Amy Brandt's blog

 

Today, American Ballet Theatre announced that longtime company soloists Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera have been promoted to principal dancer. San Francisco Ballet star Maria Kochetkova and Royal Danish Ballet principal Alban Lendorf will also join ABT next season as principals (though they will remain principals with their respective companies), and Boston Ballet principal Jeffrey Cirio joins as a soloist. Corps de ballet members Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Luciana Paris, Arron Scott and Cassandra Trenary have been promoted to soloist.

 

American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland is not the first African American woman to dance the iconic role of Odette/Odile. And some warn, rightly so, that the rich history of black ballerinas (Lauren Anderson, Debra Austin, Anne Benna Sims, Nora Kimball and Virginia Johnson, to name just a few) has gotten lost in all the publicity hype surrounding Copeland. Others complain that her PR campaign is an overly aggressive attempt to achieve principal status.

Mere weeks after her retirement from Pacific Northwest Ballet, former principal Carla Körbes has joined the staff of Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project as associate artistic director. Cörbes, who is serving as artist in residence at the Vail International Dance Festival July 27–August 10, has been elusive about her future plans up until now.

 

Today, two of American Ballet Theatre’s longtime stars, Paloma Herrera and Xiomara Reyes, retire from the company in—what is sure to be emotionally charged—back-to-back performances of Giselle. Herrera, who has danced with ABT for 24 years, will say good-bye during this afternoon’s matinee, while Reyes will give her final performance tonight. The departure of both dancers marks an end of an era, and a sign of change for ABT’s future. In two seperate interviews, both dancers offered reflections on their careers, retirements and future plans.

 

In 2004, as dancers waited in the hallway for their usual morning class at Steps on Broadway in New York City, they could catch a glimpse of teacher Edward Ellison privately coaching individuals in a small studio near the reception desk.

American Ballet Theatre, in the midst of their 75th Anniversary celebration, opened their spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House this week. But fans unable to make it to New York City need not worry—on May 15, “American Ballet Theatre: A History,” a documentary nine years in the making by Emmy-award winning filmmaker Ric Burns, premieres on PBS stations nationwide.

 

Many of you may remember last summer’s “Strictly Ballet,” Teen Vogue’s reality web series that took viewers inside the high-pressure lives of six students at the School of American Ballet. And you may especially remember those nerve-racking class scenes with Peter Martins, ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet, as he assesses SAB’s highest level students for possible company apprenticeships.

If you are eagerly awaiting the November 8 premiere of Starz’s gritty ballet drama “Flesh and Bone,” you’re in luck. The network released its first trailer of the eight-hour limited series yesterday—and it looks pretty tantalizing.

The Boston dance community is coming together on April 25 to remember the life and legacy of Samuel Kurkjian at the Walnut Hill School of the Arts’ Keiter Center in Natick, MA. Kurkjian, who died in 2013, joined the Boston Ballet in 1968 as a principal dancer and ballet master, eventually becoming the company’s first resident choreographer. He later joined the staff of Walnut Hill, where he was a beloved member of the faculty for 35 years.