Originally from Amherst, MA, Chava graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Dance and a minor in English. She has worked for Jacob's Pillow Dance and the Bates Dance Festival, and held a fellowship in the Dance Division of the Library of Congress. Chava has performed works by Martha Graham, Mark Morris, Lucinda Childs, Molissa Fenley, Patricia Hoffbauer, Joanna Kotze, Loni Landon and Kate Weare. She continues to create work and perform in the city, and is a member of Debbie Mausner Dance Collective.
Joffrey Ballet's April Daly, Yoshihisa Arai and Amanda Assucena in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. Assucena will make her debut in the role of Odette/Odile this week. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey.
Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.
Joseph Gordon, pictured here in George Balanchine's Who Cares?, became New York City Ballet's newest principal this weekend. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.
On October 13, the evening before the close of New York City Ballet's fall season and longtime principal Joaquin De Luz's retirement performance, Jonathan Stafford, the leader of the company's interim artistic team, promoted seven company dancers: six men and one woman. In addition to De Luz, NYCB lost three other principal men this fall. Chase Finlay, Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar were fired last month in the midst of a scandal surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit communications. With principal Adrian Danchig-Waring out of commission while recovering from a broken foot, the company has been in need of male dancers to bolster its upper ranks.
Joseph Gordon has been promoted to principal, and Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Claire Kretzschmar, Aaron Sanz, Sebastian Villarini-Velez and Peter Walker have been promoted to soloist. All seven made a number of debuts throughout the yearand shone in featured roles; we've rounded up some of their recent accomplishments below.
From left: ABT principals Devon Teuscher, Christine Shevchenko and Gillian Murphy isn Praedicere. Photo by Marty Sohl, Courtesy ABT.
Last spring American Ballet Theatre artistic director Kevin McKenzie announced the company's Women's Movement, a multi-year initiative to support the creation of new work by female choreographers. ABT's fall season, running October 17–28 at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater, sets the project in full swing. The opening gala features a world premiere by tap extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance. A co-commission with the Vail Dance Festival, this work marks ABT's third collaboration with Dorrance this year: She created Praedicere, a pièce d'occasionfor ABT's spring gala, as well as a work on company dancers at Vail last summer. The gala performance also includes past and present works by two female choreographers: Twyla Tharp's 1986 In The Upper Room and Lauren Lovette's 2017 Le Jeune, which will be danced by the ABT Studio Company.
From left: ABT principals Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside, Gillian Murphy, Stella Abrera and Cory Stearns with Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse. Photo Courtesy HBS.
Between long rehearsal days, performances and hectic touring schedules, it can be hard for professional dancers to plan for their post-performance careers while they're still onstage. This fall, that changes for five American Ballet Theatre principals. Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston, Cory Stearns, James Whiteside and Gillian Murphy have been chosen as the first dancers to participate in Crossover Into Business at Harvard Business School, a semester-long program designed for professional athletes.
Last year, Crossover Into Business program director and HBS professor Anita Elberse was developing a case study on ABT, and reached out to the company executive director Kara Medoff Barnett, an alumna of HBS. "Anita mentioned the Crossover Program as an experience that has been transformative for professional athletes," says Barnett. "We looked at each other and had the same idea: How about inviting the ABT dancers to sit next to the NBA players?"
Sara Mearns giving her acceptance speech at The Bessies on October 8. Photo by AK47 Division, Courtesy The Bessies.
Imagine The Oscars, but for dance. Sound too good to be true? The New York Dance & Performance Awards, commonly known as The Bessies, are about as close as the dance world gets to award show glamour. October 8 marked the 2018 Bessies, the one night of the year when members of the New York City dance community spanning genres and generations came together to acknowledge outstanding artists in the field. While The Bessies usually focus on independent or downtown dance artists rather than ballet (the last members of the ballet world to win awards were Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky and Amar Ramasar in 2015), one of the four 2018 Outstanding Performer awards went to New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns for her sustained achievement with NYCB and accomplishments in works by Isadora Duncan, Jodi Melnick, Wang Ramirez and Matthew Bourne over the past year.
San Francisco Ballet in class during World Ballet Day 2016. Photo Courtesy SFB.
Here at Pointe, every day feels like World Ballet Day, though the official 2018 event took place on Tuesday. While WBD is a thrill for any bunhead, it can also be overwhelming. How are you supposed to sit in front of your computer all day when you have class and rehearsal and work and a life? We get it, and we're here to help.
To give you a chance to catch up, we've rounded up WBD videos from 26 companies. So grab some popcorn, a backlog of pointe shoes to sew, and settle in. If you start watching now, you might just be done in time for WBD 2019.