News
Rudolf Nureyev. Courtesy Spotlight Cinema Networks.

What's better than one film about Rudolf Nureyev? Two films about Rudolf Nureyev!

We're excited to share that a feature-length documentary titled Nureyev is slated to make its North American premiere next month. Nureyev will be shown in major U.S. cities starting April 19, giving you just enough time time to brush up on your Nureyev history before the Ralph Fiennes directed biopic, The White Crow, hits U.S. theaters on April 26.

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Ballet Careers
A scene from Stephen Mill's "Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project." Photo by Tony Spielberg, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Ballet excels at defying gravity. Lightness, ethereality, wispiness, symmetry, lineal order, chivalry and blissful endings to well-worn tales bestow on ballet a reputation as an art form that embraces divine beauty and design. But themes of grief, trauma, death, war, annihilation, exploitation, abuse, oppression and genocide do not frequently skim the surface sur la pointe. Bearing weighty burdens has traditionally found a place in the realm of modern dance in works such as Martha Graham's Lamentation, or Paul Taylor's image of Armageddon in Last Look.

But beyond shimmering tutus and pristine arabesques, there are other reasons why heavy issues seldom appear on the ballet stage. Taking on a serious subject requires a serious treatment. A ballet about terrorism could easily trivialize the subject through melodrama or prettification. Classical vocabulary was born from noble demeanor in the royal courts; in the wrong hands, it can seem limited in registering the mood of a sordid subject or for expressing disturbing behavior. Add to that the industry's marketing directors and board members, tempted towards steering directors and choreographers away from challenging ballets for fear of poor ticket sales.


New York Theatre Ballet performs "Dark Elegies." Photo by Darial Sneed, Courtesy New York Theatre Ballet.

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It's not every day that you get to see a world-class ballerina rehearse. It's pretty much never that you get to see that world-class ballerina rehearse Martha Graham's work. So to say that I was thrilled to be able to watch Diana Vishneva prepare Graham's Errand into the Maze yesterday is a massive understatement.

Vishneva first performed Errand at a gala evening in St. Petersburg last June. (She brought down the house.) She'll reprise her take on the iconic work this Wednesday night at the Martha Graham Dance Company gala at New York City Center, and again on Friday and Sunday as part of her own bill at City Center, Diana Vishneva: Dialogues.

Vishneva was intensely, singularly focused during Monday's rehearsal. "For me as an artist, what's most important is to feel the structure of [Graham's] choreography on my body," she told me, "to figure out how it fits." Pointe was able to capture some of that process on camera. This gorgeous image is a sneak preview of the photo essay to come in our June/July issue. Enjoy--and stay tuned!

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