"They're breaking all my theories about not pushing dancers too soon," Kevin McKenzie, the usually cautious artistic director of American Ballet Theatre, said recently in his office near Union Square. He was referring to recently promoted soloists Catherine Hurlin and Aran Bell, 24 and 21, respectively. And he's not kidding. Hurlin and Bell are on the fast track, with role after role coming their way.
But even when they were kids, they had a glimmer of their future star power, giving a glimpse of what was to come. Thankfully for Instagram, we've got the pictures and home videos to prove it.
Imagine this scenario: Hilarion likes Giselle, but she swipes right on Albrecht, and is smitten. Little does she know, Albrecht is already involved with Bathilde. When Giselle finds out, she livestreams her downward spiral (perhaps her hair even comes down in the midst of her heartbreak?), and enters a realm of women who've similarly been ghosted, or otherwise spurned by online relationships.
This is the basic premise of Joshua Beamish's new @giselle. Created for his troupe Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY, the ballet will have its world premiere September 5-7 at the Vancouver Playhouse in British Columbia. For @giselle, which stars American Ballet Theatre soloist Catherine Hurlin and National Ballet of Canada principal Harrison James, Beamish has dug deep into the plot of the original ballet, adapting it for the digital age and showing the pitfalls of changing relationship norms.
We touched base with Beamish to hear all about this new project, from his cleverly modern Wilis to his favorite parts of Adolphe Adam's original score.
Story ballets that debut during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House are always the subject of much curiosity—and, sometimes, much debate. Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre was no different. The ballet follows the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brönte's novel as she grows from a willful orphan to a self-possessed governess, charting her romance with the haughty Mr. Rochester and the social forces that threaten to tear them apart.
While the ballet was warmly received in the UK when Northern Ballet premiered it in 2016, its reception from New York City–based critics has been far less welcoming. A group of editors from Dance Magazine and two of our sister publications, Dance Spirit and Pointe, sat down to discuss our own reactions.
The Youth America Grand Prix New York Finals are starting up again this week, running April 12-19. This year, YAGP is celebrating its 20th anniversary. April 18-19 marks the competition's annual Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala, featuring 13 pros who are also YAGP alumni. We've rounded up photos and videos from those stars' YAGP years and shared them with you here.
Over the weekend, eight of the world's most promising young dancers competed in Toronto for The Erik Bruhn Prize. Since 1988 the prize, named for celebrated danseur noble Erik Bruhn, has brought together one male and one female dancer from each of the companies that he was affiliated with. Dancers must be between the ages of 18 and 23, and are invited by their artistic directors to compete. Each couple performs a classical and contemporary pas de deux, though they're judged individually.
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Each year, the Princess Grace Foundation, honoring the legacy of Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, offers awards to distinguished artists spanning the fields of theater, film and, of course, dance. The 2018 winners were just announced and include nine dancers and choreographers, five of whom—Sydney Dolan, Catherine Hurlin, David Adrian Freeland, Dana Genshaft and Claudia Schreier—hail from the ballet world. In addition to this list, choreographer Kyle Abraham received a Statue Award, recognizing his success since winning the Princess Grace Award in 2010. We can't wait to see Abraham's first-ever work for a ballet company at New York City Ballet's fashion gala this fall.
We've included more info on the ballet-affiliated winners below. Dance awards outside of the ballet realm go to Juilliard School student Matthew Gilmore, New York University student Aliza Russell, Abraham.in.Motion dancer Marcella Lewis and Gibney Dance Company member Shamel Pitts. You can read more about all of the awardees here.
Last Sunday and Monday, I had the opportunity to perform in Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum. It was so much fun! Before the performance, there was a company class with ABT that I got to take--and wow, the company dancers are soooo good. It was amazing to be in the same class with them.
After we'd warmed up, it was showtime. I performed the Snow scene and my friend Mikela (one of the other Claras) performed the end of the Battle scene from the new Nutcracker. Then company members danced the Spanish and Russian dances , and Marcelo Gomes and Veronika Part performed the Sugar Plum pas de deux. It was so fantastic that I wanted to cry and scream at the same time. I can't wait to see the whole ballet put together, and to watch all of the casts do the pas de deux!
I've also been able to peek at a lot of the costumes. They're beautiful! All the party scene stuff looks like it's from the very early 1800s. And the mice costumes are so mean and evil: They're this dirty white color with pink eyes, ears, noses and tails. The Mouse King has seven heads and seven tails!
They've showed us the layouts of the scenery, too. I especially love the party scene. To make it look like I shrink to “mouse size,” they make the whole room HUGE. At one point, I have to sit on top of a 20-foot chair--which started out smaller than me! I throw my shoe at the Mouse King from this huge chair!
This week I got the opportunity to try out a giant chair that is going to be part of the Nutcracker set, which was cool--but also a little scary! When I'm up on the chair there is only room for me to stand in first position. I literally cannot move anywhere else. Also, the platform is slanted, so it is hard to keep my balance. Luckily there's a protective bar around me so I can't hurt myself. When the stage manager told me that I had just 10 seconds to get on the chair before they move it onstage, I got a little nervous. But I think it'll be OK--the stage manager is great, and I trust him.
I am also working on the party scene. We finally got to the moment where I meet Drosselmeyer, and now we're all the way up to the part where he brings in the magical dolls and then gives me the Nutcracker. I have also been working on the battle scene. One of the company members got to try dancing with the new mouse head. He looks amazing--very creepy.
This is truly going to be the best ballet of them all! Can’t wait to see it all together. See you next time!