Profiles

The Standouts of 2017: Chun Wai Chan in Laura Gutierrez's "The Back Room"

Chun Wai Chan in Laura Gutierrez's "The Back Room." Photo by Lynn Lane, Courtesy Chan.

In February, Houston Ballet first soloist Chun Wai Chan ventured out of his comfort zone to work with independent choreographer Laura Gutierrez for an immersive interactive duet called The Back Room—and the result was incredible. The audience had to accommodate the moving dancers for this site-specific work, created for Houston's leading indie theater space The Rec Room. Chan had no trouble clearing a bench full of people to make room for his dancing.


Chan in Laura Gutierrez's "The Back Room." Photo by Lynn Lane, Courtesy Chan.


The two were remarkably well-matched in style and temperament. Chan, who had just shown off his classical chops as the Prince in The Nutcracker, completely understood Gutierrez's stripped-down aesthetic and embraced her improvisational methods. "Usually people tell me what to do at the ballet, and I'm very good at doing it right," he says. "But in this project Laura gave a clear structure, and I filled it out with what I thought was right." Chan is on the rise as it is, but The Back Room was a bold step toward independence and stretching his skill set.

Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
News
Frances Chung as the title role in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella. Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Six-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz has lit such Broadway musical hits as Frozen, Hello Dolly! and A Chorus Line. She is also one of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's biggest collaborators, designing the lighting for works such as Broadway's An American in Paris, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Cinderella, a 2012 co-production of San Francisco Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. Shortly after SFB opened their 2020 season with Cinderella last month, Pointe caught up with Katz to talk about her career, her collaborative relationship with Wheeldon, and the lighting profiles of co-productions.

Keep reading...
Viral Videos

Happy Valentine's Day! Below, Josephine Lee plays a version of the Newlywed Game with Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancers and couple Michael Montgomery and Shuaib Elhassan.

Keep reading...
Profiles
Irina Kolesnikova with Kimin Kim in Swan Lake. Courtesy Konstantin Tachkin.

This weekend, Irina Kolesnikova will appear on a U.S. stage for the first time, dancing alongside Bolshoi Ballet star Denis Rodkin. The Russian ballerina is a member of St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre, a touring company helmed by Konstantin Tachkin that will appear at the Brooklyn Academy of Music February 15-16. Before joining SPBT in 1998, Kolesnikova, a native of St. Petersburg, graduated from the city's esteemed Vaganova Ballet Academy. Koleniskova spent just two years in the company's lower ranks before being promoted to principal.

Keep reading...