Some call the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, the Olympics of dance. It comes around every four years, draws an international roster of competitors and bestows medals, contracts, cash awards and scholarships upon the some of best and brightest young talents in the world. The competition, which started June 14, has narrowed down the list of 99 competitors to 31 finalists. Here are the six Americans who made the cut. (All photography by Richard Finkelstein, courtesy IBC Jackson.)
You don’t have to be a ballet dancer to know Mikhail Baryshnikov’s name. His involvement with film and modern dance gave him an international reputation across multiple disciplines. He also defined what it means to be a male dancer, and set the standard for the power it requires. This video from 1969 shows Baryshnikov at only 20 years old—with his famous, awe striking jumps already taking the stage.
Good news for ballet lovers in Saratoga Springs, New York. This morning, it was announced that New York City Ballet's summer season at the outdoor Saratoga Performing Arts Center will be extended to two weeks, beginning in 2015. This summer, the company will remain under its one-week contract.
Smuin Ballet reached its 20th Anniversary this season. True to form, the company wrapped up its birthday with an eccentric program featuring Dancin' With Gershwin, a Michael Smuin work, the world premiere of resident choreographer Amy Seiwert's But now I must rest and the world premeire of Val Caniparoli's Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino.
As you know, our June/July issue features three fantastic dancers that are climbing the ranks: Ashley Murphy, Misty Copeland and Ebony Williams. Their stories about facing adversity in ballet are absolutely inspirational. (If you haven't read them yet, well, what are you waiting for?)
Margot Fonteyn’s name ranks among the greatest artists of the 20th century. In an era wrought with shifts in literature, philosophy and dance, she captured audiences through her dancing in seemingly tangible ways. Here, it all begins within the first few seconds of this footage of the “Rose Adagio” from 1959—we can’t take our eyes off her.
Last night, I saw American Ballet Theatre in Frederick Ashton's Cinderella, a ballet that entered the company's rep just this season. Of course, you're at the theater to see the magical story of Cinderella and her prince unfold. And what magic it was! Julie Kent played an endearing, doe-eyed Cinderella and Marcelo Gomes was princely, as always. But in Ashton's version, the evil stepsisters—men dressed to the nines in corsets and wigs—dare I say it, stole the show.
Six dancers from the National Ballet of Cuba recently arrived in Miami after defecting while their company was on tour in Puerto Rico. The dancers have been taken under the wing of Pedro Pablo Peña, the director of Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. Peña is Cuban and has long supported defecting ballet dancers by featuring them in his company and helping them find work in the United States.