Here's some Monday news to rock your soul: An upcoming Fox Searchlight film about the life of Alvin Ailey just got even more enticing—Barry Jenkins, the filmmaker who won an Oscar for Moonlight, has signed on as director.


It feels like quite a fitting hire. Back in 2017, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle choreographed an homage to Moonlight, starring Ailey standout Jamar Roberts.

In addition to big Hollywood names, the movie will have serious dance cred.

Not only is it is being made in full cooperation with the Ailey company, producers are working closely with both Battle and artistic director emerita Judith Jamison to tell Ailey's story—and bring his choreography to life. Which hopefully means we'll get to see some gorgeous Ailey dancers doing their thing onscreen.

The script, being written by Julian Breece, will be based on dance writer Jennifer Dunning's book Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance. And, just to throw in a dash of celebrity, Alicia Keys is on board as one of the producers.

This seems to be prime time for major dance biopics. On top of recent releases about the lives of Rudolf Nureyev and Carlos Acosta, plans are also in the works for films about Michaela DePrince (directed by none other than Madonna) and, of course, Misty Copeland.

We're already getting our popcorn ready.

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The Washington Ballet's NEXTsteps program opens this week. Here are company dancers Ashley Murphy-Wilson and Alexandros Papajohn. Procopio Photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet.

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Ballet West in rehearsal for Le Chant du Rossignol. Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West.

Ballet West opens its season October 25–November 2 with a triptych of works from George Balanchine's early choreographic career with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Highlighting the program is Balanchine's 1925 The Song of the Nightingale (Le Chant du Rossignol), never before seen in the U.S. This ballet is not only the first piece that a then-21-year-old Balanchine made for the Ballets Russes; it also marks his first collaboration with Igor Stravinsky, and features costumes by Henri Matisse. To bring it to Salt Lake City, Ballet West is working closely with Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer, who reconstructed the work for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in 1999.

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Stella Abrera in Le Corsaire. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre announced today that, after 24 years, beloved principal dancer Stella Abrera will retire from the stage this coming summer. Her farewell performance will be June 13, 2020, at the Metropolitan Opera House, dancing the title role in Giselle.

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