Master tapper and Cats Paying Dues artistic director Andrew J. Nemr will launch Tap Into Freedom, a multi-faceted education program of free webinars, a 50-hour intensive, and private coaching services, on January 1.
The cornerstone event of Tap Into Freedom is a one-week intensive to be held July 14 to 19 in New York City that will feature more than 50 hours of training, guest faculty, and the opportunity to audition privately for Nemr’s tap dance company Cats Paying Dues.
The Tap Into Freedom curriculum is designed by Nemr, who has been trained in both musical theater and rhythm tap traditions with master tap dancers including Tony Award–winners Henry LeTang, Savion Glover, and the late Gregory Hines, and focuses on providing each student with the context and tools they need to more efficiently self-propel their tap dance education.
Free webinars, hosted by Nemr and geared toward students at varying levels as well as tap dance educators, will be held throughout the year. Private coaching sessions with Nemr will also available both online and in person.
The Tap Into Freedom Intensive will also be available for touring, and the curriculum may be modified to fit unique contexts. For further information, visit the Tap Into Freedom website at http://andrewnemr.wordpress.com/ or www.andrewnemr.com.
For nearly four years, “dancing crossing guard” Kathleen Byers, 64, danced her way into the hearts of her Toronto, Canada, neighbors as she shimmied and shook her way across Dufferin Street. But her show has come to a close, Byers said in Inside Toronto.
“I could be upset and say I won’t do the job, but I think our community is so terrific. I see all this love and strength and I care about the kids. I have such a wonderful life, I will just have to let this go by the wayside,” said Byers, who has held a crossing guard job for 10 years. “I don’t want to lose my job because it is a big part of my life.”
On December 4 she received a call from her coordinator telling her she had been instructed by a Toronto Police Service sergeant to stop dancing. “I was told not to bring music, not to play music, and not to dance,” Byers said. “I asked if I could just exercise, which means just rhythmic movement, and I was told not to do that, too.”
Byers, told that she was a distraction to motorists and could cause a child to be hit by a car, was at first devastated by the no-dancing directive, and subsequently, her community rallied to call on the police to rescind.
On December 10, Byers met with representatives from Toronto Police Services regarding the directive that she stop playing her music and dancing on the job. “It was very amicable. I couldn’t have met with a nicer group of police,” Byers said of the meeting. “They are very concerned about me, very kind and caring.”
She said she will continue to offer walkers a safe passage and she will brighten their days with her love and enthusiasm for her job. “I have lots of stuff up my sleeve,” she said.
To read the full story, visit http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4264195-police-tell-brockton-triangle-s-dancing-crossing-guard-to-take-a-walk/.
This month marks the ninth production of The Nutcracker by the Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy of Pocatello, Idaho, and for the first time, owner and artistic director Sergiu Brindusa will be presenting the ballet as a U.S. citizen.
Brindusa became a citizen on September 12. He came to the country 22 years ago, first as a student, then as a performer and instructor, before securing resident alien status.
“I took my time, and I made a conscious effort to get the maximum flavor of America,” Brindusa, a native of Romania, told the Idaho State Journal. He and his wife, Beth Moore, are former Orlando Ballet dancers. The couple, plus their 7-year-old son Ian Michael, will all perform in The Nutcracker.
His family was the biggest reason that Brindusa eventually sought citizenship. “I wanted to feel like I was united with my family,” he said. “I am very proud to be an American. It’s what I’ve always wanted. This has been an awesome year for me, one I will always remember.”
The Nutcracker opens tonight at Frazier Auditorium on the Idaho State University campus, featuring 144 dancers from the Brindusa-Moore Academy and the Pocatello community.
For the past eight years, the annual holiday event has been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pocatello and all proceeds go back to the community through the club’s service and charity programs, which include arts and education grants. Rotary Club of Pocatello also sponsors two condensed, free performances for area fifth-graders.
Camp Laurel, a private, co-ed, residential camp in Maine, is seeking a dance director for the summer of 2014 to teach jazz, tap, modern, ballet, and hip-hop to all levels and abilities.
Salary, room, board, and travel allowance are included. For a sneak peek of the camp’s Inter Arts Program, visit http://www.camplaurel.com/watch_our_movie/index.php?v=inter-arts.
Interested applicants can contact staffing coordinator Claire Hughey at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 800.327.3509. To apply online, visit “The Staff Experience” page on the camp website, www.camplaurel.com.
Behind Ballet, the blog of the Australian Ballet, chats with music director and chief conductor Nicolette Fraillon about why Prokofiev’s Cinderella is one of the great ballet scores, and discusses how the composer uses different instruments in the orchestra to make the audience feel the story and characters.
Why is the Cinderella score particularly clever?
NF: Musically, it’s really carefully thought through. There is a brilliant use of orchestral colors to tell the story and underscore character development. Prokofiev uses every possible musical device—whether it’s melody, harmony, orchestration, or motific development—to tell the story. And in that sense Cinderella is often described as the fourth Tchaikovsky ballet because it’s really on a par with The Sleeping Beauty, where Tchaikovsky used the orchestra to illustrate the psychological development of the characters way beyond anything that anyone had done in the 19th century.
It’s very Russian, and comes out of the Russian theater tradition where the story is important, but the characters are more important than the story itself. Cinderella is the Russian telling of the fairytale, so it’s quite dark, and it is a dark, cynical score—a child of its time. Often audiences say it doesn’t feel like Cinderella because they were expecting the idea that you’ll find your prince and be transported to a better place. This is definitely not that story. But what all great choreographers do, and [choreographer Alexei] Ratmansky definitely does, was to understand what Prokofiev created, and reflect that on stage.
To read the rest of the interview, visit http://www.behindballet.com/cinderella-the-music-part-1/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cinderella-the-music-part-1.
The Fashion Gone Rogue blog announced that the latest issue of How to Spend It puts the spotlight on ballet-inspired fashions with this dreamy shoot captured by Andrew Yee of Atelier Management.
Models Ilva Heitmann, Vasilla Pavlova, Veranika Antsipava, Anastasia Ivanova, Stephanie Hall, Anne Sofie, Alexa Yudina, Regina Krilow, Maria Borges, and Ana Buljevic wear romantic designs from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Elie Saab Couture, and Vivienne Westwood Couture styled by Damien Foxe.
These prima ballerinas’ looks are completed with painted faces and stage-ready hair courtesy of makeup artist Robert Greene and hair stylist Shlomi Mor. To see the fashion photo spread, visit http://www.fashiongonerogue.com/andrew-yee-captures-ballet-fashion-spend-magazine/.
Through the Eyes of a Dancer (Wesleyan University Press) is a carefully curated collection of reviews and essays, written by Dance Magazine’s editor at large, Wendy Perron, reports Jennifer Edwards in The Huffington Post.
Edwards says: “Perron’s book flows like a choreographic retrospective. The reader has an opportunity to witness both the writer, and the work, evolve. Her pieces took me on a journey, filling in the gaps of my own understanding about dance from the perspective of a woman who was both an insider and an outsider, simultaneously knowing and questioning.
Perron includes writing on downtown dance in the ’60s and ’70s, interviews with visionaries like Susan Sontag, essays on people including Katherine Dunham, Yvonne Rainer, and Miguel Gutierrez, and topics like blogging about choreography. This is an important publication, surfacing at a time when concert dance, to me, feels flat. Perron provides depth, breadth, and life.”
To read Edwards’ chat with the author, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-edwards/through-the-eyes-of-a-dan_b_4375144.html?utm_hp_ref=dance.
Romeo and Juliet was the first professional production Nicolas Petrov saw as a student in Yugoslavia. Later, as the founding artistic director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, he created the first American production in 1971. Now the revival of that same full-length ballet at Point Park University will mark his final bow in a 67-year career in dance.
“That’s a lot of pliés,” he quipped dryly to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
One day after World War II in a small Yugoslavian town, representatives from the ballet showed up at his public school to audition potential students. “Ballet? What is ballet?” he thought.
Among the benefits for dancers was special VIP food and a two-week paid vacation, so he set about studying the art of ballet at age 12 in Novi Sad.
While dancing with the National Theatre in Belgrade, French choreographer Janine Charrat saw him and invited him to Paris where he took classes at Olga Preobrajenska’s famed studio and met choreographer Leonide Massine and fellow Yugoslavian Frano Jelincic. Later, Jelincic enticed him to come to Pittsburgh, first for a job at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and eventually at Point Park College.
His Romeo and Juliet was the first American production, an original full-length ballet culled from his own memories. He would go on to bring historic figures to fertilize his fledgling group, including teachers Edward Caton and Vitale Fokine, dancers Edward Villella, Violette Verdy, and Frederic Franklin, and mentor Leonide Massine. Eventually, Petrov would create 10 full-length ballets and more than 50 shorter works, some at Point Park, others in professional groups such as American Dance Ensemble and Ballet Petrov, which he formed in association with the college.
Romeo and Juliet runs through Sunday at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. To read the full story, visit http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/2013/12/09/Final-steps-in-67-years-of-dance/stories/201312090026.
Less than a full day after being lauded in a packed Opera House as one of the Kennedy Center’s annual honorees, hometown girl Shirley MacLaine, 79, appeared Monday at a modest Northwest Washington D.C. dance studio where her path to fame began.
The Oscar-winning actress, singer, dancer, and author visited The Washington School of Ballet, a warren of rehearsal halls she once attended daily, starting at age 11, reported The Washingtonian. The trip to the studio from her Arlington home—made via a series of buses and streetcars—took about an hour and a half. After that it was rehearsal, and then home again. She said it was the early development of a work ethic that she’s never given up.
MacLaine’s visit to the school and Washington Ballet headquarters was something of a surprise, cooked up Sunday night at the gala honors event, and therefore many of the ballet dancers—who were having a day off—were not at the school. Word got out, though, and slowly they began to drift in through the glass doors of the building and into the lobby where MacLaine stood reminiscing about her teachers and mentors, Lisa Gardiner and Mary Day, who founded the school in 1944.
At The Washington School of Ballet, her mentors told the young Shirley Beaty she should pursue a career in acting rather than ballet. “They said, ‘You think too much, you should go into acting.’ ” She followed their advice, went to New York, got cast in the chorus of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, and was on her way to global fame.
Lauren Cuthbertson became a principal ballerina for the Royal Ballet when she was just 24 years old. Today, as a patron to the National Youth Ballet and one of the U.K.’s Who’s Who for 2014, she’s shared her Top 10 Tips on how to succeed as a ballerina with BBC News.
10. Wear Your Big Girl Pants and Never Be Afraid to Fail
There are so many things I would like to say to a younger me. I’d like to say that you need to be really realistic. You need to really suck it up, put on your “big girl pants,” be brave, learn to listen to criticism, and listen to the truth.
When I was younger, there were so many things that I didn’t achieve that I wanted to. There were competitions I didn’t get into, grades I didn’t make—and I remember those moments like they were yesterday.
But learning from those experiences, that’s when I really turned up the volume. I used that sadness—almost anger—and disappointment with myself to strive towards the next level. So don’t be scared of failure. If you are meant to succeed you’ll rise above that. Just keep going and it will make you stronger.
To see the reminding tips, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25240771.
Dancers have until March 30, 2014 to submit applications for the first annual international Contemporary Dance and Choreography Competition, which will be held April 28 and 29 at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, New York City.
The competition is produced by former Bolshoi ballerina Valentina Kozlova, creator of the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition.
For the new contemporary competition, competition divisions include solos (two pieces), duets, and groups, and pieces may be entered as competing dancers and/or competing choreographers. Dancers may perform either barefoot or in soft shoes. Unlike the ballet competition, there is no age restriction.
Prizes include scholarships for summer intensives with The Ailey School, Peridance Capezio Center, and the Juilliard dance division, plus a choreography workshop at an international location. The judging panel will be headed by Bolshoi Ballet star Andris Liepa.
For information or the application, visit www.vkibc.org or call 212.245.0050.
A city council committee has approved a $5.46-million funding request for a proposed $17.9-million dance facility in Calgary’s Beltline, reported the Calgary Herald.
At 3,250 square meters, the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Dance Centre would be the largest facility of its kind in the city. It would house several dance studios, performance venues, a recreational school, and community space.
“We moved into our current facility in 1993 . . . and we paid $35,000 a year in rent,” said Kathi Sundstrom, executive director for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. “We now pay in excess of $250,000, so we can’t afford to operate where we are because we can’t expand our revenue because there are only so many studios.”
DJD is partnering with the Kahanoff Centre for Charitable Activities to build a $40-million, 12-story building at Centre Street and 12th Avenue S.E. DJD, which is kicking in $17.9 million for the project, would occupy the first five floors of the building through a 49-year lease.
The $5.46 million, which still needs council approval, is through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative Culture-Related Infrastructure Fund. The provincial and federal governments have already approved $5 million and $1.9 million, respectively, for the project. DJD has also received $1.5 million from the Calgary Foundation and $3.5 million in private donations.
Sundstrom said the new performing arts facility should open in November 2015 and will provide the community with additional arts space. “Our objective was to bring dance to the street and make it accessible,” said Sundstrom.
To read the full story, visit http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Proposed+dance+facility+Beltline+receives+million+boost
Ballet’s Greatest Hits, a filmed Youth America Grand Prix gala evening showcasing classical ballet variations from Don Quixote, Flames of Paris, Giselle, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake, is now available on iTunes in over 20 countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa.
Hosted by American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, Ballet’s Greatest Hits presents an all-star cast from the world’s leading dance companies, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet.
The film offers exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, rare archival materials, and exclusive interviews with choreographers, film producers, critics, and luminaries of the dance world, such as Alexei Ratmansky, Benjamin Millepied, Edward Villella, and many others.
The film is available at iTunes for purchase ($14.99 to $19.99) or rental ($3.99 to $4.99), and is also distributed through Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube. Visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/ballets-greatest-hits/id733326116 for more information.
Limón4Kids, an arts and education program that introduces contemporary dance and modern dance pioneer, José Limón, to grades 4 to 12 in New York City schools located in largely Hispanic neighborhoods, is starting up again in December.
The Limón4Kids program is now five years old and has quickly grown from serving 150 students to more than 600 hundred per year in schools in Harlem, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Rockland County. The program introduces students to such concepts as heritage, community, and identity by sharing Limón’s personal story as a Mexican-American immigrant. Movement classes are used as a tool to help students develop movement language skills and discuss social issues that may be relevant to their own life journey. After learning sections of Limón’s choreography, students are asked to create their own dance, taking into account narrative and core movement phrases. The program, free to all participants, ends with a performance for classmates, teachers, and parents.
For more information, visit http://limon.org/community/community-engagement/.
Sean Bankhead, the 24-year-old self-taught dancer who was discovered in 2005 on YouTube and now makes a living teaching others the ins and outs of breaking, popping, and locking, will teach two classes and judge a hip-hop battle during this week’s Charleston [South Carolina] Dance Festival.
After his first dance video received more than a million views, Bankhead worked as a dancer and choreographer for artists including Beyoncé, Drake, and Britney Spears. He is also the choreographer on Dance Kids ATL, a reality show about talented young hip-hop dancers from Dance 411 studio in Atlanta that debuted this summer on TLC.
Created by the 6-year-old studio Dancefx Charleston and the Charleston Dance Alliance, the festival boasts a week of performances, lectures, master classes, and competitions from December 9 to 15.
Bankhead will teach an intermediate class December 13 from 6 to 7:15pm, an advanced class from 7:15 to 8:30 pm, and serve as a judge for the 9pm hip-hop battle. All three will be held at the Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain Street.
Also leading master classes during the festival will be Caroline Lewis Jones, artistic director of UNBOUND Dance Company; African dance performer Queen Atterberry; and Dale Lam, founder of Columbia City Jazz Dance School and Company. Internationally-recognized contemporary company Shen Wei Dance Arts will hold a multi-day workshop series. Also offered will be a nutrition and wellness class for dancers; yoga for dancers; “Find the Moment, an interactive/multimedia/improvisational dance installation; and two dance showcases. To see a full schedule, visit www.charlestondancefestival.com.
To read the full story, visit http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/12/05/2831723/charleston-dance-festival-to-feature.html.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and an ensemble tell two of Anton Chekhov’s brilliant anti-love stories through a myriad of mixed media and movement in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production Man in a Case, running now through December 22 in the Lansburgh Theatre in the Harman Center for the Arts, 450 7th Street, NW, Washington DC.
In Chekhov’s brilliant tale of humor and despair, a pair of hunters talk late into the night sharing stories: one of an anti-social man (Baryshnikov) and his involvement with an aggressively extroverted woman. The second is a tale of moral ambiguity in which the protagonist forgoes his love for a married woman.
Drawing from surveillance footage, folk dance, and instructional hunting videos, Man in a Case creates a bridge between our time and that of these 19th-century anti-love stories. For details and tickets, visit http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/plays/details.aspx?id=394&source=l.
Crowdfunding sites have been primarily used by small dance companies or individual dancers to raise money, but that’s changing.
A story in Crain’s New York Business reported that earlier this month, the New York City Ballet raised $20,000 for a documentary using crowdfunding, and now the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance surpassed its Kickstarter goal of raising $25,000 to commission a new work by noted choreographer Nacho Duato.
“We are just absolutely thrilled,” said LaRue Allen, Martha Graham Dance Company executive director, said. “It’s just great.”
The need for funds has been especially acute at the Martha Graham company since Superstorm Sandy engulfed the company’s New York City basement storage space, destroying or damaging $4.2 million of costumes, sets, and pieces of equipment—an amount roughly equivalent to the dance company’s $4.1 million budget.
Ms. Allen plans to raise about $1 million a year over four years to replace damaged goods, along with several hundred thousand dollars to fund new works. That’s in addition to the $1 million a year the company already raises. The company has already raised nearly $1 million for this year thanks to both monetary and in-kind donations.
“I think you’ll see more of the larger companies start using crowdfunding,” said Lane Harwell, executive director of Dance/NYC, an advocacy group.
To see the full story, visit http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20131127/ARTS/131129887#.
A New York City neighborhood dance studio is bringing young football players into their studio for a six-week ballet workshop that’s designed for athletes.
FOOTBALLet at Cora Dance, located on Richards Street in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, focuses on footwork, balance, and strength-building exercises by using movements from ballet and the field.
A parent approached dance instructor Courtney Cooke with an idea for the workshop. “I immediately saw things that were practiced in football drills . . . that could be translated to ballet,” said Cooke, 28, who first taught the class last year.
Cooke, who will lead the workshop for 9- to 13-year-olds beginning December 7, starts each class with ballet fundamentals and then teaches exercises like petit allegro jumps and graceful adagio movements, she said.
But since her young students are more interested in becoming better football players, not ballerinas, she created challenges that combine ballet skills with sports drills. In one exercise, each student, football in hand, must chasse across the room, end with a grand jeté over a three-foot barrier, then quickly turn and throw the football to the next student.
To see the original story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131204/red-hook/football-inspired-ballet-classes-combine-dance-with-drills-red-hook.
San Francisco Ballet has launched a Nutcracker interactive storybook application designed for children ages 6 to 10 and their families.
The animated iPad app allows users to not only experience SF Ballet’s production of Nutcracker through original illustrations and storytelling, but to explore and engage with the world of classical dance and music through groundbreaking new interactive technology.
Key features of the app, now available on the App Store for $4.99, include original artwork by Kate Garchinsky; audio clips of Tchaikovsky’s renowned Nutcracker score that accompany each scene; playful animations; and pop-up information pages featuring fun facts about ballet, Nutcracker, and SF Ballet’s production.
In addition, the app offers videos and photos that take young readers behind the scenes. Users have the option of reading the story themselves or listening to a narration while they tilt and tap their iPad to uncover surprises along the way. Throughout this playful and educational app, children can hone their reading skills while learning about ballet, dance, music, and more.
To see the Nutcracker Interactive Storybook app trailer and for additional information, visit www.sfballet.org/nutcrackerstorybook.
Producer/directors Joani Livingston and Renée McKay recently spent several days with the San Diego Ballet shooting footage for their latest undertaking, Ineffable, a documentary about the struggle to keep the arts alive in this country.
Why did they choose, in a film about the arts, to focus on ballet?
“Because it’s a performance art, where music, dance, theater, and visual art intersect,” Livingston explained to the La Jolla Light. “And performance art is ephemeral. We watch for an hour or so, then poof! It’s gone. Ballet personifies beauty, wonder, strength, and a whole gamut of emotions—basically, who we are as human beings. It’s transcendent; watching a ballerina leap into a grand jeté takes your breath away. And the only way art like this, demanding constant practice and great dedication, will not be lost is by passing it on from generation to generation.”
Ineffable examines valiant efforts to train future generations of ballet students, practitioners, and audiences in a small town (West Palm Beach, Florida), a big city (New York) and mid-sized San Diego.
“We try to tell stories that promote positive change,” McKay said. “As independent producers of content for PBS-TV, we reach millions of eyes and ears, and we don’t take our responsibility lightly.”
With Ineffable, they hope to show that, through dedication, even in a world obsessed with bottom lines, beauty can triumph. And if one day it does not, something profoundly human will be lost.
To see the original story, visit http://www.lajollalight.com/2013/11/27/lights-camera-grand-jete-team-films-a-ballet-documentary-in-san-diego/.
TuTuMUCH, a documentary film that follows nine young ballet dancers as they compete for highly coveted spots at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, is now available to download on iTunes or purchase on DVD.
The film by Elise Swerhone is a behind-the-scenes story of what it takes to become a dancer. These girls have been given the chance of a lifetime, a four-week summer “audition” to get into a professional ballet school. Leaving behind their families and friends, often for the first time, each girl confronts the painstaking and sometimes rewarding realities of living her dream.
As the girls learn, talent and passion alone are not enough. The classes are grueling and the girls’ physical and emotional limits are stretched and tested daily. “You’ve even got to love the pain,” says 12-year-old Sidnie, one of the prospective ballerinas. The success of a dancer often comes down to the shape of a foot or the length of the neck. In the last few days of the program the girls find out which of them will take the next step toward the dream of becoming a professional ballerina, and which ones won’t.
A Russian ballet dancer has been jailed for six years after being convicted over an acid attack on the Bolshoi Theatre’s artistic director, reported Sky News.
Sergei Filin suffered severe burns to his eyes and face last January in Moscow when a man threw sulfuric acid at him as he returned home late at night. He has undergone dozens of operations after he was nearly blinded in the attack. And in emotional testimony earlier in the month-long trial, he told the court he is still unable to see his children.
Judge Yelena Maximova said soloist dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, 29, and two other men had intentionally caused grievous bodily harm to Filin and all three defendants were jailed. Yuri Zarutsky, who admitted to throwing acid in Filin’s face, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Andrei Lipatov, who drove Zarutsky to the scene, got four years behind bars.
The attack revealed bitter rivalries behind the scenes of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Dmitrichenko admitted he wanted Filin roughed up and had given Zarutsky the go-ahead to hit him. But Dmitrichenko said he had not wanted acid to be used, and pleaded not guilty. Zarutsky said it was his own idea and he had not told Dmitrichenko of his plan. However, Dmitrichenko had told Zarutsky on the night of the attack that Filin was on his way home from the theater, according to the judge.
To read the full story, visit http://news.sky.com/story/1176928/bolshoi-ballet-acid-attack-dancer-jailed.
Vitamin D deficiency caused by their intensive indoor training regime is putting elite ballet dancers at increased risk of injury, a U.K. study has found.
The Guardian reported that researchers at the Royal National Orthopaedic hospital (RNOH), University of Wolverhampton, and the Jerwood Centre at Birmingham Royal Ballet, have urged trainers and medical professionals to consider providing dancers with vitamin D supplements during the winter after results showed it had a significant influence on improving muscle function and reducing injury occurrence.
Dr. Roger Wolman, consultant in rheumatology and sport and exercise medicine at the RNOH, said: “We know vitamin D [deficiency] can affect the bones. What’s become clear . . . is vitamin D is also important for muscles. It might not have an intense effect on your average office worker but on someone doing very intensive training, putting a lot of stress on their bones and muscles, it can be significant.”
The research, published on Friday in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, involved 24 dancers at the Birmingham Royal Ballet who dance between six and eight hours a day and a total of 38 hours a week, meaning they get little exposure to sunlight, the main natural source of vitamin D.
Before any were given supplements, all were found to be vitamin D deficient or insufficient (not as severe but still low) during winter and only 15 percent achieved normal levels during the summer. Subsequently, 17 of the dancers were given oral vitamin D3 and seven were not. Significant increases in muscle strength and vertical jump performance were found among the group taking vitamin D. They also suffered fewer injuries, with 12 reporting no injuries and five a single injury, compared to those not given the supplements, only one of whom suffered no injuries with five reporting one injury and one dancer reporting two.
To read the full story, visit http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/29/vitamin-d-ballet-dancers-injury.
The professional dancers in the St. Paul City Ballet’s holiday production Clara’s Dream often pull double or triple duty, dancing multiple roles in the one-hour performance. The dancers pull extra duty offstage as well, said the Pioneer Press, covering administrative roles as part of the company’s rare artist-led business model.
When Minnesota’s St. Paul City Ballet announced the 2013–14 performance season was in jeopardy, dancer Shannon Corbett pitched to the board the dancers’ plan to step into the administrative roles, overseeing the direction of the ballet in addition to the work they do in the studio, including a budget that would make it possible.
“Being artist-led makes it really easy for us to kind of have control, and have a little more artistic freedom, in that sense,” said Jarod Boltjes, who joined the St. Paul City Ballet this season and serves as the production coordinator, booking performance spaces for the company.
Dancer Zoe Henrot was nominated by the company to be the interim artistic director, overseeing much of the choreography for the season. “It’s kind of a blessing. Because we are artist-led, we can sit down and be like ‘What part has someone always been dying to do, but never has had the chance?’ ” Henrot said. “It gives us a lot of flexibility in what we want to put on stage.”
The company puts on a free performance once a month in downtown St. Paul. Dancers walked in the 2013 Twin Cities Pride parade, and the company maintains an active social media presence. This community outreach is crucial, Henrot said, because of the artist-led business model’s reliance on community support. “We’re just really trying to get out there and talk to people about what we’re doing, because we think it’s really cool,” she said.
To read the full story, visit http://www.twincities.com/stage/ci_24634446/dancers-take-over-st-paul-city-ballet-keep.
For six girls with Down syndrome, Center Stage Dance Studio in Bloomingdale, Illinois, is a treasured meeting place where they and their mothers have gathered weekly for the past 10 years.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Center Stage special needs dance team performs six to eight times each year before audiences of thousands at Chicago-area stadiums and theaters. The dancers bring crowds to tears with their moves and a message of believing anything is possible.
Linda Smarto suggested a special needs dance group when her then-8-year-old daughter Julia seemed to be falling behind in her dance class at Center Stage. Dance instructor Candie Schwaner, who has a master’s degree in special education and a brother with Down syndrome, didn’t hesitate: “If you get me the students, I’ll do it.”
Schwaner was adamant from the beginning that the girls would be treated like any other student at the studio, expected to practice and compete at competitions across the Chicago area. “When I found out there was a teacher who respected them so much to count on them to do everything she expected everyone else to do—to come on time, hair up, costumes, makeup—for that, I would drive twice as far,” said Karen Neville, whose daughter Kelly is part of the dance group.
But Schwaner’s background also made her sensitive to issues that a regular dance instructor might not be prepared for, such as physical and communication challenges. Within the studio, she promoted the special needs dance group, arranging showcases with fellow dance instructors in which one class would show off its routine to another, and vice versa. Before dance competitions, Schwaner called judges at home to make sure they would treat her special needs team fairly and that people would not be unkind to them.
Five of the young women are now advocates for the National Association for Down Syndrome and give speeches to classes and conferences about their lives. “I’m trying to reach out to people that Down syndrome is OK, for others to live their life and follow your dreams,” dancer Kelly Neville said. “It’s OK to have a disability.”
To read the full story, visit http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-11-27/news/ct-best-friends-dance-met-20131128_1_dance-group-special-needs-classes.
The director of the Deirdre O’Mara School of Irish Dance in Yonkers, New York, used an in-studio camera and social media to find a thief who broke into her studio in November.
According to The Irish Voice, O’Mara had installed a camera in order to keep an eye on her students when she was teaching, but in the early morning hours of November 12, caught eight minutes of footage showing a male ransacking the studio.
Once a picture of the suspect was released by the police, O’Mara turned to social media to spread the image in hopes of an arrest, sharing the photo on Facebook pages of community groups such as the McLean Avenue Merchants Association and the McLean Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The community response was enormous, she said, with the wanted poster being shared on Facebook pages hundreds of times. The very evening the posters were shared, a 30-year-old resident of the Bronx turned himself in. He was placed under arrest and charged with third degree burglary. (Among the stolen items were a laptop, an iPod player, and petty cash.)
O’Mara expressed her gratitude to the community and the Yonkers Police Department, and hopes the enormous community response will prevent something like this from happening again.
“I hope it makes people think twice about breaking and entering in this area,” she said. “It’s community watch at its best.” To read the full story, visit http://www.irishcentral.com/IrishVoice/Yonkers-Irish-dance-teacher-uses-social-media-to-catch-a-thief-233664281.html.
The North Platte [NE] High School Pacers dance team is fundraising this holiday season by offering Christmas dance-o-grams to area residents with hard-to-shop-for people on their gift lists.
The North Platte Telegraph said the team is working to raise money to help pay expenses for a trip to the state competition in Grand Island in February.
Dance-o-grams will be “delivered” on December 20 when the Pacers will perform a Christmas dance routine for recipients at home or at work. The cost is $10 and includes a special holiday greeting candy bar with the name of the giver.
Members of the team also raised money by wrapping gifts for Black Friday shoppers at the Platte River Mall beginning at 7am. To see the original story, visit http://www.nptelegraph.com/news/dance-o-grams-are-the-perfect-gift-this-holiday/article_c0ec4198-924d-5c6f-858d-4e2dec32ed71.html.
All members of the dance education community—including organization and association leaders; private, K–12 or higher education teachers; dance retailers or wholesalers; dance therapists, dance advocates, and others—are invited to attend UNITY’s 17th annual meeting, “Celebrate Our Common Goals,” set for January 18 and 19 at the Skyline Hotel, New York City.
UNITY is a nonprofit coalition of dance education organizations, associations, merchants, and others, with the goal of promoting cooperation and dialogue within the national dance profession. UNITY speaks with a strong, unified voice on dance-related issues.
For more information on UNITY’s annual open meeting, visit www.unitydance.org.
When Dick Van Dyke got the role of Bert in the 1964 movie musical Mary Poppins, Walt Disney asked him if he had a recommendation for a choreographer. Van Dyke recalled working with the team of Marc Breaux and Dee Dee Wood, who had created a number for the Jack Benny television show.
“I’m not really a dancer,” Van Dyke said. “I could move a little and I was what you call an eccentric dancer—loose-limbed and light on my feet. But they took what I could do and made the most of it. I was just thrilled.”
Disney took his recommendation and the married duo created one of the best-known live-action dances in the history of the studio—the chimney sweep number to the song “Step In Time.” According to the Los Angeles Times, Breaux, 89, a Broadway dancer who had trained with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, died November 19 in Mesa, Arizona, in an assisted-living facility where he had been in frail condition, said his son, Michael.
Mary Poppins also led them to work on the 1965 film version of The Sound of Music. Working with performers who were not primarily dancers became a Breaux and Wood hallmark. In the 1970s—during the time variety shows were popular on television — they created dances for more than 200 TV episodes.
To read the full obituary, visit http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-marc-breaux-20131122,0,196559.story#ixzz2lOiPIUf4.
American Ballet Competition’s guest master teacher for 2014 will be Francesca Zumbo, professor of dance for the Paris Opera Ballet School and a former Paris Opera première danseuse.
Classes with Zumbo will be held during the competition, set for June 11 to 14 at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts.
Born in Paris, Zumbo graduated from the National Conservatory of Paris with highest honors before joining the Paris Opera Ballet. She’s performed with companies including the Bolshoi, Kirov, London Festival, Winnipeg, and Tokyo Ballets, and since 1995 has been delegated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to teach for the Institute Central of Dance in Peking and the Shanghai Ballet in China.
For more information, visit www.americanballetcompetition.com.
Guiding Light Dance Academy of Dracut, Massachusetts, will be supporting The Andréa Rizzo Foundation’s nationwide fundraising effort, Dance Across America, with donations of proceeds from its holiday showcase.
The showcase, Gifts of Joy, is set for December 15 at 2pm at McCarthy Middle School, 250 North Road, Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
The Andréa Rizzo Foundation is a nonprofit, 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. Created in memory of a young dance therapy graduate student and survivor of childhood cancer, killed by a drunk driver at the age of 24, the Foundation aspires to bring dancers together to blend dance and compassion.
Gifts of Joy will feature 65 students performing tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, and Bollywood. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased at the dance studio by December 7, as they will not be available at the door. Twenty percent of the proceeds collected from this event will benefit Dance Across America.
The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that University of Pennsylvania students organizing a petition asking the university to implement for-credit dance classes have made moves to get their plan approved.
After receiving more than 500 signatures on their Change.org petition and hosting a “Dance Dance Revolution” event last week, organizers of the campaign plan to meet with a professor from the provost’s Art and Culture Faculty Steering Committee to push for further administrative changes. Organizers are also trying to meet with College of Arts and Sciences dean Dennis DeTurck.
“As Penn has been expanding its course offerings, it has increasingly focused on interdisciplinary study between our four undergraduate schools,” the statement in the petition said. “Dance is a perfect avenue to encourage this form of study.”
“Over the summer, I was thinking about my academic life here at Penn and thought about how I would love to study dance in a classroom,” Wharton junior Alexandria Wiggins, chair of the Dance Arts Council and creator of the petition, said. “I have been dancing my whole life, and as a Wharton student I’ve become more interested in arts management, specifically within the dance industry.”
Wiggins, who developed the petition with as part of her Management 104 class, said that compared to other performing arts such as theater, voice, and instrumental music, dancing is the only one without academic credit.
Moreover, Penn is the only school in the Ivy League that does not offer dance courses.
“There is definitely a lot of enthusiasm around the movement for dance for credit in the larger dance community at Penn,” Sara Cohen, President of Penn Dance, said. “Dance is an integral part of our lives, not just an extracurricular activity, so getting credit for our work would likely feel very rewarding.”
To read the full article, visit http://www.thedp.com/article/2013/11/student-petition-calls-for-dance-class-credit.
According to the Washington Post, bus-riding disco dancers will meet up near the Takoma Park Metro station for what is being billed as “Public Danceportation: Silent Disco on the Metrobus.” They’ll don wireless headphones, board a Metrobus and for about an hour or so dance to their heart’s content. Other bus passengers may see these folks making dance-like moves, but they won’t hear any music. After all, that’s the whole point of a Silent Disco Dance Party.
Organizer Barry Silber’s company Silence of the Jams has held a number of Silent Disco Dance Parties through the region. The parties are a way for folks to enjoy dancing and music without annoying the neighbors. This isn’t Silber’s first foray into the world of WMATA. Last year, he and fellow dancers turned a train on Metro’s Red Line into a moving dance club. Silber said it was a great success.
“It was fun—most people who watched were very interested in the spectacle,” he said. But he’s always looking for something a little different. Hosting a party on a moving Metrobus, “added [a] level of complexity and interest,” to the event.
Silber said dance party participants will follow all Metrobus rules. If it turns out they can’t dance in the bus aisles, they’ll make due with dancing while sitting.
Kim Gibson’s dance class for students with cerebral palsy has been taking place on Monday nights for almost 13 years. “Oh, it’s a highlight of his week,” says one parent of Gibson’s classes, held at the Brentwood [MO] Community Center.
“I love to change lives. I love to make people happy,” Gibson told KSDK.
The idea for the class began in the Cerebral Palsy Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital where parents come from all over the world to have their children treated by Dr. Jan Brunstrom, who has cerebral palsy herself. One day Brunstrom asked Gibson about her goals for her daughter, Gracie. “And I said, ‘Well, I’ve always danced and I really want Gracie to be able to dance,’ ” recalls Gibson.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to move their limbs, maintain posture, and in some cases communicate, but none of that seem to be a problem in this class. “I think in dance class they’re kind of free to be whoever they want to be and dance the way they want to dance,” explains Gibson.
To see a video report on this story, visit http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/health/2013/11/24/dance-class-for-kids-with-cerebral-palsy/3694979/.
David Turnell is going to play the part of the Snow King at the Next Generation Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, December 7 and 8, at the Straz Center in Tampa, Florida. The major role is a big milestone for 19-year-old Turnell, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, when he was young.
He said he had trouble speaking until he was about 6 years old. As for ballet, Turnell didn’t even begin learning about dance until he was 15. One of his instructors, Next Generation Ballet artistic director Peter Stark, said that’s a much later start than many other young dancers.
“It speaks, really, I would say, to his intellect, and his physical ability,” Stark told ABC Action News. “He’s a natural athlete.”
As for the Nutcracker, Turnell, who hopes to eventually land a full-time position with a company, said: “It will be a lot of fun,” said Turnell.
To see a video report on Turnell, visit http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/local_news/ballet-student-diagnosed-with-aspergers-syndrome-dances-way-to-nutcracker-role#ixzz2lrSxErgc.
For more information about performance times and tickets, visit www.strazcenter.org/Events/1314_Dance/The_Nutcracker#&panel1-2.
In the moments between classes, half a dozen young ladies gathered around a knee-high fence at the edge of their dance floor, watching and petting six puppies as Michelle Holmes-Bello responded to their inquiries and observations.
To Holmes-Bello, co-founder and artistic director at USA Ballet, the moment was proof that starting an animal rescue group, My Loveable Angels, earlier this year in the USA Ballet’s Bloomington, Illinois, facilities was the right thing to do. The animals have an opportunity for socialization while young dancers learn about animals’ needs.
She told The Pantagraph that the organization was created in memory of her recently deceased sister, Leslie Holmes, and has saved more than 80 creatures, mostly dogs on “death row,” by placing them with loving foster families until they find them homes.
“The [dancers] look so forward to meeting a new one and hearing its story,” she said, explaining the rescued animals are contained, and students must have their parents’ permission before interacting with them. “Just reaching them when they’re younger to help educate; that’s going to affect them as adults to help the cycle of what we’re trying to prevent.”
While last week’s canine visitors were a 3-month-old litter of dogs from Kentucky, Holmes-Bello said My Loveable Angels draws animals, mostly dogs, of all ages and in all health conditions from all over the Midwest.
Fabrice Herrault’s documentary about Rudolf Nureyev, La Passion Noureev, will have its American premiere in Los Angeles on December 5, 2013. The filmmaker is a respected New York City dance instructor and the product of the French ballet academy.
The exclusive fundraising event, benefiting Dance Camera West, will take place at the United Talent Agency screening room in Beverly Hills and will feature champagne, caviar, and Herrault’s “tone poem” of a movie, followed by a conversation about the art and impact of the Soviet Union’s first and greatest exiled danseur noble, to be led by Debra Levine.
The film, previously screened in Paris, will also screen next February at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera festival. Herrault has assembled previously unseen found-footage, including long clips from home movies captured by rogue filmmakers whirring Super-8s from balconies and opera boxes.
For tickets, visit http://dancecamerawest.org/nureyevfundraiser.htm.
To see the original story, visit http://artsmeme.com/2013/11/25/la-passion-noureev-to-premiere-in-los-angeles-for-dance-camera-west/.
Ten years ago choreographer and artistic director Larry Keigwin and associate director Nicole Wolcott founded the contemporary dance troupe Keigwin + Company. One of their signature works was Mattress Suite.
As part of the company’s 10th-anniversary season, which ran October 29 to November 3 in New York City, Keigwin and Company sponsored a video series called #Share the Mattress, which captures artists and friends dancing on mattresses. The videos can be seen online and feature dancers like modern-dance great Gus Solomons Jr., Michael Trusnovec of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Ryan Steele, who appeared on Broadway in Matilda and Newsies. Many, if not most of the performers are underwear-clad—though some of the youngest are in diapers.
For more on the project and to view videos, visit http://www.keigwinandcompany.com/company/special-projects/sharethemattress.
According to DanceBlog with Judith Mackrell, dance is apparently the new darling of the advertising industry. Not only have advertisers cottoned on to the fact that the art form is having a global moment, but they’re discovering that dance has its own expertise at combining the subliminal emotional message with the instantly striking image.
One recent dance ad was a glossily black and white promotion for Lexus, in which Tamara Rojo dances fragments of a solo choreographed by Russell Maliphant.
Dance delivers a very different vibe in a [Volkwagen] Polo ad; the tango moves, hip-hop soundtrack, and the sexy, grimy styling of the dancers appearance all resonating with the selling point of “tough.”
Gap also opts for urban cool in its use of hip-hop dancer Lil Buck in the denim moves campaign. The main message is simple: buy these jeans and channel the dancer’s charisma too.
A Nutcracker-themed Christmas ad from Baileys is choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, cast with top-flight dancers Steven McRae and Thiago Soares from The Royal Ballet and Iana Salenko from Staatsballett Berlin, and features an unusually generous amount of screen time devoted to their actual dancing.
To read the full blog and to view ads, visit http://www.theguardian.com/stage/dance-blog/2013/nov/18/advertising-dance-ballet-nutcracker-tamara-rojo.
A story in The Moscow Times reports that 18-year-old ballerina Precious Adams has been left out of Bolshoi Ballet Academy performances because of the color of her skin, she says, and has been told to “try and rub the black off” to make herself look more like what directors want for shows like the school’s 240th-anniversary performance earlier this month.
“Teachers have tried to vouch for me before, but if the almighty voice says it’s not right—it doesn’t look right—then whatever they say goes.”
Adams grew up in Canton, Michigan, began ballet lessons at age five, and at nine joined a nearby studio led by Sergei Rayevsky, a graduate of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg. She studied in Toronto, New York City, and Monaco before being accepted at the Bolshoi Academy in 2011 when she was just 16. But unlike the rest of her class, which includes other international dancers of various complexions and a biracial American woman, Adams said her dark skin has singled her out and prevented her from being cast in roles, particularly in group pieces.
Performance time, in Adams’ words, “directly relates to you getting a job. If I can say I’ve only performed on stage four times out of the past three years, it doesn’t look good. If I’d gone anywhere else, I’d probably have a lot more experience,” she said.
Responding to Adams’ allegations of mistreatment, the Bolshoi Academy said in a statement that they had received no report of discrimination from her and that school officials had not heard complaints from other international students. Adams said that she did not make an official complaint because she was unsure if it would do any good, saying: “I don’t think there would have been much of a response.” She argues, however, that the valuable experience she is gaining serves as an answer to those who question why she came here to train. “I am really just here to get the best training that I can so I can go and be amazing somewhere else, where it is not so racially discriminatory,” she said.
To read the full story, visit http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/us-ballerina-faces-discrimination-at-bolshoi-academy/489887.html#ixzz2lgC0kQgR.
According to The New York Times, The Joyce Theater Foundation will present the New York premiere of Snow White with choreography by Angelin Preljocaj. Performed by Mr. Preljocaj’s French dance company, Ballet Preljocaj, and based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, not the 1937 animated Disney film, the production is scheduled for a six-performance run from April 23 to 27 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Mr. Preljocaj recently choreographed a new work for the New York City Ballet and Ballet Preljocaj completed a run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music during its Next Wave Festival this month.
To see the original story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/arts/dance/grimm-snow-white-coming-to-lincoln-center.html?ref=dance&_r=0.
Still Moving: Pilobolus at Forty, a new documentary about the innovative dance company that was born when four forward-thinking male athletes joined a Dartmouth College dance class in the early 1970s, is now available for sale on DVD.
Produced and directed by Jeffrey Ruoff, Still Moving recently completed a successful run at prestigious film festivals including Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, DOC NYC, and Dance Camera West at LACMA. It was also shown at festivals held at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, in Athens, and in Sebastopol and Mill Valley, California.
A synopsis of the film: On the eve of its 40 anniversary, internationally-renowned Pilobolus returns to New Hampshire for a Dartmouth College–commissioned premiere of a collaboration with cartoonist Art Spiegelman. Still Moving: Pilobolus at Forty focuses on the company’s lifecycle—including a founder’s death—its evolution, transformation, and regeneration.
To purchase the DVD, visit www.pilobolusfilm.com/dvd.
Seventy-three dancers from Nancy Chippendale’s Dance Studios, North Andover, Massachusetts, will soon travel to Riesa, Germany, to represent the United States at the World Tap Championships, according to Wicked Local/North Andover.
The International Dance Organization’s World Tap Championships will run from November 30 to December 8 and host dancers ages 10 to 31 from 31 countries.
During their trip overseas, the United States team is scheduled to travel to Dresden, Meissen, Leipzig, Berlin, and Prague. “I am extremely proud of all of their hard work and can’t wait to see them perform on stage,” said studio founder Nancy Chippendale. “Go USA!”
To read the original story, visit http://www.wickedlocal.com/northandover/newsnow/x348810670/Dance-studio-to-compete-internationally.
UNITY, a nonprofit coalition of dance education organizations, associations, merchants, and others, has several $500 scholarship and grant opportunities available for dance teachers and school owners.
They include: two Studio Owner Scholarships (sponsored by Cicci and DanceWearCorner, Inc.), one Teacher Professional Development Scholarship (sponsored by UNITY), and one Community Outreach Grant (sponsored by Curtain Call). Deadline for submission for all scholarships/grants is January 1.
Applicants must be a member of any of the following UNITY member organizations:
Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Dance Alliance of Rhode Island, Dance Masters of New England, Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston, Florida Dance Masters, More Than Just Great Dancing, National Dance Education Organization, National Registry of Dance Educators, New York State Dance Education Organization, Southern Association of Dance Masters, or Tennessee Association of Dance.
Starz has cast a foursome of professional dancers in its upcoming dysfunctional ballet drama, which now has the title Flesh and Bone, says Indiewire. In addition, Ethan Stiefel, the artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and one of the stars of Center Stage, has been added as a consultant and choreographer.
Former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko, current American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky (another Center Stage cast member), Ballet Arizona company dancer Raychel Diane Weiner, and Emily Tyra (Boardwalk Empire) will all play supporting roles in the series. National auditions are underway for the lead role of “Claire Robbins,” a young ballet dancer with a troubled past who joins a prestigious New York ballet company.
Flesh and Bone, which is in development at the network, comes from Breaking Bad co-executive producer Moira Walley-Beckett, and promises to explore the dark side of the ballet world.
“I want to be able to capture dance on film with complete integrity, authenticity, and freedom,” said Walley-Beckett. “Not only are the dancers we’ve cast thus far brilliant company-level artists, but they’re also thrilling, intuitive actors. I’m inspired and optimistic about discovering the perfect ‘Claire.’ ”
To see the original story, visit http://www.indiewire.com/article/television/starz-casts-dancers-in-ballet-drama-flesh-and-bone.
Many in Milwaukee remember trying to get tickets to sold-out performances of Milwaukee Ballet’s adaptation of Peter Pan when it made its debut in 2010, reported WUWM 89.7.
The Michael Pink–directed show got rave reviews and returned in 2012 due to popular demand. Now a national television audience will get its chance to see the ballet when it airs on PBS next April 18. “It’s an extraordinary production, and we felt that it was the kind of program that a national audience would treasure as much as people have in Milwaukee,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger says.
She says PBS has grown its audience by 7 percent in the last year by offering quality programs like Peter Pan to its audience. Kerger says she’s also seen arts organizations on both the national and local levels struggle financially and with getting exposure, particularly during the last economic downturn.
“Part of the issue is marketing dollars were often early dollars to be cut and if you can’t put your art form in front of the public, how do you encourage people in?” she says. “I challenged our colleagues in public broadcasting to double down, on the local level as well as nationally, to explore ways to give wider exposure to the arts.” The PBS special was produced by Milwaukee Public Television.
To read the full story, visit http://wuwm.com/post/milwaukee-ballets-peter-pan-air-pbs-2014.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is the first professional ballet company in the United States to offer an autism-friendly performance of The Nutcracker, set for December 27 at 2pm at the Benedum Center.
According to CBS News/Pittsburgh, the city of Pittsburgh is a leader in making its performing arts accessible for people with disabilities—whether it’s a physical impairment, visual impairment, hearing impairment, or a developmental disability. An autism-friendly performance of The Lion King in September filled the Benedum Center’s 2,800 seats. (Pittsburgh was only the third city in the country to offer it.)
Alyssa Herzog Melby, education director for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, spearheaded the ballet’s autism-friendly Nutcracker with a focus group that included people with autism who gave them guidance. All choreography will remain the same, but the lights in the mice’s red eyes will be turned off, flares used in a magic trick will be eliminated, the sound will be lowered, and the house lights will be partially up.
The Benedum Center lobby will be outfitted with quiet areas for anyone who needs to calm down and activity zones for anyone who needs a break from the show but still wants to stay connected. Last week, the dancers had a special training on autism and what they can expect from the audience at the show.
All tickets for the performance are reserved for families who have a child or someone in their family on the spectrum or another cognitive disability, and are available at a discounted rate at www.PBT.org.
To see the original story, visit http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/11/19/pittsburgh-ballet-theatre-offering-autism-friendly-nutcracker-performance/.
New York City Ballet principal dancers Jenifer Ringer, Janie Taylor, Sébastien Marcovici, and Jonathan Stafford will mark their retirements from the stage at three special farewell events during this coming season.
The New York City Ballet announced that the events “will celebrate the careers of these four principal dancers who have touched us with their dynamic performances full of dramatic passion and elegant chivalry.”
Ringer, who became an apprentice in 1989 and a principal in 2000, will take her final bow on February 9 at 3pm in performances of Dances at a Gathering and Union Jack. Taylor and Marcovici, who wed in 2012, will appear in Afternoon of a Faun and La Valse during their final NYCB performance on March 1 at 8pm.
Stafford, will take to the NYCB stage on May 25 at 3pm in Emeralds and Diamonds before becoming the company’s newest ballet master.
For ticket information, visit www.nycballet.com.
To kick start its 40th performance season, Shreveport [LA] Metropolitan Ballet is making partners with former dancers, local artists, and some of the city’s newest athletes to remind residents how their support has kept dance alive, reports the Shreveport Times.
The ballet has commissioned a series of portraits from photographer Neil Johnson featuring male Shreveport celebrities in tutus. “How Do You Tutu?” featuring the likes of Moonbot Studios’ Brandon Oldenburg, the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra’s Kermit Poling, and musician Brady Blade dressed in the classic ballet skirt, will be on display in the lobby of Riverview hall during the ballet’s December 6 Ruby Gala.
“I like the irony, and I think that’s one of the themes,” Johnson said. “The guys doing it for the cause are willing to be in front of the camera for the permanence of it. There’s a sense of humor with these elegant portraits.”
In addition, SMB has developed a database of more than 1,500 dancers who have participated in its ballets, artistic director Kendra Meiki said. Sixteen second-generation SMB dancers will perform in this year’s The Nutcracker.
The extraordinary legacy of Anna Sokolow, one of the premiere modern dance choreographers of the 20th century, will be honored in a new production, Anna Sokolow Way, December 4 to 8, at the Theater at the 14th Street Y in New York City, reported The Huffington Post.
Conceived and directed by Jim May, Sokolow Ensemble’s founder, artistic director, and former dancer, Anna Sokolow Way will include new choreography, rare video, live performance, and narrative script, along with highlights from Sokolow master works, Dreams, Rooms, From the Diaries of Franz Kafka, Opus 65, and Magritte, Magritte.
From the Horse’s Mouth, the acclaimed dance/narrative series co-directed by Tina Croll and Jamie Cunningham, will present its unique blend of movement, storytelling, and supportive visual imagery to bring Sokolow vividly to life by tapping into the personal experiences of dancers, actors, critics, and musicians who worked with Sokolow over the course of her 60-year career in dance.
To see a From the Horse’s Mouth video segment on Sokolow, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7uyqQzhxDo.
Sokolow choreographed for Broadway (Street Scene, Camino Real, Candide, and the original Hair). She taught at New York’s Clark Center, at The Juilliard School in the dance and drama divisions, at HB Studio, the Actor’s Studio, and the American Theater Wing. Her work is in the repertories of the Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and others. She helped influence Israeli dance and had a lifelong association with the dance and theater arts in Mexico, and returned to both countries frequently as teacher and choreographer.
To read the full story, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adria-rolnik/anna-sokolow-way-honors-l_b_4234416.html.