Reliving History at the Dance Magazine Awards

Last night, the Dance Magazine Awards at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City had more ballet candy than any DM Awards I can remember. The delightful Ashley Bouder opened with an excerpt from Balanchine's Square Dance, staged by awardee Patricia Wilde, once a New York City Ballet principal and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre artistic director. Then we got a video dose of the dagger-footed Sylvie Guillem dancing Mats Ek's work. (We also learned that the choreographer's last name is pronounced with a true E: "eek," not "eck.")

Another video montage, this time of San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan, reminded me of how otherworldly she was when I saw her earlier this fall in Ghosts, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, who presented her award. I loved hearing Tan talk about venturing into Balanchine roles for the first time—she never saw his work or even heard Stravinsky throughout her training in Shanghai.

Damian Woetzel gave us a firsthand account of the rush you get from Philip Glass' music in Jerome Robbins' Glass Pieces. I felt a little starstruck when Glass himself came onstage, but the feeling melted quickly once he started talking. With great sincerity, Glass emphasized how humbled he is by the dancers and choreographers he's tirelessly composed for.

And then, a childhood dream of mine came true: Alessandra Ferri passionately performed a portion of award-winner Martha Clarke's Chéri, which opened in New York on Sunday, with the equally extraordinary Herman Cornejo. As a young dancer, I remember watching one American Ballet Theatre tape of Ferri in Romeo and Juliet over and over. I nearly died when she retired—I lived in Minnesota and had never gotten the chance to see her live. What an honor it was, to see history reverse and repeat itself, all evening long.


For video highlights of the 2013 DM Awards, click here.

Latest Posts

xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks