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(From left) Gonzalo Garcia, Sara Mearns, Isabella Boylston, and Calvin Royal III in Ezra Hurwitz's "Mobile Devices," courtesy Ezra Hurwitz

Apple—continuing their sensational streak of genius dance collabs—has done it again, with a sleek promo video for the new iPhone that features the ballet world's best and brightest.

The beautiful short film, titled "Mobile Devices" (we see what they did there!), is directed by former Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz. It follows a day in the life of American Ballet Theatre soloist Calvin Royal III and New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns, and also includes appearances by NYCB principal Gonzalo Garcia and ABT principal Isabella Boylston. "I wanted to showcase the experience of an African American male ballet dancer alongside the more traditionally featured white female ballerina," says Hurwitz, who frequently collaborates with stars of the dance world. "That said, I also wanted to keep it fun and visually driven, and make it a real celebration of these dancers' artistry, athleticism and determination."

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We already knew that Justin Peck is a crossover superstar. His accolades from this past year alone include a Tony Award for best choreography for Carousel, a performance on The Tonight Show with The National, and plans to choreograph Steven Spielberg's upcoming West Side Story remake. Today, he proves himself all over again with a series of short films for The New York Times Magazine titled "Let's Dance," featuring some of 2018's most lauded movie stars. You can see these videos here, including an augmented-reality experience available to those with newer iPhones or iPads.

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How is American Ballet Theatre gearing up for its fall season, October 17-28 at Lincoln Center? With an epic video featuring its dancers being their beautiful selves on a beautiful NYC rooftop, as you do.

Directed by dance-videographer-about-town Ezra Hurwitz, the vid features a slew of ABT standouts, including Misty Copeland, Isabella Boylston, Hee Seo, Calvin Royal III, and Catherine Hurlin, doing mind-bendingly beautiful things with the NYC skyline as a backdrop. They're living on the edge, quite literally—because nothing adds to the excitement of world-class ballet like a little bit of danger.

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The wait for Alexei Ratmansky's restaging of Petipa's Harlequinade is almost over! But if you can't wait until American Ballet Theatre officially debuts the ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 6, we've got you covered. ABT brought the Harlequinade characters to life (and to the Alder Mansion in Yonkers, NY) in a short film by Ezra Hurwitz, and it's a guaranteed to make you laugh.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

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With digital platforms, cinema screenings and Hollywood-worthy trailers, ballet is rapidly expanding beyond the grainy YouTube clips of yesteryear. These two gorgeous new films by Ezra Hurwitz, a former Miami City Ballet dancer turned director, show two facets of the Ballet Across America program, currently onstage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

One is a moody dance film, featuring American Ballet Theatre stars whirling through the empty halls of the Kennedy Center, bringing the building to life. The other is a touching mini-documentary, highlighting the work, uncertainty and sacrifice that goes into a ballet career. Check them out below!

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In his new film Why We Dance, director Ezra Hurwitz helps us understand what it looks and feels like for members of Miami City Ballet as they prepare for a performance. The film's detailed shots of hands and feet, and its intimate behind-the-scenes footage, feels like an invisibility cloak that allows you to slip backstage. The propulsive score gives a sense of energy and excitement that builds throughout the day and culminates as the curtain rises, revealing the dancers onstage in Justin Peck's Heatscape and George Balanchine's Bourrée Fantasque.

Created for the company's 30th anniversary season, Why We Dance also includes voiceovers of company members as they reflect on their art. As one dancer says, "We care so much about what we do here and being the best that we can be—collectively and individually." If a ballet company could be summed up in a sentence, I think that's getting pretty darn close.

As with his previous films, Hurwitz draws from his experience as a former member of MCB and uses his dancer's sensibility to create something beautiful. We've loved all his films so far, and can't wait to see what's next!

Still via YouTube

Recently retired Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz has found a second calling as a filmmaker. His latest is a peek into the life, or maybe the mind, of New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns.

Mearns is well known as a dazzling, glamorous and dramatic ballerina. Hurwitz's lovely film, which shows her day as largely self directed and solitary, confirms her star status. Rather than letting the camera exalt Mearns' physical capabilities, Hurwitz uses a restrained, almost secretive approach. The result lends a dream-like quality to the film—echoed by Mearns' statement that she never thought she would be where she is. "I still can't believe I'm doing the roles that I am, today," she says. It turns out that even the most confident onstage performers have a chaotic inner monolgoue of doubt, incredulity, gratitude and determination.

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You probably remember filmmaker and former Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz's mini-documentary In a Day's Work: It trailed New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns throughout her day, and gave viewers a sense of the mental and physical stamina required of a ballerina at the top of her game.

For his latest work, On the Sound, Hurwitz went in a new direction. Rather than another documentary, he created a one-off, site-specific ballet, made for the camera. New York City Ballet principal Gonzalo Garcia and Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Evelyn Kocak dance on a sandbar as the tide comes in and the sun goes down, creating moments where they appear to be dancing on water. 

Despite Hurwitz insisting that the film was shot quickly and that it was difficult to coordinate all the elements (tide, sunset, dancers), the result is quite lovely. And in addition to featuring original music by Aaron Severini, the film is also Hurwitz's choreographic debut!

Like Day's Work, Sound feels a little bit lonely—perhaps Garcia and Kocak are reconciling after a fight, or saying goodbye to each other. Regardless of whether Hurwitz intended a specific narrative, he has successfully set a tone for all of his films, indicating a clear artistic vision. 

 

Woodmont Waltz from Ezra Hurwitz on Vimeo.

If you're a ballet fan, you've probably already noticed the dance films created by fomer Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz. His thoughtful mini-documentary on New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns and his beautiful dance-on-camera short—featuring New York City Ballet principal Gonzalo Garcia and Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Evelyn Kocak—have turned heads. Since we first caught sight of him, Hurwitz has been remarkably productive and he's just finished his latest project with New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck.

Peck and Hurwitz teamed up to create a dance film based on Peck's piece HEATSCAPE, choreographed for Miami City Ballet and inspired by the colorful murals in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. "My approach to filmmaking is extremely informed by my experience as a dancer," says Hurwitz. "When you’re unfamiliar with movement, following the dancer and keeping their limbs in the frame can be anxiety provoking. Understanding the movement before I shoot it allows me to anticipate which movements I want to focus on and how I want to compose my shots."

Hurwitz's dance training influences how he approaches the post-production aspect of his films, too. "With dance on film it’s often essential to have fluidity  between shots, even if the moments aren’t supposed to actually be continuous. Even when we inevitably forget to shoot a necessary movement or transition, figuring out the best way to cut between shots based on the movements we did capture is a skill that comes from having been a dancer."

Hurwitz plans to continue experimenting with dance on film, and we're very excited to see where that takes him next.

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