This Just In
Keenan Kampa, one of DM's 2012 "25 to Watch," will join the Kirov (Maryinsky) Ballet as the company's first American dancer in June 2012. The graduate of the Kirov's Vaganova Academy is currently in her second year as a Boston Ballet corps member. —posted 1/18/2012
Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, principal dancers with the Bolshoi Ballet and guest artists with American Ballet Theatre, are leaving the Bolshoi for Nacho Duato's Mikhailovsky Ballet. The star dancers, who are an offstage couple, are decamping for the St. Petersburg-based company, which Duato has headed since January 2011. —posted 11/14/2011
Edward Villella, founding artistic director of Miami City Ballet, has announced that he will step down from his position at the end of the 2012–2013 season, in April 2013, to pursue other dance-related projects. The beloved former New York City Ballet star will turn 75 on October 1. The announcement comes at the end of a banner year for MCB, which returned from a wildly successful tour to Paris and celebrated its 25th anniversary season. In the coming months, MCB will conduct a search for a successor who will continue the company's hallmark Balanchine aesthetic. —posted 9/22/2011
David Hallberg has joined the Bolshoi Ballet as a premier danseur for the 2011–2012 season. His debut is scheduled to be in Giselle with Natalia Osipova, a celebrated partnership at American Ballet Theater. The company has stated that this is the first time in its recent history that a foreign dancer has joined the Bolshoi on a permanent basis. —posted 9/20/2011
The Robbins' Foundation has announced that 26 New York City Ballet ballerinas from the company's past and present will receive this year's Jerome Robbins Award, to honor the artists who "helped make Jerry's work dance" throughout his career. On September 30, Chita Rivera will present the award at the David Koch Theater during the second intermission of NYCB's All-Robbins program, to be followed by West Side Story Suite. Each dancer will have the opportunity to share their memories of the legendary choreographer in celebration of his life and work. The awardees are: Helene Alexopoulos, Alexandra Ansanelli, Merrill Ashley, Yvonne Borree, Maria Calegari, Suzanne Farrell, Judith Fugate, Jillana, Allegra Kent, Gelsey Kirkland, Darci Kistler, Maria Kowroski, Sara Leland, Lourdes Lopez, Kay Mazzo, Patricia McBride, Yvonne Mounsey, Kyra Nichols, Jenifer Ringer, Melinda Roy, Stephanie Saland, Margaret Tracey, Violette Verdy, Heather Watts, Miranda Weese, and Wendy Whelan. Melissa Hayden, Nora Kaye, Tanaquil Le Clercq, and Janet Reed will be recognized posthumously. —posted 8/16/2011
Kevin O'Hare has been tapped to succeed Dame Monica Mason as artistic director of The Royal Ballet. Mason will retire from her 10-year tenure at the helm of the company in July 2012. O'Hare, who danced with Birmingham Royal Ballet in the '90s, was company manager and, currently, serves as administrative director for The Royal. In a statement, O'Hare said that, along with associate director Jeanetta Laurence, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon will be part of The Royal's senior artistic team. —posted 6/14/2011
CityDance Ensemble, the performing arm of Washington D.C.'s CityDance school and outreach program, will fold, citing lack of funding. Director Paul Gordon Emerson has resigned, effective June 30, and the dancers have been let go. The company recently made several goodwill tours abroad ("Away We Go", April 2011). —posted 6/6/2011
After strained negotiations over their union contract, the dancers of New York City Ballet have accepted a new contract. NYCB faces a $6 million shortfall, and management wanted to freeze salaries retroactively for this season (the dancers' contract expired last August) and raise salaries by 1.5 percent for next season (the dancers proposed a 3 percent raise for both years). The company also looked to reduce overtime pay and enforce a limited illness and injury policy. The dancers will receive a 2.5 percent increase for next season, while salaries for this year remain frozen, and will continue to be paid overtime. —posted 5/3/2011
American Ballet Theatre has announced that principal Ethan Stiefel has withdrawn from his scheduled performances at the upcoming Met Season and tour to Japan, citing his duties as University of North Carolina School of the Arts' Dean of Dance. Stiefel, who received a 2008 Dance Magazine Award, will leave his UNCSA position after this year. —posted 4/22/2011
Former Bolshoi Ballet star Sergei Filin has been appointed the ballet company's new artistic director. He succeeds former director Yuri Burlaka, whose contract was terminated last week. The company manager of eight years, Gennady Yanin, was rumored to be in the running for the post until a website with pornographic photos linked to Yanin was sent to thousands of members of the ballet community in Russia and abroad. Bolshoi soloist Yan Godovsky, named assistant ballet artistic director immediately following the scandal, will act as artistic director for the remainder of the season, at which point Filin will step into his new role. Filin retired from performing in 2008 and spent the last three years as the artistic director of the Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet, the city's second-ranking ballet troupe. He had made the Kirov's Yevgenia Obratzsova a principal guest artist at the Stanislavsky (see Feb. 2011 cover story). She will debut in Swan Lake at the Stanislavsky in April. —posted 3/18/2011
The Chicago Human Rhythm Project has announced the formation of a new facility for dance: the Collaborative Space for Sustainable Development. Intended for the administrations, educational programs, and rehearsal space for several small to mid-sized companies, the CSSD will host CHRP, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project; Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts, Luna Negra Dance Theater, and River North Dance Chicago. Over $500,000 in funding has been secured, with the largest gift of $275,000 over four years from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. —posted 3/17/2011
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival will receive a National Medal of the Arts on March 2 at the White House. The Pillow's executive and artistic director Ella Baff and board chair Joan Hunter will accept the award from President Obama and the First Lady. —posted 3/1/2011
Sir Paul McCartney is writing his first ballet score for a new work by Peter Martins. The piece which will premiere at New York City Ballet's Fall Gala on Sept. 22. The collaboration has been in the works since last winter, when Martins and McCartney met at a gala for the School of American Ballet. —posted 2/24/2011
David R. White, the visionary behind the growth of Dance Theatre Workshop and founder of the Bessie Awards, has been appointed consulting artistic director of The Yard on Martha's Vineyard. White, a 1987 Dance Magazine Award recipient, left NYC in 2003 but remained involved in the arts. He will work with The Yard's Arts Committee to finalize the summer 2011 season and plan the following season, which marks The Yard's 40th anniversary. Read about how White transformed DTW here. —posted 2/10/2011
Liz Lerman Dance Exchange has announced that Liz Lerman will leave the company to pursue her own projects. Dancer and choreographer Cassie Meador will become artistic director on July 1, and the company will return to its original name, The Dance Exchange. —posted 1/24/2011
New York City Ballet has announced the formation of a new touring troupe, New York City Ballet Moves, comprised of a rotating group of dancers from all levels of the company and members of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. NYCB Moves' works have been selected for smaller venues in which NYCB may not be able to perform due to size. NYCB Moves will debut in July at the Vail International Arts Festival. —posted 1/7/2011
The hotly anticipated merger of Dance Theater Workshop and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company has been finalized. Under the name New York Live Arts, the new company will be led by executive artistic director Bill T. Jones, artistic director Carla Peterson, and CEO/executive director Jean Davidson (current DTW executive director Andrea Sholler is departing). BTJ/AZDC will move to DTW's current space early next year and plans to perform for two weeks in the Bessie Schönberg Theater every other year. New York Live Arts will announce its first season's programming, which Peterson will continue to curate, in spring 2011. —posted 12/2/2010
Dance/USA has announced that Amy Fitterer will be its new executive director. She most recently acted as the director of government affairs for Dance/USA and OPERA America. She will assume the position, which Andrea Snyder has held for 11 years, on Jan. 3. —posted 11/23/2010
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization have added Spanish flamenco to its list of intangible world heritages. UNESCO began the list in 2003 with the aim of preserving specific cultural traditions. —posted 11/18/2010
Luca Veggetti has been named resident artistic director of Morphoses for the 2011-2012 season. His full-length, collaborative production of Euripides' The Bacchae will premiere in October 2011. —posted 11/4/2010
American Ballet Theatre principal Ethan Stiefel has been appointed the new director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Stiefel, who is also Dean of The School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of Arts, will assume the position in 2011. —posted 10/29/2010
Maya Plisetskaya is speaking out against a tour through Israel of the “Russian Classical ballet of Maya Plisetskaya” with which she has no affiliation. She has said that her fund intends to sue the REST International Company, who has set up the tour, for using her name. —posted 10/27/2010
New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York governor David A. Paterson, and New York assembly speaker Sheldon Silver have announced the creation of a $100 million fund for the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center site. The Joyce Theater will be a prime tenant. —posted 10/6/2010
Jose Manuel Carreño will retire from American Ballet Theatre next August, after the company's summer tour to Asia. His final New York appearance with the company will be a special performance of Swan Lake on June 30, 2011. The Cuban-born dancer joined ABT as a principal in 1995. He plans to continue performing as a guest artist internationally and is currently working with Robert de Warren to create the month-long Carreño International Dance Festival in Sarasota, FL. —posted 9/9/2010
Oakland Ballet has announced a new director: former artistic director of American Repertory Ballet Graham Lustig. OB plans to perform Lustig's The Nutcracker and a spring season of mixed repertory. Lustig will divide his time between Oakland and New Brunswick, NJ, where he hopes to found a new school and dance company. —posted 8/26/2010
The Bessie Awards (aka New York Dance and Performance Awards) are back in operation after a year of hiatus. They are now being produced by Bessie Award–winner Lucy Sexton under the aegis of Dance/NYC, and will have new award categories and a new structure for nominating and
voting. This year's event, covering productions in the last two years, will take place at Symphony Space on Oct. 18. —posted 8/11/2010
We sadly report that longtime director of The Ailey School, Denise Jefferson, passed away on July 17 from ovarian cancer. Appointed director by Alvin Ailey in 1987, Jefferson nurtured thousands of students during her tenure at The School, many of whom went on to dance professionally. We extend our condolences to her family. Donations may be made in her memory to the Denise Jefferson Scholarship Fund at The Ailey School. —posted 7/19/2010
Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) has released a press statement detailing a possible eviction on July 14, 2010 from their space at 280 Broadway. See http://www.dnadance.org/site/about/pressstatement/ for more information and to offer support. --posted 7/8/2010
Susan Jaffe has been named ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre. She will assume the position in October 2010. The ballerina danced with ABT for 22 years (as principal for 19) and guested with companies all over the world. Since her retirement, she has co-founded Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Princeton, New Jersey. She received a Dance Magazine Award in 2003. —posted 6/15/2010
Robert Battle has been named Artistic Director Designate of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He will assume the directorship in June 2011, when Judith Jamison steps down. She will remain artistic director emerita. In the last 20 years, Battle has created nine works for the Ailey companies and schools. His current company BattleWorks will fold. —posted 4/29/2010
Nacho Duato has not renewed his contract as director of Compañia Nacional de Danza and will leave his post a year earlier than expected. The decision was made amidst an ongoing struggle between Duato and Spain's Minister of Culture, who would like to see more classical work in CND's repertory. Duato has been director of CND since 1990 and his ballets, which he has said that he will take with him, make up about 45 percent of the company's repertory. —posted 4/15/2010
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop will merge their staffs and boards to become one entirely new company. The companies' merger, which began in October of last year, is expected to be finalized next month. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will move into Dance Theater Workshop’s space on West 19th Street, a state-of-the-art facility built in 2002. The newly formed company will have a new name and new mission, but the two boards are still working out the final details. —posted 4/9/2010
New York City Center, home to annual seasons of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the annual Fall for Dance Festival as well as visiting companies, has announced plans to restore and update its historic midtown theater. The $75 million goal for funds raised is currently 76 percent met and will go towards new lighting, seating, and amenities, as well as programming. The renovations, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, are scheduled from late April to September 2010 and mid-March to October 2011. —posted 3/17/2010
The School of American Ballet has been recognized with a National Medal of the Arts, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, from President Barack Obama. Artistic director and chairman of faculty Peter Martins, co-chairman of faculty Kay Mazzo, executive director Marjorie Can Dercook, and faculty member Darci Kistler were present to accept the award. —posted 2/26/10
Christopher Wheeldon, who founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company in 2007, has announced his departure from the company. Executive director Lourdes Lopez says that she will continue Morphoses without Wheeldon. The company plans to adopt a curatorial model, in which a resident guest artist will be selected to direct for a period of one year. —updated 2/26/10
It is with profound sadness that we share with you the passing of New York International Ballet Competition's much-loved Founding Executive Director, Ilona Copen. She died peacefully in her sleep Saturday morning. The funeral services were held Monday, February 22, in Manhattan, New York. Our condolences go out to Ms. Copen's family and everyone in the dance community that she touched with her generosity and strength of spirit. If you wish, donations may be sent to NYIBC, Inc., 119 W. 57th St, NY, NY 10019. —posted 2/22/10
Founding director of Dance Theatre of Harlem Arthur Mitchell has been selected as the Honorary Chairman of the USA International Ballet Competition. Held every four years, USA IBC 2010 runs June 12–27 at the Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, MS. For more, see www.usaibc.com. —posted 1/19/10
Alexei Ratmansky will choreograph a new production of The Nutcracker for American Ballet Theatre. It will premiere December 3, 2010 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and will run for two weeks, marking a five-year partnership between ABT and BAM. In subsequent seasons, ABT plans to expand the run to three and four weeks. Scenery and costumes will be designed by Richard Hudson, best known in the U.S. for his sets for The Lion King. Lighting will be designed by Jennifer Tipton, who has worked with ABT since 1971 and who designed the lighting for Baryshnikov's 1976 version. Ratmansky's version will incorporate dancers from the ABT JKO School, ABT II, and ABT. David H. Koch has underwritten the production with a lead matching gift of $2.5 million. —posted 12/2
In acknowledgement that NYCB, like many arts organizations today, has a myriad of non-artistic needs to address in order to keep the company thriving, the company has created the position of executive director. Kathleen Brown, who is currently chief operating officer at WNYC Radio, has been appointed to the role. Brown was a development executive at NYCB from 1988–1993 under artistic director Peter Martins. Kenneth Tabachnick will continue to serve as NYCB’s general manager until Brown assumes her post Dec. 14, at which point he will become a consultant to NYCB. —posted 11/17
Spanish-born choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansao has been named the new artistic director of Luna Negra Dance Theater. For the last four years, Sansao has been artistic director of his own company, TITOYAYA Dance Project, in Valencia. He has created works for Compañia Nacional de Danza, Hamburg Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, NDT II, and Luna Negra Dance Theater. He was formerly a dancer with NDT II, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Ballet de la Communidad de Madrid. Former LNDT artistic director Eduardo Vilaro is now the director of Ballet Hispanico (see post on 4/3/09) —posted 10/20/09
The new directors of Tanztheater Wuppertal have been named after Pina Bausch's death in June: Dominique Mercy, a dancer with the company since 1973, and Robert Sturm, Bausch's artistic assistant for 10 years. Mercy won a Bessie Award in 2002 for sustained acheivement as a performer with Bausch. -posted 10/15/09
Sascha Radetsky will resume his soloist position at ABT January 1, 2010. Named ABT apprentice in 1995, he joined the Dutch National Ballet as a principal dancer in September 2008, performing roles such as Albrecht in Giselle. Read his eloquent "Why I Dance" from April's issue here —posted 9/2/09
Legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham passed away the evening of July 26 of natural causes. He was 90 years old. For more, see Wendy's blog here. And view two video clips of his work and life, courtesy of the Cunningham Foundation, here and here —updated 7/30/09
Ballet Florida has declared bankrupcy, filing Chapter 7. Its 2009 season was cut short in March. BF founder and artistic director Marie Hale Artistic director Marie Hale plans to open Dance Florida Academy. See www.anewerabeginsnow.com. —posted 7/15/09
Choreographic pioneer Pina Bausch passed away this morning, June 30, at the age of 68. Click here for more. —posted 6/30/09
Oregon Ballet Theatre has raised the $750,000 needed to survive beyond this season, thanks to 967 donors from 26 states, who have donated more than $500,000 since it was announced in late May that the company would not make it without the additional funds. OBT was also able to raise $330,000 from its June 12 DanceUnited benefit performance. The company suffered from a fundraising shortfall due to the recession, and lost $280,000 in anticipated Nutcracker income due to unexpected December snowstorms. OBT’s budget for next year has been cut by 28%. —posted 6/22/09
Glenn Edgerton has been named artistic director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, replacing Jim Vincent, who is leaving the company after nine years for Nederlands Dans Theater. Edgerton's directorship is effective August 2009. He was formerly HSDC's associate artistic director, and has lead NDT, with whom he also performed, and the Colburn Dance Institute in Los Angeles. He was a member of The Joffrey Ballet under the mentorship of Robert Joffrey. —posted 6/10/09
Artistic director John Alleyne is leaving Ballet British Columbia after 17 years at the helm of the Vancouver-based company, the last of which was plagued with financial instability. A joint decision between Alleyne and the board, Allenye will return to Montreal with his partner and family. Alleyne was the resident choreographer at the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto before his tenure at Ballet BC, and danced with NBC and the Stuttgart Ballet. No interim director has been announced. —posted 6/8/09
Judith Jamison, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, has been named one of the world's most influential people by TIME Magazine. She is among the list of 100 for 2009. Jamison has been at the helm of AAADT for 20 years, and the company is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary (click here). —posted 5/1/09
Dance Theatre of Harlem has named Virginia Johnson its new artistic director. Johnson’s beautiful dancing and deep artistry made her an enduring star of DTH in the 1970s and 80s. After retiring in 1997, she became the editor of Pointe magazine and held that position until last January. Her knowledge, integrity, and supreme sensitivity to dancers bode well for DTH. She will bring all her experience as a great dancer, beloved teacher, and astute editor with her. Arthur Mitchell, who co-founded the company more than 35 years ago, has stepped down to take an Emeritus position. —posted 4/14/09
Eduardo Vilaro has been named the artistic director of Ballet Hispanico and will assume the position on August 1. Vilaro is the founder and artistic director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. Vilaro will take over for Tina Ramirez, founder and longtime artistic director of Ballet Hispanico. See a review of Luna Negra Dance Theater here. Ballet Hispanico was reviewed in our January 2008 issue (Reviews, p. 206), and Ramirez' retirement was in the November 2008 issue (Transitions, p. 90).—posted 4/3/09
I don't understand why I've lost my motivation to dance at 20 years old. My parents have always encouraged me to have a life plan and ask continuously how my pre-professional training program is going. I feel crushed by their expectations. I'm actually relieved when I get injured and can't dance, even though I miss it.
—Confused, Nashville, TN
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With limited space for luggage on the tour bus, Justin Timberlake dancer Natalie Gilmore makes sure her beauty routine can pull double duty. "Most of the stuff I use day to day I also use onstage," she says, adding that the dancers do their own hair and makeup for every show. "They give us a lot of freedom to use what we want, and I really enjoy getting to play with new products and experiment with different looks." That same freedom she has with her look carries over into her performance. "There's a lot of freestyle in the show," Gilmore says. "We have certain places we need to be, but we're able to map out how we want things to flow—I have a lot of fun with it."
As a dancer going through a mental health challenge, loneliness can feel like your only companion. Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Steven Loch has managed obsessive-compulsive disorder since middle school, and for nearly a decade felt too scared to speak up. "We feel like if we say something people will be horrified by some of the thoughts that we are having," he says.
But according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S. experiences a mental illness each year. Psychologists say that in competitive environments like the dance studio—where perfectionism can make you feel like you're never good enough, and an injury can suddenly strip you of your identity—this likelihood may increase.
Last summer I shared my own story of quitting dance due to untreated depression on the Dance Magazine website. It was met with an outpouring of support and camaraderie that I found both affirming and terrifying. A few weeks later, the magazine published an online survey to learn more about dancer attitudes around the need for mental health support. Readers submitted more than 1,000 comments, demonstrating that these struggles are very much a shared experience.
Considering the demands of a career in dance, it isn't surprising that many professionals find romance in the rehearsal studio. With taxing schedules, perfectionist tendencies and quirky habits, it can be challenging to find true love outside of the art form. We spoke with three non-dancer spouses to hear what it's like sharing their life with professionals from ballet to Broadway.
As a very shy little girl, my happy place was my room, where I would wear improvised costumes and giggle with happiness while dancing for an imaginary audience. I was raised in a family where dancing was "normal." My mom and sisters graduated from the national ballet academy in Poland, and I, of course, wanted to follow their steps. But I was never forced to. I am proud to say I discovered the magic of ballet all by myself.
Photo by Costin Radu, courtesy of Petra Conti
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The midterm elections are less than three weeks away on November 6. If you're registered to vote, hooray!
But you can't fully celebrate before you've completed your mission. Showing up at the polls is what matters most—especially since voter turnout for midterms doesn't have a fabulous track record. According to statistics from FairVote, about 40 percent of the population that is eligible to vote actually casts a ballot during midterm elections.
Many members of the dance community are making it clear that they want that percentage go up, and they're using social media to take a stand. Here's how they're getting involved:
Dancers will do just about anything to increase their odds of staying injury-free. And there are plenty of products out there claiming that they can help you do just that. But which actually work?
We asked for recommendations from four experts: Martt Lawrence, who teaches Pilates to dancers in San Francisco; Lisa-Marie Lewis, who teaches yoga at The Ailey Extension in New York City; physical therapist Alexis Sams, who treats dancers at her clinic in Phoenix; and stretch training coach Vicente Hernandez, who teaches at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet.
With a contemporary air that exalts—rather than obscures—flamenco tradition, and a technique and stamina that boggle the mind, Eduardo Guerrero's professional trajectory has done nothing but skyrocket since being named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" earlier this year. His 2017 solo Guerrero has toured widely, and he has created premieres for the Jerez Festival (Faro) and the 2018 Seville Flamenco Biennial (Sombra Efímera). In the midst of his seemingly unstoppable ascension, he's created Gaditanía, his first work utilizing a corps de ballet. Guerrero is currently touring the U.S. with this homage to Cadiz, the city of his birth.
At our cover shoot for the November issue, Bobbi Jene Smith curated one of the best lineups of YouTube music videos that I've heard in a long time. From Bob Dylan to Tom Waits, they felt like such perfect choices for her earthy, visceral movement and soulful approach to dance.
Dance technology has come a long way from ballet variations painstakingly learned by watching fuzzy VHS tapes. Over the last few years, a dizzying number of online training programs have cropped up, offering the chance to take class in contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop and even ballroom from the comfort of your own living room or studio.
Usually, it takes new recruits a few seasons to make their mark at the Paul Taylor Dance Company. But Taylor wasted no time in honing in on the talents of Alex Clayton. Only a few months after Clayton joined in June 2017, Taylor created an exciting solo for him in his new Concertiana, filled with explosive leaps and quick footwork. Clayton was also featured in new works by Doug Varone and Bryan Arias. At 5' 6" he may be compact, but onstage he fills the space with a thrilling sense of attack.
Scottish Ballet is turning 50 next year, but they'll be the one giving out the gifts.
In 2019, the company will make five wishes from fans come true, as a way of thanking them for their loyalty and support over the years. "It can be anything from the dancers performing at a birthday party or on the banks of Loch Ness, or even the chance to get on stage and be part of a Scottish Ballet show," according to the company.
Some of my favorite experiences as both an audience member and a dancer have involved audience participation. Artists who cleverly use participatory moments can make bold statements about the boundaries between performer and spectator, onstage and off. And the challenge to be more than a passive viewer can redefine an audience's relationship to what they're watching. But all the experiences I've loved have had something in common: They've given audiences a choice.
A few weeks back, I had a starkly different experience—one that has caused me to think deeply about how consent should play into audience-performer relationships.
People have a tendency to think of dance as purely physical and not intellectual. But when we separate movement from intellect, we limit what dance can do for the world.
It's not hard to see that dance is thought of as less than other so-called "intellectual pursuits." How many dancers have been told they should pursue something "more serious"? How many college dance departments don't receive funding on par with theater or music departments, much less science departments?
New York City Ballet fired principal dancers Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro on Saturday. Both had initially been suspended until 2019 for engaging in "inappropriate communications," while principal Chase Finlay, who was the instigator of those communications, resigned. (Although, in a statement on Saturday, NYCB made it clear they had decided to terminate Finlay prior to his resignation.)
The New York Times reports that NYCB says the change from suspension to termination resulted from hearing the concerns of dancers, staff members and others in the NYCB community. Yet it's hard to ignore the fact that a lawsuit against NYCB had been filed in the meantime. A statement from NYCB executive director Katherine Brown and interim artistic team leader Jonathan Stafford stated:
"We have no higher obligation than to ensure that our dancers and staff have a workplace where they feel respected and valued, and we are committed to providing that environment for all employees of New York City Ballet."
Since the news was announced, both Catazaro and Ramasar have spoken out publicly about being fired.
Recently, English National Ballet first artist Precious Adams announced that she will no longer be wearing pink tights. With the support of her artistic director Tamara Rojo, she will instead wear chocolate brown tights (and shoes) that match her flesh tone.
It may seem like a simple change, but this could be a watershed moment—one where the aesthetics of ballet begin to expand to include the presence of people of color.
Flamenco dancer and choreographer Rocío Molina created her first full-length production, Entre paredes ("Between Walls"), at the age of 22. At 26, the prodigy received Spain's National Dance Prize, the most coveted dance award in Spain. Now 34, her rupture with tradition makes her no stranger to controversy. But it, and her fiercely personal and contemporary style, means that each new project is a fascinating voyage.
Molina is the subject of French filmmaker Emilio Belmonte's first feature length documentary, IMPULSO. The film, which makes its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York City's Film Forum on October 17, follows Molina for two years as she tours Europe presenting a series of improvised works. These improvisations ultimately inspired the creation of one of Molina's masterworks, Caída de Cielo ("Fallen from Heaven"), which premiered in 2016.
In a move that was both surprising and seemingly inevitable, New York City Ballet closed its fall season by promoting seven dancers. Joseph Gordon, who was promoted to soloist in February 2017, is now a principal dancer. Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Claire Kretzschmar, Aaron Sanz, Sebastian Villarini-Velez and Peter Walker have been promoted to soloist.
Newly promoted soloist Peter Walker has been showing his abilities as a leading man in ballets like Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB
The announcement was made on Saturday by Jonathan Stafford, the head of NYCB's interim leadership team. These seven promotions mark the first since longtime ballet master in chief Peter Martins retired in the midst of harassment allegations at the beginning of this year. While Stafford and fellow interim leaders Rebecca Krohn, Craig Hall and Justin Peck have made some bold choices in terms of programming—such as commissioning Kyle Abraham and Emma Portner to create new works for the 2018–19 season—their primary focus has appeared to be keeping the company running on an even keel while the search for a new artistic leader is ongoing. Some of us theorized that we would not be seeing any promotions until a new artistic director was in place.
Ryan Steele has a simple rule for demanding days on Broadway: "I listen to my body," he says. "I have whatever I'm craving: If I need more protein, I go straight for that. If I'm tired, I know I need carbs."
This wasn't always Steele's approach. Growing up, shuttling between the studio and school meant relying on McDonald's and Burger King.
For over a decade, husband-and-wife team Pascal Rioult and Joyce Herring, artistic and associate artistic directors of RIOULT Dance NY, dreamed of building a space for their company and fellow artists in the community, and a school for future dancers. This month, their 11,000-square-foot dream opens its doors in the Kaufman Arts District in Astoria, Queens, a New York City neighborhood across the East River from Manhattan.
In the final years of her decade-long career with the Lewitzky Dance Company, University of Arizona Associate Professor Amy Ernst began to develop an interest in dance injury prevention. She remembers feeling an urge to widen her understanding of dance and the body. Soon after retirement from the Company, she was hired by the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Inglewood, California as a physical therapy assistant, where she worked for the next three and a half years. This work eventually led her to pursue an M.F.A. in dance at the University of Washington-Seattle. She remembers growing into the role of a professor during her time pursuing her degree. That incubation phase was critical. Ernst joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 1995, and now as director of the M.F.A. program, mentors the new generation of dance faculty, company directors and innovators.