As if Wendy Whelan’s imminent retirement wasn’t a hard enough pill to swallow, news that Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Carla Körbes will retire in June 2015 makes this an even sadder year for ballet.
Körbes started her career at New York City Ballet, before being hired as a soloist at PNB in 2005. In 2006 she was promoted to principal. Körbes has been lauded for her dancing in Balanchine ballets, and has originated roles in ballets by Peter Martins, Benjamin Millepied, Christopher Wheeldon and Twyla Tharp among others.
In her book Apollo’s Angels, Jennifer Homans infamously announced that ballet is dying. Though the statement ruffled a lot of feathers in the ballet world, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what direction ballet will take in the 21st century.
On Thursday, August 21, the Joffrey Ballet will live-stream a rehearsal of Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. Wheeldon will be in attendance to coach the dancers, while Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater will host and conduct interviews with the dancers during rehearsal breaks.
Andrew Bartee, a former Pacific Northwest Ballet company member and current dancer with Ballet BC, will premiere his latest work—Dirty Goods—as part of the Wolf Trap Foundation's "Face of America" series on August 27. The piece was commissioned for Wolf Trap Foundation, and utilizes filmed site specific performance in Olympic National Park, music by the Portland-based band The Chromatics and dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet.
No matter how weird it gets, contemporary ballet is still ballet. Sure there are gradations—and yes, there’s the eventual hair-splitting difference between contemporary ballet and contemporary dance—but when a ballet company performs something “contemporary,” it’s likely that the piece will fit safely within a handful of stylistic guidelines.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of IBC Varna. Though the competition has grown steadily more sophisticated and intense over time, no competitors were awarded gold medals this year. Two silver medals were awarded to the senior women: Hannah O'Neill of the Paris Opera Ballet, and Ye Lim Choi of Korea. Two bronze medals were awarded to the senior women, as well: Sara Renda of Italy and Hee Sun Kim of Korea. Senior men fared the same—the highest award was silver.