This Week in Dance

James Sewell Ballet is a tiny, but mighty gem of the Twin Cities arts scene. This year marks the contemporary ballet troupe's 20th anniversary season, and highlights include the men’s duet from Lar Lubovitch’s Concerto Six Twenty-Two, as well as Inferno, a piece that Sewell has been dreaming of since before he even launched the company. Pointe recently asked Sewell about where his company's come from and what it's up to now.

 

What was your initial vision for James Sewell Ballet?

On last night's episode of "Breaking Pointe," we were finally treated to tons of footage from inside the studio. We got to see the dancers rehearse Cinderella—and dance full out. Of course, it was just a quick clip here and a quick clip there, but at least we got a healthy dose of choreography in between all the chatter about marriage.

 

For most young boys in ballet class, dancing is a passion they have to fight for. Just yesterday, I got an email from a loyal reader who loves Pointe, and loves ballet more, but he never took ballet classes. He was too afraid of being bullied. And he is definitely not alone. 

 

The Red Shoes, that most classic of all ballet movies, is getting the ultimate cool-kid treatment next week. The hipsters at Brooklyn's Nitehawk Cinema and the bad boys of VICE Media have teamed up to present the film in 35 mm print, thanks to a meticulous restoration done by Martin Scorsese.

It's rare to find a ballet dancer without a sweet tooth—after hours of rehearsing, sometimes you just need a little sugar! Next time a craving hits, try this healthy chocolate pudding recipe from San Francisco Ballet corps member Luke Willis. He makes it with all raw and vegan ingredients, and uses avocados as a base, which means you get a nice dose of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and heart-healthy fats to go along with your dessert. Best of all? It's super simple to make after a long day in the studio.

 

Ingredients:

2-3 avocados (ripe)

Each week after "Breaking Pointe" airs, we always hear the same complaint: "Too much drama, not enough dancing!"

 

I get where the reaction comes from—these are amazing dancers, so why can't we see more of them doing what they're best at? We're teased with three-second clips of rehearsal, but then the camera always breaks away to a close-up of someone sitting there talking. Every time, I want to scream out, "No! Show us more!" I hate getting just a taste of these dancers as artists, and not being able to tell what they actually look like on stage.

 

There's only one thing better than a ballet nerd fully embracing his white tights stereotypes: A ballet nerd doing so while being directed and filmed by contemporary cool kid Alexander Ekman. Take a look at this cheeky film of ABT's adorably dorky Daniil Simkin dancing and bowing his way through New York City to Lincoln Center.

With irregular cash flow and notoriously low wages, ballet dancers can have a tricky time keeping their bank accounts healthy—especially when they'd much rather focus on what's happening at the barre than what's happening in their checkbook. In Pointe's June/July issue, we broke down the paychecks of four corps members, and asked each dancer how she makes it work on a starting salary.

Is it possible for a ballet dancer to get both her dream job and her prince? This week's episode of "Breaking Pointe," titled "Love or Ballet," would make it seem that in ballet, careers and relationships are two parts of life you can't have at the same time.

 

We see Christiana and Chris trying to deal with their fracturing marriage while working together in the studio. As hard as they try to save their problems for after hours, it can't help but distract their focus.

 

It's only every so often that we get to peek behind the curtains of the world’s most acclaimed ballet companies. So when this video of the Mariinsky Theatre and Vaganova Ballet Academy came across our desks, we couldn't wait to watch it. The 25-minute documentary, titled Ballet, Sweat and Tears, features interviews and footage of young students at the academy as well as first soloist Oxana Skorik and prima Diana Vishneva at the Mariinsky, plus insight from Vishneva's coach. It goes in the studios, through the theater and to their apartments.