New York City Ballet's Fall Fashion Gala always gives us a chance to admire the dancers at their most glamorous, and this year was no exception.From premieres of new works by Lauren Lovette (paired with designer Zac Posen) and Edwaard Liang (with Anna Sui), to a sparkling rendition of Balanchine's Symphony in C, to a star-studded red carpet and reception, we had plenty to swoon over, both onstage and off.
Here is my list of favorites from this year, some of them with video clips embedded. I've also added "lingering thoughts" about certain situations in the dance world. As usual, my choices are limited by what I have actually seen. Most of the following are world premieres.
• Andrea Miller's Stone Skipping in the Egyptian room at the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Ancient and ultra-modern at once, gaga-initiated grapplings, telling many stories of people in struggle and solidarity. The group sequence (with her company Gallim plus dancers from Juilliard) from lying on the floor with pelvis bobbing to standing, to swaying, to skipping wildly about was transcendent.
Living the #dancerlife is no easy feat. Between daily technique classes, late night rehearsals and numerous side gigs to get the bills paid, dancers often don't prioritize self care. It may seem like the least important item on your never-ending to-do list, but it's vital to make time for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Ignoring basic needs can ultimately damage your technique and performance. We could all use some tips from these 10 professional dancers who know how to practice self love.
Imagine being a student at the School of American Ballet, looking up to the dancers at New York City Ballet and hoping to one day join their ranks. Then imagine teaching your choreography to those dancers, and watching them perform it at the company's fall fashion gala.
Lauren Lovette in rehearsal with Taylor Stanley. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.
The NYCB principal tries her hand at choreography.
Even back when she was in the corps at New York City Ballet, you couldn't miss Lauren Lovette. With her vivacious eyes, delicate pointework and engaging manner, she had a way of pulling the audience into her world. Stories seem to pour out of her, whether she's dancing the playful lead in Balanchine's jazzy “Rubies," the mysterious femme du monde in his Vienna Waltzes or the slow spinning solo in Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia. A principal since June 2015, she's now ready to create a story of her own, from scratch. For its fall season, NYCB commissioned her to choreograph a 15-minute ballet, her first for the company.
How did this commission come about?
Peter Martins has been talking to me ever since I made a piece for the Choreographic Institute, back in 2010. Every year he mentions it. And I always say, “We'll see—I really want to dance." This past year, he pulled me aside and said, “I want you to choreograph something. You have to do it. Just think: new Lovette, 2016." And I said, “Yeah, okay, I'll do it." And then he pulled me aside again and said: “It's not because you're a woman." I really needed to hear that.
Part of dance's beauty is that its perfection is elusive. At the same time, this can be one of the most frustrating things about the form. Whether you've been cursed with tight muscles or have picked up a distracting habit, fixing your technical hang-ups can feel like a never-ending battle. But the truth is, all professional dancers, even those with seemingly effortless technique, have their share of struggles.
Suzi Taylor: Master teacher at Steps on Broadway and New York City Dance Alliance. Photo Courtesy Taylor.
Annette Karim: Director of dance medicine at Evergreen Physical Therapy Specialists in Pasadena, California. Photo by Evergreen PT Specialists, Courtesy Karim.