Well, the American Ballet Theatre principal is ready to share some insights. Take a free online class with the cover star of our February issue through Dance Media Live! On Wednesday, March 3, at 4 pm ET, Brandt will teach a 45-minute ballet barre, followed by a short Q&A with participants.
After a yearlong hiatus, The Australian Ballet is ready to return to the stage. The company's season opener, titled Summertime at the Ballet, packs a great deal of firsts: It marks the ballet's first performance before a live audience since the start of the pandemic; the first time the company takes the stage under the leadership of its new artistic director, David Hallberg; and the first time The Australian Ballet performs at the Melbourne & Olympic Parks Margaret Court Arena. Another important first: The performance will be livestreamed not only in Australia but all over the world. Summertime at the Ballet will be broadcast February 28 at 11:45 am AEDT (that's 7:45 pm EST on February 27 here in the U.S.), with bonus features, such as interviews and commentary. It will be accessible for 48 hours to accommodate all time zones.
This livestream will be provided via The Australian Ballet's newly launched digital platform, Live on Ballet TV. "One of my main goals is for the company to be seen by as many people around the world as possible," says Hallberg, the American-born international star who took the helm at The Australian Ballet in January. "Which is why Live on Ballet TV is such an integral part of my vision artistically."
David Hallberg rehearses the corps de ballet in "The Kingdom of the Shades" from La Bayadère.
Christopher Rodgers Wilson, Courtesy The Australian Ballet
Hallberg in rehearsal
Christopher Rodgers Wilson, Courtesy The Australian Ballet
Action Lines' Digital Art Installation, Starring Joffrey Dancers, Brings Virtual Ballet to the Chicago Public
This past year, dance has taken a flying leap into the world of virtual performance, with dancer-led enterprises emerging along the way. Laptops and television screens have hence erupted as leading performance venues. But for the new Chicago-based production company Action Lines, co-founded by Joffrey Ballet artists Xavier "Xavi" Núñez and Dylan Gutierrez, and film producer Eric Grant, dance has found another home: a 3,300-square-foot media-installation wall in downtown Chicago.
Joffrey Ballet dancers Dara Holmes and Jeraldine Mendoza in Interim Avoidance on the 150 Media Stream installation in downtown Chicago.
Olivia Duryea, Courtesy Action Lines
Jeraldine Mendoza performs a section of Interim Avoidance while a cameraman shoots from the side.
Michale Kettenbeil, Courtesy Action Lines.
Xavier Núñez (right) offers direction to Hyuma Kiyosawa during the shoot.
Courtesy Action Lines
Could dance science help to prolong your performing career?
What if I told you that a few changes to your alignment, and, specifically, more targeted hamstring usage, could make a huge difference? This change could empower your dancing and impact longevity. The muscles are more available to recruit to fire, energy is conserved when executing movement (so stamina is increased), and consistency in balances, turns, jumps and lines could be more easily attained.
I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with dance physicist Dr. Kenneth Laws; we primarily focused on alignment and weight placement. Using an electronic barre (which uses the weight of the hand to measure various forces), we discovered that the even distribution of weight over a vertical axis (the supporting leg) resulted in a more stable center, which translated into dancers having greater freedom of movement. Alignment departing from this centered placement meant that the body usually gripped with opposing muscles.
Side-to-Side Centering<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY2MjM1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzQwODQ4NX0.Z5BNHyuNb5kpw9gr36Nm5ejmkMl-C8WQp5DFgfLJXYA/img.jpg?width=980" id="a13f9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5732d1408bd05184f2e25b7b7257fc0d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="A white female ballet dancer in a turquoise leotard and black booty shorts stands in front of a red curtain with her arms resting on a ballet barre behind her. She stands in fifth position. A fuschia dashed line runs through the center of her body pointing towards the floor, while two dotted purple diagonal lines follow each leg from hip to heel." data-width="1894" data-height="2402" />
Gravity's force goes through an imaginary straight vertical line through the center of the body.
Photos by Kyle Froman; modeled by Natalia McCarthy.<p>Imagine yourself in fifth position facing the mirror. The legs are in diagonal lines and gravity's force goes through an imaginary straight vertical line through the center of the body from the head to the feet.</p><p>From fifth position, do a battement tendu à la seconde. Keeping in mind that gravity runs vertically straight down, how do we achieve that with the supporting leg?</p><p>Simply put, in order to create balance and stabilization, you must shift your weight towards the supporting mid-foot (where the ankle and foot meet), as opposed to the ball of foot. By doing so, you naturally activate your hamstrings and adductors,<strong> </strong>and the quads don't have to do all the work of preventing the body from toppling. It will feel as though the weight is in your heel.</p><p>The body works most efficiently when closest to a neutral (vertical) anatomical skeleton. Standing on a diagonal leg with all the weight on the forefoot doesn't achieve this. When the muscles are closest to their resting position, they are much more able to contract. In a diagonal, the hamstrings are stretched, the knee is pushed back, and the turnout muscles aren't being used to their fullest.</p>
Front-to-Back Centering<p>Centered placement is two-dimensional. You just experienced your weight shift sideways from fifth position to a more vertical stance from a diagonal leg. That's step one, side-to-side centering. Step two involves front-to-back centering, viewed from a profile perspective.</p><p>When moving from fifth position to one leg, your weight not only has to shift sideways but also up and forward. This means you really have to use the hamstrings (backs of the legs), adductors (inner thigh muscles, to stabilize) and turnout muscles (external rotators). The quads (front thigh muscles) must be contracted to lift the kneecap. The shoulder girdle sits directly over the pelvic girdle.</p><p>Go back to your fifth position, this time viewing yourself in profile. Both hips should be perpendicular to the barre. The buttocks are not tucked under, which maintains the natural lumbar curve.</p><p>Put the body in a fifth position that "feels" as though the body weight is located in the center. My bet is that the back leg is bearing a good percentage of the weight. Do a tendu side: the weight on the supporting leg probably shifts back, the knee is locked back, the pelvis and upper body tip forward and the quads grip for dear life to keep on balance.</p>
Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet's "Constellation Project" Maps the Complex Histories of 6 Dance Pioneers
Last week, Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet celebrated the start of Black History Month with the launch of The Constellation Project, a star-studded online exhibition of dance history. The project maps the lives of six influential Black dancers—Arthur Mitchell, Mel Tomlinson, Lavinia Williams, Mabel Jones Freeman, Doris Jones and Claire Haywood—across a digitally rendered galaxy of historical events, institutions and more. The result is an educational experience that, much like its galaxy-inspired title, will no doubt only continue to grow.
Mel Tomlinson, one of the artists profiled by MoBBallet's Constellation Project, danced for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Heritage Dance Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, New York City Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Boston Ballet.
Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives
Digital design by Natasha Hulme, Courtesy MoBBallet