The members of ABT Studio Company straddle two worlds: student and professional. On a March afternoon, as the dancers rehearse for a work choreographed by ABT dancer Gemma Bond, they appear more the former: Clean academic leotards and tights reveal coltish legs. But as soon as they launch into the piece (which later had its New York City debut at The Joyce Theater), it's evident how close these dancers are to a professional rank. Their movements and expressiveness grow bolder with each entrance. Soon they're sliding to the ground in floorwork and swirling confidently in daring lifts. "This group is particularly brilliant to work with," says Bond. "Each dancer seems to have something interesting in the way that they move, which made the creation process a little more of a collaboration than some of my other works."
Training in Manila, Philippines may seem a world away from dancing with the big ballet companies in New York City. Yet in April 2018, local ballet students Elwince Magbitang and Raye Vince Pelegrin, both 17, shared the stage in Manila with leading dancers from American Ballet Theatre in the benefit gala An Intimate Evening with Stella Abrera & American Ballet Stars. Little did they expect that their performance as toreadors in the Don Quixote Suite would land them at ABT's prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a member of American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, you're in luck. The latest episode of "No Days Off," a documentary web series profiling young and inspiring athletes, spotlights 17-year-old Joseph Markey, a first-year Studio Company member. The doc not only underscores the physical aspects of Markey's training, but also the artistic refinements he must make on his road to becoming a professional dancer.
17-Year-Old Is The FUTURE of Dance www.youtube.com
If your goal is to become a professional dancer, you likely have a lot of questions about what you need to do to get there. Last year, Youth America Grand Prix created a Facebook video series called "Ask the Expert," featuring conversations with dance professionals on topics ranging from nutrition to dancing in college to career building. (Good news: They are now available on YAGP's website and YouTube page).
This season, YAGP is expanding the series to include more interviews. The latest video features American Ballet Theatre Studio Company artistic director Sascha Radetsky. The topic? Navigating your first year of professional life, from a director's perspective. Radetsky answers questions about professional etiquette and protocol, navigating company hierarchy and managing conflicts, and offers his tips for a successful career and what qualities stand out to him in dancers.
I have a confession. Until today, I had never seen the seminal classic Center Stage.
There aren't many dancers who've had as varied a post-stage career as Sascha Radetsky. Since retiring in 2014, the former American Ballet Theatre soloist and Center Stage star has reprised his role as Charlie in Center Stage: On Pointe; acted in two television programs (Starz network's Flesh and Bone and Hallmark Channel's A Nutcracker Christmas) and choreographed Misty Copeland's famous Under Armour commercial. He's also written articles for Vogue, Playbill and Dance Magazine, and he currently directs the ABT/NYU Master's in Ballet Pedagogy program. Now he has a new title to add to his credentials: artistic director of ABT Studio Company.
Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, with their delightfully cheesy plots and predictable fairy tale endings, are pretty much the ultimate guilty pleasure. But this year there's an extra reason to cozy up in front of the TV in your pajamas, popcorn in hand. The latest Hallmark original movie, A Nutcracker Christmas, is all about ballet, complete with a cast of talented dancers.
The story centers on Lily, a former ballerina who thought she'd left the dance world behind long ago. She comes face-to-face with ballet again when her niece, Sadie, is cast in The Nutcracker. And Sadie's director just happens to be Lily's ex-boyfriend from her dance days, Mark.
The best part of all this? Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Sascha Radetsky, who's already proven he has acting chops in Center Stage and Starz's "Flesh and Bone," plays Mark. Sadie is played by young up-and-comer Sophia Lucia. In other words, we are hopefully in for some pretty great Nutcracker-themed dance sequences. From the looks of the preview, we just might be in luck.
Former American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky has been named the director of New York University's master's in ballet pedagogy program, which runs in partnership with ABT. The program, officially titled "Teaching Dance in the Professions with a concentration in ABT Ballet Pedagogy," prepares participants for a career in ballet research, or teaching positions at company schools or in higher education. Dancers who come through ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (JKO) School are often noted for their unaffected, pure technique. Students in NYU's master's program study that same ABT approach to ballet education, but from the perspective of pedagogy rather than performance.
Radetsky had a notable onstage career, and achieved wider visibility than many ballet dancers thanks to his role as Charlie in the dance movie (and cult favorite) Center Stage. He also recently played the sleazy Ross on Starz's TV show "Flesh and Bone." He has written for magazines and websites and was awarded one of NYU's Center for Ballet and the Arts' fellowships for an upcoming writing project. His talent for dancing, acting and writing is obvious—and it's likely he'll be successful as a program director, too.
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"Cut!" Ethan Stiefel's voice booms from behind a monitor. The cast of “Flesh and Bone," the Starz network's new television series set in a New York City ballet company, is filming the final episode's climactic performance scene. Onstage, the dancers regroup while Stiefel, the show's choreographer and dance consultant, huddles with the director and film crew before heading onstage to give notes. Five minutes turn to 20 as the cast stands by, dropping down into push-ups or stretches (one even donning a parka) to keep their bodies warm while the crew fiddles with lighting and camera angles. Makeup artists emerge to powder noses. After what feels like an eternity, the cameras finally roll and everyone once again bursts into dance.
For the 22 professional dancers that make up the bulk of the show's cast, this is the grueling reality of film production, and a major adjustment from live theater. “The days are very long," says former American Ballet Theatre principal Irina Dvorovenko, who plays Kiira. “You have to do many, many takes from this angle and that angle." But Dvorovenko relished the experience, and plans to pursue more acting opportunities. “Time flies on set. I loved every minute of it!"
Photo by Angela Sterling via Vogue
We’re already anticipating Sascha Radetsky’s role in the new Starz TV series “Flesh and Bone,” which premieres on November 8, and now the former American Ballet Theatre soloist is giving us even more to look forward to. New York University’s Center for Ballet and the Arts has awarded Radetsky a Fall 2015 Fellowship for his new writing project: a work of fiction—either a novel or a set of short stories—set in the ballet world.
The Center’s seven other Fall Fellows are approaching ballet scholarship and artistic creation from various mediums including writing, musical composition, choreography and even puppetry. Among the choreographers is John Selya, former American Ballet Theatre dancer and star of Twyla Tharp’s Tony Award-winning Broadway show Movin’ Out. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about these works-in-progress when the progress phase is over; meanwhile we’ll (not-so) patiently wait for Radetsky’s upcoming debuts onscreen and on the shelves!
If you are eagerly awaiting the November 8 premiere of Starz’s gritty ballet drama “Flesh and Bone,” you’re in luck. The network released its first trailer of the eight-hour limited series yesterday—and it looks pretty tantalizing. The show includes an impressive cast of professional dancers, including Dresden Semperoper Ballet soloist Sarah Hay, former American Ballet Theatre dancers Irina Dvorovenko and Sascha Radetsky, Raychel Diane Weiner (formerly of Ballet Arizona), as well as “House of Cards” star Ben Daniels as the tyrannical artistic director (get ready for a chair-smashing temper tantrum). According to multiple Starz press releases, the show’s main character Claire, played by Hay, has a “distinctly troubled past”—and the trailer offers a few clues as to what that past might entail. You may also catch a glimpse of Ethan Stiefel’s choreography—the former Royal New Zealand Ballet director and ABT principal created a 13-minute original ballet for the show.
Here's a sneak peek:
When Sascha Radetsky joined the Dutch National Ballet in 2008, after a fruitful 13-year career with American Ballet Theatre, he was looking forward to expanding his repertoire of principal roles. But though he was able to partially fulfill that dream—performing Albrecht in Giselle and Masetto in Don Giovanni with DNB—various obligations brought him back to the United States, where he has rejoined ABT as a soloist. Radetsky spoke to Pointe about the significant shifts in his career.
I don’t want to take anything away from Dutch National Ballet. They’re a wonderful company, and I had a very fulfilling time over there. In fact, I might continue working with them at some point in the future. But for personal reasons I’ve chosen to return to ABT, where Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie has very graciously welcomed me back.
A family illness initially called me to the States last summer, and I realized then how much I’d missed my wife, Stella [Abrera, a soloist with ABT]. That separation was really tough. I’d missed ABT, as well. This company is my family and my home.
I feel that the developments in my personal and professional life have given me a new sense of perspective these days. I’m looking forward to dancing some of the ABT roles I’ve grown attached to over the years, and to working with my many dear friends in the company. And it’s hard to beat performing at the Met, or to beat New York City, period—it’s the greatest dance city in the world. Most of all, though, I’m looking forward to spending time with my girl. Being with Stella is more important than chasing roles over in Europe. —Sascha Radetsky, as told to Margaret Fuhrer