After all, the newlyweds first met when Mearns, a New York City Ballet star, was being considered for a part on the TV show "Smash," which Bergasse was choreographing. They hit it off, but the role ended up getting cut.
Fast-forward to today, and they're working on their first full-length musical together: I Married an Angel, which opens next week as part of New York City Center's Encores! season, with Bergasse as director and choreographer and Mearns as the star.
It's the 60th anniversary of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and their season at New York City Center is going strong with more than 20 works—including world premieres and company premieres.
Ronald K. Brown, who just received a Dance Magazine Award, has made his seventh work for Ailey, The Call. It's a gorgeous pastiche of three different types of music: Bach, jazz by singer Mary Lou Williams and Malian music by Asase Yaa Entertainment Group.
As the fall performance season kicks into high gear, we've been cramming as much excellent dance on our calendars as possible. But if you're feeling overwhelmed by all the options, we've got you covered: From rare U.S. appearances by one of our 2018 "25 to Watch" to an autumn mainstay for New Yorkers, Romeo and Juliet to The Handmaid's Tale, here's what caught our eye.
We might have gotten a little bit carried away with this year's "Season Preview"—but with the 2018–19 season packing so many buzzy shows, how could we not? Here are over two dozen tours, premieres and revivals that have us drooling.
When Arlene Shuler performed at New York City Center as a young Joffrey Ballet dancer, she never imagined that she would someday become the theater's president and chief executive officer.
After a short dance career—four years with The Joffrey—she decided she wanted to experience college. That led to law school, and, eventually, arts administration.
With this mixed background, Shuler, who came to City Center in 2003, has redefined the venue. Her biggest accomplishment is the popular Fall for Dance Festival, a mixed bill of performances at $15 a pop. As the theater prepares to celebrate its 75th-anniversary season, Shuler is looking to keep building the City Center brand with new commissions and expanded audiences.
New York City Center just announced programming for the 2018-19 season, and we're frantically marking our calendars for all the must-see dance. This year is the venue's 75th anniversary, and they're pulling out all the stops—from the reliable fan favorite Fall for Dance to the most epic Balanchine celebration and more:
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What does a superstar like Carlos Acosta do after bidding farewell to his career in classical ballet? In Acosta's case, he returns to his native country, Cuba, to funnel his fame, connections and prodigious energies back into the dance scene that formed him. Because of its top-notch, state-supported training programs and popular embrace of the art of dance, Cuba is brimming with talented dancers. What it has been short on, until recently, are opportunities outside of the mainstream companies, as well as access to a more international repertoire. That is changing now, and, with the creation of Acosta Danza, launched in 2016, Acosta is determined to open the doors even wider to new ideas and audiences.
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.
Whether playing a saucy soubrette or an imperious swan, Irina Dvorovenko was always a formidable presence on the American Ballet Theatre stage. Since her 2013 retirement at 39, after 16 seasons, she's been bringing that intensity to an acting career in roles ranging from, well, Russian ballerinas to the Soviet-era newcomer she plays in the FX spy series "The Americans."
We caught up with her after tech rehearsal for the Encores! presentation of the musical Grand Hotel, directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes and running March 21–25 at New York City Center. It's another tempestuous ballerina role for Dvorovenko—Elizaveta Grushinskaya, on her seventh farewell tour, resentfully checks into the Berlin hostelry of the title with her entourage, only to fall for a handsome young baron and sing "Bonjour, Amour."
On Thursday, November 30 at 7:30pm Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will host Young New York Night as part of their annual New York City Center season, a chance for young adults to experience Ailey's classic Revelations, as well as Robert Battle's Ella and Billy Wilson's The Winter in Lisbon.
Enter below for a chance to win a pair of tickets. Must be between 21-30 years old to enter.
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.
One of my favorite parts of working with Wendy Perron over the past 12 years has been listening to her talk about dance. More than anyone I know, Wendy can explain a piece of choreography or a dancer's approach in the most visceral, compelling way. She doesn't even always use words—sometimes she turns to sounds or body language to fully describe something she loves.
Having a casual chat with her can be like getting a master class in the most interesting dance going on right now. And as Dance Magazine's editor at large, she sees a lot. She's one of the most well-connected people I know in the dance world, so more often than not she's got juicy insights, strong opinions and fascinating background info.
We decided to share this with you by filming a short video clip each week, capturing Wendy talking about the dance events she's most looking forward to in our new series, "What Wendy's Watching." Or, as she puts it: "Just wind me up and make me talk dance."
Maybe it's just by chance, but it seems like the upcoming lineup in New York City is designed to remind us of the women giants of our field. What a great welcome to the new season!
• Twyla Tharp brings new and old work to the Joyce. She may be the most prolific living choreographer in any genre. Her movement is always bursting with inventiveness, and she challenges her mighty dancers with impossibly complex and non-stop motion.
Back in May at our photo shoot for Dance Magazine's 90th-anniversary issue, we fell in love with Michelle Dorrance all over again. We've known for years that she's obviously gifted, but our jaws still dropped as she improvised on set, rattling off playful but rigorous strings of tap genius with the utmost ease. Now, she's got us drooling once more.
When I'm dancing, I feel so alive, like every single part of me that makes me who I am is participating in moving my body.
When I was little, I wouldn't stop dancing if I could help it. One of my favorite things to do was to pretend to be Gene Kelly in the backyard on my parents' deck. As soon as a prairie sun shower came raining down I would drop everything and run out there to sing, laugh and listen to the echo of my tapping toes.
Wendy Whelan can surprise you. For someone so highly-revered as a dance icon, her incredible down-to-earth candor can take you aback the first time you meet her. While reporting our May cover story, I uncovered a few fun facts I had to share.
Last summer, Bill Irwin and Tiler Peck debuted Time It Was/116 at Vail before bringing it to Fall for Dance. Photo by Kyle Froman.
Though we haven't even reached summer, now's the time when dance companies and fans alike are setting their sights towards fall. Today, New York City Center announced its 2016–17 lineup. Aside from the popular two-week Fall for Dance Festival (yes, all tickets are still just $15), City Center will host another fest, a Big Apple iteration of the Vail International Dance Festival.
Could this be a trend of late? It's not the first time this year a summer festival has announced special programming in NYC. Just this March, the American Dance Festival unveiled that it will close its regular season with performances at The Joyce Theater, August 1–3. For summer outlets like ADF and Vail, the additional performances offer a chance for NYC audiences, who may not have the chance to travel to North Carolina or Colorado, to get in on the action. It's particularly a keen move for Vail, since many of its dancers are already based in New York. A press release from City Center mentioned that Vail Dance Festival: ReMix NYC, with shows November 3–6, will feature many Vail regulars, including American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston (the festival's artist in residence for 2016) and Herman Cornejo; New York City Ballet's Sara Mearns, Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck; tapper extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance; and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's rehearsal director, Matthew Rushing. Former Pacific Northwest Ballet star Carla Körbes, jukin' phenom Lil Buck, tango artist Gabriel Missé, and others will also be in tow.
The full Fall for Dance lineup has not yet been released, but City Center promised 20 different companies and artists from around the world and two world premiere commissions for its 13th edition, September 26–October 8. Featured performers include ABT, Ailey, Australia's Bangarra Dance Theatre, London's Richard Alston Dance Company, Brazil's Grupo Corpo, France's Compagnie Accrorap, classical Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa and Hong Kong Ballet.
If that isn't enough, the always cool Nederlands Dans Theater will make a tour stop at City Center, November 16–19, with four U.S. premieres. For tickets and more info on the rest of the upcoming season as it becomes available, see nycitycenter.org.