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Archive for the ‘DSL Dance Wire’ Category

Rockettes’ New Show Scrapped in Favor of ‘Spring Spectacular’

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The Rockettes in Heart and Lights; photo by Damon Winter/New York Times

The Rockettes in Heart and Lights;
photo by Damon Winter/New York Times

Madison Square Garden Entertainment announced last week that its $25 million extravaganza Heart and Lights, a Rockettes show that was in development for Radio City Music Hall, is being reconceived by Tony Award–winning Broadway artists with input from the producer Harvey Weinstein.

The New York Times said the new show, New York Spring Spectacular, is Madison Square Garden Entertainment’s latest attempt at a long-held goal: to create an annual springtime attraction for tourists with the drawing power of its popular Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The show will begin seven weeks of performances on March 12.

At rehearsals, Weinstein, an Academy Award–winning film producer, raised doubts about the Heart and Lights script, convincing those in charge to postpone the show less than a week before its first scheduled performance.

The original creative team on Heart and Lights has been replaced. Its director, Linda Haberman, is out, and is also no longer artistic director of the Rockettes, after 20 years of working with the dancers and their various shows, a Madison Square Garden spokeswoman confirmed.

Weinstein is now helping to oversee the reshaping of the show, along with, among others, the Tony-winning director Diane Paulus, who was named Wednesday as co-creative director. In a statement, Weinstein said he was looking forward to collaborating on “an experience that families from around the world will love” and that he hoped would be “another New York tradition for generations to come.”

To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/spring-season-rockettes-show-is-reborn-with-weinsteins-help/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=dance&_r=0

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Bergasse Fulfills Desire to Choreograph MGM-Styled Dream Ballet

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Megan Fairchild in On The Town; photo by Joan Marcus

Megan Fairchild in On The Town; photo by Joan Marcus

Choreographer Joshua Bergasse, an Emmy Award winner for his work on Smash, makes his Broadway debut this season with the Broadway classic On the Town, a feat of storytelling in song and dance that is rarely seen on the modern Broadway stage.

“I dreamt of doing a dream ballet from an MGM musical,” Bergasse says in Playbill. “I had seen the movie On the Town, but never seen a stage production. I didn’t realize the amount of dance that was actually in the show that was not in the movie.”

In his choreography, Bergasse had to ensure that audiences were tracking the story the choreography was telling, especially in numbers like “The Times Square Ballet.”

“Everybody is doing something different throughout the whole six-minute ballet and they just come together every once in a while,” he says. “You craft the perfect moment so that the audience can find it. It’s difficult, because you don’t want the audience to be confused or distracted, you want them to have eye candy at times, but to also be able to follow the story.”

Storytelling through dance is something Bergasse hopes will find a regular place in Broadway’s offerings. He said that while many musicals today may include choreography, they aren’t necessarily created to feature dance at the core of the plot. Composers of today’s Broadway musicals “don’t really write with dance in mind,” and he plans to create a wish list of contemporary composers with whom he’d like to collaborate on new musicals.

“Hopefully composers will come see On the Town and remember that they can do that. They’re allowed to write ballets and put dance in there.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.playbill.com/news/article/on-the-town-choreographer-joshua-bergasse-on-bringing-the-dream-ballet-back-to-broadway-333812.

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Pregnant Pennsylvania Ballet Veteran Now Dancing for Two

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Rachel Maher; photo by Alexander Iziliaev

Rachel Maher; photo by Alexander Iziliaev

For Rachel Maher, an 11-year Pennsylvania Ballet veteran, the choreography, costume changes, and intense action of the season-opening program “Press Play” were a little taxing at times. Maher is expecting her first child at the end of March.

“I knew it was feasible,” she says in the Delaware County Daily Times. “The consensus is that if you’re already active, you can remain active. But you always listen to your body and what it tells you.”

Maher is certainly going to stay active. She already has a role in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. She also is set for another Balanchine ballet, Prodigal Son, in February, a walk-on role she’ll take on in her eighth month—and one made possible by a full, flowing costume.

In “Press Play,” Maher danced in two of the program’s four pieces: Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, a stamina-challenging role of jumps and difficulty foot work, and Ratmansky’s Jeu de Cartes, with split-second costume changes between each of three movements.

“It’s definitely a challenge because your body is changing,” Maher said. “It was fun to dance while having this personal secret. And it was interesting to realize that I’m not dancing alone anymore.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.delcotimes.com/arts-and-entertainment/20141023/pennsylvania-ballet-program-keeps-pregnant-drexel-hill-dancer-on-her-toes.

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Festival’s Move to Larger Space Speaks to Growth in Modern Dance Community

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Your Move Modern Dance Festival; photo by Peter Richter

Your Move Modern Dance Festival; photo by Peter Richter

Your Move Modern Dance Festival, featuring new and developing works by choreographers from New Jersey, New York, and beyond, will run this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at DeBaun Performing Arts Center at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.

In its fifth year, the festival’s move to the 300-seat theater has meant more labor and more fundraising, but has also given participating choreographers like Heather Warfel Sandler more playing room.

“Heather’s created a new piece set to Motown music that will highlight DeBaun’s ornate curtain and proscenium stage,” co-producer Meagan Woods said to NJ.com. “She’s a staple in the Jersey City dance community. We look forward to what her witty choreography will bring to the festival.”

There are 21 pieces in total by choreographers from all over the Tri-State area. Overall, Woods says the local dance scene is growing.

“As Jersey City’s art scene continues to thrive and expand, dance is a great way to add dimension to events or spaces that already exist,” she said. “Dance can be an intimidating or confusing art form, but with Your Move, we remove a bit of the mystique and hope the audience will be inspired.”

Your Move Modern Dance Festival will run October 24 at 8pm, October 25 at 3 and 8pm, and October 26 at 3pm. Tickets are $12 in advance, $18 at the door. Three-day passes are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. For tickets, visit www.yourmove2014.bpt.me.

For a full listing of performances, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/447430458732922/.

To see the original story, visit http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2014/10/
your_move_modern_dance_festival_moves_to_hoboken_for_fifth_anniversary.html
.

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Increase in Fitness Tax Credits Good News for Canadian Dance Studios

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A Toronto studio, Performing Dance Arts, has weighed in on recent news that the Canadian government will increase the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, which includes dance.

The Canadian government will double the amount to be claimed from the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit from $500 to $1,000. The change will be effective for the 2014 tax year and will provide tax relief for another 850,000 families in addition to the 1.4 million families it currently serves.

“This is great news for the parents of students of our multitude of dance programs,” says Ashley Daychak, artistic director at Performing Dance Arts. “It shows the commitment of the Canadian government to really reward active children and give their parents more incentive to keep them active.”

Daychak explains that the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit will also be refundable, which will save costs for parents and allow them to put and keep multiple children in different activities. Many activities qualify for this tax credit, including soccer, hockey, sailing, horseback riding, and, of course, dance.

“Making physical activity more affordable for kids is a blessing . . . and now that mom and dad can save a buck, it encourages parents even more to keep their kids in activities,” Daychak said.

For more information on the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, visit http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/10/09/enhancing-childrens-fitness-tax-credit.

To see the original press release, visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/increase-of-children/fitness-tax-credit/prweb12261122.htm.

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Oregon Ballet Theatre Facility Sold; Studio and School to Move

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Oregon Ballet Theatre; photos by Emily Parker

Oregon Ballet Theatre; photos by Emily Parker

A site that for years has housed Oregon Ballet Theatre’s dance studio and school is set to become part of the latest building craze in Portland: apartments.

Portland Business Journal reported that Mill Creek Residential Trust, a national development firm with several projects underway in Portland, signed a sale agreement for the studio building, which is located at Southeast Sixth and Morrison. The company, which focuses primarily on multi-family housing, will build 200 market-rate apartments on the site.

In a statement, OBT said the sale will help relieve some of its long-term debt. The company will be looking for a new space for its studio and school by fall of 2015.

Sam Rodriguez, Mill Creek’s managing director, said the firm is currently developing drawings for the development. He had few details to share, but said there will not likely be any retail component.

To see the original story, visit http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/real-estate-daily/2014/10/developer-will-build-200-apartments-at-former.html.

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Ballet Dancer Arrested for Exercising in Public Loses Suit against City

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A jury has ruled against a ballet dancer with a bad hip who sued Oklahoma City over his arrest in a park where he was exercising in high heels with his cane, according to The Oklahoman.

The woman who saw Allen Galbreath and called police testified she was concerned for the safety of her grandchildren. Galbreath’s attorney, Spencer Bryan, said. The jury of five women and three men heard the case in federal court over two days last week, returning with a verdict Friday afternoon.

Galbreath was seeking compensation for what he saw as unfair treatment; the amount would have been up to the jury. Galbreath was arrested in 2010 in Goodholm Park after a woman called police to say she was concerned about a “man in high heels with a big stick and a purse.”

Bryan said Galbreath, who danced professionally for about 10 years, demonstrated his exercise routine for the jury. Galbreath learned gymnastics as a child at Goodholm Park and worked out there to try to regain some of his lost mobility, Bryan said.

The arresting officer testified he never perceived Galbreath as a threat, Bryan said.

Galbreath testified he was released within 24 hours but had to walk home, Bryan said. He said the arrest made Galbreath feel like his identity was being attacked and that Galbreath told jurors, “I was arrested for being me.”

To see the full story, visit http://newsok.com/jury-rules-against-oklahoma-city-ballet-dancer-in-arrest-lawsuit/article/5358420.

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Civil War Cannot Stop Ukrainian Company from Performing The Nutcracker

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Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine;  photo courtesy International Ballet Exchange/Facebook

Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine;
photo courtesy International Ballet Exchange/Facebook

The Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine has had many troubles over the past 20 years, including a three-year theater renovation that forced them into a 1991 U.S. tour that fell apart as the USSR dissolved.

This year, despite the civil war that has shut down their theater and forced many dancers to relocate to Odessa, Kharkov, and other nearby cities that are removed from the conflict, the company will return to Philadelphia for its annual Nutcracker tour.

The performances, December 20 and 21 at Plymouth/Whitemarsh High School, and December 18 at George Washington High School (in a special performance for the Philadelphia school district), will feature 50 local children from the International Ballet Exchange and 18 professional company dancers.

Crisis caused by political upheaval is not new to the company. When the 1991 tour fell apart, the 25 dancers managed to stay afloat with the help of local ballet enthusiasts. Many defected, finding jobs with companies such as Pennsylvania Ballet, Indianapolis Ballet, Houston Ballet, and the now defunct Russian Ballet Theater of Delaware.

Principal dancer on that tour, USA International Ballet Competition gold medalist Vadim Pisarev, and his wife, Inna Dorofeyeva, left the United States to perform as principal dancers for the Dusseldorf Ballet in Germany, and eventually returned to Ukraine, where they resurrected the company. Since that time, the company has traveled to Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Israel, Kuwait, China, Japan, Korea, and France.

To purchase tickets for the Philadelphia performances, visit http://ibexchange.ticketleap.com.

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Studio Construction Ordeal Finally Over for California Couple

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The Dance Gallery 2; photo by Manny Crisostomo

The Dance Gallery 2; photo by Manny Crisostomo

A California couple’s plans to replace their longtime studio garage space with a larger stand-alone facility cost three years and an unexpected additional $250,000, but on November 1, The Dance Gallery 2 owners will celebrate a grand opening at their new Roseville studio.

“The idea was to move the studio so Doug and I would have a house proper,” Lucy McLemore told the Sacramento Bee. Over their 23 years of operation, Lucy McLemore would find dance instructors sharing a meal and the sofa with her husband as he watched television in the living room. And people would sometimes open their front door—which leads to the kitchen—as if it were a traditional business entrance.

The couple began the project in 2011, with the understanding from the county that as an existing business, they wouldn’t be subject to new zoning rules. But they soon discovered otherwise. The McLemores found themselves stymied by local, state, and federal rules that demanded they fund and build a turn lane, secure a zoning waiver, and improve the water and plumbing system.

The new facility has been more or less complete for three years, but went unused while the couple jumped though one hoop and then the next. The new facility’s original price tag of $235,000 was eclipsed by unexpected, new charges—the turn lane alone cost an additional $200,000.

Despite the obstacles, loss time, and extra cost, the McLemores have no ill will toward the county. “The county has been real good at helping us achieve our goal,” Lucy McLemore said. “We never really had any opposition. My take is nobody knew what to do with us.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article3216807.html.

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Bessie Awards Bestows Honors and Awards

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Chuck Davis; photo courtesy  Brooklyn Academy of Music

Chuck Davis; photo courtesy
Brooklyn Academy of Music

On Monday night, two titans in the field were honored at the annual Bessie Awards ceremony: Arthur Mitchell, the founder of Dance Theater of Harlem, with a lifetime achievement award; and Chuck Davis, the founder of DanceAfrica, for service to the field of dance.

The New York Times ArtsBeat blog reports that Stuart Singer and Linda Celeste Sims were anointed outstanding performers, he for his dancing in John Jasperse’s Within Between, she for her work with a much larger enterprise, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Hosted by actress and playwright Lisa Kron, the ceremony featured remarks from New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, and performances by Jennifer Miller and Circus Amok, Megan Williams (in Mark Morris’s “Bijoux,” a 1984 Bessie winner), Michelle Dorrance, Urban Bush Women, and, more informally, Mr. Davis, who danced at the center of an onstage drum circle.

The awards for outstanding production—presented by, among others, Wendy Whelan, just 48 hours after her last dance at City Ballet—went to Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic, Akram Khan’s Desh, Mr. Jasperse’s Within Between and Camille A. Brown’s Mr. TOL E. RAncE. The other outstanding performer awards went to Aakash Odedra of James Brown: Get on the Good Foot and Rebecca Serrell Cyr for her performance in Donna Uchizono’s Fire Underground. The duo Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly received the juried Bessie—an award decided by a jury committee that this year comprised Tere O’Connor, Annie-B Parson, and Eduardo Vilaro.

The previously announced winners in the emerging choreographer category, Jen Rosenblit and Jessica Lang, were also honored.

To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/bessie-awards-honor-a-wide-world-of-dance/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0.

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Villanova University to Host Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival

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Villanova Irish Dance Festival;  photo courtesy Villanova University

Villanova Irish Dance Festival;
photo courtesy Villanova University

Flags of green, white and orange will wave in the wind at Villanova University on Saturday, November 1 during the Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival, according to the [Montgomery County, PA] Times Herald.

Beginning at 9am in Villanova’s Jake Nevin Fieldhouse, Irish dancers from across the region will compete to win a slot in the Grand Irish Show, which begins at 6pm.

Dance teams from Penn State University, George Mason University, Temple University, Catholic University of America, Johns Hopkins University, University of Rochester, DeSales University, and Villanova University will be featured during the festival.

McDade School of Irish Dance, Divine Providence Rainbow Dancers, Coyle School of Irish Dance, and The Villanova Haveners will also appear.

Tickets for Villanova students with Wildcard, preorders at www.villanovatix.com, and children are $5. Adult tickets are $10.

To see the original story, visit http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20141019/villanova-university-to-host-intercollegiate-irish-dance-festival-nov-1.

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Hallberg and Osipova to Dance Together in ABT’s Spring Season

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Hallberg and Osipova in Romeo and Juliet; photo by Matthew Murphy/New York Times

Hallberg and Osipova in Romeo and Juliet; photo by Matthew Murphy/New York Times

One of the great ballet pairings of recent years—David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova—will be reunited in New York City this spring during American Ballet Theatre’s season at the Metropolitan Opera House, reports the New York Times ArtsBeat.

Mr. Hallberg, a principal dancer at ABT and the Bolshoi, and Ms. Osipova, now a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London, have caused sensations dancing together in earlier seasons. They are scheduled to appear together in performances of La Bayadère, Romeo and Juliet, and Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty.

The company announced that it has lined up a number of prominent guests for the season, which celebrates its 75th anniversary, including Evgenia Obraztsova, a principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet; Olga Smirnova, a leading soloist with the Bolshoi; and Maria Kochetkova, a principal with San Francisco Ballet.

Misty Copeland, an ABT soloist with a rising public profile, is scheduled to dance the dual role of Odette and Odile in Swan Lake for the first time in New York and to dance her first Romeo and Juliet.

And three of the company’s principal dancers—Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, and Xiomara Reyes—will be giving their final performances before retiring.

To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/hallberg-and-osipova-to-dance-together-in-american-ballet-theaters-spring-season/?ref=dance.

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Educators Working with Somatics-Based Approaches Urged to Present at Conference

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Bill Evans; photo courtesy Dean College

Bill Evans; photo courtesy Dean College

Proposals are now being accepted for the Second International Conference on Somatics-Based Dance Education, to be directed by Bill Evans and Cynthia Williams, July 15 to 19, 2015, at the Palladino School of Dance, Dean College, Franklin, Massachusetts.

The conference will feature a rich exchange of ideas and practices that celebrate embodied learning through diverse modalities and approaches. Dance artists and educators who have developed somatics-based approaches to dance and movement education and creative work are invited to submit applications by December 10.

Proposals can consider hour-long lectures, round-tables, or movement sessions on research, pedagogy, and creative practices, including collaborative presentations by two or more artists/educators.

To submit a proposal, send an email to Williams@hws.edu with the following information: title of proposed presentation; format (lecture, movement-based); 250-word abstract describing focus and content; your name, institutional affiliation if appropriate, address, contact email, and telephone number(s).

The conference will include both informal and formal concerts. Submissions of proposed performances will also be accepted, and should include links to DVDs of dance works evolving from somatics-based processes; the work’s title; a 100-word description of somatics process through which the work evolved; and your name, institutional affiliation if appropriate, address, contact email and telephone number(s).

For more information, visit http://www.dean.edu/Bill_Evans_Intensives.aspx.

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Passage of Civil Rights Act Remembered by Ailey in New Work Honoring Activist

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; photo by Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; photo by Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is marking this year’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with Matthew Rushing’s ODETTA, a new piece honoring folksinger and civil rights activist Odetta Holmes, reported the Kansas City Star.

The piece will make its official premiere in New York in December, but ODETTA will preview Friday in Kansas City at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on a program that also includes Four Corners by Ronald K. Brown and the troupe’s signature masterwork, Revelations.

The idea to make a ballet about Holmes, who died in 2008, came to artistic director Robert Battle when he attended her memorial service with a friend who had produced a Christmas album for her.

“I was struck when one of my heroes, Maya Angelou, came out and spoke about Odetta, about her courage, her strength,” Battle said. “I thought more people need to know her story, how she used her voice as a weapon for change.”

Rushing’s choreography for the piece melds West African, Afro-Cuban, samba, jazz, contemporary ballet, and modern dance vocabulary.

“She was a folksinger, but she also sang musical theater, jazz, blues, and even prison songs,” Rushing said. “So I felt I couldn’t use just one dance discipline to interpret such a versatile voice.”

Not too long ago, Rushing attended a memorial service for actress and activist Ruby Dee.

“They had a quote of hers printed in the program,” he recalled, “and I decided to adopt it as my personal ‘why’ for creating ballets. It goes like this: ‘Those who know enough about their past, know enough to hope.’ ”

Ailey will appear at the Kauffman Center October 22 to 25. For more information, visit https://tickets.kauffmancenter.org/
single/EventDetail.aspx?p=7898
.

To see the original story, visit http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/music-news-reviews/classical-music-dance/article
2917006.html
.

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Grant Will Allow OCU’s Community-Based Dance Program to Reach More Underserved Children

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OCU student Mary Bro with Community Dance Center students; photo courtesy Oklahoma City University

OCU student Mary Bro with Community Dance Center students; photo courtesy Oklahoma City University

A grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation will allow city children to receive dance lessons at low cost—and allow college students to put lessons learned in pedagogy classes into action, reported News OK.

The Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management received an $18,000 iFund Opportunities for Children grant that will significantly enhance the Community Dance Center’s scholarship program and allow the program to offer more scholarships to new students.

Since 2008 the Community Dance Center has provided quality dance education to students unable to afford or access traditional dance classes. About 70 percent of the CDC’s students receive scholarship support and the center has a waiting list of students hoping to enroll but in need of additional financial assistance. CDC students on scholarships pay about $60 annually for lessons.

Dance classes in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop are taught to students ages 3 to 18 primarily by students enrolled in the dance pedagogy program at Oklahoma City University, such as senior Gwynn Loud, who recently began her second year as an instructor for the CDC.

“The Community Dance Center has given me the chance to give back to the community by taking the knowledge I have gained in my courses and applying it to the dance classroom,” she said.

For more information on the program, visit www.okcu.edu/community-dance-center. To see the original story, visit http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-universitys-dance-program-wins-grant/article/5357556.

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Laguna Hills Dancers Serve as Hostesses for Dréa’s Dream Fundraising Event

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West Coast Movement fundraiser for Dréa’s Dream; photo courtesy West Coast Movement Project

West Coast Movement fundraiser for Dréa’s Dream; photo courtesy West Coast Movement Project

West Coast Movement Project of Laguna Hills will hold an Afternoon Tea and Trunk Show to benefit the Andréa Rizzo Foundation’s Dance Across America initiative on October 26 from 2 to 5pm at the Wiebe Residence, 26531 Elmcrest Way, Lake Forest, California.

Studio director and owner Mia Alicia will oversee a group of dancers ages 8 to 13 as they serve as hostesses for the event, which will include a traditional English tea, finger sandwiches, scones, and desserts, along with a showing of Stella and Dot jewelry. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $20 and reservations must be made by October 22 at www.squareup.com/market/west-coast-movement-project.

Dance Across America is a fundraising effort that supports the Dréa’s Dream program that brings dance therapy to children with cancer and special needs in pediatric hospitals, public schools, and Ronald McDonald houses across the country. For more information, visit www.dreasdream.org.

 

 

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Bankers Dance, Too; After All, They’re Only Human

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Dr. Peter Lovatt; photo courtesy Men’s Health

Dr. Peter Lovatt; photo courtesy Men’s Health

Dr. Peter Lovatt, the 48-year-old head and founder of the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire in England, rarely has difficulty convincing people to dance. An article in Men’s Health says his lectures on dance psychology often end with the audience bursting into dance.

That wasn’t the case when Lovatt taught a dance workshop to bankers at Deutsche Bank in London as part of an exercise to eliminate insider cliques within the organization. “I told them, ‘I think you can dance.’ And they were like, ‘No, no, we seriously can’t.’ They honestly thought it was hopeless.”

He eventually lured them into marching in unison to the beat of a song. “Anyone can dance if you don’t think you’re dancing,” he says. “When you walk, you walk in a rhythm. Your heart beats in a rhythm. And you swing your arms in a rhythm. We’re all naturally rhythmic when we’re just being human beings.”

One of the biggest benefits for corporate professionals who embrace dancing, Lovatt says, is the shift not just in how they’re perceived by their peers, but by the outside world. “People in the financial industry dress and act and move in a different way than the rest of us,” he says. “Bankers, hedge fund managers, Wall Street people: they hold themselves differently. But when we dance, it releases something primal. Over hundreds of years, we’ve learned to control the way we move so that it shows something false to the outside world. But with dance, you see the real person coming through.”

When a banker or hedge fund manager dances, he says, they reveal some part of themselves that’s more intimate and vulnerable than a ravenous, remorseless profiteer. “Dance makes you human again,” he says. “It’s a very leveling thing.”

Unless, of course, that banker or hedge fund manager really doesn’t have a relatable human side. “Dance can only do so much,” Lovatt admits. “I can’t do miracles.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.menshealth.com/best-life/bankers-learn-to-dance.

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Newsies Choreographer Glad that Show’s Positive Impact on Male Dancers Will Continue

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The touring production of Newsies; photo courtesy CT Now

The touring production of Newsies; photo courtesy CT Now

Tony Award–winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli, in rehearsals for the Newsies national tour, spoke to CT Now of the crowds of young boys at the stage door throughout the Broadway run, and of young male dancers who came up to him thanking him for his choreography, saying that they want to dance in the show some day.

And some of them are doing just that as the musical opens this weekend (October 23 to 25) at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut, before its official tour premiere next month in Philadelphia.

“These new young dancers are carrying the torch now,” Gattelli said during a rehearsal in Manhattan. “Here we are again in the same rehearsal room where we began putting the show together three years ago. When it came time to stage the ‘paper dance,’ the room erupted in cheers and I had to leave for a moment to compose myself.”

The tour’s youngest principal dancer, 16-year-old Ben Cook, was inspired by the show when he first saw it at age 14. “Coming from Virginia, guy dancers weren’t exactly a huge thing,” he said. “So it’s great to see a show with all guy dancers who are big and strong and masculine and looking great.”

But what is it about the show that struck such a strong chord among boys? After all, the era of the newspaper boy is long past.

“You’re watching a show about kids trying to find their way in the world,” says Gattelli, “and who are trying to make a place for themselves at the table. These are kids who work hard, and have integrity, and who just ask for a fair shake in life. But on top of that as a member of the audience you’re also watching young Broadway dancers—who have been trained and are working very hard—making it, too.”

“I don’t know if I could have done a show like this when I was their age,” Gattelli said, adding that he can still do a double tour. “Now the boys are doing triples and I’ve never seen that before. It makes my heart burst because they’re so passionate and they want it so badly. This new generation is so inspiring to me.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.ctnow.com/entertainment/hc-newsies-palace-1019-20141016,0,3074395.story. For a complete listing of tour dates, visit http://www.newsiesthemusical.com/about.

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Special Needs Dance Teacher Counters Competition’s Rebuff by Creating One of Her Own

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Special Ballroom Festival; photo courtesy Barb McBride

Special Ballroom Festival; photo courtesy Barb McBride

Mary Ramirez Cook teaches a variety of classes each week at her A-Marika Dance Studio in Sharonville, Ohio, including one for students with Down syndrome she created for her son, Matthew.

So when Matthew and another student with Down syndrome wanted to participate in a national dance competition, she asked the organization to create a special category for them, but was turned down. So, she told Cincinnati.com, “I decided to just hold my own.”

With the help of professional dancer Doreen Beatrice, she created the inaugural Special Ballroom Festival, which took place October 11 in the Northern Lights Ballroom of the Sharonville Convention Center.

Cook said 31 dancers with special needs were registered for multiple competitions, totaling 145 entries, and competed in waltz, foxtrot, tango, rumba, cha-cha, and swing dances. The competition was officiated by certified dance judges, and included the presentation of awards and medallions. “I want every one of them to walk out of there feeling amazing,” she said, “and knowing that it’s all about them.”

Cook is hoping to make the festival an annual event that grows bigger each year.

“This is a social outlet, and there isn’t anything like this,” she said, adding that the competition helped to teach more than dance steps. “They have to learn social skills, appropriate behavior, and courtesy.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/community-news/2014/10/15/dance-competition-shines-spotlight-abilities-disabled/17303939/.

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Memory of Mother Lost on 911 Lives on in Daughter’s Dance Studio

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Krystal Tabeek with students; photo by Anthony DePrimo/Staten Island Advance

Krystal Tabeek with students; photo by Anthony DePrimo/Staten Island Advance

Joann Tabeek always encouraged her daughter, Krystal, to follow her dreams, but didn’t live to see Krystal through her 15 years of competitive dance. Working as a vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center, she was one of the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“My mother never made it out [of the World Trade Center] on that horrific day,” Tabeek, who was 12 when her mother died, told Staten Island Live. “She always pushed me to follow my dreams, so this is the year I made it happen.”

Krystal combined her love for dance with a desire to own her own business this September when she opened Studio 11 Dance Company in the Grant City neighborhood of Staten Island. Her father, Al, helped her launch the dance school named in memory of her mother.

“I’m following in my father’s footsteps. He owns and operates the James and Joann Tabeek Memorial Softball League in both my mother’s and brother’s honor. My brother, James, died at the age of 3 from meningitis two years before I was born,” she added.

Krystal, now 24, hopes she can pass on the inspiration she received from her parents. “My father has given to numerous charities across the Island throughout the past 28 years. My plan is to do just the same, and to make a positive impact on all those who are in need of our love and support,” she said.

To see the original story, visit http://www.silive.com/eastshore/index.ssf/2014/10/competitive_dancer_realizes_he.html.

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America’s Ballerina, Cynthia Gregory, To Receive Capezio Dance Award

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Cynthia Gregory; photo by Virginia Trudeau

Cynthia Gregory; photo by Virginia Trudeau

Cynthia Gregory, whom Rudolf Nureyev called “America’s prima ballerina assoluta” and who was celebrated as one of the world’s greatest ballerinas during a career that spanned more than a quarter of a century, will receive the 63nd annual Capezio Dance Award.

Awarded annually since 1952 by Capezio Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, the Capezio Dance Award recognizes significant contributions to American dance by an individual, company, or institution. It is awarded to those who bring respect, stature, and distinction to dance and who exhibit qualities such as innovation, creativity, and imagination.

This year’s award will be presented on November 17 at the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Gregory’s city of residence.

Gregory trained in her native Los Angeles with Carmelita Maracci before being awarded a Ford Foundation scholarship at age 14 that allowed her to study with Lew Christensen’s San Francisco Ballet. After joining the company, she quickly rose to principal.

She joined American Ballet Theatre in 1965, and over the years, danced in more than 80 works with that company, also performing as a guest artist with top companies all over the world, including National Ballet of Canada, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and Stuttgart Ballet. Along with Nureyev, her favorite partners were Erik Bruhn, Fernando Bujones, and Big Bird (on a PBS special fundraiser).

She has won numerous awards and is the author of two books, Ballet is the Best Exercise and Cynthia Gregory Dances Swan Lake, a children’s book. In 1991 she became board chairman of Career Transition for Dancers, and continues her involvement with the organization as chairman emeritus. A visual artist in pen-and-ink and watercolors, Gregory also coaches, stages ballets, and gives master classes for dance companies and schools in the U.S. and internationally.

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Grand Rapid’s Hometown Hero, Chris Van Allsburg, Lends Illustrative Talents to New Nutcracker

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Grand Rapids Ballet’s new Nutcracker features the designs of illustrator and Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg;  image courtesy MLive

Grand Rapids Ballet’s new Nutcracker features the designs of illustrator and Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg;
image courtesy MLive

Tickets for Grand Rapids Ballet’s new production of The Nutcracker, designed by Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express, and Tony Award-winning designer Eugene Lee, are now on sale.

MLive said the show is choreographed by Val Caniparoli, winner of an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for choreography. “I’m overjoyed to work with the creative team of Chris, Eugene, and Val on this century-old story that is so cherished by families around the world,” said Patricia Barker, artistic director of Grand Rapids Ballet.

The inspiration to have Van Allsburg design the ballet for Grand Rapids came from Maurice Sendak’s production of The Nutcracker for Pacific Northwest Ballet, filmed in 1986 as Nutcracker: The Motion Picture starring Barker as the Dream Clara.

Van Allsburg is best known for his book, The Polar Express, and he frequently includes references to childhood memories of growing up in Grand Rapids, such as the book’s nod to Herpolsheimer’s department store.

Lee, an Emmy Award–winning production designer for Saturday Night Live, is also a Tony Award-winning set designer for Broadway shows Sweeney Todd and Wicked. Caniparoli choreographs for San Francisco Ballet as well as for Joffrey Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Tickets are $20 to $54 for shows opening December 12 in DeVos Performance Hall with eight performances over two weekends through December 21. For tickets, call Grand Rapids Ballet at 616.454.4771 or visit http://www.ticketmaster.com.

To see the original story, visit http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/grand-rapids
/index.ssf/2014/10/on_sale_today_tickets_for_gran.html.

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Three Choreographers Recognized for Work; Named U.S.A. Fellows

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Alejandro Cerrudo; photo courtesy U.S.A program

Alejandro Cerrudo; photo courtesy U.S.A program

Choreographers Alejandro Cerrudo, d. Sabela Grimes, and RoseAnne Spradlin are among 34 people who have been awarded $50,000 and named U.S.A. fellows for 2014, reported the New York Times.

The unrestricted awards are from the United States Artists program, a grant-making organization funded by philanthropic foundations and individuals to support creativity. The 16 women and 18 men were selected by experts in their fields and were among 116 nominated artists living in the United States.

The awards were given in architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater, and visual arts. Since its founding, the fellows program has given $19.1 million to 405 artists. Past recipients include Kara Walker, Meredith Monk, Jason Moran, Benjamin Millepied, and Bill T. Jones. A complete list of winners can be found at www.unitedstatesartists.org/2014fellows.

Cerrudo, U.S.A. Donnelley Fellow, was born in Madrid, Spain, and trained at the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza de Madrid. He joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2005, was named Choreographic Fellow in 2008, and became the company’s first resident choreographer in 2009.

Grimes, U.S.A. Rockefeller Fellow, is a choreographer, writer, composer, and educator whose interdisciplinary performance work and pedagogical approach reveal a vested interest in the physical and metaphysical efficacies of Afro-diasporic cultural practices.

Spradlin, U.S.A. Ford Fellow, is one of the most influential experimental choreographers in New York. Her work comes out of the Judson era dance lineage of pedestrianism, which heightened vernacular movement in a performance context.

To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/13/50000-for-meshell-ndegeocello-and-33-other-usa-fellows/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0.

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DWTS’s Derek Hough Recognized For Anti-Bullying ‘Inspiration’

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Derek Hough; photo by Dan Doperalski

Derek Hough; photo by Dan Doperalski

Dancing with the Stars’ Derek Hough will be honored by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network at the organization’s Respect Awards on October 17 for his work to prevent bullying, reported Variety.

Hough will receive the Inspiration Award from the organization, with the Humanitarian Award going to Julia Roberts and Danny Moder, and NBC Entertainment’s Robert Greenblatt receiving the Chairman’s Award.

As a kid, Hough found himself on the receiving end of such abuse, as was his DWTS celebrity partner Bethany Mota, who, on the October 6 episode, discussed how she was the target of words that belittled her confidence. The couple then danced a rumba against a backdrop of hurtful words that they “waved away” in favor of positive messages of self-confidence.

“We associate bullying with a kid in a playground being picked on, but it’s so much broader than that,” Hough explains, stressing that those exhibiting the behavior are often victims themselves, and that the act can take many more forms than just physical violence.

However, Hough admits that it can sometimes be a challenge to be the bigger person.

“We’re all guilty of being a bully at some point,” he notes. Hough adds that he’s even caught himself acting out of line on occasion. “Growing up in the dance world and having to be a perfectionist, it suddenly becomes acceptable to behave a certain way, because it’s ‘for the art,’ ” he says, “And the truth is, it’s not.”

To read the full story, visit http://variety.com/2014/scene/people-news/dancing-with-the-stars-derek-hough-honored-1201328746/.

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Mormon Missionary Demonstrates Impressive Dance Skills in Toe-to-Toe Dance-Off

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Gus Garcia; photo courtesy LDS SMILE/YouTube

Gus Garcia; photo courtesy LDS SMILE/YouTube

A story from KLS.com reports that while Michael Jackson was known for his talented voice and for his impressive dance moves, an LDS missionary might have bested a Michael Jackson impersonator in the battle of the moonwalk.

In a video posted to YouTube last week, missionary elder Gus Garcia from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is seen having a dance-off against the Michael Jackson impersonator on the streets of Barcelona, according to the posted video.

Garcia’s fluid moves impress onlookers as they watch the dancing battle. Even the MJ impersonator is amazed by Garcia’s popping and locking talent.

To see the original story and video, visit: http://bit.ly/11jzF4W.

 

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Pennsylvania Dance Studio Destroyed in Blaze

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Bucks County Dance Center fire; photo by David Garrett, courtesy Bucks County Courier Times

Bucks County Dance Center fire; photo by David Garrett, courtesy Bucks County Courier Times

6ABC.com reports that Bucks County Dance Center in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, was badly damaged in a fire early Monday morning. Investigators say it was arson.

The brother and sister owners of the studio were too upset to comment on camera. Relative Michael Licata said, “They are pretty devastated, and they just have to collect themselves and figure out what to do next,” he said.

Bensalem Police say a patrol officer spotted the building on fire at around 4am. Firefighters got the blaze under control and no one was injured, but the building appears to be a total loss. The building housed two vacant apartments in the back and investigators say an arson dog detected accelerants there.

According to Licata, the center was established in 1958 by his wife’s parents, two performers who decided to settle their family in Bensalem. Thousands learned to dance at the center over the years, and roughly 200 students were currently enrolled in classes.

The owners will try to find a new space in which to operate until they can rebuild. Licata said, “I can’t imagine that there would be anyone who would have malicious intent against the studio.” The investigation is continuing at this time.

To read the original story, visit http://6abc.cm/1wAf7yu.

 

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Auditions for Untapped Movie Inspires Video

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Untapped; image courtesy IMDB

Untapped; image courtesy IMDB

Brothers Young Productions recently held a video casting call for dancers around the world to appear in the movie Untapped. After evaluating thousands of submissions, the list has been narrowed down to 200 semifinalists.

Brothers Young will spend the next month narrowing the list down. Those selected will earn a spot in the inspirational feature film, which will begin production in early 2015.

Something else also resulted from the auditions: the inspiring and moving responses to the question, “Why do you love dance?” From those responses Brothers Young created a stirring video, and plans to share more of these touching responses in the coming months. To see the video, visit http://youtu.be/rvc3DD-QdhQ.

 

 

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Misty Copeland Helps Complexions Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary

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Complexions_Contemporary_BalletComplexions Contemporary Ballet will celebrate its 20th anniversary season with a run at The Joyce Theater from November 18 to 30.

The program, comprising three premieres and repertory favorites will feature performances by guest artists including co-artistic director Desmond Richardson and American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland in co-artistic director Dwight Rhoden’s signature duet, Ave Maria, with Complexions’ artist-in residence, Clifford Williams.

Highlights include Head Space, a 30-minute ballet choreographed by Rhoden to the music of New Orleans jazz musician and Grammy-award winner Terence Blanchard, who began collaborating with Complexions on a dance-and-music-on-camera project in 2013.

The 2014 season will also include the New York City premiere of a new work inspired by love and marriage equality, Igual, choreographed by American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Marcelo Gomes and set to an original score by composer Ian Ng.

For tickets, visit: http://Joyce.org. For more information, visit http://www.complexionsdance.org.

 

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Special Needs Teacher and Special Students Profiled in Free 2 Be Me Documentary

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Free 2 Be Me; photo courtesy Colleen Perry

Free 2 Be Me; photo courtesy Colleen Perry

Former dancer Colleen Perry, 49, started the Free 2 Be Me program after reading an article about a choreographer who created a Boston Ballet dance program for children with Down syndrome. Perry instantly knew what she wanted to do.

“A voice said, ‘Colleen this is what you’re supposed to be doing with your life,’ ” recalled Perry, whose work with children who have special needs will be featured in the November issue of Dance Studio Life.

ABC News said Perry spent her childhood and early adult years in ballet, but had spent more than two decades as a family therapist. She had been looking for a way to get back into dance when she read the article. Within six months she had space in a dance studio and a curriculum.

Perry and her Free 2 Be Me Dance Troupe are now the subject of a short documentary by Jeanette Godoy, who followed the dancers for six months as they prepared for their big dance recital. Godoy said one girl, Daisy, a 14-year-old who didn’t talk much and relied on a volunteer’s help throughout the lessons, epitomized the whole class. During one session, Daisy finally decided to take the floor.

“Little Daisy shuffled to the center of the room, her movement was a little bit of a fist pump,” Godoy said. You “saw a little smile creep across her face. It was the first time I had seen her move on her own in all my weeks of shooting.”

The short documentary, also titled Free 2 Be Me, is available for free (donations are also accepted) at http://free2bememovie.com/.

To read the full story, visit http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ballerina-teaches-syndrome-students-dance/story?id=26100403.

 

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San Francisco Museum Looking for Selfies of Artists in Action

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San Francisco’s Museum of Performance + Design is on the hunt for unique, creative, and evocative selfies of performing artists for its exhibition, “Instant Love: Simple Moments of Magic and Memories in Offstage Sketches, Snapshots and Selfies,” opening December 18.

The selfies should capture you as a working artist (i.e. in rehearsal, backstage, etc.). Please send your own or your favorite selfie(s) as a .jpeg attachment to info@mpdsf.org with SELFIES in the subject line. Make sure to include the name of the artist and the date of the selfie(s) in the body of the email.

MP+D is the only independent, nonprofit arts organization in the United States devoted to the history of performing arts and theatrical design. For more information, visit http://www.mpdsf.org/index.html.

 

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Founder and Champion of The Florida Ballet, Laurie Picinich-Byrd, Dies

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Laurie Picinich-Byrd; photo courtesy Facebook

Laurie Picinich-Byrd; photo courtesy Facebook

Through financial woes, the death of her husband, and leadership turnovers, Laurie Picinich-Byrd kept The Florida Ballet going as a Jacksonville arts institution for 35 years. The Florida Times-Union reported that Picinich-Byrd died last Wednesday of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was 67.

She staged The Nutcracker annually at the Florida Theatre. Many of her students went on to dance professionally. One (Davis Robertson) became artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group. In 2011, she started a conservatory where students could combine academics and dance at the studio through online classes.

“She was one of the architects of the arts community that we have today,” said Robert Arleigh White, former executive director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. “If it is true that we stand on the shoulders of giants, Laurie was one of those giants.”

Byrd was diagnosed in January 2013 but adopted the attitude that she was going to be the first to beat the incurable disease, said her son, Christopher Byrd. She vowed to stay positive, changed her diet, and even tried alternative medicines, he said.

“She was amazing,” said Linda Reifsnyder Jenkins, the ballet’s artistic director. “Every time you saw her, she had a smile on her face. She was an inspiration to everyone and continued to come in, even though in a wheelchair. It was her passion. She loved it so. It wasn’t work.”

Byrd was born in Weehawken, New Jersey, in 1947. Her mother, Mae Picinich, who had trained at The Royal Ballet in London, was her first teacher. Byrd also trained with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet’s summer program, and the Joffrey Ballet, and danced professionally for several years, before changing her focus to teaching and choreography.

To read more, visit http://members.jacksonville.com/entertainment/2014-10-09/story/florida-ballet-founder-laurie-picinich-byrd-1947-2014.

 

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New Orleans’ Jazz Musicians and Tap Troupe Create Beautiful Music Together

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Gulf Coast Theatre on Tap; photo courtesy Facebook

Gulf Coast Theatre on Tap; photo courtesy Facebook

A weekend performance in New Orleans explored an “energetic exchange” between two art forms—tap and jazz—as a professional tap troupe shared a stage with a seven-piece jazz music ensemble.

“We are telling the history of New Orleans’ music, and presenting a wide variety of New Orleans’ songs, and tap dance is the vehicle used to express it to the audience,” Heidi Malnar, artistic director of Gulf Coast Theatre on Tap, told the NOLA Defender.

A merger of these two art forms had rarely been seen in a city where tap is usually limited to dancers in the Quarter or to schools. “We’re just adding another layer to fabulous music that is already there, to take on a new life,” Malner said.

Opening the second act was a tribute to famed jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain performed by his granddaughter, Danielle Harrell Scheib. “We thought it was just such a perfect match with what we are doing, blending jazz and tap together. And we thought it was so coincidental that a tap dancer is related to such a famous jazz artist,” Malner said.

The production also featured an a cappella tap rendition of a Mardi-Gras style drumline. “I’m not a New Orleans native,” Malnar said. “And for me, one of the most exciting things about Mardi Gras was hearing the drumline coming down the street. We’re trying to re-create that using tapping, with lots of rhythms playing against each other that is going to resemble a marching drum line. One of the most important things to remember is that there will not be a band accompanying this portion, just 10 dancers who have to listen and feed off each other’s energy.”

The show, Neutral Ground, showcased performances by three companies: professional touring dancers, pre-professionals (ages 14 to 17), and juniors (ages 10 to 13).

To read the original story, visit http://www.noladefender.com/content/song-dance-show-neutral-ground-merges-jazz-and-tap.

 

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BBC’s New Young Dancer Competition: Promise, or Pressure?

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Competitors at the Prix de Lausanne; photo by Dominic Favre/EPA

Competitors at the Prix de Lausanne;
photo by Dominic Favre/EPA

“Does the dance world need another competition?” writes Judith Mackrell in the Guardian.

“From the lofty heights of ballet prizes such as the Prix de Lausanne, to the busy international circuit of hip-hop competitions, to the scrum of celebrity judging, raw talent, and audience manipulation that make up TV shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, young performers around the world are being pitted against each other in every conceivable way.

“But a new entry has entered the field, and it’s a contender. The BBC Young Dancer competition comes with the imprimatur of some of the dance world’s splashiest names. With Carlos Acosta as ambassador (a role as yet undefined beyond its publicity value), the panel judging the competition’s final will include Tamara Rojo, Wayne McGregor, [and] Matthew Bourne . . .”

Mackrell explained that competitors, ages 16 to 20, will compete in separate categories: ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, and South Asian. While the ballet entrants will present pas de deux and the contemporary dancers solos taken from known repertory, the hip-hop dancers will battle, and the South Asian dancers can present solos of their own choreography.

“But as carefully as this competition has been worked out, as admirable as its panel of judges may be, there are flaws in the whole concept that no amount of sensitivity and good sense can overcome. Competitions on this kind of public scale put intense pressure on very young and potentially vulnerable performers. They almost invariably place hardcore technique over expressive or stylistic nuance. Simply by virtue of the training and examination system through which they’ve grown up, an 18-year-old ballet student is far more likely to have acquired a professional gloss on his or her performance than [his or her] peers in other dance forms.

“But still I’m very curious to see what this competition delivers, especially in TV terms. The grand final, to be performed at Sadler’s Wells and televised on BBC2 in May, is not the only focus, as the BBC is also promising to run a series of lead-up programs, featuring behind-the-scenes documentaries and detailed analysis of the entrants and their different techniques.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.theguardian.com/stage/dance-blog/2014/oct/03/bbc-young-dancer-competition-carlos-acosta-tamara-rojo.

 

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Connecticut Dancers Portray Soccer Team on Upcoming Episode of Madam Secretary

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Starr’s Studio of Dance on the Madam Secretary set; photo courtesy Facebook

Starr’s Studio of Dance on the Madam Secretary set; photo courtesy Facebook

Seventeen teens from Starr’s Studio of Dance in Kent, Connecticut, got a crash course in soccer while in New York City in late September before playing the roles of soccer teammates in an episode of the CBS TV series Madam Secretary.

The Litchfield County Times said the dancers met actress Téa Leoni, who plays Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, and Katherine Herzer, who plays her youngest daughter Alison, when they traveled to New York City to take part in the episode’s filming.

The dance students worked with a coach on a Thursday, rehearsed on Friday, and went on the set at 6am Monday. In the show, two of the students play prep-school students, while the other 15 make up the soccer team playing against Alison’s team.

Starr Jeffreys, owner of Starr’s Studio of Dance, is an active member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union and is working to have her students qualify for union membership. “I want my students to have the same opportunities I did when I lived and worked in Manhattan, without their having to live there,” said Jeffreys.

Jeffreys said her students are well-rounded and professional. “If we get a call, I can have them ready to do anything,” she said. “Kids want to perform . . . it is magical to see their faces light up.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.countytimes.com/articles/2014/10/08/news/doc54359fbd600b7865475160.txt.

 

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Savion Glover Performance Interprets Story of Domestic Abuse Victim

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Savion Glover; photo courtesy the Star

Savion Glover; photo courtesy the Star

As creator of The Maria Project, a theatrical investigation into the 1931 murder of Maria Salazar by her husband, playwright Marcella Goheen took note when the National Domestic Violence Hotline experienced an 84 percent increase in calls after a video leaked in September of football player Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City elevator.

But overall, Goheen told The Indy Star, she sees society in “cultural denial” about physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Yet in her quest to educate, Goheen has a high-profile ally in Savion Glover, who stars in Maria’s Voice, a musical offshoot of The Maria Project.

A national tour of Maria’s Voice launches today (October 10) at the Madame Walker Theatre Center, 617 Indiana Avenue, Indianapolis. Other stops include a public performance at The Englert Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa, October 12, and a private VIP performance in San Francisco November 1.

Goheen said it’s important to have Glover’s male perspective in the show, which uses tap, song, and poetry to tell the story of Salazar, who was Goheen’s grandmother.

“I don’t choose to be a character vs. an overall voice through my instrumentation, which is a dance,” he said. “I’ll also lend my own interpretation of the vibe, speaking through all of the Marias of the world.”

Glover and Goheen previously collaborated on 2004 production If Trane Wuz Here and 2009’s Bleecker Thingz. “He speaks through his rhythm,” Goheen said. “His dance and his message have always been about light and truth, and finding your voice.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.indystar.com/story/entertainment/arts/2014/10/08/savion-glover-walker-domestic-violence-maria-goheen-indianapolis/16916399/. For more information on The Maria Project’s theatrical production and awareness events, visit http://juliet-griego.squarespace.com/marias-voice-featuring-savion-glover/.

 

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Special Dance Convention Raises Funds to Support Dance Therapy Efforts

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Dréa’s Dream; logo courtesy Facebook

Dréa’s Dream;
logo courtesy Facebook

Registrations are still being accepted for the first annual Dréa’s Dream Dance Convention, a day of dance classes for student ages 6 and older that will benefit a program that provides dance therapy programs for children with cancer and special needs in pediatric hospitals and public schools nationwide.

The event, set for November 2 from 8am to 4pm at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Peabody, Massachusetts, will raise funds in support of the Andréa Rizzo Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization created in memory of a young dance therapy graduate student and survivor of childhood cancer who was killed at the age of 24 by a drunk driver.

Master teachers donating their time to the cause include Albert Blaise Cattafi (contemporary), Rhonda Miller (jazz), Lauren Gaul (jazz, ballet), Rachel White-Ball (ballet), Angie Sellers (jazz, musical theater), and Tony Mansker (musical theater, tap).

Sponsors include Rachel White Ballet, On Your Toes Dancewear, So Danca, and Holiday Inn & Suites of Peabody.

Registration deadline is October 15. Cost is $100 per dancer. More information and forms can be found at http://rachelwhiteballet.com/dreas-dream-dance-convention/. To learn more about the Andréa Rizzo Foundation or the “Dance Across America” program, call 401.952.2423 or email DreasDream@aol.com.

 

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Longtime Southeast Texas Studio Owner, Lorna Badon Knaus, Dies

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Lorna Badon Knaus; photo courtesy Facebook

Lorna Badon Knaus; photo courtesy Facebook

Lorna Badon Knaus, a longtime Orange dance instructor who showcased Southeast Texas’ special brand of dance from the Soviet Union to Disney World, died Monday at Houston’s Methodist Hospital from diverticulitis, a common colon disease. She was 54.

The Beaumont Enterprise reported that Badon Knaus touched the lives of thousands who came through the doors of The Lorna Badon School of Fine Arts. According to Facebook, she was president of Southeast Texas Association of Dance Teachers Chapter 3 of Dance Masters of America for 34 years, owner and 37-year director of Lorna Badon School of Fine Arts, and founder and 31-year director of Orange Jazz Company. In 1990 she led a group of students to the then Soviet Union to showcase American dances and music.

“She was an unbelievable force of light, love, and compassion,” said Janel Campbell, a former student and instructor at the Badon school for 29 years.

Badon Knaus’ mother, June Badon, owned both the Port Neches and Orange studios until her daughter turned 18 and took over the Orange studio. June told 12NewsNow that her daughter was diagnosed three years ago, and complications with the illness arose this year.

“She waited until April to take care of it when another flare-up came,” said June Badon. “One thing just led to the other and I guess God thought he needed her more than we did.”

As recently as last week Badon Knaus sat in the studio and watched her students perform under the guidance of one of her instructors. “Her life was dance and the children,” Campbell said. “She was an inspiration to all.”

To see the original stories, visit http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Longtime-Orange-dance-instructor-dies-at-54-5807482.php and http://www.12newsnow.com/story/26730015/dance-community-grieves-loss-of-popular-instructor.

 

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Twyla Tharp Looking to Create Technique-Based Curriculum

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Twyla Tharp; photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Twyla Tharp; photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Twyla Tharp’s new position as Joyce Theater Foundation’s 2014–16 artist-in-residence comes with something she’s never had during her esteemed 50-year choreography career: her own school.

“I’ve always been interested in how people learn,” Tharp told the New York Times.

The position provides Tharp with a free rehearsal studio, administrative space, office services, and an annual salary with benefits. As part of the residency, she is now offering company classes to the public at the Joyce’s Dance Art New York Studios.

The opportunity gives Tharp the chance to develop a technique-based curriculum useful to dancers of wide-ranging backgrounds and experience. The classes, which began last week and are taught by Tharp ballet masters and dancers, focus on improving strength, speed, and coordination, or as Tharp described it, “driving the nail—we’re not building the building, but we’re working on driving the nail.”

Company members also attend the classes, something that Tharp said was vital in her own education as a young dancer studying under Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham.

“In both instances company members were in the classes, and it was critical to see people who did the performing also executing the techniques,” she said.

To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/joyce-names-twyla-tharp-artist-in-residence/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1.

 

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Following Tradition, Mother Ginger Wig Passed Along to Next City Official

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Pelham city councilman Ron Scott (left) passes a Mother Ginger wig to colleague Maurice Mercer; photo by Martin J. Reed/AL.com

Pelham city councilman Ron Scott (left) passes a Mother Ginger wig to colleague Maurice Mercer;
photo by Martin J. Reed/AL.com

Prior to continuing the tradition of transferring Mother Ginger’s towering white wig to a Pelham, Alabama, government official who will act in the Alabama Youth Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker, city councilman Ron Scott provided some sound advice.

“Whoever becomes Mother Ginger needs to practice this,” Scott said in AL.com, flipping out his accordion fan and waving it rapidly in his hand during a council meeting.

With Grebel Dance’s Deborah Grebel following along with a half-dozen child performers, Scott took the decorative box that contained the wig and walked around the council chambers before settling on councilman Maurice Mercer.

Mercer will be the 10th Pelham official to serve in the role. Prior to Scott, other Pelham government officials to play Mother Ginger have included former mayor Bobby Hayes as the first Mother Ginger in 2005, followed by former fire chief Gary Waters the next year, former fire chief Daniel Endress in 2007, former mayor Don Murphy in 2008, fire marshal DeWitt Marcrum in 2009, parks and recreation director Billy Crandall in 2010, fire chief Danny Ray in 2011, and police chief Tommy Thomas in 2012.

Deborah Grebel announced that this year’s performance will mark the 10th anniversary of the production involving Grebel Dance. For more information on the Mother Ginger Club, visit http://grebeldance.com/MotherGingerClub.html. To see the original story, visit http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/
2014/10/alabama_youth_ballets_mother_g.html
.

 

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Mark Morris’ Company Dancers Travel East and West; Reunite in China

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Mark Morris Dance Group; photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2014

Mark Morris Dance Group;
photo by Christopher Duggan,
courtesy Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2014

The Mark Morris Dance Group is simultaneously going west and east from mid-October through November, as for the first time in the company’s 34-year history, it splits into two groups.

The New York Times ArtsBeat said half the troupe’s dancers will tour the United States, Scotland, Italy, and Switzerland, while the remainder head for Cambodia, East Timor, and Taiwan. On November 11, the company will reunite in Shenzhen, China.

The Asian part of the tour is part of the U.S. State Department’s DanceMotion USA, a cultural diplomacy program in partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Numerous activities are planned outside of the performances, including choreography workshops given by Morris, work with a number of professional dance companies, and with female victims of domestic violence and female factory workers in Taiwan.

On both sectors of the tour, the Mark Morris Dance Group members will begin what the company is calling “the Polka Project,” taking the last section of Morris’s 1993 Grand Duo, and teaching it to the professional, amateur, and student groups they encounter. On each tour, the company will perform Morris’s newest work, Words, set to Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words.” Words will be performed by eight dancers from each group while they are on the separate tours; in China it will be given with the full 16-member cast.

Morris added that he is tremendously gratified that his company, which spends nearly half of each year touring, is invited to perform “anywhere and everywhere.” He continued: “Our touring continues to edify and surprise everyone involved. It is an exciting life.”

To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/mark-morris-dance-group-to-split-up-for-a-global-tour/?_php=true&_type=blogs&src=twr&_r=0.

 

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Teen Actress Credits Dance Training with Helping Her Nab Catwoman Role

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Camren Bicondova; file photo courtesy Washington Times

Camren Bicondova; file photo courtesy Washington Times

As the future Catwoman on Gotham, the new Batman-inspired TV series from Fox, Camren Bicondova has to be agile and graceful—traits the 15-year-old actress feels are heightened by dancing.

She wouldn’t be where she is now without dance, especially the training she received from Marcelo Pacleb, founder of the 24-7 Danceforce Studios in Kaneohe, Hawaii, who connected the two disciplines for Bicondova. He told her he wasn’t feeling any emotion from her and suggested she close her eyes and feel the music.

“With dancing you are showing the music,” Bicondova said. “With acting you do the same thing. You have the lines, but you have to become the character. That’s where I think the dancing and the acting merge.”

The Washington Times reported that this is the first major acting role for Bicondova, a former Hawaii resident who made it to the championship round of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew with the Hawaii-based dance group 8 Flavahz.

After moving to Los Angeles she started taking acting lessons, but didn’t think it was much different than her study of dance. Bicondova started dancing when she was 5. She suffered from seizures back then and her parents believed—correctly, as it turned out—that dance would end them.

Dance might have also helped her develop perseverance—before being cast in Gotham, Bicondova struggled through 94 failed auditions. To see the original story, visit http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/4/gotham-actress-credits-dance-training-in-kaneohe/.

 

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Point Park’s Growing Dance Department Attracts Ruben Graciani as New Chair

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Ruben Graciani; photo courtesy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ruben Graciani; photo courtesy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ruben Graciani is Point Park University’s new dance department chair, a position Susan Stowe held for a decade, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“This is really everything I’ve ever wanted,” said Graciani, previously on faculty at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. “Point Park’s name has just grown and grown and grown over the past 10 years. Seeing the progression it’s made, it’s really exciting and I’m getting the sense that maybe they’re willing to move in a new direction.”

The work ethic of the Point Park Conservatory of Performing Arts’ student dancers and the caliber of choreographers featured in their performances, such as the annual Byham Theater showcase earlier this year, helped “seal the deal,” he said. So far, he’s been impressed by what he’s seen off campus, too.

“What I didn’t realize was the depth of the dance community here and how much independent and avant-garde things are happening,” he said. “People are doing things in galleries and warehouses and garages. I find that really exciting.”

Graciani studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts, The Juilliard School, State University of New York-Purchase College, and the University of Maryland–College Park, as well as with several New York-based companies, including the Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham dance companies. He performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Joe Goode Performance Group, Brian Brooks Moving Company, and Company Stefanie Batten Bland.

In 2005, he joined Ohio University in Athens as an assistant professor. A few years ago, Graciani formed his own pickup dance company, RG Dance Projects, which he would like to resurrect here.

To read more, visit http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/2014/10/05/Point-Park-dance-department-aims-to-build-upon-success-with-new-chair-1/stories/201410050078.

 

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Small Studio Owner Offers Partnership Rather Than Lose Excellent Employee

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Fred Astaire Dance Studio owner Andrea Bisconti (right) with instructor Kellie Love; photo by Associated Press

Fred Astaire Dance Studio owner Andrea Bisconti (right) with instructor Kellie Love; photo by Associated Press

People are quitting their jobs at a faster clip and that’s pushing small-business owners to work harder to hold onto top talent, reports the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Dance studio owner Andrea Bisconti has experienced the challenge firsthand. When Kellie Love, an instructor there, said she was planning to leave to start a business of her own, Bisconti decided to act. Love inspires students to keep coming back for more lessons and brings in more than a quarter of the studio’s revenue, says Bisconti, owner of a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Willoughby, Ohio.

“My most terrible fantasy was I would see students walk out the door in droves and I would be scrambling,” says Bisconti, who has started negotiations to make Love a business partner.

As the economy and job market improve, keeping the best employees is becoming vital for small businesses. Forty-three percent of owners are working to keep top staffers, according to a recent survey by Principal Financial Group. The reason: a growing number of employees are giving notice. The Labor Department reported more than 2.5 million people quit their jobs in July, up from 2.3 million a year earlier.

The trend is expected to continue. Thirty-eight percent of workers plan to change employers in the next five years, according to a 2014 survey by the management consultancy Hay Group. That’s up from 30 percent since 2010.

Other strategies being used by company owners include communicating and mentoring, setting realistic goals, promoting a healthy balance between employees’ work and personal lives, giving constructive criticism, and paying attention to workers’ quality of life.

To see the full story, visit http://www.jsonline.com/business/small-firms-struggle-to-hang-on-to-top-employees-b99363153z1-278177001.html.

 

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Multi-Talented Performing and Visual Artist Geoffrey Holder Dies at Age 84

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Geoffrey Holder; photo by Frank Lerner/Metropolitan Opera Company

Geoffrey Holder; photo by Frank Lerner/Metropolitan Opera Company

Geoffrey Holder, the dancer, choreographer, actor, composer, designer, and painter who used his manifold talents to infuse the arts with the flavor of his native West Indies and to put a singular stamp on the American cultural scene, not least with his outsize personality, died on Sunday in Manhattan, reported the New York Times. He was 84.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, according to Charles M. Mirotznik, a spokesman for the family.

Few cultural figures of the last half of the 20th century were as multifaceted as Holder, and few had a public presence as unmistakable as his, with his gleaming pate atop a 6-foot-6 frame, full-bodied laugh, and bassoon of a voice laced with the lilting cadences of the Caribbean.

Holder directed a dance troupe from his native Trinidad and Tobago, danced on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera, won Tony Awards in 1975 for musical direction and costume design for The Wiz. His choreography was in the repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem. He taught classes at the Katherine Dunham School, and was a principal dancer for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and a featured dancer in the Broadway show House of Flowers.

Holder, who married dancer Carmen de Lavallade in 1955, acted onstage and in films and was an accomplished painter, photographer, and sculptor whose works have been shown in galleries and museums. He published a cookbook. But perhaps he was best known as the jolly, white-suited television pitchman for 7Up in the 1970s and ’80s, when in a run of commercials, always in tropical settings, he happily endorsed the soft-drink as an “absolutely maaarvelous” alternative to Coca-Cola—or “the Un-Cola,” as the ads put it.

To see the full obituary, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/07/arts/geoffrey-holder-dancer-choreographer-and-man-of-flair-dies-at-84.html?_r=0.

 

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Foundation $40M Initiative Seeks to Help Dance Companies, Others, Fill Seats

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The Wallace Foundation’s initiative will help performing arts organizations; photo courtesy Wallace Foundation

The Wallace Foundation’s initiative will help performing arts organizations;
photo courtesy Wallace Foundation

Most arts organizations these days are seeking ways to fill seats and to expand their audiences. Last week, the Wallace Foundation announced a $40 million effort to help performing arts organizations around the country do so.

The New York Times ArtsBeat blog said the six-year initiative will provide funding for up to 24 nonprofit organizations—multidisciplinary presenters or those in other nonvisual arts forms, such as opera, theater, music, and dance. Over four years, the chosen organizations will design projects to build audiences through a variety of ways, including new programs as well as nontraditional venues. The organizations will be named in February.

The Wallace Foundation is a New York City–based organization with a goal of helping disadvantaged children through education and other means.

“We see helping arts organizations find ways to thrive, not simply survive, as an important part of our mission,” William I. Miller, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “This new effort will not only support the plans of up to 24 great arts organizations to expand and diversify their audiences, it will also provide new insights and knowledge that we hope will be useful to the entire field.”

The foundation plans to fund an independent $3.5-million study to assess the effectiveness of the Building Audiences program, which it will share with other arts organizations. To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/40-million-to-help-build-audiences-in-the-arts/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=dance&_r=0.

 

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Ballet Fans Enthralled by World Ballet Day’s Multi-Company Live Stream

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National Ballet of Canada during World Ballet Day; photo by Catherine Chang

National Ballet of Canada during World Ballet Day;
photo by Catherine Chang

“Binge-watching television is kid’s stuff compared to gorging at the online smorgasbord known as World Ballet Day. For once, saying ‘I could watch ballet all day’ was literally true. And I have the eye-drops to prove it,” wrote Pia Catton in the Wall Street Journal.

Catton described her experience trying to watch last week’s first World Ballet Day, a continuous live-stream from five ballet companies in different international time zones that gave ballet junkies access to professional dancers in class, rehearsals, and interviews.

“I was a little late to the party, tuning in around midnight, to catch the Australian Ballet rehearsing choreographer Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. I tried to stay up to catch even a little bit of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, but I blew it.

“When I woke up, the action had moved to London’s Royal Ballet, by which time the tweets with the hashtag #WorldBalletDay were exploding. The level of interaction between dance fans on social media was already like what you see during sports games or award shows.

“But I wasn’t even able to tweet during the Royal Ballet’s rehearsal of Don Quixote because I was glued to Carlos Acosta . . . teaching a younger dancer a male solo part that includes mime, and . . . using contemporary slang to interpret, as in ‘It wasn’t me!’ Or ‘Walk snazzy here!’

“I made it to the office in time to catch the National Ballet of Canada during the most complicated part of their company class, followed by a rehearsal of Manon. It was coached by Sir Anthony Dowell, who was a star in that same ballet when he danced it for the Royal.

“Finally, I really did have to work by the time everything moved to San Francisco Ballet, but I was still listening in when Yuri Possokhov growled to dancers during rehearsals: ‘Don’t disappoint me!’ ”

To see the original story, visit http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/10/01/i-could-watch-ballet-all-day-and-almost-did/.

 

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Point Park Student Produced Showcase to be Live Streamed on Saturday

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Point Park Conservatory Dance Company; photo courtesy Point Park University

Point Park Conservatory Dance Company;
photo courtesy Point Park University

Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company will stream its Student Choreography Project live on the internet this weekend.

Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts has teamed up with C360 Technologies of Wexford, Pennsylvania, to offer an interactive viewing experience that will not only give viewers at home a 360-degree view, but also allow them to independently control the camera to their liking.

The Student Choreography Project is completely student produced; choreographers have the responsibility of holding formal auditions, casting dancers, running rehearsals and making costume decisions. In addition, the show’s lighting design and stage management are collaborative efforts with the conservatory’s technical theater majors.

This year’s show features two separate programs with works by 27 choreographers. Program A, featuring works by 14 choreographers, will be streamed live October 4 at 2pm, and Program B, with works by 13 choreographers, October 4 at 8pm.

The live interactive streaming can be viewed at www.pointpark.edu/studentdance. (Because the streaming uses a Flash player, the live stream will not be available on iOS devices, including iPhone or iPad.)

 

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Paris Cityscape Provides Backdrop for Photos of Dancers atop Palais Garnier

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Dancers atop the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera Ballet; photo by JR

Dancers atop the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera Ballet; photo by JR

JR, the semi-anonymous photographer who recently completed an artistic installation of large-scale photos of New York City Ballet dancers, has done it again: by scaling the rooftops of Paris’ Palais Garnier opera house with 40 ballet dancers, the artist and creator of the viral Inside Out Project has come up with yet another set of stunning images.

The Creators Project said the dancers, adorned in polka-dotted leotards, posed where the city meets the sky for a photo shoot for French magazine Madame Figaro.

Back in 2011, JR’s desire to change the world through art won him the TED Prize. “Art is not supposed to change the world, to change practical things, but to change perceptions. Art can change the way we see the world. Art can create an analogy,” he said in his TED Talk. Since then, he’s been hard at work photographing massive murals and directing his first ballet.

See if you can spot the leotard-based optical illusion in the stunning shots of the dancers at http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/artist-jr-photographed-a-troupe-of-ballet-dancers-180-feet-above-paris.

For more information, visit his web site at http://www.jr-art.net/.

 

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Longtime Ailey Foundation Chair, Joan Weill, Announces Retirement

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Joan_Weil

Joan H. Weill with Ailey artistic director Robert Battle (left) and executive director Bennett Rink; photo by Paul Kolnik

Joan H. Weill, chairman of Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc., who is widely acknowledged as a driving force in the growth of the entire Ailey organization over the past two decades, will retire at the end of this year.

Weill, who joined the Ailey Board in 1994 and was named chairman in 2000, played a central role in the creation of a permanent home for the company and school, The Joan Weill Center for Dance, which opened in 2005 at the corner of 55th Street and Ninth Avenue and remains New York’s largest facility dedicated to dance. The center made possible The Ailey Extension, a program of dance and fitness classes for the general public.

To recognize Weill’s years of service to Ailey and the entire cultural community, she has been named honoree and will be celebrated at the company’s December 3 Opening Night Gala Benefit.

Robert Battle, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, stated, “Joan Weill was a bigger-than-life figure to me before I joined Ailey, because I knew what she had done for this company, and I was awed by it . . . we hope our Gala will express even a tenth of the gratitude we feel for her.”

In 2002, Weill received the National Medal of Arts on behalf of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, alongside Judith Jamison, artistic director at the time. The foundation was the first dance organization in history to be given this prestigious award, as well as the first time ever that an arts organization and its artistic director have been recognized independently for this honor.

Weill said the Ailey organization has been a huge part of her life but “this is a good time for fresh leadership. I look forward to seeing Ailey continue to do great things. I will still be the one applauding loudest.” For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.

 

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Royal Winnipeg Ballet Addresses Canada’s Ugly Past in Ballet about Residential Schools

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Going Home Star—Truth and Reconciliation; photo courtesy Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Going Home Star—Truth and Reconciliation;
photo courtesy Royal Winnipeg Ballet

One of the most European forms of dance is tackling Canada’s fraught colonial history this week as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet premieres Going Home Star—Truth and Reconciliation, a ballet that discusses abuses, such as sexual abuse and violence, suffered by aboriginal children in residential schools.

About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children were taken from their families and forced to attend government schools over much of the last century to “take the Indian out of the child,” according to a story in 680News Radio. The last school closed outside Regina in 1996.

Based on a story by novelist Joseph Boyden, the ballet follows the journey of a young, urban First Nations woman who discovers her ancestors and finds meaning in her own life with the help of a homeless residential school survivor. It includes appearances by Polaris prize winner and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, along with other aboriginal vocalists.

The ballet, sponsored by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, is an attempt to capture the emotions and experiences of residential school survivors by a company that doesn’t have an aboriginal dancer.

“This is not an aboriginal story. This is not only about the experience of those who were students in the school. This is also the story about Canada’s experience,” commission head Murray Sinclair said.

Learning about the issue through dance can reach those who would not necessarily attend a lecture or a speech on the topic, Sinclair said. Dance and music have also been shown scientifically to stimulate a separate part of the brain, so the ballet has the potential to reach people on a different level, he said.

Choreographer Mark Godden said the aim was to reflect the heart-wrenching stories coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. With two kids of his own, he was an “emotional wreck” absorbing the raw, emotional testimony, he said. But he also saw the courage and strength of survivors who relived their abuse by talking about it publicly.

“That’s something I wanted to put into the ballet,” he said. “If everybody picks up the burden of this story, then we lighten the load for everybody. It’s a sense of social responsibility there.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.680news.com/2014/10/01/ballet-meant-to-educate-canadians-about-indian-residential-schools-commissioner/.

 

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