This Week in Dance

Jirí Kylián’s classically rooted Petite Mort has become a repertory staple for many ballet companies. But tonight, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s contemporary dancers will perform the ballet for the first time. “So many dancers dream of doing Petite Mort,” says Patrick Delcroix, who’s setting the work on the company. “The Ailey dancers—I think it was a dream for them, too, but they never really thought they'd get a chance.”

Misty Copeland has been one of my favorite dancers to watch this past year. The American Ballet Theatre soloist has always turned heads with her charismatic presence, but lately, she's polished up her technique and added a beautiful sense of nuance to her natural power—and it's made her simply magnetic on stage.

 

Last week, the Pointe staff got to spend a day with New York City Ballet's ever-lovable Lauren Lovette and Daniel Ulbricht for an upcoming story we're working on. It turns out "60 Minutes" reporter Lesley Stahl got the same treat.

You’re going to want to catch "60 Minutes" this Sunday. Reporter Lesley Stahl will go backstage at New York City Ballet, following Robbie Fairchild as he learns the title role in Apollo. See the performance with Tiler Peck, Sterling Hyltin and Ana Sophia Scheller from the wings. That last iconic moment of a starburst? The back two girls aren’t in arabesque—they’re in a turned in second so that they can hide their torsos behind the other two dancers! You can see how they get into it from a whole new vantage point.

Nureyev's impact on ballet reaches beyond his dancing. Not only did he increase the attention paid to male dancers at a time when most audiences focused almost solely on the ballerinas, he insisted on raising the level of ballet costumes.

Ballet and modern dance constantly steal from each other. The styles sometimes become so closely entwined that labeling a piece as just one or the other doesn't even make sense. But there's still so much more we could learn from one another. Watching Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last night, I couldn't stop thinking, Ballet could use a little more of this. Here's why:

 

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Rodeo, Agnes de Mille's landmark Western Ballet, dancers from American Ballet Theatre have taken the ballet to the New York City streets—and rivers. On Wednesday, a New York Water Taxi filled with the costumed cast took off from 44th street, made a pit stop at the Statue of Liberty, and then headed to the South Street Seaport to give a tap lesson for 100 New York City public school kids.

 

Want to work out á la the Scottish Ballet? The company recently put out a pair of fitness videos that have been blowing up online. Although the 15–20 minute clips are aimed at a non-dance population, the exercises make nice cross-training routines for bunheads' upper bodies as well. One focuses on the core, the other on the arms. A third video is scheduled for release soon.

 

I know what I'm doing tonight!

Armitage Gone! Dance just moved into a fancy new arts building in Jersey City, and they've got some pretty cool plans for how to use their first-ever permanent space. This weekend, the company will hold an audition for an awesome-sounding workshop. Called a “Professional Project,” the three-week intensive will give 20 advanced students and recent graduates a peek inside the reality of a dance company.

Alexei Ratmansky and American Ballet Theatre are a match made in ballet heaven. The artist in residence has a 10-year contract with ABT, and has choreographed abstract and narrative ballets for the company such as The Bright Stream, The Nutcracker and Firebird. At the Guggenheim’s Works & Process on Sunday, ballet mistress Nancy Raffa, and principal David Hallberg discussed what it's like to work with Ratmansky. Apparently, Ratmansky comes to the studio very prepared, with his 2x4 inch black book containing choreography to each count of the score.