News
Photo by Carlos Quezada, courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre announced today that Brooklyn Mack, a former Washington Ballet star, will join the company as a guest for its spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. Currently an in-demand international guest artist, Mack will dance in three performances of ABT's Le Corsaire this June.

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Site Network
Photo by Carlos Quezada, courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre announced today that Brooklyn Mack, a former Washington Ballet star, will join the company as a guest for its spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. Currently an in-demand international guest artist, Mack will dance in three performances of ABT's Le Corsaire this June.

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Just for Fun
Royal Winnipeg Ballet revived Lila York's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale earlier this month. Photo by David Cooper, Courtesy RWB

When American Ballet Theatre announced yesterday that it would be adding Jane Eyre to its stable of narrative full-lengths, the English nerds in the DM offices (read: most of us) got pretty excited. Cathy Marston's adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's classic novel was created for England's Northern Ballet in 2016, and, based on the clips that have made their way online, it seems like a perfect fit for ABT's Met Opera season.

It also got us thinking about what other classic novels we'd love to see adapted into ballets—but then we realized just how many there already are. From Russian epics to beloved children's books, here are 10 of our favorites that have already made the leap from page to stage. (Special shoutout to Northern Ballet, the undisputed MVP of turning literature into live performance.)


Northern Ballet in David Nixon's The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Star-crossed lovers? Check. Wild party scenes? Check. The 1920s aesthetic is just bonus.

Dutch National Ballet in John Cranko's Onegin (Alexander Pushkin)

It's a novel in verse, but it still counts! Cranko's pas de deux work vividly paints the emotional turmoil of Pushkin's characters, such as this sequence in which Tatiana imagines being loved by the haughty Onegin.

The Royal Ballet in Liam Scarlett's Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)

It's spooky, it's sensational, it's a deep meditation on the nature of humanity—oh, and it's alive.

Northern Ballet in David Nixon's The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas)

All for one and one for all! (And we're all in for this epic fight choreography the dancers took to a famous Abbey in their hometown of Leeds, England.)

Charlotte Ballet in Sasha Janes' Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)

The Brontë sisters had a knack for writing complex, tempestuous relationships—great fodder for pas de deux like this one.

The Washington Ballet in Septime Webre's Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie)

Sword-fighting, pirates, pixie dust and a ticking crocodile? This one simply flies off the page.

Hamburg Ballet in John Neumeier's Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)

Some would argue that Tolstoy's epic is the greatest literature ever written, but you can't argue with the fact that the titular heroine is a deliciously complex character to tackle.

The Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

Why is a raven like a writing desk? We still might not know the answer to Carroll's riddle, but we do know that Wheeldon's blockbuster production is so full of incredible moments (like Steven McRae stealing the show as a tap-dancing Mad Hatter) that we had trouble narrowing it down.

Atlanta Ballet in Michael Pink's Dracula (Bram Stoker)

There's a reason it seemed at one point like every ballet company in America had a production of Dracula in its repertoire.

Northern Ballet in Jonathan Watkins' 1984 (George Orwell)

Just in case the dystopian nightmare conjured by Orwell wasn't vivid enough in your own imagination.

Just for Fun
Royal Winnipeg Ballet revived Lila York's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale earlier this month. Photo by David Cooper, Courtesy RWB

When American Ballet Theatre announced yesterday that it would be adding Jane Eyre to its stable of narrative full-lengths, the English nerds in the DM offices (read: most of us) got pretty excited. Cathy Marston's adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's classic novel was created for England's Northern Ballet in 2016, and, based on the clips that have made their way online, it seems like a perfect fit for ABT's Met Opera season.

It also got us thinking about what other classic novels we'd love to see adapted into ballets—but then we realized just how many there already are. From Russian epics to beloved children's books, here are 10 of our favorites that have already made the leap from page to stage. (Special shoutout to Northern Ballet, the undisputed MVP of turning literature into live performance.)

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Career Advice
Pennsylvania Ballet's Lillian DiPiazza was out with an injury when her new director started, but was eventually promoted under his leadership. Photo by Arian Molina Soca, Courtesy PAB

When news reached the Limón Dance Company that Colin Connor was replacing longtime director Carla Maxwell in 2016, the tight-knit group experienced a range of emotions. "Everyone agreed that fresh energy would be a benefit to the company," says veteran dancer Logan Kruger. But the excitement lasted only until the fear sunk in—there would be changes, and some of them might even include saying good-bye.

It's understandable to experience feelings of shock, fear and even abandonment if your director leaves. It's not just that you'll have a new boss—a shift at the top can have a domino effect on casting, programming, rehearsal structure and branding. Here's how to forge a relationship with your new director and take advantage of the opportunities that come from having fresh eyes on your dancing.

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Dancer Voices
"A dancer should not be encouraged to stay in a trainee position for years if it is unlikely that they will move to the next level," says Julie Kent. Photo by Rachel Papo for Dance Teacher

One of the most crucial responsibilities of an artistic director is the development of dancers. Sharing the benefit of my experience through daily class and rehearsals is perhaps the most gratifying part of my work at The Washington Ballet. But artistic leaders also need to help dancers in the broader navigation of their careers.

Whether it involves difficult conversations with seasoned professionals or with teenagers coping with the anxiety of an uncertain career path, advising dancers is personal because our art is personal. Dancers create their art with their own bodies—not on paper, not with instruments made of brass or wood and strings, but with themselves. This highly intimate element of the job cannot be underestimated, and as a result, every conversation about the work essentially becomes about the person. Trust is not assumed nor is it given easily, as only time and shared experiences allow for it to grow.

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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
CONTRA-TIEMPO co-founder Ana Maria Alvarez will participate in USC's inaugural New Movement Residency. Photo by Eric Wolfe, Courtesy USC

While there are more women making dance than ever before, the question still swirls: Do they have the same programming and mentoring opportunities as their male counterparts? This spring, Ballet West and the University of Southern California are choosing to tackle the question head-on, with performances and residencies that focus on female dancemakers.

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Dancers Trending
Ashley Murphy in Giselle at The Washington Ballet. Photo by Theo Kossenas

Ashley Murphy was the leading lady of Dance Theatre of Harlem for many of her 13 years there. But in 2016, she took a leap of faith, leaving her coveted place as reigning ballerina for a spot in The Washington Ballet.

"I wasn't really growing anymore—they didn't need to pay attention to me because they knew I would work on things on my own. I felt like I'd become everybody's mom," she told writer Gia Kourlas. "I need to be in a setting where I'm more equal with other people."

Two years later, she's found a home in D.C.—and has no regrets about her decision. We caught up with her for our "Spotlight" series:

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News
Former Merce Cunningham Dance Company members Andrea Weber and Rashaun Mitchell in Antic Meet. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu, Courtesy MCDC

Merce Cunningham would have been 99 years old today, and, as a present to the dance world, the Merce Cunningham Trust has announced a dizzying array of celebrations to unfold over the next year in honor of the groundbreaking choreographer's 2019 centennial.

"Merce liked saying he didn't want to celebrate his birthday, and yet he always enjoyed when we threw parties for him," Trevor Carlson, producer of the Merce Cunningham Centennial, said in a press release. Though the Merce Cunningham Dance Company shuttered in 2011 (two years after the choreographer's death, per his wishes), plans to celebrate his legacy range from performances to film screenings to workshops to education programs to dinner parties.

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Dancers Trending
Clifton Brown in Alvin Ailey's Revelations. Photo by Andrew Eccles, Courtesy AAADT

Onstage, Clifton Brown is a force of nature. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer joined the celebrated company at 19, in 1999. In 2011, he left to dance with Jessica Lang Dance and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company before returning to Ailey last year. Brown has been trying his hand at choreography on the side, but this week his first larger work—a commission from The Washington Ballet artistic director Julie Kent—premieres on a program of new works by choreographers who still perform.

Brown will take a day or two away from the Ailey company's rigorous tour schedule to see TWB dancers perform his Menagerie, danced to Rossini's Duet for Cello and Double Bass in D Major, at Washington, D.C.'s Harman Center for the Arts. We caught up with him last week in Chicago.

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Dance Training
Video still by Nel Shelby Productions, Courtesy Dancio.

"What if you could learn from the world's best dance teachers in your living room?" This is the question that Dancio poses on their website. Dancio is a new startup that offers full length videos of ballet classes taught by master teachers. As founder Caitlin Trainor puts it, "these superstar teachers can be available to students everywhere for the cost of a cup of coffee."

For Trainor, a choreographer and the artistic director of Trainor Dance, the idea for Dancio came from a sense of frustration relatable to many dancers; feeling like they need to warm up properly before rehearsals, but not always having the time, energy or funds to get to dance class. One day while searching the internet for a quick online class, Trainor was shocked to not be able to find anything that, as she puts it, "hit the mark in terms of relevance and quality. I thought to myself, how does this not exist?" she says. "We have the Daily Burn for Fitness, YogaGlo for yogis, Netflix for entertainment and nothing for dancers! But then I thought, I can make this!" And thus, Dancio (the name is a combination of dance and video), was born.

Keep reading at pointemagazine.com.

Dancers Trending
Photo by Theo Kossenas, courtesy The Washington Ballet

With her fearless demeanor onstage, it's easy to see how Washington Ballet apprentice Sarah Steele attracted the keen eye of former American Ballet Theatre stars Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel. Promoted mid-season from the studio company by artistic director Kent, Steele was cast by Stiefel as the lead in Frontier, his world premiere for The Washington Ballet, this past spring. For the space-themed piece, Steele donned a black-and-white "space suit" onstage, exhibiting dual qualities of strength and grace. Most evocative about Steele's dancing might be her innate intelligence—she was accepted to Harvard on early admission, and plans to resume her studies there in the future. But first, she'll dance.

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Popular
Jacquelin Harris. Photo by Andrew Eccles, Courtesy Ailey

The 2017 Princess Grace Award winners have just been announced! Over the years, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA has demonstrated a knack for picking out future stars in the dance world, so it should be no surprise that several of the honorees are familiar names.

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Dance Training
Juilliard student Diamond Ancion. Photo by Todd Rosenberg, courtesy Juilliard

In the ballet world, the phrase "going to college" is sometimes regarded as the musings of a dancer who's not really serious about their craft. Although schools like Juilliard and Bennington College have made degrees acceptable for modern dancers for decades, the competitive ballet world (which often follows a philosophy of "the younger the better") tends to discourage higher education.

But some ballet students just don't feel physically or emotionally ready to join a professional company at age 18, and others simply don't want to miss out on the college experience. So they choose to pursue an undergraduate dance degree to continue their ballet training in an academic atmosphere.

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Dancers Trending
Matthew Murphy for Broadway.com

I have always been extremely dramatic. I think "extremely" might even be an understatement. As a child, I was constantly in costume. Never clothes. Always a costume.

When I was 8 we moved into a new house, and took a home video to send to my dad's family. My siblings were performing a song for the camera. I desperately wanted to join them, but they got annoyed and said no. In the video I run out of the room crying hysterically, and you can hear my dad saying, "It's okay, Sam, you can dance for the camera later."

This is followed by about 45 minutes of me dancing. Music changes, style changes, costume changes, the works. Dance was, and still is, the best way I know how to express myself.

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Popular
Ethan Stiefel in the studio with Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo by Stephen A'Court, Courtesy RNZB.

Ethan Stiefel's love of motorcycles has been well documented over the years, perhaps most memorably when he played ballet bad boy Cooper Nielsen in the popular 2000 dance movie Center Stage. So it seems fitting that the former American Ballet Theatre star's Harley-Davidson played a role in the creation of his world premiere for The Washington Ballet, which honors the centenary of President John F. Kennedy's birth. New Washington Ballet artistic director Julie Kent called on her longtime ABT colleague for her first commission, Frontier, which premieres May 25–27 at the Kennedy Center Opera House.

Tell us how you and Julie Kent met.

Julie and I first started working together in the late '90s at ABT. I danced some of my first roles and debuts with her. I think my favorite ballet with Julie was Romeo and Juliet. You never forget your first Juliet.

How did she approach you about the Washington Ballet commission?

She contacted me last year in late May and said she wanted me to do a new ballet, specifically one that was connected in some way to President Kennedy. I was obviously very excited, but I needed to take a moment to do some homework, some research. There are many different ways that one could go in making a JFK ballet.

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Popular
Photo by Nathan Sayers

Each year, the Benois de la Danse selects the best male and female ballet dancer and a top choreographer from an impressive group of international artists. But just because it draws on a worldwide talent pool doesn't mean the names are all unrecognizable. This year's Moscow-based awards highlight the performances of many Dance Magazine favoritesand no less than three former cover stars. Plus, American Ballet Theatre received a nomination in each of the three categories.

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Dancers Trending

As she was stepping into her new role as artistic director of The Washington Ballet this July, ballet icon Julie Kent made a natural fit for the cover of our first-ever Feminist Issue. At the time, she was still just starting to get her feet wet. Writer Marina Harss' profile of Kent covered some of her dreams for the troupe, like increasing the roster, expanding the repertoire and using live music whenever possible. But now we've started to see some of her changes in action. So what does a Washington Ballet led by Julie Kent actually look like?

Live Music is Here 

Count it as Dream Accomplished: Yesterday, the company announced that each of its spring performances will feature a live orchestra, led by a guest conductor from other ballet companies around the country. (What a fun idea!) Charles Barker, from American Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Ballet, will conduct Giselle in March, and Martin West of San Francisco Ballet will conduct the company's season-closing repertory program in May.

The Nutcracker music will be taped because, as Kent told The Washington Post's Sarah Kaufman, “We won’t sell one more ticket if we have live music, and it’s about $100,000 a week. We have to move forward strategically and sensibly, and use the money for the orchestra where we can get the most out of it.”

No word on how the company will foot the live music bill this spring, although TWB's website does have eight separate categories listed under "Support." 

Big ABT Names Sign On

Kent with Stiefel in 2008, PC Kent Becker

We also found out yesterday that Kent's first-ever commissioned work will go to Ethan Stiefel, one of her former partners. He's recently dabbled in choreography on Flesh and Bone, at the Royal New Zealand Ballet and on ABT's Studio Company. His new one act ballet, tentatively titled Frontier, will be based on John F. Kennedy's determination to land a man on the moon.

He's not the only ABT alum Kent's brought in. Former principal Xiomara Reyes, who retired the same year as Kent, is the new head of The Washington Ballet School.

New Dancers Hired

Kent has hired two ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School grads: Brittany Stone as a dancer and Adelaide Clauss as an apprentice. She's also brought in two major starsthe much-loved Cuban dancer Rolando Sarabia and former Korean National Ballet principal Eun Won Lee. Expect many more names in the coming seasons if the company grows from 21 to 40, as Kent hopes it will.

Company Premieres

Kent with David Hallberg in Seven Sonatas, via nytimes.com

This spring, TWB will add to its repertoire two works by ballet's most sought-after choreographers today: In Creases by Justin Peck and Seven Sonatas by Alexei Ratmansky (in which Kent was in the original cast). The company will also tackle Sir Frederick Ashton's beloved classic The Dream for the first time.

Workshops for Outside Dancers

If you're really curious what Kent's like at the head of the studio, sign up for her master class series next month. Reyes will be teaching on November 12 and Kent on November 19. The two-part series will also include character and contemporary classes, plus post-class Q&As with the two directors. The series is open to adult dancers—and could be a smart audition opportunity for anyone curious about joining the company.

 

Of course, it's still early in Kent's directing career. But so far, most of these choices seem like savvy moves—even if they're heavily inspired by her ABT background. We can't wait to see what else she has in store.

 

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Inside DM

After dying for the last time on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, body limp on a cold slab of marble beside her Romeo, Julie Kent rose as she had countless times before to receive the audience's acclaim. As she stood there, surrounded by tearful colleagues and looking impossibly young in Juliet's wispy sheath, she gazed out with a mixture of sadness and gratitude, and perhaps a hint of disbelief.

For many ballet-lovers, it's difficult to remember a time when Julie Kent wasn't dancing on that stage. She began her career at American Ballet Theatre in 1985, at 16, and starred alongside Baryshnikov in Dancers just two years later. After being promoted to principal in 1993, she went on to spend another 22 years at the company, dancing in works by everyone from Petipa to Twyla Tharp.

“It was the most difficult, wonderful experience," she said recently of her retirement. But there has been little time to wallow. Soon after that final Juliet, she became the artistic director of ABT's summer intensives, a network of training programs that serves approximately 1,400 students each year. It seemed like a natural progression, one followed by many women: dancer, teacher, ballet mistress, coach. Ballet is an art sustained by women.

But it is not a profession—at least not in this country—in which women tend to attain the very pinnacle of the hierarchy: the director's office. (Several companies, including the Boston and Pennsylvania Ballets, were started by women—and ABT was co-founded by one—but men have usually replaced them later on.) So it was doubly welcome when it was announced that Kent would be taking over The Washington Ballet starting this month, as a replacement for Septime Webre, who is leaving after 17 years to devote his time to making new works and teaching.

Kent's long ABT career is part of what attracted the search committee. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

The call came, out of the blue, late last year. At first, Kent balked. “I said, 'I'm really very happy with the position I have,' " she explains with a chuckle. She couldn't imagine walking away from a job she had just begun to explore, or, more importantly, uprooting her husband and two children, and leaving behind a close network of friends and colleagues. “I wasn't looking for a major change," she says. “I had already gone through that by ending my performing career." The Washington Ballet search committee persisted. Eventually they met in New York for the first of a series of discussions.

The company had big ambitions, they said. They wanted to expand, to broaden the repertoire, to increase their already significant reach in the community. They were looking for someone who could lead them toward a more prominent place both within and beyond the nation's capital. They were drawn to her name, of course, and her international reputation and connections. But they were also “seeking someone who understood the importance of building an institution," explains Sylvia de Leon, board chair of The Washington Ballet. In other words, someone who would approach the job with a vision for the long term, not just a name. They were impressed by her sense of loyalty—to her company, to her colleagues. Was it important that she was a woman? “It wasn't something we discussed as a committee or was a priority," says de Leon, “but, yes, it was of interest."

Eventually, Kent was won over. The transformation involved a subtle altering of her definition of a leader: not “someone who tells people what to do, somebody who likes to be the boss," but rather someone devoted to serving the art form that had made her who she was. Isabella Boylston, whom Kent coached as Juliet and Sylvia this year, attests to her ability to help dancers find their way into a role. “She doesn't spoon-feed me," Boylston says. “She leaves the structure loose for me in some places so that I can make my own choices." By directing a company, Kent would be in a position to promote arts education, form the next generation of dancers and argue for the inherent value of art, beyond such ephemeral gratifications as fame or Instagram followers. “I want to be the reassuring voice that reminds dancers that at the end of the day, it's about the work. That is your reward. That's what you're left with."

It made sense in other ways, too. Kent grew up in nearby Potomac and studied at the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet, under Hortensia Fonseca, who studied with Mary Day, co-founder of The Washington School of Ballet and artistic director of The Washington Ballet for more than 20 years. Kent's mother, sister and brother still live in the area. She and her husband would be able to move their family into a house, with a yard—something their 7-year-old daughter, Josephine, in particular, is excited about. “The minute it left her lips" that she had been approached by The Washington Ballet, says Kevin McKenzie, Kent's boss at ABT, “I had a bittersweet thought: This is going to happen, and of course it should happen."

Kent hopes to shape students' priorities. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy TWB

Kent has started to draw up plans: Expanding community programs like the company's existing collaboration with THEARC (through which it provides training, a sliding-fee payment scale, classes for beginners and more). Building up the number of dancers from 21 to 40 so that the company can perform a wider variety of repertoire (her first hire was Cuban dancer Rolando Sarabia). Bringing in masterworks by the great choreographers of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Using live music whenever possible. Finding a replacement for the director of the school, Kee Juan Han, who retired in April. And, of course, commissioning new ballets from internationally respected choreographers and introducing new choreographers to the DC audience.

Her first program will be a 40th-anniversary event called Looking Back~Moving Forward. Another will include Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Alexei Ratmansky's Seven Sonatas—she was in the original cast—and Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs. In the spring, she hopes to put on Antony Tudor's Jardin aux Lilas and Frederick Ashton's The Dream, both of which she danced countless times.

These ballets (which are all in ABT's rep as well) would then lead into future seasons, in which she'd like to introduce themed programs of English, Russian and American works. She's looking at ballets by Kenneth MacMillan, Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Mark Morris—maybe even Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham. And after that, who knows? She would like to build a collaboration with one of the city's other large cultural institutions, perhaps the Smithsonian or the Shakespeare Theatre Company. “I want to try to create an atmosphere inspired by the Ballets Russes exhibition When Art Danced With Music," she says, “where you have the artists of the day designing sets and costumes to a new creation by the choreographer of the day with a new score." Her ambitions are not timid.

“It's a big step to go from being a choreographer-led company to a company with an orientation toward building the institution and building audiences," says Sarah L. Kaufman, the dance critic for the Washington Post. “Until now, there's been an emphasis on energy and the new, and not always as much of an emphasis on refinement of classical technique."

One of the reasons Kent is so confident that she can get this all done is that her husband, Victor Barbee, is coming with her. He too is a company man, having worked with ABT for four decades, first as a dancer, and, for the last 13 years, as associate artistic director. He'll have the same title in Washington; only his boss will change. It's heartening to see a husband prepared to play the supportive role in the workplace. By his own account, he prefers to get things done outside the spotlight, spending his days between the studios and administrative offices, “seeing to one detail after the next, refining and refining."

Her final curtain call: “The most difficult, wonderful experience." Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Like any new opportunity, the move is a leap of faith. Kent has never directed a ballet company, planned seasons, courted donors, hired or fired dancers. But how will she ever know if the job suits her unless she tries it? “I gave myself the advice I would have given my children," she says. “You have to go for it."

Dancers Trending

Major changes are afoot at The Washington Ballet. Although former American Ballet Theatre star Julie Kent doesn't officially step into her role as the company's artistic director until July, she's already making moves in preparation for the 2016–17 season. This afternoon, she announced that another former ABT principal will be joining the team: Xiomara Reyes will head The Washington School of Ballet, effective September 1.

The move marks Kent's first staff appointment. Reyes will take the place of revered teacher Kee Juan Han (who famously trained David Hallberg) and who announced his retirement in late April. Reyes' husband, Rinat Imaev, currently a company teacher at ABT, will also join TWSB as senior faculty and company teacher. We spoke with Reyes about the vision she and Kent share, her Cuban roots, relocating to DC and more.

Xiomara Reyes, with Jared Nelson, when she guested with TWB in their Sleepy Hollow last year. Photo by Media4Artists—Theo Kossenas, Courtesy TWB.

What have you been up to since you retired from ABT last year?

I have been dancing, guesting, judging, teaching. We just came from teaching in Japan for three weeks. We still have commitments for various summer intensives, and we have IBStage, which is our summer intensive that we co-direct in Barcelona. And we are going to Varna this summer, too, so we have been moving a lot.

How did The Washington School of Ballet opportunity come up?

When Julie knew they were looking for somebody to take care of the school, she told us and wondered if we would like to apply. She wants to create something with the company, and I think we probably have the same idea and vision for the school. I know there were a lot of people they were considering, but I had worked with The Washington Ballet last year when I danced in their Sleepy Hollow, so I knew I was not unknown to them.

Kent and Reyes will soon be working together again. (Stan Godlewski for The Washington Post)

How is your vision similar to Kent's?

We both want to offer a very nourishing approach to life and to dance and to the kids. It's about trying to nourish the artistic part, but also we have a pretty high standard for what we want to see in the kids. That's very important right now because she wants the connection between the school and the company to be closer.

Will you incorporate any aspects of your Cuban training at the school?

Oh, of course. [laughs] All of the faculty already come at it from their different backgrounds—like a melting pot. It’s not going to be a Cuban school; it’s not going to be a Russian school; it’s going to be what we find is the best approach to provide the kids with the best background to be able to dance in the company.

How has your husband influenced your teaching style?

I have learned a lot from his way of teaching. He’s extremely giving and generous. It’s always not about you, the teacher. It’s about the person that’s in front of you. And what I have always admired about the Russian school is the arms: the port de bras, the épaulement, the space in the movement. That’s something that I’m always trying to grab from him and incorporate in my dancing and in my teaching, too.

What do you think you’ll miss most about living in New York, and what are you looking forward to about life in DC?

I enjoyed working at ABT so much—the friends, the dancing. And I love the city, but, you know, I’m not really a city girl. I prefer the other side, more nature, and Washington has a blend of both. It has a very nice cultural life and at the same time that wonderful...suburban feel. We are looking forward to that.

Any advice for dancers who hope to have a career in ballet?

You really have to love it. You have to be very passionate about it and know that you’re going to have to put a lot of effort and concentration into it. But when you have passion, it’s not so much work. It becomes a way of being. You have to push yourself a lot, but, at the end, it’s the most rewarding thing.

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