Six Reasons We Love David Hallberg

Last Friday, we got to see that David Hallberg is more than a ballet superstar. While recovering from an injury, he is not wasting time. He organized a Legacy Gala program in association with Youth America Grand Prix that presented six international companies he has danced with.

Here’s a partial list of why Hallberg is such a notable member of the dance community (beside his glorious dancing with both ABT and the Bolshoi).

• With an elegance befitting his stature, he inspired us with his talk of passion, presence and possibility. He spoke of his humble beginnings with ABT Studio Company, when he would stand at the doorway in awe of stars like Ethan Stiefel.

• He described each of the companies on the bill with loving admiration. He spoke of the traditions of the Mariinsky Ballet, the artistry of the Bolshoi Ballet, the precision of the Tokyo Ballet and the warmth of the Australian Ballet. He exemplified a wholly generous person who is avid to learn about his craft.

• As a gift to ABT Studio Company, he commissioned a work by Pontus Lidberg—and it’s a winner. Ingenious with props (fans), luxurious in its tableaux (almost like totem poles), tender in its partnering, and musical in partnership with Bach’s "Concertos Italiens." To my eye, it established Lidberg as an original voice in classical/contemporary ballet.

 

David Hallberg backstage with ABT Studio Company, photo by Henry Leutwyler.

• He cares about the young people who will bring ballet into the future. In 2013, he created scholarship funds for boys to study ballet at ABT’s JKO School and at the School of Ballet Arizona, where he studied as a child.

• He’s curious about other kinds of dance. I’ve seen David at performances of Yvonne Rainer, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Batsheva.

• He is bold enough to speak his mind. At the recent wrap-up session for Claudia La Rocco’s Platform at Danspace Project, he said that he felt ballet dancers should take more responsibility for their own artistic growth.

Hallberg’s own sense of responsibility beams out at us, both onstage and off. He honors the traditions of the past while investing in the future. His curiosity about the present leads him outside his comfort areas, and he’s become a valuable observer and thinker in the dance world at large.

Breaking Stereotypes
Lindsay Martell at a class performance. Courtesy Martell.

More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:

"Is your daughter the dancer?"

"Actually," I say, "I am."

"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"

"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."

Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Taylor Stanley in Apollo. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy New York City Ballet

You nominated your favorite dance moments so far in 2019, and we narrowed them down to this list. Now it's time to cast your vote to help decide who will be deemed our Readers' Choice picks for the year!

Voting is open until September 17th. Only one vote per person will be counted.

Keep reading... Show less
The USC Kaufman graduating class with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gus Ruelas/USC

Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.

Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:

Keep reading... Show less
News
Teaċ Daṁsa in Michael Keegan-Dolan's Loch na hEala. Photo by Marie-Laure Briane, courtesy Walker Art Center

The 2019–20 season is here, and with it more performances than any one person could reasonably catch. But fear not: We polled our writers and editors and selected the 31 most promising tickets, adding up to one endlessly intriguing year of dance.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox