Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone's blog

From February 10–14, former American Ballet Theatre principal—and current BalletNext artistic director and founder—Michele Wiles will share the stage with Jay Donn, a street dance star specializing in the style of Flex and its sub-style, Punchlines. Their collaboration has resulted in Something Sampled, and is one of three pieces to be performed at BalletNext's spring season, Baroque'd, at New York Live Arts.

If you're a ballet fan, you've probably already noticed the dance films created by fomer Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz.

"Wearable tech" usually means something like Google Glass. But now, it can apply to ballet dancers too.

Brooklyn Ballet teamed up with local hacking collective NYC Resistor to make wearable tech for the company's Nutcracker. The results of their effort were glittering LED tutus for the snowflakes and a light-up shirt for Drosselmeyer that responded to his arm and chest movements.

You probably remember that New York City Ballet principals Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild got married earlier this year. They're two of the ballet world's most capable artists, and their courtship has traced the path of their careers: growing up together as dancers, dating on and off, getting promoted through the company and finally getting married.

What's better than the Nutcracker? The Nutcracker with puppies and kittens, naturally. This year, Sacramento Ballet has partnered with the Front Street Animal Shelter to feature adoptable pets in each of their 13 Nutcracker performances. The critters will have roles in the opening scene—a busy street—and in the party scene at Clara's house.

 

Without the dedication of dozens of technical crew members at each and every performance, ballet companies would be performing on bare, empty stages under flourescent lighting. Creating props, scenery, lighting and costumes for a performance is a huge undertaking, but the tech crew's work isn't done once the lighting is designed and the costumes are sewn. All of those materials have to be carefully transported to the theater, and the process of loading-in—setting everything up in the space—can take hours.

 

American Ballet Theatre and the Segerstrom Center--which have long worked together to present ABT, including some of the company's world premieres--are partnering to start a ballet school at Segerstrom's Costa Mesa campus. This news comes as part of the dance education windfall that L.A.

The arts are desperately underfunded in this country, and programs big and small rely on philanthropy to stay afloat. Ballet companies rarely earn enough income to break even, so philanthropy is essential to their continuation. While this is a less-than-ideal way to scrape by, we (readers and staff) all probably agree that it's worth the fundraising hustle in order to keep seeing and presenting great art. In the meantime we can work to change the way art is funded in the U.S.

 

Alexandre Hammoudi and Misty Copeland in Swan Lake, during ABT's Australia tour. Photo by Darren Thomas