In the April 1944 issue of Dance Magazine, we chatted with prima ballerina assoluta Alexandra Danilova.
After leaving the Soviet Union in 1924 with George Balanchine, she danced with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and Colonel de Basil's troupe before becoming the most beloved leading lady of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where she formed a legendary partnership with Frederic Franklin.
By the time of her final performance in 1957, the remarkably versatile dancer had seemingly mastered every ballet in the repertoire. "A ballerina loves all her roles, just like a mother loves all her children," she told us. "Each is dear for some special reason. One you love because your public adores it. Another you prize because you worked so hard to make it what you wanted it to be. Still another seems to be really you, it is so much like you personally. There are as many reasons for loving a role as there are different roles."
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.