If you've been on social media lately, chances are your feeds have been overloaded with videos of your friends dumping buckets of icy water over their heads. The ALSIce Bucket Challenge has taken off over the past few weeks, raising money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). If you are nominated by a friend, you have 24 hours to either complete the challenge or make a $100 donation to The ALS Association. You then challenge other friends to do the same.
Many Romantic ballets revolve around tragedy when dealing with love and romance. However, some simply attempt to replicate the joy of dancing, and produce little conflict other than a delayed marriage (Swanilda’s story in Coppélia hardly compares to the trials and tribulations of Odette's in Swan Lake). Still, beauty remains a major component to all ballets, no matter the conclusion.
If you’re a fan of First Position, you may want to tune in this Friday to “Dance School Diaries” on the DanceOn YouTube channel. The new web-based reality series follows four Southern California students as they prepare for the 2014 Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Scheduled through mid-October, new episodes air every Friday at 10:00 am PST.
Andrew Bartee, a former Pacific Northwest Ballet company member and current dancer with Ballet BC, will premiere his latest work—Dirty Goods—as part of the Wolf Trap Foundation's "Face of America" series on August 27. The piece was commissioned for Wolf Trap Foundation, and utilizes filmed site specific performance in Olympic National Park, music by the Portland-based band The Chromatics and dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet.
New pointe shoes always take some getting used to, especially when you change models. You may even find that certain styles make it more challenging to balance on flat. According to research from the University of Wolverhampton in the UK, the thickness of your shoe may be affecting your stability.
There are "firsts" for everything in ballet—from positions of the feet to world premieres of new choreography. But some dancers might not recognize the woman considered to be the first American prima ballerina (and in ballet, holding such a title is comparable to some sort of divinity). But Maria Tallchief, who danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and was one of Balanchine's first principal dancers at New York City Ballet, takes this place in history.
As choreographers like Wayne McGregor push the aesthetic boundaries of ballet, even the most contemporary work still adheres to recognizable elements of the form. There are gradations—and yes, there’s the eventual hair-splitting difference between contemporary ballet and contemporary dance, when too many of those recognizable elements have been stripped away—but when a ballet company performs something “contemporary,” it’s likely that the piece will fit safely within a handful of stylistic guidelines.
Who tires faster, ballerinas or football players? A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine tested just that by measuring the lower-body endurance of ballet dancers and team sports athletes.
Ballet dancers never reveal the labor of their work. Whether onstage or in rehearsal, they hurdle through moments of exhaustion to preserve an effortless illusion. Even when a character calls for anger, sorrow or pain, a dancer can still move the audience with beauty. The Dying Swan, originally choreographed by Mikhail Fokine in 1905, breaks this quest for effortless beauty. It presents the ultimate challenge—how to appear weak, and at times, ugly.