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The best "Bunheads" episodes—at least from the perspective of us bunheads—are the ones that involve lots of dancing. And the series' Nutcracker-themed summer finale episode last night certainly had plenty of dance, from Boo and Carl's sweet Fred-and-Ginger number to Michelle's fantastic Cabaret dream sequence (more of Sutton Foster doing what Sutton Foster does best, please!). Was most of the choreography a bit on the wacky side, as per "Bunheads" tradition?
Ballet fans have been looking forward to ABC Family's "Bunheads" for weeks now, since it advertises—from the title down—that it's all about ballet. But the first episode, at least, had a lot of plot exposition to get out of the way before digging into anything truly "bunhead"-y. A very quick summary: Onetime ballet dancer but current Las Vegas showgirl Michelle (Broadway star Sutton Foster, who is fantastic) is tired of performing in a feathered bikini but unable to get a "real" Broadway job.
It's not every day that you get to see a world-class ballerina rehearse. It's pretty much never that you get to see that world-class ballerina rehearse Martha Graham's work. So to say that I was thrilled to be able to watch Diana Vishneva prepare Graham's Errand into the Maze yesterday is a massive understatement.
I wasn't planning to write about Ballet Nacional de Cuba, performing this week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In fact, I was relieved that I didn't have to. How can you evaluate a company so storied? Its founder, the incomparable Alica Alonso, is already enshrined in the ballet canon. It is rabidly adored by its Cuban fans. It has catapulted so many spectacular Cuban dancers--Carlos Acosta, Jose Manuel Carreño, Lorna and Lorena Feijóo--into the international spotlight. The weight of its reputation, I thought, is too crushing; there isn't any room for objective analysis.
Senior editor Jenny Stahl recently called New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht "Superman," and I can't think of a better way to describe the phenomenally talented dancer and teacher, who seems to be everywhere at once these days. (We recently posted a poll asking who your favorite dancer-teacher was, and Ulbricht cleaned up.)
Click here to watch video footage from the 2011 Tremplin Jeunes Ballets. Look for more on the event in an upcoming issue of Pointe.
The dreaded audition tour: It's a time-consuming, expensive, nerve-wracking part of a young dancer's career. And yet, until a few years ago, it was pretty much the only way to get a job, particularly if you had your sights set on a company on the other side of the country--or the world.