Atlanta Ballet dancers in Claudia Schreier's First Impulse. Kim Kenney, Courtesy Atlanta Ballet.
Midway through Claudia Schreier's First Impulse, the women of Atlanta Ballet stole the show with simple bourrées. One at a time, theytraversed the stage backwards on pointe, at warp speed. The effect was cinematic and magical, the audience gasping in disbelief. The dancers appeared to be floating, defying all rules of physics and gravity.
Choong Hoon Lee, Stephanie Rae Williams, Dustin James and Daphne Lee in Claudia Schreier's Passages. Brian Callan, Courtesy DTH.
The Kennedy Center's Ballet Across America festival (May 28–June 2) is celebrating women leadership and creativity this year, kicking off with three evenings of performances by Dance Theatre of Harlem. (Miami City Ballet joins them in a shared program on May 31, followed by their own performances.) Led by artistic director Virginia Johnson and executive director Anna Glass, DTH is a natural programming choice; so is bringing choreographer Claudia Schreier's new ballet for the company, Passage, which has an all-female creative team. The work premiered earlier this month in Norfolk, Virginia, and was originally commissioned by the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution and the Virginia Arts Festival, which honored the 400th anniversary of the first Africans to English North America. The overarching theme of the ballet celebrates the fortitude of the human spirit and the enduring will to prevail, which is apropos given that this is the 50th anniversary of a company that has seen much tribulation and triumph.
Marcus Miller in conversation with Merritt Moore and Claudia Schreier. Courtesy National Museum of Mathematics.
Last Saturday night, I had a balletic epiphany. I wasn't in a mirrored studio taking class or even in a theater watching a performance. This luminous ray of understanding beamed into—wait for it—the basement of a math museum.
Earlier this month we learned that former comp star and current UC Berkeley student Miko Fogarty will be giving a TEDx talk in March about her path from ballet to college. This news got us thinking about some of our favorite ballet TED talks from years past. Check out our top eight now!
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will revive "An Evening with Pianist Joyce Yang" this weekend in Aspen. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum, Courtesy of ASFB.
Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.
Vail Dance Festival Races to the Finish Line
This Sunday, Vail Dance Festival wraps up an eventful few weeks jam-packed with premieres, collaborations and guests. The final week of the festival has us looking forward to appearances from American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispánico and more.
Vail's NOW: Premieres Includes New Michelle Dorrance Work for ABT
On August 6, Vail's NOW: Premieres program features new works commissioned for the festival. Choreographers include New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck (making her festival choreographic debut), Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck and Claudia Schreier, who is creating a ballet on dancers from Ballet Hispánico. Tap maverickMichelle Dorrance is also choreographing a piece on American Ballet Theatre, the second of Dorrance's three works on the company this year. Watch some of the same choreographers' premieres at the 2017 edition of NOW below.
Pennsylvania Ballet's Sydney Dolan in rehearsal for The Nutcracker. Photo by Arian Molina Soca, Courtesy PAB.
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 summer Claudia Schreier & Company made its debut at The Joyce Theater as part of the 2017 Joyce Ballet Festival. This is a huge deal for any young choreographer, made all the more poignant for Schreier in an age where conversations around gender and race in ballet are omnipresent. Yesterday, Schreier announced the release of a short documentary titled Sixth Position , which follows her preparations for the festival. Luckily, the whole documentary is available online, free of charge—we've included it below. Artfully made with beautiful rehearsal shots and muted colors, Sixth Position gives Schreier a new platform on which to share her creative process and her thoughts on the importance of inclusion and equality in choreography. Another highlight? If last summer's release of Restless Creature only whetted your appetite for seeing Wendy Whelan onscreen, you can catch more of her here; Schreier made a new work on Whelan which premiered at the 2017 festival.