Photo by Pierre Petitjean, Courtesy DM Archives

#tbt: Alwin Nikolais on Inventing Your Own Solutions

In the April 1968 issue of Dance Magazine, we took a deep dive into the work of Alwin Nikolais.

Imago (1963). Photo by Sosenko, Courtesy DM Archives


Viewing technique as a means to an end, Nikolais did not ask his dancers to embody characters or emote, but to simply dance as part of the onstage environments created by his innovative costume, lighting and production designs—most of which he handled personally, in addition to creating his own music and, of course, choreographing the steps.

Gallery (1978). Photo by Tom Caravaglia, Courtesy DM Archives

"I always seem to be looking for something that hasn't been invented yet," he told us. He would frequently improvise solutions to gain the effect he wanted without waiting for technology to catch up to his ideas.

Imago (1963). Photo by Sosenko, Courtesy DM Archives

Nikolais received a Dance Magazine Award in 1968 and in 1987 was the recipient of both the National Medal of Arts and a Kennedy Center Honor.

Sanctum (1964). Photo by Ken Ray, Courtesy DM Archives

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Paulo Arrais rehearsing Agon with Lia Cirio. Photo by Brooke Trisolini

Fear of Reinjury Could Make You More Prone to Hurting Yourself Again. Here's How to Avoid It

It was Boston Ballet's first full run-through of its upcoming show, Kylián/Wings of Wax. As he prepared with a plié for a big saut de basque, principal dancer Paulo Arrais, 32, heard a Velcro-like sound and suddenly fell to the floor. He went into a state of shock, hyperventilating and feeling intense pressure on his knee. It turned out to be a full patellar tendon rupture, requiring surgery and an entire year off before he could return to the company.

Though his physical condition continues to improve, Arrais' mental recovery has also been challenging. "Treating your mind is just as important as treating your body," he says.

Feeling safe when returning to the studio can be tricky for any dancer. Some researchers believe a fear of reinjury can actually make athletes more prone to hurting themselves again. We talked to several medical professionals to understand why that might happen and what dancers can do to overcome that anxiety.

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