Blogs

The level of ballet training offered at the college level seems to be rising every year. Just take a look through the programs in our higher education guide, and you'll find dozens of schools with quality classical programs.

 

It's the end of the week, and if you're like most dancers I know, your body is sore and achy all over. Well-meaning friends and teachers will probably tell you to hop in an Epsom salt bath. But will that actually help? Maybe, but most of the benefit comes from the bath, not the salt.

Heads up Angelenos: Los Angeles Ballet is launching a new outreach program, led by principal ballerina Allynne Noelle, along with dancer Christopher McDaniel. Their two-pronged goal is to enrich their community and bring awareness to the company. On one Sunday each month, they’ll offer a community day full of classes, lectures and events.

Armitage Gone! Dance just moved into a fancy new arts building in Jersey City, and they've got some pretty cool plans for how to use their first-ever permanent space. This weekend, the company will hold an audition for an awesome-sounding workshop. Called a “Professional Project,” the three-week intensive will give 20 advanced students and recent graduates a peek inside the reality of a dance company.

Alexei Ratmansky and American Ballet Theatre are a match made in ballet heaven. The artist in residence has a 10-year contract with ABT, and has choreographed abstract and narrative ballets for the company such as The Bright Stream, The Nutcracker and Firebird. At the Guggenheim’s Works & Process on Sunday, ballet mistress Nancy Raffa, and principal David Hallberg discussed what it's like to work with Ratmansky. Apparently, Ratmansky comes to the studio very prepared, with his 2x4 inch black book containing choreography to each count of the score.

This weekend, the ballet world lost one of its best. Yvonne Mounsey, director of Westside Ballet in Santa Monica, California, passed away at age 93. Mounsey started her career at 20 with Colonel de Basil's Ballet Russes. While the company was on their U.S. tour in 1940-41, she met George Balanchine, who later asked her to join New York City Ballet.

Modern dance companies have been performing in quirky places since the days of Judson. But ballet has its share of branching out of the theater, too. Last weekend, 20 dancers from Russia's Yekaterinburg Ballet performed in a car factory—right alongside plant workers doing their jobs! A temporary stage was installed directly in the factory for the one-act ballet, H2O, performed as part of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Nothing seems to intimidate Diana Vishneva. The Mariinsky prima toured her own solo show. She signed up for a guest spot with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She is forever chasing after new challenges. Her latest project? A new creation by Les Ballets de Monte Carlo director Jean-Christophe Maillot. She just spent two weeks in Monaco learning the choreography, and will be performing it in Russia over the next year.

You’ve always suspected that you’re different from your civilian, non-dancer friends. It turns out that science can back you up. According to a study published in PloS Genetics, dancers show consistent differences from the general population in two key genes. One contributes to spiritual experience, and the other modulates social communication and bonding behaviors.

Both the ballet and fashion worlds are still abuzz about the costumes Valentino Garavani designed for New York City Ballet's gala last week. Jewelry designer Robert Sorrell, of Sorrell Originals, added extra sparkle to the glamorous ensembles with his elegant headpieces. Pointe talked to Sorrell about his creations.

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