Last Saturday, I went to see the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Nearly Ninety, and I was pretty blown away. During the 80-minute piece, the dancers' energy never flagged or faded, and the ever-shifting patterns onstage continuously delighted my eye. Cunningham's choreography is in some ways so very abstract and stark, but in others, it reminded so much of modern dance's classical roots.
This weekend I was lucky enough to catch a performance of Protégés III: The International Ballet Academy Festival. This was the third time The Kennedy Center invited students from distant corners of the world to show off their elite training in our nation's capital.
This afternoon I got the chance to attend the presentation of the 2011 Martin E. Segal Awards. This year's recipients included School of American Ballet Student Meaghan Dutton O'Hara as well as filmmaker Laura Poitras. Each received $7,500 to advance their careers.
I went to the YAGP "Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow" gala on Tuesday night, and I've been thinking about it ever since. I was blown away by the variety and beauty of the dancing, especially by the likes of SFB's Yuan Yuan Tan, NYCB's Tiler Peck and Daniel Ulbricht, and Gallim Dance. The Bolshoi star Ivan Vasiliev and Ballet Nacional De Cuba's Viengsay Valdes finished the evening with the Don Quixote pas de deux, and I have to admit that, having never seen either of them perform, I was anticipating it with excitement.
I was filming a photo shoot for Pointe the other day, featuring ABT dancers Blaine Hoven, Eric Tamm, Alexandre Hammoudi and Daniil Simkin. Lucky me! They're all so cute. But that's not all I took away from that day. While I watched the guys figure out their poses and do them, I was struck by how different their attitudes (not the leg kind) were from those of the ladies we shoot. The women are usually much more intense, trying very hard to show off their best assets, be it extension, line, or even contemporary edginess. They tend to gravitate towa
Think you've got what it takes to be the next Christopher Wheeldon? Ballet Austin hopes so! The Texas company's biennial choreographic competition, New American Talent/Dance, is currently seeking entrants for the 2012 edition.
The contest brings the top three finalists to Austin to create a new 20-minute contemporary work on the Ballet Austin dancers. All three pieces of choreography will premiere in front of a renowned jury and a live voting audience in February 2012. Up to $20,000 is at stake.
There have been so many blog posts and articles about how ballet and ballerinas are portrayed in Black Swan, that I feel sort of guilty piling yet another one on, but I'm going to anyway. A recent conversation with a friend suggested just one more topic that can be addressed as a result of the movie: The violence of ballet itself.