Joy Womack just signed a contract with the Bolshoi Ballet, becoming the first American woman ever to dance for the iconic Russian company. The historic move is especially significant because Joy wasn't always a prodigy destined for ballet greatness. As a teenager at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, she was actually told she didn't have enough turnout or flexibilty, and was asked to leave the school.
"Breaking Pointe" closed out the season last night heavy on the drama, light on the dancing. Although the finale ostensibly focused on the simultaneous excitement and let down during the close of a run, most of the episode concentrated on Katie's goodbye and Rex and Alison's breakup. Even Christiana ended up in tears (seemingly due to something about the pressure of being too good?).
I'm starting to get jealous of Chicago. Ever since ballet lover Rahm Emanuel become mayor of The Windy City, it's been rapidly blossoming into an even more attractive dance hub. During the Paris Opéra Ballet's visit last week, their performance of Giselle was streamed live for the public from an 18 by 32 foot LED screen in Millenium Park. And next month will bring the largest-ever Chicago Dancing Festival, full of free performances, dance films, discussions, tributes and interactive work.
Heads up Californian bunheads: the Anaheim International Dance Festival is coming back this summer. From August 10-12, dancers ages 10-22 are invited take workshops with renowned master teachers such as Miami City Ballet founder Edward Villella, former New York City Ballet principal Darci Kistler and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater rehearsal director Matthew Rushing.
When Adam Sklute spoke to Pointe earlier this year about his company's decision to participate in "Breaking Pointe," he said one of the driving reasons behind allowing cameras into his studios was the opportunity to set "the record straight about the real dramas and the real joys that happen in the ballet world, without having to play into stereotypes."
Few dancers have been as popular with audiences as Angel Corella. When he gave his farewell performance with American Ballet Theatre last night, the vast Metropolitan Opera House, rarely full to the rafters, was sold out. Ballet lovers had come from all over to say goodbye.
Lots of dancers like to ice sore muscles before heading into the studio, thinking that they’re doing themselves a favor. But they’re doing the exact opposite! A recent study at the University of Ulster and the University of Limerick showed that icing actually reduces muscle strength, bodily awareness and agility for 15 to 20 minutes afterwards. This is because the cold temperature slows nerve impulses, which prevents muscles and tendons from working together. The study also found that icing right before class or rehearsal could make a dancer more likely to get injured.
In true ballet fashion, “Bunheads” owes a lot to the enduring power of fairy tales. A Broadway princess (Tony Award winner Sutton Foster) wakes up in a town called Paradise (a nice dash of magical thinking there) to find herself in the shelter of a ballet studio run by a fairy godmother—okay, actually godmother-in-law. The princess escapes from a Las Vegas past that separated her from ballet—her first love—to a kingdom of niceness and sincerity.