Jennifer Stahl's blog

Nashville Ballet is adding a new element to their second company this fall: a pre-professional training division for advanced dancers looking to hone their skills. The new program is designed as an entry level into the performing division of Nashville Ballet 2. The cost is $1000 a year for in-depth training, performance opportunities and mentoring from faculty.

Dayton Ballet in Ohio is launching a new choreography contest. The project will coincide with a music composition contest. Three choreographers will be chosen to create a new work on Dayton Ballet dancers, to a recording of new music by the three chosen composers. Choreographers will have 45 hours with Dayton Ballet dancers of their choice to rehearse, and winners will receive a cash prize. Cincinnati Ballet's Victoria Morgan, Ballet Austin's Stephen Mills and BalletMet's Gerard Charles will judge.

 

To apply, submit a DVD of your work by September 15 to:

 

The Washington Ballet just announced that they will launch a trainee program this fall. Choreographer Carlos Valcarcel will serve as ballet master for the one- to two- year program for pre-preprofessional students ages 17 and older. It's aimed at students who want to fine-tune their technique and gain valuable performance experience before auditioning for companies.

 

This morning we had a cover shoot with one of my all-time favorite dancers who's a principal at a top company. She's reached a level of success that most dancers only dream of. Yet she told me that when she was young, she never thought she'd get hired as a dancer. There was always someone better. There was always something she needed to improve.

 

ABT soloist Simone Messmer is more than your typical bunhead. The girl has pizzazz—an effortless vivacity that's simply magnetic both onstage and off. So I'm super excited to share that she has been chosen to receive the 2010 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship.

 

For an art form dominated by women, there sure are very few female in top positions in ballet. Actually, Richmond Ballet is hosting "The Glass Slipper Ceiling" focusing on the rarity of female artistic directors just this morning. Panelists include Ballet Memphis' Dorothy Gunther Pugh, Cincinnati Ballet's Victoria Morgan, Smuin Ballet's Celia Fushille and Richmond's own Stoner Winslett along with special guest Suzanne Farrell.

Ever wish there was a social network just for ballet? Check out deballet.com!

 

The newly-launched site has pages for professional dancers, choreographers, companies and schools. You can include a picture and bio, show your Twitter feed, link to your own site and Facebook and there's even a wall for other ballet lovers to leave you notes. Every dancer also has their own box of "Fans."

 

Heads up! Princess Grace Award applications are due April 30.

This prestigious award is given out to a handful of talented student and professional dancers each year.

When it comes down to it, there are two basic types of performers who make great dancers: Those who demand attention onstage, and those who inconspicuously draw it in without outwardly trying.

 

Like most dancers I know, I can’t stand watching myself on film. Really, I’m that slow? It’s not that I dance behind the music, but I never look quite sharp enough. Innately smooth, lyrical and calm, my natural movement quality works all right in adagio choreography, but if you ask me to “hit” a position I’ll probably “lightly tap on” it and then flow through to the next step.

But recently I’ve noticed this weakness improving. Surprisingly, it’s not due to more petite allegro; it’s because of hip hop.