For everyone getting ready to head off to summer intensives, here's another thing to add to your packing list: some good books! Reading can be a great way to give your exhausted body a much-needed rest. Books in print, e-reader editions, books online, whatever floats your boat, check out some of the great works out there about dance.
The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together by Twyla Tharp
Registration is now open for the 40th Prix de Lausanne. The prestigious Swiss competition has launched many a dance career, and awarded hundreds of scholarships to top schools around the world. One of the coolest things about this particular competition? It always reserves a certain number of spots for students from small studios in order to even out the playing field so that the finals don't solely consist of dancers who come from big-name schools. I love that!
Bournonville training creates some of the most elegant male dancers in the ballet world. Their upper bodies seem to move with poise, ease and a mix of strength and lightness, no matter what sort of footwork is going on underneath. This was especially evident last night at the Royal Danish Ballet's performance in Lincoln Center, when a couple dozen or so of the company's men danced Bournonville Variations, a mash-up of traditional classroom exercises created by the other Mr. B.
Heads up NYC dancers—starting this Friday, 30 studios in the city are offering free classes for National Dance Week! There's a kickoff flash mob in Union Square tomorrow night (Aren't those supposed to be a surprise? Well, anyways, it's free dance!) and a culminating performance at Peridance's theater on Sunday, June 26 featuring Ballet Noir, Billy Elliot, plus a bunch of other companies and schools.
I wasn't planning to write about Ballet Nacional de Cuba, performing this week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In fact, I was relieved that I didn't have to. How can you evaluate a company so storied? Its founder, the incomparable Alica Alonso, is already enshrined in the ballet canon. It is rabidly adored by its Cuban fans. It has catapulted so many spectacular Cuban dancers--Carlos Acosta, Jose Manuel Carreño, Lorna and Lorena Feijóo--into the international spotlight. The weight of its reputation, I thought, is too crushing; there isn't any room for objective analysis.
Keeping a snack in your dance bag is a must. But finding one that's portable, healthy and will sustain your energy? That can be a challenge. Energy bars are a frequent go-to solution for dancers. Unfortunately, however, they are often loaded with refined sugars and lack "real" ingredients.
In ballet, your body is everything. But would you know what to do if you got injured in the middle of rehearsal?
For the fifth year in a row, Bebe Neuwirth, founder of The Dancers' Resource of The Actors Fund, presents "Healing The Dancer," a free seminar that offers practical health tips for professional dancers. This year's guest panel will explain the complexities of navigating the Workers' Compensation system, including instructions on how to report an injury at work. Robert LaFosse, former ABT and NYCB dancer is going to be the keynote speaker.
The mood is a little tense as Alexei Ratmansky peeks in the window during our warm-up barre. The dancers exchange smiles, as if to agree silently to our excitement. After class, we are all introduced to Mr. Ratmansky, and settle in for a talk. He greets us warmly, and at once all our nerves seem to disappear.