Playlists

The most-played song on your Spotify says a lot about you. Maybe it's that guilty pleasure track you dance to while you're in the kitchen, or the one you have to listen to before going onstage.

We talked to 10 of our favorite pros about the song that's racked up the most plays on their phones—whether it's one they teach to, cross-train to, or just a song that helps them escape.

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News
Pam Tanowitz. Photo by Sara Kerens, Courtesy Tanowitz

In the annals of dance history, 2019 may go down as the year Pam Tanowitz got the attention she deserved. In the past six months the New York City–based artist, 49, has brought her imaginative formalism to the Martha Graham Dance Company, New York City Ballet, the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Kennedy Center's Ballet Across America festival. The recent recipient of an Alpert Award in the Arts, Tanowitz is not slowing down, with new works on deck for Vail Dance Festival this month and The Royal Ballet's Merce Cunningham celebration in October.

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Health & Body
Quinn Wharton for Pointe

We know there are certain things dancers can do pre-show to help them perform at their best. (Like warming up, eating something energizing and maybe even taking a nap!)

But pre-show routines are also highly individual, and involve artists preparing their heads for performance just as much as their bodies. That could mean anything from listening to a favorite song, bonding with cast members or meditating.

Feeling like your pre-show ritual could use a bit of inspiration? These 12 pros shared their tried-and-true routines with us:

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Dancers Trending

It can be hard to imagine life without—or just after—dance. Perhaps that's why we find it so fascinating to hear what our favorite dancers think they'd be doing if they weren't performing for a living.

We've been asking stars about the alternate career they'd like to try in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and their answers—from the unexpected to the predictable—do not disappoint:

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Auditions
Martha Graham Dance Company in Prelude to Action. Photo by Melissa Sherwood, Courtesy MGDC

Today, Anne Souder, Xin Ying and Marzia Memoli are all members of the Martha Graham Dance Company, but their journeys there couldn't have been more different. Each of them shared how they landed a contract with their dream company.

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Dancers Trending
Whoever told Emma Portner not to move to NYC probably feels silly now. Photo by Quinn Wharton

Raise your hand if you've received bad advice from well-meaning friends or family (or strangers, tbh) who don't know anything about what it really takes to be a dancer.

*everyone raises hands*

Sometimes it's even dance insiders whose advice can send you down the wrong path. We've been asking pros about the worst advice they've ever received in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and rounded up some of the best answers:

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Breaking Stereotypes
Pat Birch on the set of Grease, choreographing the legendary Hand Jive scene, with Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. Photo courtesy Birch

Forty years ago, the movie musical Grease introduced audiences around the world to Grease lightning and an iconic hand jive. Would anyone guess now that all those unforgettable rock-n'-roll style dances were choreographed by a former Martha Graham Dance Company soloist? (Was John Travolta actually in a contraction?)

Choreographer Patricia Birch, better known as Pat, says "I was always attracted to Broadway, even when I was dancing with Martha."

After Grease's sensational success, Birch continued choreographing and directing, working nonstop for five decades and counting. She directed and choreographed numerous Broadway productions (Candide, A Little Night Music), was resident choreographer for the first six years of Saturday Night Live, choreographed HBO's Boardwalk Empire, and is currently working on touring her musical production, Orphan Train.

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Dance As Activism
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs Revelations. Courtesy of Knight Foundation

At a time when the political climate is increasingly divisive, it's no wonder people want to compartmentalize. Some want their pirouettes separate from their politics, and can be quick to protest when dancers challenge that both on and off the stage.

Most recently, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston was scrutinized when she shared this post on her Instagram.

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Dancers Trending
Miami City Ballet's Nathalia Arja, PC Alexander Iziliaev

We love learning new things about our favorite dancers through our "Spotlight" Q&A series (like Sterling Baca's obsession with spiders!). One of the questions we always ask is: What's the biggest misconception about dancers?

After a while, we began to sense a pattern in the responses. Here's how five dancers answered the question (warning: this may make you hungry!):

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News
Lar Lubovitch's Men's Stories: A Concerto in Ruin. Photo by Phyllis A. McCabe, Courtesy Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Lar Lubovitch has made more than 110 dances for his troupe, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. For the celebration of its 50th anniversary, the choreographer has programmed his bracing Men's Stories: A Concerto in Ruin (2000) as well as a premiere titled Something About Night, set to choral music by Schubert. The inclusion on the program of The Joffrey Ballet in a quartet from his Othello (1997) and the Martha Graham Dance Company in Legend of Ten (2010) testifies to Lubovitch's command of both ballet and modern dance idioms. Young choreographers would do well to study his craft and passion. April 17–22. joyce.org.

News
PeiJu Chien-Pott in Lamentation, © Hibbard Nash Photography

Google's headquarters sounds like a pretty sweet place to work. But for dancers? Tech nerds (no offense) hovering over computers and algorithms doesn't seem like the most natural place for artistic exploration.

But the Martha Graham Dance Company is getting an opportunity to work with said tech nerds at Google's New York City offices, as part of a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture to explore some of the tech giant's latest projects.

The Graham Company—along with Graham 2 and Teens@Graham students—will be in residence at Google for two weeks, beginning April 30. Visual artist SoHyun Bae, media artist Tyler Henry, filmmaker Nancy Stevens and Google technologist Tom Small will also be collaborating with the dancers.

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In The Studio
Leslie Andrea Williams and Lorenzo Pagano in Martha Graham's "Embattled Garden"© Hibbard Nash Photography

The much-anticipated Martha Graham Dance Company season at New York City Center is upon us. From April 11–14, the company will present classics like Chronicle, the sly melodrama Embattled Garden and of course Graham's visceral masterwork The Rite of Spring. This season also includes works by internationally acclaimed choreographers Lucinda Childs, Lar Lubovitch and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

We sat down with Graham artistic director Janet Eilber to talk about bringing back older Graham works, working with new choreographers and what Martha would have to say about today's wave of feminism.

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Dance in Pop Culture
Mantle features current and former Graham dancers. Photo Courtesy Barneys New York.

Department store Barneys New York has teamed up with Samsung and the Martha Graham Dance Company for what's possibly the most intriguing dance-meets-fashion collaboration to date. Today through April 8, you can visit select Barneys stores or their website to experience Mantle, a surreal 11-minute virtual reality experience featuring current and former Graham company members in eerie choreography by Cynthia Stanley.

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Dancers Trending
Chicago's Auditorium Theater

For most dancers, walking into the theater elicits a familiar emotion that's somewhere between the reverence of stepping into a chapel and the comfort of coming home. But each venue has its own aura, and can offer that something special that takes your performance to a new level. Six dancers share which theaters have transported them the most.


GLENN ALLEN SIMS

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Glenn Allen Sims in Alvin Ailey's Masekela Langage. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy AAADT

Favorite theater: Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain

Royal details: "The theater is gorgeous and ornate, with deep red upholstery and gold trim. There is a huge royal box in the center, which takes you back to when kings and queens were watching performances there."

Impressive facilities: Even the dressing rooms are a sight to see: Amenities for the dancers include large, carpeted rooms, and towel service.

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Popular
Photo curtesy of Abdiel Jacobsen

Abdiel Jacobsen is a jack of all trades. A member of the Martha Graham Dance Company since 2011, Jacobsen dances principal Graham roles and performs in works by Nacho Duato, Robert Wilson, Sonya Tayeh and Luca Veggetti, to name a few.


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Popular
Photo Courtesy AAADT

Believe it or not, dance fashion has not always been a thing. Rehearsal wear used to consist of a leotard, tights and legwarmers—that's it. But today, dancewear has exploded with the rise of athleisure, and rehearsals have become a place where dancers can show their individual style. Almost anything goes, from fun socks to running pants to beanies. Here's a look at how three iconic companies have evolved their rehearsal fashion over the years.

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Dance Training
Tracy Inman teaching Horton technique at the Ailey School. PC Eduardo Patino

In a competitive dance world where students train to conquer the next big thing, it can feel like historic modern techniques—from Graham to Horton to Cunningham—just aren't a priority. But the truth is, these styles are just as relevant today as when they were created.

University of Taipei students in José Limón's work. PC Yi-Chun Wu

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Dancers Trending

Looking for some guilty pleasure procrastination? Dance Magazine's got you covered. We're hosting two great livestreams at the end of this week.

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Magazine
How do dancers get by on a first-year paycheck? Three new professionals told us how they make it work.

When dancers sign their first contract, they envision themselves working with star choreographers and performing in foreign theaters. But the logistical realities of a career in the performing arts can quickly overshadow the excitement of life as a dancer—especially when you're trying to survive on a first-year salary. To support themselves without relying on parents or going into debt, new professionals quickly learn how to stretch a paycheck, dancer-style.

Charlotte Landreau

Job: Martha Graham Dance Company, dancer

Age: 22

Hometown: Strasbourg, France

Joined: 2012

Salary: About $900/week

Benefits: Full year-round health coverage

Weeks of Work: Almost 40

The Reality Check: Before moving to New York City, Landreau got a bank loan of $30,000, “so I wouldn't have to work like crazy." Regardless, to get by once there, she nannied for a French family and lived on a couch for a year.

Rent: $300. Sharing a bedroom and having four roommates in the apartment keeps the cost unusually low for New York City.

Utilities: $15/month for internet and electricity. She still uses her French phone for free communication: “I use WhatsApp, Viber and Skype with my fiancé, who is a Béjart dancer in Switzerland."

Food: $200/month

Splurge: “When I want to enjoy life and not think too hard about money, first, I check if I can buy an airplane ticket to see my fiancé in Europe. My second favorite thing is having the time to enjoy a hot coffee (no sugar, no milk) with blueberry/chocolate pancakes. And, I do love shopping: Finding things that I can wear in and out of rehearsals, looking for the item that makes me more me!"

Money-Saving Trick: Mix one expensive and one cheap shampoo to avoid constantly buying pricey brands. “Also, at many gyms, usually the first three classes are free. You can try a lot of different places this way!"

Advice She Wishes She'd Received: “I wish I'd known that it's hard to eat well without money. But if you don't eat well, you get injured, and if you get injured, you don't have a job."

Above: Landreau and Lloyd Knight rehearsing Martha Graham's The Rite of Spring. Photo by Brigid Pierce, Courtesy Graham.

Jennifer Grace

Job: Tulsa Ballet, corps member

Age: 18

Hometown: Bozeman, Montana

Joined: 2014

Salary: Around $665/week

Benefits: Health insurance, 40 pairs of pointe shoes per year, on-site physical therapist and massage therapist, gym membership and nutritionist

Weeks of Work: 40

The Reality Check: Coming straight from high school, Grace was surprised by the business of adult life: “The biggest thing was learning how to live in my own apartment: Keep it clean, make meals, keep gas in my car, pay for it all."

Rent: $550/month. “The first thing I do is write my rent check before I put aside $150 for gas."

Utilities: $30/week for gas to drive to work, church, the grocery store and theater. Grace's utilities and WiFi are included in her rent, and she didn't set up cable, using her computer for entertainment instead.

Food: $200–$240/month. “I try not to eat out, and spend most of my money on fruits and veggies. The very first month, I thought, Oh, it's just one sweet cereal that's expensive. But that didn't fill me up or give me energy. Now I buy more nutritious, often less expensive foods to get me through my work day."

Splurge: “I treat myself during production week: Starbucks latte!"

Money-Saving Trick: “I write menus for the week so I only buy the ingredients I need." Grace is able to save about $500 each month, which she hopes to use on college courses.

Advice She Wishes She'd Received: To be picky with the money spent on dancewear, making sure items weren't too slippery or baggy for partnering.

Above: Grace as Hermia in Christopher Wheeldon's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Nick Rashad Burroughs

Job: Kinky Boots on Broadway, a featured Angel and understudy for a lead

Age: 21

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Joined: 2014

Salary: About $2,000/week

Benefits: Health insurance, physical therapist, massage therapist

Weeks of Work: Year-round, until the show closes. Burroughs can take up to two weeks of vacation.

The Reality Check: “You have to make yourself better every day to get the job—and keep the job." Since Broadway runs are commercially driven and reflect audience demand quite immediately, dancers have to be constantly ready to get back in the audition room if a show closes.

Rent: $500/month. Burroughs saves by living with a friend in an affordable area, Washington Heights.

Utilities: $50–$70/month on internet and electricity. Though his mother still has his phone on contract, Burroughs helps her with payments, recently sending $200.

Food: $400/month. “I don't eat out. I grew up without a ton of money, so I'm used to saving."

Money-Saving Trick: “My mother always told me to set a limit for how much you spend per week. Buy what you need, not what you want in a momentary urge."

Advice He Wishes He'd Received: How expensive New York City is. “Just paying for the subway, deli items—you spend money every day here."

Above: Burroughs in Jesus Christ Superstar. Photo by Steven Ross, Courtesy Burroughs.

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Health & Body

At home and on tour, this Martha Graham Dance Company principal stays centered with yoga––on her iPad.

 

 

Chien-Pott in Nacho Duato’s Depak Ine. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

 

PeiJu Chien-Pott doesn’t have much time for cross-training. As a principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company, plus a wife and a mother to a 4-year-old daughter, her schedule quickly fills up. So even though her ideal workout is Bikram yoga—she likes the feel of the heat on her muscles and joints after intense rehearsals—taking class is a rare luxury.

 

Her solution? A 15-minute sun salutation or an hour-long strengthening practice at home with the Yoga.com Studio iPad app. Year-round Graham movement stresses her lower back and knees, so she relies on downward dogs and child’s poses to find relief. “When I don’t practice yoga, my muscles get very tense and blocked,” she says.

 

Without a live instructor to guide her, Chien-Pott takes extra care to tune in to her body: “I stop if something doesn’t feel right—it’s not worth getting injured.” Generally she avoids poses that uncomfortably strain her knees, such as Virasana, or “hero pose,” which requires kneeling with the knees together but the feet on the outsides of the hips.

 

In addition to helping her achieve muscular balance, yoga also helps Chien-Pott clear her head. She has come to truly enjoy the solitude of her private practice alone with her iPad: “The breathing exercises calm me down, focus my concentration and bring me back to myself.”

 

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Magazine

Paul Taylor re-envisions PTDC; Graham Company archives its work.

 

Paul Taylor in rehearsal with his PTDC. Photo by Whitney Browne.

The last time a modern dance visionary announced plans for the future of his company, it was Merce Cunningham. The strategy: to let his troupe go out with a bang—and then disband—when he died.

Paul Taylor is taking a different approach. In March, he and his board announced a major restructuring of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, which has solely danced his work for 60 years. Beginning in 2015, the newly named Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance will have a three-pronged mission: to dance new and old Taylor repertoire; to restage classics by pioneers like Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey; and to present new work by current choreographers.

“I think Paul Taylor is looking to become more engaged in the entire art form of American modern dance,” says executive director John Tomlinson. “Rather than just putting his head down and creating the best work he can, he wants to take on some of the responsibility of curating and preserving the art form across all of its many differences.”

Tomlinson could not confirm which new choreographers would be working with the company, though he did mention that it has found a potential creative ally in New York City Ballet’s Peter Martins. At a press conference at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, home to PTDC’s New York seasons since 2012, the 83-year-old Taylor stated, “I like movement and dance steps. I’m not wild about a lot of talking and high-tech effects. I like dancing. That’s my taste. And I want to push that.” A through-line of the initiative, Tomlinson added, will be the use of live music when possible, a “mark of excellence” that Taylor has insisted on.

While broader in scope and perhaps better funded (with a projected $10 million funding it as of March), Taylor’s new structure resembles what has emerged at Martha Graham Dance Company, which has reimagined itself since Graham’s death. MGDC repertoire includes Graham masterpieces, seminal mid-century works by choreographers like Jane Dudley and Mary Wigman, and commissions. “We have these masterpieces, which we see as our core collection,” said executive director LaRue Allen, “just as the Picasso Museum in Paris has its core of Picasso works.” In February, the company announced that it received $1 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize archival materials, from videos to programs to stage maps. When complete, online “toolkits” will be available for educational and research purposes.

Tomlinson said that while he values preservation, Taylor’s priority is to ensure the continued life—onstage—of great modern dance: “Whether it be a new or old work or his work, he wants them seen.”

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