Cincinnati Ballet presents Frampton and Cincinnati Ballet Live, with classic rock guitarist Peter Frampton, this April. It seems like an unlikely pairing. But the ballet company and the rock star aren’t as odd a couple as you might think.
Frampton—best known for hits like “Show Me the Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way”—is British, but he’s lived in Cincinnati since 2000.“He’s a longtime resident with a great affection for the city,” says Cincinnati Ballet director Victoria Morgan, who has been pursuing a collaboration with Frampton for several years. Once she was finally able to connect with the guitarist last year, thanks to a Cincinnati Ballet fan who’s a friend of Frampton’s, things quickly picked up steam.
“He came to the studio to watch a rehearsal, and I think he was surprised and impressed by the high caliber and discipline of these beautiful dancers,” Morgan says. “Right away, he said, ‘I really want to do it—though the thought of it makes me nervous.’ I thought that was pretty cool, that we made Peter Frampton nervous!”
Frampton will play live at each performance of the program, which features three world premieres. Devon Carney and Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard will create ballets set to classic Frampton songs, while resident choreographer Adam Houghland will work with a brand-new Frampton piece composed for the occasion. “The idea is to connect to a very different type of ballet audience,” Morgan says. “I like being able to show our versatility in a way that makes people say, ‘Oh wait a minute—I thought you were a ballet company?’”
In an ordinary year, early February marks an exciting time in the ballet world: the return of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition. But this is no ordinary year, so this is no ordinary Prix. Due to the pandemic, the 2021 edition will run from January 31 to February 7, completely via video.
A competitor from the 2020 Prix de Lausanne practices backstage.
Gregory Batardon, Courtesy Prix de Lausanne
Prix de Lausanne artistic and executive director Kathryn Bradney
Anne-Laure Lechat and Amélie Blanc, Courtesy Prix de Lausanne
Finalists from the 2020 Prix de Lausanne
Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy Prix de Lausanne
Ashley Murphy-Wilson, an artist at The Washington Ballet, is all about making things personal. Well, personalized, that is. "My best purchase ever was a label maker," she says. "Everything I own is labeled. My phone charger is labeled. My roller is labeled. Everyone knows: If I leave something in the studio, I'm coming back for it—because my name is on it."
The TWB dancer adds a personal touch to almost everything in her dance bag, be it with her label maker, her "signature" leopard print legwarmers or her bedazzled (yes, we said bedazzled) booties. It's the mark of an experienced dancer; Murphy-Wilson, now in her sixth season at TWB after 13 years with Dance Theatre of Harlem, knows better than to let her belongings get lost to the dance studio "black hole" effect.
Mena Brunette, XMBPhotography
The Goods<p>"<strong>TheraBands </strong>are essential for warming up my feet and ankles," says Murphy. "When I'm on the go, I'll typically keep one or two—one lighter and one heavier weight—in my bag. But at home, I have literally all of them." <br></p><p><strong>Bloch booties:</strong> "I have two or three pairs on rotation right now: pink, purple and hot pink. I also like to bedazzle my booties, because a lot of people have the same ones. I always add a little personal flair, by sewing on rhinestones or some colorful patches."</p><p>"It's hard to get through rehearsal if I eat a big meal, so I'm basically snacking throughout the day. I really like <strong>Nature's Bakery</strong><strong> fig bars</strong>—our physical therapist got me hooked on them."</p><p>"I always bring a <strong>phone charger</strong>, but not for me. I bring it for everyone else, because someone's always looking for a phone charger. But I put my name on it, so I can make sure they always return it," says Murphy-Wilson.</p>
Mena Brunette, XMBPhotography
Former lead dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, Charlene Gehm MacDougal died of ovarian cancer on January 10 at her home in New York City, age 69.
Gehm illuminated the inner life of each of the varied characters in her extensive repertoire. Whether she was the gracious hostess in George Balanchine's Cotillon, the riveting Lady Capulet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, or in the tumult of William Forsythe's Love Songs, she drew the viewer's eye and heart to the essence of the role.
As Forsythe puts it: "Charlene was certainly one of the most elegant dancers I have had the privilege to work with. Her striking countenance flowed into her work and, joined with her wicked sense of humor and intelligence, created thoughtful, mesmerizing and memorable art."
Le Sacre du Printemps, with Charlene Gehm MacDuogal on the left
In The Nutcracker with Daniel Baudendistel