A Prima’s New Role

 

Coming full circle, Chan Hon Goh recently became director of Goh Ballet Academy, the Vancouver school run by her parents where she trained. The former National Ballet of Canada principal will keep the ballet syllabus intact, but has added Pilates, musical theater and choreographic labs. She plans to increase performance opportunities, bringing in international guest choreographers to work with the new Goh Ballet Youth Company and Academy.

 

In addition, Goh has launched the Chan Hon Goh Scholarship Fund, which will award around $100,000 annually. Scholarships are awarded based on talent, need and dancers’ passion for the art form. See www.gohballet.com —Elizabeth Keniston


 

MFA For Ballet Choreography

 

Most MFA dance programs are modern-based, but Butler University wants to create a place to explore contemporary ballet choreography. The school will offer a new master’s of fine arts in dance next fall. “There was a time when Balanchine was brand-new and everything he did was completely different and exciting,” says department chair Michelle Jarvis. “We need to develop people who are going to do that again, and take ballet into the 21st century.”

 

The emphasis will be on ballet choreography, with secondary study in pedagogy. The two-year program is designed for professional dancers with at least five years of experience. Find out more about Butler on DanceU101.com. —Jennifer Stahl

 

 

Fouetté In Florida  


Tampa, Florida, is about to become a ballet-training powerhouse. The five-year-old Patel Conservatory recently announced that Peter Stark, former director of Orlando Ballet School, will be taking over as chair of its dance department.

Functioning as a satellite of Orlando Ballet School since 2006, Patel’s classical ballet program offers intensive training to young dancers, some of whom have gone on to dance with such companies as ABT, Boston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Now, the conserva­tory’s ballet program will function as its own entity, with Stark at its head.

 

Stark will be a boon to the rapidly emerging school. During his time at OBS, he increased the budget fivefold and produced several top dancers. He’s hoping to see the Patel Conservatory become “a stepping stone for serious talent,” with plans to add more class options, performance opportunities and a new summer intensive program. According to Stark, the school will teach an American style of ballet, infused with Balanchine flavor and the strength and classicism of Cuban technique. See www.patelconservatory.org. —EK

 

 

Training In Russian

 

Studying at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy is usually no more than a far-off dream for most American ballet students. But for 12-year-old Julian MacKay, it’s a practical step toward realizing his goal of one day dancing with the Russian company.  Although the prestigious academy trains 750 students each year, MacKay is one of only five Americans.

 

What has been the most challenging part so far?
Learning to understand my Russian teacher. Luckily, she uses a lot of pantomime. Russian training is also very hands-on: She physically moves my muscles so I understand how to use them.

 

How is the training different than in the U.S.?

My class is just nine boys, so I get specific training for male dancers. We take technique, character and gymnastics together.

 

Have you gotten to perform yet?


I was one of 50 students chosen to be in our end-of-the-year performance. I got to do the mazurka in Paquita. I was also one of the children of court nobility in La Esmeralda with the Bolshoi company, with Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. It was so amazing to stand backstage next to such awesome dancers!  —JS

TIP: What are college auditioners looking for?
We look for people who seem focused and motivated and—who really like to move! We’re looking to train people. You don’t have to be proficient; you just have to have a motivating spirit, a passion for dancing. That’s hard to resist.
—Lawrence Rhodes, director of Juilliard’s dance division

















Your Best Body
Pilates hundred intermediate set-up, modeled by Jordan Miller. Photo by Emily Giacalone.

The Pilates hundred is a popular exercise used by many dancers for conditioning and warming up, but it's also one of the most misunderstood. Pumping your arms for 100 counts sounds simple enough, but it requires coordinated breathwork, a leg position that suits your abilities and proper alignment. Marimba Gold-Watts, who works with New York City Ballet dancers at her Pilates studio, Articulating Body, breaks down this surprisingly hard exercise. When done correctly, the benefits are threefold: "If you're doing it before class," she says, "the hundred is a great way to get your blood flowing and work on breath control and abdominal support all at once."

To Start

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Nod your chin toward the front of your throat, and reach your fingertips long.

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Pointe Stars

At just 16 years old, the Bolshoi Ballet's Maria Alexandrova already had the makings of a great artist. In this variation from Coppélia, she portrays the carefree Swanilda with blithe, youthful ease.

When she bounds on stage in her perky pink tutu, you immediately notice her legs–they just go on forever. In the first sequence of steps she keeps her jetés and développés low, but then the phrase repeats and she lets her gorgeous extensions fly. She sails through Italian fouettés and whirls around in piqués en manège that get faster and faster. While she nails all the virtuosic movement, Alexandrova also pays beautiful attention to detail throughout the variation. Even the simplest steps become something exciting, like her precise pas de bourrées beginning at 1:03 that sing with musicality.

Swanilda has been one of Alexandrova's signature roles throughout her career. For a fun side by side, watch her perform the same variation almost 20 years later in this video. Although Alexandrova formally retired from the Bolshoi in February, she still performs frequently in Moscow and internationally as a guest artist. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!


Pointe Stars
Ingrid Silva and her dog, Frida Kahlo. Photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe.

You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).

Cora and Maya (American Ballet Theatre's Sarah Lane and Luis Ribagorda)

Sarah Lane and Luis Ribagorda's pups Cora and Maya update their profile pretty frequently. Often accompanying Lane to the ABT studios, they can also be seen using tutus or piles of pink tights as dog beds.

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Pointe Stars
Vladislav Lantritov and Ekaterina Krysanova in "Taming of the Shrew." Photo by Alice Blangero, Courtesy Bolshoi Ballet.

If you haven't checked your local movie listings yet for this weekend, hop to it. The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema series and Fathom Events is broadcasting a performance of Jean-Christophe Maillot's The Taming of the Shrew to theaters nationwide on Sunday, November 19. (To see if it's playing near you and to purchase tickets, click here.) While the rest of the Bolshoi's cinema season features 19th- and 20th-century classics, The Taming of the Shrew gives audiences a chance to see the revered Moscow company in a thoroughly modern, 21st-century take on Shakespeare's famous play.

Aside from a limited run in New York City this July, American audiences have had little exposure to Maillot's 2014 production. To learn more, check out these two exclusive, behind-the-scenes webisodes below. Principal dancer Ekaterina Krysanova, who stars as the hotheaded Katharina, gives an intimate play-by-play of two major scenes in Act I. The first is her fiery rejection of three potential suitors (who all would prefer to marry Katharina's younger sister Bianca).

The second scene breaks down Katharina's first encounter with Petruchio (danced by the larger-than-life Vladislav Lantritov), the only man who seems to be able to challenge her. Here, too, we see the shrew's heart start to soften. (Don't miss her time-stopping attitude turn at 4:27.)

The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series continues through June; for more details on upcoming screenings, click here.

popular
Smuin Ballet dancers Erica Felsch, Rex Wheeler, Mengjun Chen and Tessa Barbour in "White Christmas," choreographed by dancers Ben Needham-Wood and Michael Smuin. Photo by Keith Sutter, Courtesy Smuin Ballet.

Nutcracker-ed out? Or just can't get enough holiday ballets? These unique Nutcracker interpretations and non-Nutcracker productions will make your season bright.


The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Through December 30

Tchaikovsky's masterful Nutcracker score isn't just for classical ballet…

Hip Hop + a live DJ + an electric violinist unite in The Hip Hop Nutcracker, currently touring the U.S.

Familiar characters such Drosselmeyer, the Nutcracker, Mouse King and Marie (here called Maria-Clara) dance through an updated New York City storyline with choreography by Jennifer Weber, artistic director of the Brooklyn-based theatrical hip hop company Decadancetheatre.

Premiered in 2014, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is produced by New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

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Pointe Stars
Jurgita Dronina as Kitri in "Don Quixote." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

When Jurgita Dronina first danced Kitri for a guest performance of Don Quixote with Teatro Filarmonico-Fondazione Arena Di Verona, she was in essence cast against type. "Before Kitri, I was dancing only lyrical or dramatic roles, so I had to start from scratch in finding my own signature in the steps and my own interpretation of the character," says Dronina, who was dancing with Royal Swedish Ballet at the time.

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