Sometimes ballet can feel a bit like arithmetic: Turnout should stay at exactly 180 degrees, arabesque should rise to at least 90 degrees, fifth position should have zero space in between your toes and heels. But although there are certain marks we all aim to hit, the artistry in ballet comes from the limitless ways there are to get there.
Wendy Whelan, NYCB principal, on teaching a recent master class at Manhattan Movement & Arts:
I don’t teach often, so I’m learning about myself as a teacher. You have to articulate both with your body and with your words. A certain word might make all the difference to someone in the class. As I teach, I think a lot about Willy Burmann—I’ve been taking his class for more than 20 years. I love the ideas he brings to his students. He does a lot with opposition—being down in the ground and up into the air.
The title of this blog may be a tad misleading, but I do have an important question to ask. After watching a video of the (divinely talented and gift to the ballet world from heaven) Svetlana Zakharova on YouTube, I wonder: What is the best and most correct way to do fouettes? Is it by winding up with a rond de jambe from front to side each time you complete the revolution, or, as Svetlana does it, to just open the leg to the side?
This is the first guest blog post by student Catherine Hurlin, who's rehearsing the role of Clara for ABT's new Nutcracker. Stay tuned for more posts from Catherine!
Hey! My name is Catherine Hurlin and I am learning the part of Clara for American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky. I’m 14 years old and go the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT. I just moved up to level 6, and I'm ready for anything!
On Saturday night, Kanye West premiered his epic 35-minute long music video for "Runaway." When he first performed the song earlier this year at MTV's Video Music Awards, he brought a trio of ballet dancers with him onstage, so I was super curious to see how he'd incorporate dancers into his much-anticipated mini movie.
After years of trying to develop a beautiful line in ballet, and watching my fellow dancers try as well, my eye is trained to unconsciously look for ballet lines. I see them everywhere: in architecture and nature, in the way light plays off of buildings, in fountains and even random trash piles that resemble the famous Dying Swan pose.
You have to wonder how much experience Petipa actually had with swans. They're elegant and graceful, yes--but they're also mean, hissy, scary even. The male swans of Matthew Bourne's wildly popular Swan Lake hit much closer to the mark, in that respect, than Petipa's tutu-clad flock. Bourne's beastly birds are seductive and arrogant--about as far from damsels in distress as you can get. Instead, they're symbols of freedom and empowerment. Bourne's Prince doesn't attempt to rescue his Swan--the Swan rescues the Prince.