Blogs

Benjamin Millepied has been named as the next director of dance at the Paris Opéra Ballet. He will succeed current director Brigitte Lefèvre starting in October 2014. Although most of Millepied's career—as both a dancer with New York City Ballet and a freelance choreographer, notably for Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan—has so far been based in the United States, he is originally from Bordeaux, France. Nonetheless, the choice came as a surprise, since most people expected the company to select a candidate from inside their own ranks.

An interesting twist has come out of the horrific attack on Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin—for the first time in history, a woman is in charge of the iconic Russian ballet company. Former principal Galina Stepanenko will serve as acting director while Filin recovers. How long that recovery will take is unclear right now as Filin continues to undergo surgery on his eyes and face.

Want to keep your appetite in check? Start running. Even though exercise often makes us hungrier, certain types of workouts appear to increase hormones that cue us stop eating once our bodies have enough fuel. A study done at the University of Wyoming last year found that after walking, women overate, consuming more calories than they had burned.

Ballet politics turned ugly yesterday: Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin was attacked outside his home last night. A masked man threw a bottle of acid at his face. It's been reported that Filin's eyesight might be compromised and he will need extensive plastic surgery for his face. After a 15-hour operation in Moscow, Filin was flown to Brussels, Belgium this morning for special burns treatment. Doctors say his recovery may take up to six months.

 

Who else is hoping for a pair of ballet dancers to win “So You Think You Can Dance” again this year? I know I am! Season 10 auditions start this week, so tie on your pointe shoes and get out there. Here are the upcoming dates and locations:

 

Friday, January 18 in Austin, TX at The Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts

Monday, February 11 in Detroit, MI at Saint Andrew’s Hall

This interview appeared in the January 16 Pointe e-newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, click here.

The School of American Ballet has a new location: Orange County. Well, at least for the summer. SAB’s Los Angeles Workshop for Young Dancers launched in Santa Monica in 2011, but this year it's moving to the more centrally-located Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine to improve its accessibility for students throughout Southern California. The workshop is designed to introduce serious ballet students ages 10 to 14 to SAB's curriculum. Dancers are taught technique, pointe and variations by members of the school’s permanent faculty, such as Darci Kistler, Katrina Killian and Sheryl Ware.

This week's episode of "Bunheads" featured "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 5 winner Jeanine Mason's debut as sophisticated new girl Cozette. I love that choreographer Marguerite Derricks has been bringing in "SYTYCD" alums—Kent Boyd has been especially great—who elevate the level of the dancing on the show. But I was a bit disappointed with the way "Bunheads" decided to use Jeanine.

Prix de Lausanne finals will be streaming live on February 2—and if you download the competition’s app onto your iPhone or iPad, you can watch the dancers perform right in the palm of your hand. See some of the most promising students from around the world go head to head for top scholarships and career-launching prizes.

Before becoming a beloved prima ballerina with New York City Ballet, Wendy Whelan was just another girl growing up in Louisville, Kentucky. Tonight, local TV station KET will air "Wendy Whelan: Moments of Grace" on its Kentucky Muse program at 10 pm EST (and the station will rerun it next Wednesday at 8 pm). Those of us who live in other states can watch it stream online at ket.org/live. The documentary explores Whelan's childhood growing up in Kentucky, and gives an inside look at the impact of her roots on her incredible career.