Amy Brandt's blog

Some of ballet’s biggest stars have donated signed pointe shoes to raise money for victims of last April’s horrific earthquake in Nepal. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed over 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. And while the disaster is no longer headline news, survivors are still desperate for help.

The HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, has been awarded a $250,000 grant from The Rudolph Nureyev Dance Foundation. The highly selective boarding school (alumni include American Ballet Theatre’s Marcelo Gomes and Boston Ballet’s Kathleen Breen Combes) is unique in that it provides tuition-free pre-professional training, thanks to its generous founding benefactor, the late Fred Lieberman. The new grant will be used to create The Rudolf Nureyev Endowed Fund, which will provide need-based awards to HARID students indefinitely.

Louisville Ballet has a secret admirer. On Friday, the company announced that it had received a $1 million gift from an anonymous, New York City–based donor to help support the new artistic vision of artistic director Robert Curran, who was appointed last year.

When former Ballet West principal Michael Beardon took over Ballet Arkansas in 2013, he wanted to find ways to connect the small, 13-member company to the greater dance world and help its young artists develop. “The more interaction they have with knowledgeable and talented choreographers, the faster they’re going to grow,” says Beardon. To do so, he initiated Visions: A Choreographic Competition, an event that also aims to nurture emerging dancemakers and educate audiences.

According to a report in the New York Times, Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre announced on its website today that it would not be renewing the contract of the ballet’s artistic director, Sergei Filin. Filin, whose contract is up in March 2016, made world headlines in 2013 when he had acid thrown in his face, an assault organized by Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko. Filin has since had multiple eye surgeries and is now partially blind.

 

Miami City Ballet is celebrating its 30th anniversary this coming season, and what better way to kick it off than by announcing promotions and company additions?

If you’ve been following season two of Teen Vogues reality web series “Strictly Ballet,” you know that the stakes are high for its anxious stars. The show, which follows six pre-professional dancers at the Miami City Ballet School, has been leading up to a major school performance—and MCB artistic director Lourdes Lopez is closely watching. For Carlos, Valeriia, Mayumi, Gustavo and Ella, their futures are on the line.

 

American Ballet Theatre just wrapped up its 2015 spring season, but that doesn’t mean newly promoted principal Misty Copeland is slowing down any. Yesterday, The New York Times announced that from August 25–September 5, Copeland will be dancing—and singing—as Ivy Smith in the Broadway musical On the Town.

 

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.