat
Aguirre taking a cooking class in Thailand. Photo courtesy Aguirre

Chantel Aguirre may call sunny Los Angeles home, but the Shaping Sound company member and NUVO faculty member spends more time in the air, on a tour bus or in a convention ballroom than she does in the City of Angels.

Aguirre, who is married to fellow Shaping Sound member Michael Keefe, generally only spends one week per month at home. "When I'm not working, I'm exploring," Aguirre says. "Michael and I are total travel junkies."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance in Pop Culture
Florence Welch and Akram Khan share the choreography credit for Florence + the Machine's new music video "Big God." Via Instagram @florence

Akram Khan and Florence Welch (of Florence + The Machine) is not a pairing we ever would have dreamt up. But now that the music video for "Big God" has dropped, with choreography attributed to Khan and Welch, it seems that we just weren't dreaming big enough.

In the video, Welch leads a group of women standing in an eerily reflective pool of water. They seem untouchable, until they begin shedding their colorful veils, movements morphing to become animalistic and aggressive as the song progresses.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Savannah Lowery in George Balanchine's "Rubies." Photo by Paul Kolnik

Savannah Lowery is about as well acquainted with the inner workings of a hospital as she is with the intricate footwork of Dewdrop.

As a child, the former New York City Ballet soloist would roam the hospital where her parents worked, pushing buttons and probably getting into too much trouble, she says. While other girls her age were clad in tutus playing ballerina, she was playing doctor.

"It just felt like home. I think it made me not scared of medicine, not scared of a hospital," she says. "I thought it was fascinating what they did."

Keep reading... Show less
Get the print edition!
Cover Story
Alice Sheppard photographed by Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine

It can be hard to focus when Alice Sheppard dances.

Her recent sold-out run of DESCENT at New York Live Arts, for instance, offered a constellation of stimulation. Onstage was a large architectural ramp with an assortment of peaks and planes. There was an intricate lighting and projection design. There was a musical score that unfolded like an epic poem. There was a live score too: the sounds of Sheppard and fellow dancer Laurel Lawson's bodies interacting with the surfaces beneath them.

And there were wheelchairs. But if you think the wheelchairs are the center of this work, you're missing something vital about what Sheppard creates.

Keep reading... Show less
News
The Broadway revival of CATS. Photo by Matthew Murphy

A Jellicle Ball is coming to the big screen, with the unlikeliest of dancemakers on tap to choreograph.

We'll give you some hints: His choreography can aptly be described as "animalistic," though Jellicle cats have never come to mind specifically when watching his hyper-physical work. He's worked on movies before—even one about Beasts. And though contemporary ballet is his genre of choice, his choreography is certainly theatrical enough to lend itself to a musical.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Viral Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways