Wolfgang Borrs, Courtesy Richter; Johan Persson, Courtesy Talbot; Ana Cuba, Courtesy Muhly

The Most Influential People in Dance Today: Nico Muhly, Max Richter and Joby Talbot

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 his Winter'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 stormy I 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.

Read the rest of Dance Magazine's list of the most influential people in dance today.

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Courtesy Schelfhaudt

These Retired Ballroom Dancers Started a Dance-Themed Coffee Company

Like many dancers, when Lauren Schelfhaudt and Jean Paul retired from professional ballroom dancing in 2016, they felt lost. "There was this huge void," says Schelfhaudt.

But after over 20 years of dancing, plus United States and World Championship titles, reality shows, and high-profile choreography gigs (and Paul's special claim to fame, as "the guy who makes Bradley Cooper look bad" in Silver Linings Playbook), teaching just didn't fill the void. "I got to the point where it wasn't giving me that creative outlet," says Paul.

When the pair (who are life and business partners but were never dance partners—they competed against one another) took a post-retirement trip to Costa Rica, they were ready to restart their lives. They found inspiration in an expected place: A visit to a coffee farm.

Though they had no experience in coffee roasting or business, they began building their own coffee company. In 2018, the duo officially launched Dancing Ox Coffee Roasters, where they create dance-inspired blends out of their headquarters in Belmont, North Carolina.

We talked to Schelfhaudt and Paul about how their dance background makes them better coffee roasters, and why coffee is an art form all its own:

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