The UDMA Dance Resource and Costume Show, an annual opportunity for dance teachers and studio owners to meet face-to-face with the industry experts in services, products, and education, will hold three events this October.
Shows have been set for October 4 to 5 at the Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Georgia; October 11 to 12 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, Secaucus, New Jersey; and October 18 to 19 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, Chicago, Illinois.
Attendees will have a chance to talk with vendors about the latest products and services, see the latest styles of costumes modeled by dancers, and attend Art of Teaching workshops led by master teachers Peff Modelski (Georgia), Patricia Dickenson (New Jersey), and Roni Mahler (Illinois).
Guests will have the opportunity to take part in a sweepstakes to win $4,000 in UDMA Gift Bucks; as well as drawings to win prizes like an Apple iPad, workshops passes, or a free hotel stay. To register, visit www.udma.org/attend/register. For additional information, visit www.udma.org or call 800.304.UDMA (8362).
You don’t have to hear the music in order to learn to dance, according to a pilot program sponsored by the Contemporary Ballet of Pennsylvania (COBALT) and Millersville University of Pennsylvania, reported Lancaster Online.
The program, Going Places, for children in grades 3 through 9 who are deaf or hard of hearing, is designed to introduce children to the joy of dance and empower them to explore dance movement in ways that are stimulating and creative.
“My personal mission is to bring dance to kids in a way that they will blossom,” says class instructor Warkenda Williams-Casey, a dance teacher at Susquehanna Dance Center and American Sign Language interpreter. “Kids who are deaf or hard of hearing already have a great ability to communicate and express emotion through movement.”
The students are introduced to specific dance skills as well, but the ability to share and work together is key. “For those kids who may spend large parts of their school day learning words and struggling to communicate with words, dance classes can provide amazing freedom of expression,” Williams-Casey says.
Another goal of the class is for the students to increase the recognition of rhythm and patterns of movement. Unlike recorded music, the live drumbeats provided by Millersville University student Michael Woodson can be felt through the floor.
The dance program is part of a larger initiative by Millersville University to ensure that the arts are accessible to people with disabilities. To see the full story, visit http://lancasteronline.com/lifestyle/dance-program-encourages-students-who-are-deaf-or-hard-of/article_b039fdfe-c62c-11e3-8f3a-001a4bcf6878.html.
With Save the Last Dance and Step Up, Duane Adler established himself as one of the go-to screenwriters for 21st-century dance movies. But apparently that wasn’t enough, reported the Baltimore Sun.
Make Your Move, a multicultural dance drama with tons of Romeo and Juliet undertones that opened in theaters this weekend, marks Adler’s debut as both screenwriter and director. Getting it made was a tough slog, Adler says, one that spanned more than seven years. It started with an idea he had to make a tap dance movie with Savion Glover (Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk). Despite “pitching the heck out of it,” nobody was interested.
Soon, he was wondering if he could fuse his tap movie idea with a story centering on an American boy and an Asian girl. But tap just wasn’t seen as cool. “People would kind of gloss over when you said the word ‘tap.’ They would say it’s no modern art form,” he says. “And I would argue back, no, there’s some really cool stuff happening with tap.”
Finally, inspired by the high-energy shows of COBU, a Japanese dance troupe out of New York, he came up with a storyline that incorporated elements of both tap and a COBU-style show. Hollywood veteran Robert Cort agreed to produce, and Dancing with the Stars veteran Derek Hough and Korean pop star BoA came on board as the leads. Members of COBU also appear in the film.
To see the full story, visit http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bs-ae-adler-live-20140417,0,7719484.story.
The website for the Knoxville Dance Project captures its mission: Dance at Any Cost. Classes are offered by this studio four nights a week at Cumberland Estates Recreation Center in West Knoxville, Tennessee, under a “pay what you can” tuition setup, reports WBIR-Knoxville.
Jesie Browning started the non-profit Knoxville Dance Project about three and a half years ago.
“I saw that there was a need for children from all financial backgrounds to be able to take dance lessons,” said Browning, who grew up involved in art and dancing.
At first, Browning—as the only teacher—handled the three classes and 35 students. Now the studio has two additional teachers and offers three times as many classes for twice as many dancers.
There’s a suggested monthly tuition of $35, but families decide what they can afford. Fundraisers help the nonprofit continue its mission to not only teach dance, but also inspire creativity and confidence.
“The things on the inside come out, and you watch them meet friends and accomplish a goal and learn a step, and so it is just so amazing to watch them grow . . . really, that’s where the satisfaction comes from,” Browning said.
To see the full story, visit http://www.wbir.com/story/news/local/five-at-four/2014/04/16/knoxville-dance-project/7770513/.
Philadelphia’s MM2 Modern Dance Company—a unique collaborative effort in which each member is charged with creating and setting new work each year on the entire company—will be offering three free programs this spring at The Porch at 30th Street Station, reported The Dance Journal.
MM2 will present their latest work, BREATH, as well as site-specific improvisation, on April 27 (rain date: June 29), May 18 (rain date: July 13) and June 1 (rain date: July 27). All performances run from 1 to 2pm.
“There is no better setting for our work than being outdoors at the Porch and sharing our passion and dance with the Philadelphia community,” artistic director Brianne Scott said. The group had appeared at the Porch in 2013 as part of the Solow Festival and “fell in love with the space,” Scott adds.
The company is comprised of seven dancer/choreographers: Jessica Bryan, Jenna Faye Eugenides, Kaylee Goodwin, Jillian Ikeler, Jennifer Laucella, Alison Liney, and Brianne Scott.
The performances are free to the public and appropriate for family audiences. For more information, visit www.theporchat30th.com or http://mm2dance.org/category/breath/. To see the original story, visit http://philadelphiadance.org/blog/2014/04/16/mm2-modern-dance-to-offer-three-free-programs-at-the-porch-at-30th-street-station/.
New York City Ballet’s spring gala will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Lincoln Center home—featuring works that were performed at the theater’s inaugural performance in 1964 and an onstage tribute to some of the ballet stars who performed that season.
The New York Times ArtsBeat blog said the first half of the gala, which will be held May 8, will include works that were featured on April 23, 1964, at the first performance at what was then called the New York State Theater, and which has since been renamed for David H. Koch, including George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Stravinsky’s Fanfare for a New Theater, which was written for the occasion.
An onstage tribute to NYCB dancers who performed in the 1964 season is expected to feature several who performed at the theater’s opening, including Jacques d’Amboise, Suki Schorer, Kay Mazzo, Karin von Aroldingen, and Sara Leland.
There will also be a nod to one of the theater’s other original tenants: the short-lived Music Theater of Lincoln Center, which was led by Richard Rodgers and lasted through 1969. The gala will feature excerpts from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, parts of which were performed at the theater’s 1964 opening; this time they will be performed by Kristen Bell, well-known to the elementary-school set these days as the voice of Anna in Disney’s Frozen.
To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/city-ballet-gala-to-take-a-look-back/?_php=true&_type=blogs&module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Arts&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs®ion=Body&_r=0.
The “hippest trip in America” could become the hippest trip on the Great White Way. Broadway.com reported that Broadway producer Matthew Weaver (Rock of Ages) has acquired the stage rights to Soul Train, the groundbreaking musical variety TV show.
“We are putting together a top-notch team of artists to ensure Soul Train is the hippest trip on Broadway,” Weaver said in a statement. “We want to thrill the audiences who loved the TV show and introduce the incredible music and style of Soul Train to a new generation.”
Soul Train, created by the late Don Cornelius, is the longest running, first-run, nationally syndicated music program in TV history. The show featured performances by R&B, pop, soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artists, and highlighted a diverse cast of dancers.
It was reported in 2012 that Soul Train Holdings LLC, owned by NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, had been trying to mount the TV franchise on Broadway. Weaver bought the theatrical rights from the company. To see the original story, visit http://www.broadway.com/buzz/175490/love-peace-soul-tv-variety-show-soul-train-aims-for-broadway/.
City University of New York has responded to a 2010 report from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that cited “a critical need for affordable dance rehearsal space” in the city by creating a new residency program that will provide rehearsal and performance space at the university’s campuses across the five boroughs.
The New York Times ArtsBeat blog said the CUNY Dance Initiative, announced this week, will offer 12 to 14 residencies to New York–based choreographers that also include assistance with artist fees, marketing expenses, and other costs.
In addition to assisting choreographers, the initiative hopes to build audiences for dance. “The project provides dance artists and companies with welcome opportunities to engage with more New Yorkers in all five boroughs,” Lane Harwell, the executive director of the service organization Dance/NYC, said in a news release.
The program is supported by a $200,000 grant from the New York Community Trust and $80,000 from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Choreographers who live in New York City are eligible to apply for a residency, to take place between June 1 and December 31. Deadline is April 30. More information is available at http://cuny.edu/about/centers-and-institutes/dance.html. To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/15/city-university-of-new-york-announces-dance-initiative/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=dance&_r=0.
Ballet Austin artistic director Stephen Mills is headed to the United Nations in New York to present his work on Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project during a special panel discussion, “Learning about the Holocaust through the Arts,” on April 28, reported the Austin American-Statesman.
The ballet was developed by Mills for Austin audiences in 2005, based on the stories of Holocaust survivor Naomi Warren. Warren also will talk about her experiences during the April 28 program—timed to the day after the Jewish holiday of Yom HaShoah, which remembers the Holocaust.
Light, which has been featured in an Emmy-winning documentary for PBS, has been performed in Pittsburgh, Denver, and Miami as well as Akko, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem in Israel. Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project is a full-length contemporary ballet and Holocaust education partnership that promotes the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate through arts, education, and public dialogue.
For more information on the ballet, visit http://www.balletaustin.org/light/.
To see the original story, visit http://www.statesman.com/news/entertainment/celebrity-news/ballet-austins-stephen-mills-heads-to-united-natio/nfZw4/.
A longtime Manhattan dance studio will have to move out of its West 19th Street space by the end of summer, after a looming rent increase priced them out of the neighborhood, owners told DNAinfo New York.
Dance Manhattan is leaving its 14,000-square-foot location at 39 West 19th Street after nearly 20 years because its landlord is doubling the rent at the end of August, according to one of the dance studio founders.
“It’s crazy. But, you know, I guess I hear that Chelsea in particular seems to be the Silicon Valley of the east,” co-founder Elena Iannucci said. “The fallout of that is that you have the Googles and the Yelps and the Yahoos . . . who are looking for space and they become the people that buildings like this one want to rent to and not necessarily to those of us in the arts who are providing dance to the public.”
Iannucci, who grew up in Long Island and left her corporate job to pursue dance full time after her father passed away, co-founded the studio in 1992 to teach dance to people of all skill levels who want to learn styles like swing, tango, salsa, and ballroom.
Iannucci said the space not only tries to make dance accessible to the general public, but also to foster an environment in which professional dancers and teachers can perfect their craft. “During the day we provide them with free space so they can pursue their own dreams, so they can rehearse their own troupes, create their own choreography that they then go and take to other communities around the world, around the country,” she said.
Swing dancer Dan Bates said the loss of Dance Manhattan would be a huge blow. “It is one of the biggest and best studios in New York and is known throughout the world,” he said. “Dancers coming through New York on their way elsewhere always make a point of stopping off there to check it out. It’s a community as well as great space, and to lose it would be terrible.”
To see the full story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140414/flatiron/popular-dance-studio-has-move-because-of-rent-increase-owners-say.
Jaelen Tyner, 18, has miles of promising dance steps ahead of him after dancing legend Maurice Hines presented him with a pair of tap shoes in front of a packed Alliance Theatre audience in Atlanta, Georgia, last week.
“I always believe in giving back,” Hines said, as he called Tyner up to the stage at the end the show, reported Access Atlanta. His show, Maurice Hines Is Tappin’ Thru Life, is playing at the Alliance through May 4.
“For him to do this—give him the shoes—that’s so special,” mom Yolanda Tyner said. “It’s a very special night.”
Tyner is part of the Alliance Theatre Teen Vibe program, whose members attended Hines’ recent appearance at the Goat Farm Arts Center. While visiting with the artist, Tyner told Hines he was interested in tap dancing but could not afford tap shoes.
His mom said her son been involved in musical theater at Mill Creek High School, where he is a senior, and has enjoyed his time with the Alliance’s youth ensemble. “He wanted to start incorporating tap into some of the dances he was learning,” she said, adding that tap shoes “can be quite pricey, especially for his size. He’s a size 13.”
Hines’ gift to Tyner, though, felt priceless. “I realize now after speaking to Maurice Hines that it’s a dying art and it is a very important style of dance that cannot be killed off,” said Tyner, who plans to attend the University of North Georgia in the fall. “I’m going to pursue acting and theater. This is my passion. This is my career. It’s all I want to do.”
To see the original story, visit http://www.accessatlanta.com/news/entertainment/arts-theater/hines-gift-helps-young-dancer-take-next-step/nfZND/.
After a tumultuous year in which its main campus was forced to close, the Orlando Ballet School was given the Outstanding School Award at the Youth America Grand Prix, which held its New York finals April 3 to 8.
The Orlando Sentinel said more than 7,000 students from 36 countries participated in the preliminary and finals rounds of YAGP, the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition. “I am very proud of the school’s achievement, particularly in light of the adversity we have faced this year,” school director Dierdre Miles Burger said, referring to the school’s mid-December relocation after mold was discovered at the ballet’s former headquarters.
Ten Orlando Ballet students competed at the finals. Top finishers included: Austen Acevedo, 14, silver medalist/juniors; Blake Kessler, 16, bronze medalist (tie)/seniors; and Lauren Harding, 18, and Connor Ladley-Fredeen, 18, top 12/pas de deux. Acevedo and Kessler were the only two American students to medal in the competition’s senior/junior men’s divisions.
Other YAGP special award winners were: Outstanding Teacher Award—Peter Stark, Next Generation Ballet at the Patel Conservatory, Florida; Outstanding Choreography Award—Zak Schlegel; and Outstanding Artistry Award—Cesar Corrales, 17, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Cuba/USA (Corrales also won the Grand Prix).
For the full listing of results, visit http://www.yagp.org/eng/new_york_ny_2014_winners.php. To see the original story, visit http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/arts-and-theater/os-orlando-ballet-school-awards-yagp-20140414,0,3639547.story.
The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) has announced its 2014 Tap Scholars—deserving, talented youth who receive scholarship assistance to attend CHRP’s annual Rhythm World summer festival of American tap and contemporary percussive arts.
2014 Tap Scholars include: Giuliano Antônio, 20, Brazil; Anthony Clampit, 14, Villa Park, Illinois; Lilly Clampit, 17, Villa Park, Illinois; Abby Crawford, 14, Ontario, Canada; Haley Grier, 15, St. Joseph, Michigan; Moa Imai, 13, Tokyo; Donyella Kittrell-Jackson, 16, Chicago; Madison Martin, 17, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Emiko Nakagawa, 16, Tokyo; Lauren O’Neil, 18, Oak Forest, Illinois; Alexandra Stephens, 17, St. Louis, Missouri; Emerson Stephens, 15, St. Louis, Missouri; Molly Sute, 16, Brownstown, Michigan; and Sydney-Symone Tate, 16, Birmingham, Alabama.
CHRP conducts Tap Scholar auditions every February as a part of its Winter Tap JAMboree and holds auditions in Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Zurich, Toronto, and various American cities. Founded in 1995 to honor the life of CHRP co-founder Kelly Michaels, the Tap Scholar Award program has provided more than $275,000 in financial aid to more than 200 talented, deserving young dancers.
During the last 19 years, many Tap Scholar Award winners have gone on to successful careers in teaching, choreographing, and performing, including Jumaane Taylor, Ian Berg, Starinah Dixon, Nico Rubio, Sean Kaminski, and Donetta Jackson. The 2014 Rhythm World takes place July 7 to August 3. For more information, visit http://www.chicagotap.org/Performance-Education-Detail-Festival/rhythm-world-2014.aspx.
Entertainment star and dance educator Debbie Allen was brought to tears when she collected an award before an audience of mostly kids and young adults at Duke Ellington School of the Arts this past weekend, reported the Washington Post.
“This is the most moving tribute I have ever received,” Allen said, accepting the Entertainment Icon Award at the sixth annual DC Tap Festival gala. Weeping a bit with her were Maud and Chloe Arnold, the dancing DC natives whom Allen has mentored since 1998, when an adolescent Chloe auditioned for Allen’s Kennedy Center musical Brothers of the Knight.
More than 200 dancers—pros, prodigious kids and adult amateurs—presented a swath of styles, from Latin and jazz to hip-hop and Americana. Highlights included the sequined student troupe from Ashburn’s Studio Bleu Dance Center, an ad hoc tribute to the late Harold Cromer, and a visiting group from Brazil. Stand-out soloists included Sarah Reich, who tapped out a rumba with the eight-piece jazz band; Herb Spice and the Cinnamonstix; and Michelle Dorrance, a frequent collaborator with Savion Glover.
But the tapper who brought the house down was Luke Spring, a 10-year-old from Ashburn whose technical flash and flexible feet have landed him on Broadway. Spring doubled as the evening’s emcee, and he beamed as he told the crowd, “Tap’s future looks bright.”
More than 250 people from dance studios in the Boston area participated in a flash mob at Boylston Plaza Sunday to introduce a new song commemorating the strength of a city torn by the bombings at the marathon last year, reported the Boston Globe.
“The idea is, instead of dwelling in the pain and the misfortune of the bombings, we wanted to do something fun and uplifting,” said Eytan Nicholson, one of three partners from the FAM, the jingle-writing group formed out of Berklee College of Music that became popular for “So Good”—known as “The Boston Song.”
“ ‘The Boston Song’ was sort of like a city anthem that everyone sort of chants together,” Nicholson said. “This one is called ‘Beat as One’ and it’s all about when something really difficult happens, as a community, that’s where we find our strength and essentially everyone’s hearts beat as one and that’s where we come together.”
Lena Andrade, who runs the South End dance studio The Z Spot, said she held four practices last week and people turned out “in the masses.” “The excitement has been fantastic,” she said. “It’s a very heartwarming experience because the message behind the song, bringing community together, has been really empowering.”
“We’re really proud to be a part of this and we’re proud of where we’re from,” said Ariana Incorvati, 16-year-old co-captain of Next Step Dance Company in Waltham. “I feel a connection with all these people I don’t even know—we’re all helping each other—and it’s all through dance and it’s special.”
To see the original story, visit http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/04/13/flash-mob-sings-celebration-boston-strength/jjao727hGLCpDFcHnf39pL/story.html.
Willow Street Dance Theatre of Mokena, Illinois, will be hold a “Dance for a Cure” benefit performance for The Andréa Rizzo Foundation’s nationwide fundraising effort, “Dance Across America,” on April 30 at 7pm at the Lincoln Way East High School Auditorium, 201 Colorado Avenue, Frankfort.
“Dance Across America” is one of many fundraising efforts created by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to bringing dance therapy to children with cancer and special needs in pediatric hospitals, public schools, and Ronald McDonald houses across the country.
Willow Street Dance Theatre owner and director Donna Ziegler will oversee 61 dancers ranging in age from 5 to 18 as they perform jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, contemporary, and tap dance numbers. The public is invited to the event, which will include raffles and a silent auction. Tickets at the door are $12, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Dance Across America.
Dance educators and fans across the country can now view live-streaming of the 92nd Street Y’s long-running Fridays at Noon program thanks to an educational collaboration between the 92Y Harkness Dance Center, NYU’s Tisch Dance, and New Media Program.
Upcoming programs include:
• April 25: Dance Lineage: a look at whether the ideas of choreographer and designer James Waring, an influential avant-garde artist of the ’50s and ’60s in New York, have influenced two subsequent generations of choreographers.
• May 2: Liz Gerring curates a program of works by Keely Garfield and Stephen Petronio, as well as a work-in-progress she is creating along with former Merce Cunningham dancer Brandon Collwes.
• May 9: Glimpse 2: A Performance/Installation Based on the Underscore; a group of dancers, along with musician Mike Vargas, create a rich and inspiring view of human and artistic phenomena in dance improvisation.
• May 16: Martha Graham dancer Christine Dakin screens her film, La Voz del Cuerpo (The Body Speaks), about the creative life of the dancer and dance’s roots in the natural world.
• May 30: Choreographer Christopher Caines presents a preview of his new, as of yet untitled ballet, performed by artists from New York Theatre Ballet.
To see a list of Fridays at Noon programs, visit http://www.92y.org/Uptown/Dance-Performances-and-Events/Fridays-at-Noon.aspx. To access the living streaming, visit http://www.tischdanceandnewmedia.com/live.
Steps Beyond continues its Artists Talk Series with “Dance Company or No Dance Company: That is the Question,” a frank discussion with dance company artistic directors on the pros and cons of starting and maintaining a dance company, April 25 at 8pm in the 4th floor studio at Steps on Broadway, 2121 Broadway (between 74th & 75th Streets).
The speakers, representing various genres of dance, will share their thoughts and take questions on the difficult, demanding, and hopefully rewarding enterprise of starting a dance company. As with all Steps Beyond events, the evening will end with a reception for more talk, questions, mingling, and meeting the speakers.
The panel for the evening includes: Lori Belilove, Isadora Duncan Dance Company; Sidra Bell, Sidra Bell Dance New York; Andrew J. Nemr, Cats Paying Dues Plus; Bradley Shelver, Steps Repertory Ensemble; and Nancy Turano, New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble.
Tickets are $10. For reservations, call 212.874.2410 ex 127 or visit www.stepsnyc.com.
American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet member Calvin Royal III has been awarded a 2014 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship. The Fellowship provides additional resources to help young artists of extraordinary talent realize their full potential.
The one-year Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship will provide funds to cover training and expenses outside of ABT’s regular season, such as guest coaches/teachers, master teachers, a physical therapist/trainer, specialty teachers to explore artistic areas outside of dance, pianists, and studio space, as well as college courses and business/entrepreneurial interests.
Royal began his formal dance training at the age of 14 under the direction of Suzanne Pomerantzeff and Patricia L. Paige at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. He joined the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT in September 2006 and was the recipient of the Ethan Stiefel Scholarship in 2006 and 2007.
Royal joined ABT II (now the ABT Studio Company) in December 2007. He became an apprentice with the main company in October 2010 and joined the corps de ballet in April 2011.
Leonore Annenberg (1918–2009) served as U.S. Chief of Protocol during the first term of President Ronald Reagan. Her philanthropic work focused on education, the arts, and civic affairs. Visit www.leonoreannenbergscholarships.org for more information.
Hollywood-based Grosh Backdrops and Drapery is helping to usher in the next generation of theater actors by sponsoring Broadway In Chicago’s second annual Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards, April 25.
The IHSMTA are the Illinois chapter of the National High School Musical Theater Awards, which recognizes outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater. Twenty-four high school actors and actresses will receive tickets to a Broadway in Chicago Show, perform on stage at the Broadway Playhouse, and compete in front of Chicago casting agents and theater professionals for top honors. One Illinois actor and actress will then represent the state at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City this summer.
“We’re thrilled to help highlight the talent of Illinois students,” said Rick Kiel, Grosh Backdrops and Drapery general manager. New this year, a participating school will be acknowledged for achievement in outstanding scenic design with the Grosh Scenic Design Award. Grosh will provide the award-winning high school with one or more backdrops for the upcoming year’s musical productions.
On April 17, Grosh will sponsor the Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, and in June, The Jerry Herman Awards honoring high school musical theater in Los Angeles.
Founded in 1932 by R.L. Grosh, the company provides backdrop rentals, custom backdrops, and stage curtains for theaters and performances all over the United States. For more information, visit www.Grosh.com or www.groshcustom.com.
Monday (April 14) is the deadline to enter for a chance to win dance convention scholarships in the National Dance Week essay contest.
One winner and his/her teacher in each age category (5th grade through high school) will receive scholarships to attend a Joe Tremaine or Dance Olympus dance convention. Runners-up will win a $50 dance tuition scholarship.
Essays should run between 250 and 500 words and address one of the two following topics:
• Why is dance so important and how has it helped you in other aspects of your life?
• Why is dance so important to individuals and communities that we should all take a week celebrating it?
Submissions for the NDW’s poster contest—original illustrations of “What Does Dance Look Like?”—are also due Monday. Winning artists will receive T-shirts sporting their poster design plus a $50 gift certificate to be spent on art classes, art supplies, or a school art program.
National Dance Week runs April 25 to May 4. Submission details for both contests can be found at http://www.nationaldanceweek.org/ndw/.
The Arts for Life Network of New Jersey and the Center for Modern Dance Education (CMDE) are joining together to offer a three-week dance class series for older active adults taught by dancer and choreographer Alexandra Stavrou, who has performed throughout the US, Greece, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea, in venues ranging from the Brooklyn Academy of Music to homeless shelters to remote village clearings.
Arts for Life classes are designed to inspire people to find a new love or reignite an old passion for the arts by dancing, acting, writing, or otherwise engaging in active art-making. Documented studies have established that active participation in the arts provides both physical and psychic benefits to older adults. Jacqueline Guttman, founder of the Arts for Life Network, has found that, “with the aging of the population nationally and in Bergen County, a group is emerging that is eager to learn, teach, and create.”
Sessions will open with a modern dance warm-up and focus each week on a different area and era, from samba, Charleston, and lindy to Singin’ in the Rain and Zorba the Greek. Classes are designed around the fundamentals of breathing, posture, alignment, and body mechanics—important for both good dancing and good daily living.
Classes will be offered Fridays at 2pm (May 2, 9, and 16) at CMDE, 84 Euclid Avenue in Hackensack. CDME is a nonprofit arts organization that has been serving the community for more than 50 years. The fee for a single class is $15, or $36 for all three. More information is available at www.artsforlifenj.com.
As a group of black musicians playing what is usually assumed to be traditionally white music—bluegrass and old timey songs—the Carolina Chocolate Drops has worked to show the deep connectivity of all music. Now, the band is teaming up with legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp to break down even more barriers with a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music tonight (April 10) at 8pm, says the Brooklyn Paper.
“It will be cool and interesting to see how someone else will interpret our music,” said Carolina Chocolate Drops multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins—the only member of the North Carolina-based band who lives in Brooklyn.
It was Tharp’s idea to collaborate with the band. Tharp’s dance, titled Cornbread Duet, will be performed by New York City Ballet principal dancers Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, to music by the band.
“It is always great when different arts support each other and mingle with each other,” said Jenkins. “Our music is dance music and it is nice to be able to show people that.”
Tickets for Carolina Chocolate Drops with Twyla Tharp, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue (between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene) are $16 for members, $20 non-members. For more information, visit www.bam.org.
To see the original story, visit http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/14/24-carolina-chocolate-drops-2014-04-04-bk_37_14.html.
In a unanimous decision issued Friday, the appeals court ruled that Madison County Circuit Judge Billy Bell was within his rights to impose conditions on a city variance that allowed the Whitesburg Drive dance studio to stay in business with an undersized parking lot.
Following a December 2012 civil trial, Bell upheld a Huntsville Board of Zoning Adjustment decision that allowed the studio to operate with six fewer parking spaces than city codes require for a building that size.
However, the judge ordered owner Ann Brown to start a shuttle service for her 582 students rather than let parents form car lines behind the studio on Center Avenue and Alabama Street. (The studio property has only 17 parking spaces.) Neighbors have complained for years that dance traffic blocks driveways in the Mayfair subdivision and makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to get past.
Bell did not specify where the shuttle should pick up and drop off students but said it needs to be outside the Mayfair area. The appeals court rejected Brown’s argument that parents will send their daughters to other dance studios rather than put them on a shuttle bus, possibly forcing Ann’s to close.
To see the original story, visit http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/04/anns_studio_of_dance_in_huntsv.html.
For their 2014 season show, Vectors, Marys, and Snow, the Brooklyn Ballet has unveiled interactive, illuminated costumes built in collaboration with NYC Resistor, a Brooklyn hackerspace, says a story in Laughing Squid.
The costumes include tutus that simulate snowfall with LEDs and a motion sensor–activated costume for street dancer Mike “Supreme” Fields.
Costume designer Avram Finkelstein of YMX by Yellowman and Nick Vermeer and Bill Ward of hacker collective NYC Resistor have worked together to dream and design a techno tutu, a motion sensor skirt that mimics the pattern of falling snow with LED lights as each performer dances through the scene. Wintry projections will follow suit, using the dancers’ patterns on stage as a trigger for producing a snowy effect on the theater cyc.
A more intricately crafted and programmed costume design is needed for Fields, whose ever-exciting but ever-so-subtle pops, puffs, deflations, and undulations might be difficult to translate in a larger theater atmosphere. This season’s experiments with motion sensor technology will make it possible to accentuate and further project his skilled movement through actual illumination of those moves.
The final run of Vectors, Marys, and Snow is April 11 through 13 at the The Actors Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn. To see a video of the costumes’ creation, visit http://laughingsquid.com/brooklyn-ballet-and-nyc-resistor-collaborate-on-interactive-costumes/.
In a pay-it-forward gesture, 11 Orlando Ballet dancers spent Monday volunteering at Clean the World, a local organization that recycles soap discarded from hotels, reprocesses it, and distributes it to third-world countries.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that every year 5 million people—including 3.5 million children under age 5—around the world die because they don’t have something Americans not only take for granted, but also throw away by the tons, said Shawn Seipler, executive director and founder of Clean the World.
Simple hand washing could prevent these deaths from hygiene-related illnesses, most of which are common respiratory infections and diarrheal disease, Seipler said.
“The Orlando Ballet is a nonprofit and survives in large part on donations,” said dancer Ani Boer of Orlando. “We appreciate what the community has done for us, and were looking for a way to give back.”
Since Clean the World began five years ago, more than 10,000 volunteers have pitched in, Seipler said. Together they have sent 17 million bars of soap to 96 countries. As the largest global recycler of hotel soaps and bottled amenities, Clean the World aims to turn waste that would otherwise clog our landfills into a life-saving alternative, he said.
To see the original story, visit http://www.orlandosentinel.com/health/os-orlando-ballet-clean-the-world-20140407,0,2079986.story.
The irrepressible performer Mickey Rooney, who died April 6 at 93, began appearing before audiences at 15 months in his parents’ vaudeville act, singing “Pal o’ My Cradle Days” while sporting a tuxedo and holding a rubber cigar, reports the Washington Post.
So launched a nine-decade career of unapologetic scene-stealing—he could sing, dance, play drums, and do pathos, pratfalls, and impersonations—that once made him the top box-office draw in the world.
Offscreen, he was lost. “I became as cocky a kid as ever cruised Sunset Strip in his own convertible, exploding with sheer, selfish energy,” he later admitted. His addictions to gambling and drugs and his eight marriages—including one to actress Ava Gardner—left him with debts he struggled to pay.
A fixture before the cameras since the silent-movie days, he was a perpetual dynamo who endured an astonishing series of reversals and revivals—honorary Oscars, has-been-dom, bankruptcy, Broadway success. Rooney appeared in more than 300 films and TV programs, in addition to his work in radio, recording, nightclubs, and commercials.
“Mr. Rooney had talent to burn, and he burned it,” film historian Jeanine D. Basinger wrote in The Star Machine, a 2007 book about the studio system that made Rooney famous. “He has done everything there is to do in show business, all with equal success, and it might be said, equal failure.”
To read the full memorial, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/mickey-rooney-dies-at-93/2014/04/07/dc332718-be67-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html.
On Sunday, DanceLife Teacher Conference faculty member and Dance Studio Life columnist Bill Evans will celebrate his dance company’s 40th anniversary with, of course, a dance concert, reports the Democrat & Chronicle.
“My 30th anniversary concert was in New Mexico, and I thought that was going to be the end of it,” says Evans, the internationally renowned dancer and choreographer who retired from teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque that year. “I thought I was done.”
But then Evans, now 73, decided he wasn’t finished and joined the dance faculty at The College at Brockport, State University of New York.
“I found these beautiful dancers here in Brockport and decided to continue with my company here,” Evans says. “Here were dancers devoted to my work, and I wanted them to have the chance to perform it, because studying it is (just) one thing.”
Teaching has been the foundation of Evans’ company since he founded it in Utah and choreographed its first concert at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, in the summer of 1975. He still travels nationally and internationally conducting workshops and lectures and has a personal fondness for teaching and choreographing in Mexico and Latin America.
“I don’t know of anyone in the dance world that doesn’t think of him as a master choreographer and teacher,” says Debra Knapp, director of dance at New Mexico State University, who danced with Evans’ company from 1986 to 1991. “He is an incredible mentor.”
The concert will be held April 13 at 4 and 7pm at Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Avenue, Rochester, New York. For tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/584347.
To see the original story, visit
Two-time Tony and Drama Desk award–nominee, Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent, Anna in the Tropics), gives a powerhouse performance as a deeply troubled dancer in Fall to Rise, says a review by Dorri Olds in The Examiner.
Rubin-Vega plays Sheila Jules, a dancer who left the fictitious Hudson Dance Company (HDC) after becoming entangled in a mess with Des (Desmond Richardson), the artistic director of HDC. Lauren Drake (Katherine Crockett) left the same dance troupe after a serious injury to her knee forced her to stop dancing.
As both women are struggling to balance their lives amidst crushing career disappointments, they meet, and form a peculiar bond.
The audience is taken on a journey through the eyes of these two emotionally crippled women. The highly competitive and physically grueling nature of professional dance sets the stage for a background of high drama that intensifies Sheila and Lauren’s struggles.
The cast also includes Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: SVU). The indie film was written and directed by Jayce Bartok and produced by Tiffany Bartok, who used a Kickstarter crowd sourcing campaign in order to raise enough funds to get their movie made.
To read the full story and see the trailer, visit http://www.examiner.com/article/daphne-rubin-vega-stars-as-a-troubled-dancer-the-movie-fall-to-rise.
The arrival of South African ballet instructor Lizette Nel in the Canadian town of Merritt represented a big psychological boost for a beleaguered town reeling from the closure of one of three sawmills, as well as the gymnastic club, the figure skating club, and the karate club.
Now the Love To Dance studio has closed its doors, too. Nel is returning to South Africa on instructions from the federal government, an apparent casualty of a collision between the unbending juggernaut of immigration policy and the occasionally rough-hewn, just-get-it-done intentions of a small town volunteer arts administration, reports the Vancouver Sun.
Earlier columns dealt with how initial delays meant that by the time Nel arrived to take up a post teaching ballet to the girls of the small interior ranching and forestry town, class size had dwindled to unsustainable levels.
Nel took a $10-an-hour pay cut from the initially agreed-upon wage of $25 an hour while she renewed the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus-based program. This breached the original work permit and earned the attention of the federal government’s Integrity branch, which makes sure foreign workers aren’t ripped off by unscrupulous employers.
However, a last word from the ballet instructor. She hopes she can return to Merritt and finish what she started. In fact, she says in an email, she plans to study specialized dance instruction methods for the disabled and complete a special-needs program planned for next year.
“I still have a dream for ballet and dance in Merritt,” she said in an email. “We will open the Love To Dance Academy again and develop it further to include even more dance genres, an academy where children and adults can enjoy the many benefits of dance. I am not giving up hope! Learn from this episode that those who have determination will eventually win. Do not allow senseless situations to stop your dreams.”
“I know I can be very difficult,” Peggy Kahn said during a 2012 interview.
Fortunately for the Cincinnati Ballet, Kahn was also charming, fun-loving, eccentric, and wickedly smart. Along with the late Martha Berger, Kahn was one of the first two board members of the Cincinnati Civic Ballet, the forerunner of Cincinnati Ballet. Long before the company held its first audition in 1963, Kahn cajoled people to share money, time, and resources with an organization that was little more than a well-intentioned pipe dream.
Cincinnati.com said Kahn died March 26, just 20 days shy of her 93rd birthday.
Born Margaret Kennedy in Flushing, N.Y., she was the daughter of an Irish cop and a real estate broker. When she arrived in Cincinnati in 1945 with her husband, Cincinnati businessman Felix Kahn, she poured much of her energy into entertaining and raising a family that would eventually grow to include five children.
But as those children grew older, she increasingly turned her attention to volunteerism, especially in the arts. It was the late 1950s, a time when women, no matter how well-educated or wealthy, found it difficult to gain entry to corporate boardrooms. As a result, many ambitious women sought outlets where their formidable organizational and administrative skills were welcomed. Arts organizations were among the greatest beneficiaries.
Kahn was outspoken in a way that would shock most modern arts boards. But she also was persuasive, well-informed, and loath to take “no” for an answer. It was a joke among corporate donors that if Peggy Kahn was waiting in your lobby, you might as well write the check and walk it out to her immediately.
“Women like Peggy were essential to so many arts organizations,” says Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet’s artistic director and CEO. “Honestly, I don’t know if we would be here were it not for gutsy, crazy women like Peggy.
Kahn served terms as president and chairman of the ballet’s board and remained an emeritus member until her death. To read the full obituary, visit http://www.cincinnati.com/story/entertainment/arts/2014/04/03/peggy-kahn-ballet-champion-dies/7255639/.
Erin Lustig of Starstruck Performing Arts Center in Lenexa, Kansas, was named 2013 Humanitarian of the Year this spring from the Association of Dance Conventions & Competitions, reported KCTV Channel 5.
Lustig opened Starstruck while she was still a student at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She also founded and directs the nonprofit dance company, Seamless Dance Theatre, which partners with domestic violence shelters through the outreach program Healing Hearts Through the Arts. “We give a stretch and relaxation class to the women there and teach them some meditation techniques to help them get their mind off what’s going on in their life and get them some personal time,” she said.
Lustig’s nonprofit also runs SPARK Children of Kansas City, which allows children to attend Seamless dance performances free of charge; the Project Dance scholarship program; and Project Access, which provides weekly dance classes to children with special needs.
The ADCC (formerly, the FDC) also recently awarded its 2013 Teacher of the Year Award to Michelle Ferraro of Michelle Ferraro’s Dance USA on Long Island for her outstanding work as a dance teacher, commitment to her students, and contributions to the dance community.
To see the original story, visit http://www.kctv5.com/story/25158311/faces-of-kansas-city-dance-instructor-nominated-for-humanitarian-award For more information on the ADCC awards, visit http://www.theadcc.org/awards/humanitarian/.
Joan Miller, a dancer, teacher, and enduring presence in modern dance in New York since the 1970s, died on March 23 at her home in Manhattan, said the New York Times. She was 77.
Miller, who performed with Jose Limón’s troupe and Judson Dance Theater, as well as the companies of Anna Sokolow, Ruth Currier, and others, was the founder of Joan Miller’s Dance Players and the founding director of the dance department at Lehman College of the City University of New York.
Her signature works, rooted in the avant-garde and black consciousness movements of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, leavened sharp social commentary on issues like race and identity with a wry wit. Miller billed her troupe in its early years as the Joan Miller Dance Players: A Dance Company With a Sense of Humor.
In her autobiographical Pass Fe White, its title a play on the traditional “pas de deux,” a solo black dancer spins and heaves onstage as if at war with herself, discarding clothing and accessories in the process, including a blond wig, which she had used to “pass” for white. Miller’s dances often tackled sensitive issues—ghetto violence, class divisions, what she saw as American military aggression—in dances she gave whimsical titles, among them Earth Wind and Flying Things, Jungle City USA, Boots, Backtalk and Beyond, and Caged Bird Singin’ and Swingin’.
“I consider myself a city person, and I like to deal with the problems of the city,” she said in a 1993 interview with Newsday. Despite the spirited titles, she added, the theme permeating her dances was “man’s inhumanity to mankind.”
“I hope that through my work,” she said, “people might question what it’s all about.”
To see the full obituary, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/arts/dance/joan-miller-modern-dance-champion-dies-at-77.html?_r=0.
A new coach-parent communication system, MyKidsCalendar.com, is designed to streamline scheduling and communication for youth teams like competitive dance, says founder and operator Jeff Hill.
The system allows coaches to publish team schedules, post documents, build sign-up sheets, text last-minute changes, and confirm competition attendance from a laptop or mobile phone, and features free parent apps for Droids, iPhones, and iPads.
• tracks which parents have read emails
• keeps a record of emails sent; when, and to whom
• manages attendance for high-priority events with automated surveys and online reminders
• notifies all relevant parents of changes via email or mobile phone text message with a single click
• centralizes driving directions, contact information, and important documents for instant access
• offers a profit-generating email advertising program (MKC-ad)
• provides parents with simple, online access to up-to-date schedules
• builds custom sign-up sheets for car-pooling, etc.
The cost is $10 a month for a typical dance studio, with no cost to parents. MyKidsCalendar.com is now offering a free 30-day trial with no obligation to buy. (Initial setup usually takes only about 20 minutes.) For more information, visit http://www.mykidscalendar.com/
More than 3,100 fifth-grade students from throughout Los Angeles County will simultaneously perform a choreographed dance on The Music Center Plaza in Los Angeles this weekend as part of The 44th Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, reports the Balita Filipino News.
About 18,000 students will participate over the three days of the admission-free festival (April 9 to 11). For many, this festival marks their first experience with the performing arts.
Students prepare in advance with curriculum provided to their teachers by The Blue Ribbon in partnership with The Music Center. Students learn what to watch for during the performance, history and terminology, themes, and the choreography for their dance.
During the festival, students attend a performance by a professional company—this year, the Paul Taylor Dance Company—then gather on The Music Center Plaza to perform a special dance that incorporates music and movements from the live performance in a dance choreographed just for them.
The festival began in 1970 as part of The Music Center’s commitment to engage young people in the arts, and is one of California’s longest-running ongoing free arts education programs. For more information, visit http://www.musiccenter.org/education/Students-at-the-Center/Blue-Ribbon-Childrens-Festival/.
To see the original story, visit http://www.balita.com/18000-students-to-kick-up-heels-in-simultaneous-participatory-dance-performance-on-the-music-center-plaza-at-44th-annual-blue-ribbon-childrens-festival/.
For the first time, 24,000 films and tapes from the New York Public Library’s dance archive is available to view online, reports Hyperallergic.
The New York Public Library recently digitized thousands of hours of its videos in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Moving Image Archive, from grainy historic footage to contemporary productions. Before, you had to ask for copies individually at the library. Even now, not all of the thousands of videos are viewable off-site, as much of the archive does still require you to be present in the library. However, in terms of accessibility, it’s miles ahead . . . [of where it was] before.
What you can view online includes documentation of the Khmer Dance Project featuring the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, and the Dance Division and Core of Culture’s three-year project of recording the Kingdom of Bhutan’s vanishing dance traditions.
There are also modern pieces like the 2011 Performance Space 122 reconstruction of the intense 1980s Them by Ishmael Houston-Jones, Chris Cochran, and Dennis Cooper, as well as the haunting Water by Eiko & Koma performed in 2011 right in the Paul Milstein Pool at Lincoln Center.
Then there’s the 2007 Monet Impressions performed by the Carolina Ballet depicting Monet’s life and his relationships in dance, as well as older works like the 1923 silent film star Alla Nazimova’s Dance of the Seven Veils, and Danse Macabre where two lovers try to escape the plague that frolics as a skeleton around them.
More films will continue to be available as the archive undergoes digitization. The Jerome Robbins Dance Division Moving Image Archive can be accessed online at http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/dancevideo.
To see the original story, visit http://hyperallergic.com/117959/new-york-public-library-puts-major-dance-video-archive-online/.
London’s The Royal Ballet is to launch a year-long training program for graduate dancers aimed at providing female ballerinas in particular with an “extra chance” to gain employment in the industry, according to The Stage News.
Called the Aud Jebsen Young Dancer Programme, it will commence in September and offer up to six paid placements to dancers who have graduated from ballet school, including opportunities to work with the company’s corps de ballet, teachers, coaches, and young choreographers. Participants will also be able to perform with the Royal Ballet.
Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare said that the organization would look to the Royal Ballet School for recruits, but would also encourage graduates from other training providers to apply. He said the program would be open to both men and women but that he hoped to see more female ballet dancers applying because it would encourage them to continue their career either at the Royal Ballet or elsewhere.
“There are also a lot of female dancers out there more generally, so this is giving them an extra chance. It will set them up to either join the Royal Ballet or any other company around the world,” he said. “Sometimes some young dancers need that—some are ready to join the company straight in and some need that extra little help and finish that this can offer them.”
To see the original story, visit http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2014/04/royal-ballet-aims-support-ballerinas-graduate-scheme/.
The title of Maggie Shipstead’s second novel is Astonish Me, which comes from the signature challenge that Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballet Russes, issued to artists and dancers working with him.
A review by Maureen Corrigan on NPR Books said that Shipstead, through her fiction, gains entry into exclusive worlds—which in Astonish Me is the closed world of professional ballet—and trains her opera glasses on private social rituals, as well as behind-the-scenes hanky-panky.
At the center of Shipstead’s tightly choreographed story of frustrated passion and ambition stands Joan Joyce, a dancer whose gifts and discipline are good enough to earn her a place in the corps, but not to propel her into the spotlight as a prima ballerina.
When the novel opens in 1977, Joan has discovered she’s pregnant and she’s decided to keep the baby and leave the unforgiving world of ballet—which will barely miss her. “When she stops dancing, class will continue on without her, every day except Sunday, part of the earth’s rotation. . . . Her empty spot at the barre will heal over at once.”
Unlucky Joan had indulged in a quick fling with an old beau, while on the rebound from a masochistic affair with Arslan Rusakov, the Soviet ballet star she helped to defect to the West. Her son, Harry, grows up in California resolutely immune to soccer and baseball and, instead, nuts about ballet. His passion and talent pull Joan back into Arslan’s fiery orbit.
Sure, it sounds hokey, but—similar to classical ballet—the power of Astonish Me arises out of the pairing of a melodramatic storyline with scrupulously executed range of movement. To read the full review, visit http://www.npr.org/2014/04/01/297699663/this-tightly-choreographed-tale-of-ambition-and-ballet-will-astonish.
The San Francisco Ballet will hold a rare open audition for female dancers April 13 from 1 to 3pm at the School of American Ballet, Studio 1, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City. Registration will begin at 11am.
According to the ballet’s website, the company is looking for female dancers between 5′ 4″ and 5′ 6″ for corps de ballet positions. (There are no available male contracts for 2014–2015.)
Auditionees (AGMA and NON-AGMA) must possess strong classical and contemporary training and professional company experience. Pointe shoes are required.
The San Francisco Ballet offers a guaranteed minimum 42-week per year AGMA contract. A limited number of apprenticeships are available each contract year, mainly offered to students from San Francisco Ballet School’s Trainee Program. For more information, visit http://www.sfballet.org/about/employment/auditions#sthash.e4FbLfjN.dpuf.
In China, there is a new group stirring up controversy: middle-aged and retired city dwellers dancing together in parks and squares.
The Wall Street Journal reported that residents in nearby buildings say the noise makes relaxing after work hard and, worse, disturbs their children’s studies. Participants say the dancing keeps them active and healthy.
“Are we just supposed to sit around and wait for death?” says “Auntie” Su, who credits dancing with helping her recover from throat cancer surgery. “This is a national issue now.”
Moves to control public dancing threaten a tradition that has wide appeal among members of the country’s rapidly growing elderly population. As many as 100 million people, mostly women in their 50s and 60s, now take part as a way to stay healthy after the state health-care system atrophied under market reforms.
The dances take place in venues ranging from parks and public squares to parking lots. They take a variety of forms, from traditional folk dances involving silk fans and drumming to improvised routines set to patriotic songs, saccharine pop, and sanitized rap.
“Dancing in and of itself is nothing to criticize,” the Communist Party-run Guangzhou Daily said in commentary in November. “But as soon as ‘group dancing’ becomes ‘public nuisance dancing’ that infringes on the right of others to relax, it’s another matter.”
The dancing dilemma isn’t likely to go away. By 2020, according to state media, people 60 years or older will make up roughly 16 percent of China’s population at 240 million or so.
To read the full story, visit http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304250204579433473042852570.
In the Disney animated film Dumbo, peers tease the young elephant because of his unusually large ears, but he learns to overcome his body issues, bests the bullies who have tormented him and in the end becomes a hero to all.
That’s why Mary Verdi-Fletcher, founder of Dancing Wheels Company & School in Cleveland, Ohio, conceived of retelling Dumbo, first as a live dance performance, then as a documentary film, and ultimately as an ongoing educational program for schools, prisons, and other institutions with bullying problems.
The made-for-television documentary, Daring to Be Dumbo, airs on Cleveland’s Channel 3 (WKYC) April 5 at 7pm, said the Akron Beacon Journal Online.
Narrated by TV host and weatherman Al Roker, who says he was bullied for his weight issues as a young man, the film features the personal stories of several people involved with the project who have emerged strengthened from past encounters with bullying.
Featured is Elec Simon, a former member of the touring dance show Stomp. He quit the show to head up an anti-bullying program that uses rhythm and music to educate and build greater empathy for victims.
The original stage performance of Daring to Be Dumbo premiered last May at the Breen Center in Cleveland under the direction of choreographer David Rousseve. The retelling of the Dumbo story was set in a modern junior high school, incorporating onstage video and life-sized puppets.
To read the full story, visit http://www.ohio.com/news/dance-program-s-dumbo-theme-tackles-issue-of-bullying-1.477374.
Marc Platt, a renowned dancer of stage and screen and one of the last remaining members of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, died Saturday in California, his daughter Donna Platt said. He was 100.
SFGate said Platt, whose reminiscences about the company are documented in the 2005 movie Ballets Russes, is perhaps best remembered as the original Dream Curly in the 1943 Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (he was also one of Curly’s friends in the 1955 film adaptation) and as Daniel Pontipee, the fourth brother in Stanley Donen’s 1954 musical film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Marcel LePlat was born on December 2, 1913, in Pasadena. In the 1920s, his family moved to Seattle, where his early dance training took place under Mary Ann Wells—who advised the young man to audition for the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Choreographer Leonide Massine hired the good-looking, tall, redheaded American and changed his name to Marc Platoff, to match the Russian image of the company.
The energetic, lanky young dancer would tour with that company until Massine founded his own offshoot of the Ballet Russe in 1938, and Platt became a founding member of the new company. When he left Ballet Russe and went to Broadway, his last name was shortened to Platt.
During a tour of Kiss Me Kate, he met Jean Goodall, whom he would later marry in 1951 and with whom he had two children. Goodall, who co-directed a dance school in Florida with her husband for many years, died in 1994.
To read the full story, visit http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Dancer-Marc-Platt-100-dies-5363857.php.
If dance could end political strife between Cuba and the United States, the first steps were taken this weekend by American choreographer Ronald K. Brown at Havana’s Mella Theater.
NBC News said the award-winning choreographer chose Cuba’s MalPaso contemporary dance company to perform one of his original works. Titled Porque Sigues, or Why You Follow, the piece fuses African, American, and Cuban influences—a style Brown developed while working in West Africa.
Brown was selected by the Joyce Theater in New York to promote a two-year art partnership between the United States and Cuba. Under that, the Cuban dancers will leap from the Havana stage to one in the Big Apple later this spring to perform more works by Brown.
Friday night’s packed house included Nick Schwartz-Hall from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. “There was a cultural conversation [between Cuba and the United States] that was interrupted and we’ve all been the poorer because of it,” said Schwartz-Hall, who argues that the two countries’ shared cultural roots have the power to transcend political differences.
Osnel Delgado, MalPaso’s artistic director, thinks “there’s too much talking and not enough dancing” in this world. He believes dance diplomacy could be the vehicle that starts a conversation between the two governments.
To see the original story, visit http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/dance-diplomacy-american-choreographer-steps-unite-u-s-cuba-n66871.
Wendy Whelan, principal dancer with New York City Ballet who became a major star of the post-Balanchine era, plans to give her farewell performance with the company on October 18 after 30 years—and then to continue her leap into contemporary dance.
“It’s exactly like a 30-year circle,” Whelan, 46, told the New York Times. Whelan joined NYCB as an apprentice in 1984 and went on to become a prima ballerina and to create roles in new ballets by choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp, and Alexei Ratmansky, among others. “It feels perfect. I wouldn’t want to stay 31. Thirty years is a good, long time.”
But Whelan, whose departure is being announced Monday, does not seem inclined to slow down. After making a critically acclaimed foray into modern dance last year with her program Restless Creature, she is planning a second venture: a program of new works for her to perform with the Royal Ballet’s Edward Watson that is scheduled to have its premiere in London in 2015.
Whelan said she was recovering well from a hip injury that required surgery and sidelined her, forcing the postponement of a national tour of Restless Creature that had been scheduled for this spring. “I’m making some steady progress,” she said, adding that she hopes to dance with NYCB this spring and to dance this summer in Saratoga, New York; London; and Vail, Colorado. The Restless Creature tour has been rescheduled for next year.
Members of Montgomery Ballet expected to have a normal Saturday of class and practice. They didn’t expect to be cleaning up broken glass—however, that’s what they found themselves doing after someone vandalized their property, reported the Montgomery [AL] Adviser.
Rocks and pieces of concrete were thrown through windows into the ballet’s studios in a shopping center on East Boulevard, breaking a mirror and fabric that was part of a stage design inside.
Office manager Sarah-Ellen Thompson said she was angry and confused. “We don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the ballet, and we don’t have any grudges,” Thompson said.
Nicole Miller, a teacher with the ballet and member for six seasons, said the most trouble they’ve had at the location were cars broken into a few years ago. Members of the ballet said they feel like the studio was a second home, so the incident was met with strong emotions. “I’m shocked and in disbelief,” Miller said. “I feel very violated.”
To see the original story, visit http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20140330/NEWS01/303300026/Montgomery-Ballet-vandalized?nclick_check=1.
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, a Goth-infused take on the ballet that takes the traditional fairy tale from 1890 to today, will air on PBS April 25 at 9pm through THIRTEEN’s Great Performances program, reports Broadway World.
Charles Perrault’s timeless fairy tale, about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years, was turned into a legendary ballet by the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa in 1890.
Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance, when fairies, vampires, and decadent opulence fed the public’s gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman (Hannah Vassallo), the ballet moves forwards in time to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era—a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn, and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day—a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy story.
For more information, visit www.pbs.org/gperf. To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance
MacArthur Fellowship recipient Kyle Abraham will be presenting new works that pay homage to the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 20th anniversary of the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa at New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street, this fall.
Presented in two programs—September 23 to 27, and September 30 to October 4—the new repertory will include the evening-length work The Watershed, and When the Wolves Came In, a mixed repertory program including the ensemble work “The Gettin’,” featuring original music performed live by jazz artist Robert Glasper, and a solo work, “Hallowed.”
Each will feature visual design by conceptual artist Glenn Ligon and take inspiration from Max Roach’s protest album, We Insist: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, which celebrated the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and shined a light on the growing Civil Rights Movement of that period in South Africa and the U.S.
Abraham is premiering the works through the New York Live Arts’ Resident Commissioned Artist (RCA) program, which identifies and supports outstanding mid-career artists and provides nearly $280,000 in direct support, including a salary each year for two years, plus full health benefits, two years of residency time, and a commission of a new work or works to premiere at New York Live Arts.
The home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, New York Live Arts provides an extensive range of participatory programs for adults and young people and supports the continuing professional development of artists. For more information, visit www.newyorklivearts.org.
A popular dance studio in Denver that attracts dancers from across Colorado and the rest of the country has suddenly become very popular with thieves, reported 9News.
BBoy Factory, located at 6401 Broadway, has been burglarized twice in the past eight days. During the first robbery on March 18, thieves took off with $3,500 worth of equipment and merchandise, including turntables, speakers, an amplifier and mixer, a TV, cash register, and art supplies. When the studio asked for help through GoFundMe, the community rallied and helped raise almost $4,000 to buy new gear. Then just eight days later, burglars hit the studio again—this time making off with only a set of brand new speakers.
Studio owner Ian Flaws told 9News he’s shocked, but working on moving forward. The studio offers hip-hop classes in dance, DJing, and graffiti art both at its home base as well as in several schools, afterschool programs, and for the Denver probation office. The goal is to give kids—especially those on probation, he said—and adults a safe place to practice their art.
Officials from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the burglaries but say they don’t have a suspect yet. Deputies say the best way to recover stolen electronics is to keep a record of serial numbers on all devices and equipment.
To see the original report, visit http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/03/27/dance-studio-burglarized-twice-in-8-days/6986181/.
“In dance, aesthetics and safety don’t often go together—such as with knee hyperextension, or genu recurvatum,” writes Monika Volkmar, a former professional dancer turned personal trainer and founder of The Dance Training Project, Toronto, Canada.
Volkmar is a graduate of Ryerson University’s dance program and a strength-and-conditioning specialist (CSCS) certified through the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association).
On The Dance Training Project website, she writes: “Here are some simple things to consider in your dance classes (dancers and teachers alike) concerning knee hyperextension:
• Dance teachers should encourage students to NOT lock the knees, but to discover what “straight legs” feels like.
• Try taping the back of the knee. Dancers who feel the tape pull tighter if they hyperextend gives them some proprioceptive feedback, and will draw their awareness to their tendency to lock the knee.
• In first position, keep the heels together, and use the strength of the leg muscles (adductors, quads, hamstrings) to hold the position. Don’t just press the backs of the knees together. Feel the top of the thighs pulling together while pushing your feet through the floor and elongating the spine.
• While doing exercises like tendus or anything off one leg, the same cues as above apply. Does the girl in the picture look ready to relevé or jump off of her supporting leg? No—because she has no muscle engagement.
Registration is still open for Dancing as a Creative Act, an intensive workshop designed by the José Limón Dance Foundation that focuses on harnessing the creativity necessary to thrive in today’s contemporary dance world, set for June 15 to 28 at California State University–Fullerton.
By combining technical rigor and personal exploration, the workshop offers intensive training in Limón technique and repertory, new repertory, principles of performance, techniques of creation, breath and movement, and other special events, plus a final performance open to the public.
Classes will run Monday to Saturday, with full and part-time options available. Housing is available on the CSUF campus for full-time students.
No audition is necessary, but participants should be at an intermediate or advanced level. Previous experience in Limón Technique is preferred, but not a requirement.
The master teachers are choreographer Colin Connor, Doug Varone and Dancers performer Natalie Desch, and Debra Noble, soloist and collaborator with numerous contemporary choreographers.
A 10 percent discount is available to applicants who register before April 1. For full details, visit http://limon.org/californiasummerworkshop/.