The Most Influential People in Dance Today: Nico Muhly, Max Richter and Joby Talbot
Wolfgang Borrs, Courtesy Richter; Johan Persson, Courtesy Talbot; Ana Cuba, Courtesy Muhly
Petipa relied on Tchaikovsky, Balanchine bonded with Stravinsky and Merce Cunningham collaborated with John Cage. When a choreographer cultivates a special partnership with a composer, their collaborations often take on a deeper richness. In the current creative climate, young choreographers have successfully enticed composers to lay out their musical blueprints for both narrative and non-narrative ballets.
Joby Talbot has written highly memorable scores: the whimsical Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,with its fantastical percussion and its riff on the "Rose Adagio," illustrates Christopher Wheeldon's trippy imagination. Similarly, the drama and joy of hisWinter's Tale lay the groundwork for Wheeldon's contrast of the night and day of the ballet's moods.
Then there's Chroma—Wayne McGregor's watershed ballet whose hyperphysical juggling of the torso, balance and weight springs to life against the backdrop of Talbot's luminous score. Similarly, McGregor tapped into composer Max Richter's cinematic aesthetic for The Royal Ballet's Infra and Woolf Works.
Nico Muhly, who has worked in genres from film scoring to opera, combines classicism with the sensibilities of pop/rock. Benjamin Millepied mirrored the composer's lush orchestrations through Muhly's original scores for Two Hearts for New York City Ballet and From Here On Out at American Ballet Theatre. Stephen Petronio nabbed Muhly for his stormyI Drink the Air Before Me.
What these composers bring to the stage is the voice of now—melodies and rhythms that speak to the current generation with finesse and forward-looking vision.
Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.
Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.
We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.
A previous lab cycle. Photo by Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade, Courtesy RRR Creative
Choreographic incubator Broadway Dance Lab has recently been rechristened Dance Lab New York. "I found the nomenclature of 'Broadway' was actually a type of glass ceiling to the organization," says choreographer Josh Prince, who founded the nonprofit in 2012.