Johan Renvall, a virtuosic former principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, died last week at the age of 55. Born and trained in Sweden, Renvall danced with ABT from 1978 to 1996. He found his niche in contemporary premieres by the likes of Twyla Tharp and Agnes de Mille, in 20th century classics like Antony Tudor’s emotive Dark Elegies, and in bravura male solos like the Golden Idol variation in La Bayadère.
As America anxiously awaits Stephen Colbert's return to the small screen, dance and theater fans have something special to look forward to. Christopher Wheeldon, the choreographer of Broadway's An American in Paris, along with its two stars, New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild and Royal Ballet first artist Leanne Cope, will appear on "The Late Show" on September 18.
Susan Jaffe was barely 19 years old when she leapt into the spotlight at American Ballet Theatre. 1982—the year that her Swan Lake debut had critics raving—also revealed her contemporary chops in works like Lynn Taylor-Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk. In this clip from a 1985 recording, Jaffe dances a pas de deux from the piece with Robert La Fosse, who had a successful career as a principal dancer at both ABT and New York City Ballet.
Some of ballet’s biggest stars have donated signed pointe shoes to raise money for victims of last April’s horrific earthquake in Nepal. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed over 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. And while the disaster is no longer headline news, survivors are still desperate for help.
Ballet training and all of its associated fees provide a serious barrier to entry for many aspiring dancers. Tuition, appropriate dancewear, pointe shoes and summer intensives add up, and up...and up. Nowadays, many students also compete and the cost to travel to competitions, pay for custom tutus and contract private coaching is astronomical. Then there's room and board at a professional school or conservatory, and the private lessons and coaching that many dancers receive regardless of whether they go the competition route.