Dance

The Rockettes are Looking for an Artistic Director—and a Makeover

BY JENNIFER STAHLvia www.dancemagazine.com The Rockettes are getting ready for a growth spurt, and that starts with a newly-created job: artistic director. While the iconic precision dance troupe has of course always had artistic leaders for each of its shows, its parent organization, Madison Square Garden Company, is now looking to hire someone to oversee the artistic vision of all of the Rockettes’ year-round programming. That includes workshops, outreach activities and, intriguingly, new productions. In a press release, president of creative content and productions Jennifer Vogt said, “It’s time to grow the Rockettes brand beyond its beloved annual attraction, the Christmas Spectacular, by expanding the creative direction of this amazingly talented compa...

Stretches and Strengtheners to Increase Your Extensions

BY MADELINE SCHROCKvia www.pointemagazine.com If you’re aiming for a higher développé, chances are you might not be working toward it in the most effective way. “Everybody focuses on the splits. That’s fine, but there are so many other ways to gain flexibility that don’t perhaps overstretch the wrong tissue in your hips,” says physical therapist Michelle Rodriguez, founder and director of Manhattan Physio Group. “Having a higher extension to the front or side not only requires flexibility in your hamstrings and adductors, but it also requires strength to lift the leg and hold it in that position,” she continues. When working in arabesque, the mechanics are a bit different: Stretching should focus on opening up the front of the hip and creating leng...

2019 Chita Rivera Award Winners

via www.playbill.com Winners have been announced for the third annual Chita Rivera Awards, honoring dance and choreography in theatre (Broadway and Off-Broadway) and film. Tony Award winners Ann Reinking (Chicago, Dancin’) and Ben Vereen (Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin) co-hosted the May 19 ceremony at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Among the winners were Broadway’s Hadestown and the Off-Broadway production of Alice by Heart, which took home two awards. Ten-time Tony nominee Graciela Daniele was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Cher and producers Jeffrey Sellerand Flody Suarez were honored with the Ambassador for the Arts Award for their contribution to the convergence of theatre, film, ...

No Short Cuts: A Day in The Life of a NYC Ballet Principal

BY: AMY BRANDTvia www.pointemagazine.com How do principal dancers handle their intense schedules? For New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns, honing her instrument is key. The company’s Tuesday-through-Sunday workweeks, lengthy performance seasons and extensive repertoire can make for longs days and late nights. “During performance weeks, I think about what I’m doing that night and make sure I don’t have a lot during the day—or if I do, I’m smart about it,” says Mearns. “You do one or two things full-out and then take it easy so that you perform your best at night.” To keep her body strong and injury-free, Mearns schedules cross-training sessions with former dancer and personal trainer Joel Prouty. “I’ve had a few back in...

More Than Merde: 7 Pros Share Their Quirky Pre-Performance Rituals

BY LAUREN PHOENIX KAY via www.dancemagazine.com Aside from a solid warm-up, most dancers have something else they just have to do before performing. Whether it’s putting on the right eyelashes before the left or giving a certain handshake before a second-act entrance, our backstage habits give us the comfort of familiar, consistent choices in an art form with so many variables. Some call them superstitions, others call them rituals. Either way, these tiny moments become part of our work—and sometimes even end up being the most treasured part of performing. James Whiteside, American Ballet Theatre principal Whiteside in Don Quixote. Photo by Marty Sohl, Courtesy ABT Before stepping onstage at the Metropolitan Opera House, James Whiteside needs one thing first: a huge chocolate chip co...

There’s a New Pointe Shoe Designed Specifically for Men

BY JENNIFER STAHL via www.dancemagazine.com As ballet’s gender roles grow increasingly blurred, more men than ever are reaching new heights: the tips of their toes. It’s no longer just Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and the few pointe-clad male character parts, like in Cinderella or Alexei Ratmansky’s The Bright Stream. Some male dancers are starting to experiment with pointe shoes to strengthen their feet or expand their artistic possibilities. Michelle Dorrance even challenged the men in her cast at American Ballet Theatre to perform on pointe last season (although only Tyler Maloney ended up actually doing it onstage). The one problem? Pointe shoes have traditionally only been designed for women. Until now. A Russian company called Siberian Swan has just announc...

The Relationship Between Ballet and Physics

BY HANNAH FOSTER via www.pointemagazine.com For Better Jumps and Higher Legs, Turn to Newton’s Third Law: Merritt Moore and Claudia Schreier Explain The Relationship Between Ballet and Physics Last Saturday night, I had a balletic epiphany. I wasn’t in a mirrored studio taking class or even in a theater watching a performance. This luminous ray of understanding beamed into—wait for it—the basement of a math museum. The National Museum of Mathematics (yes, that exists) hosted its fourth Quadrivium, a salon focusing on the intersections of music and math last Saturday in New York City. The evening’s special guests were none other than ballerina Merritt Moore and choreographer Claudia Schreier. After Schreier and Moore took their seats next to the event’s host, saxophonist M...

Can’t Pick Up Choreography Quickly? This Might Be Why

BY  HELENE SCHWARTZ via www.dancemagazine.com Lately I’ve been having recurring dreams: I’m in an audition and I can’t remember the combination. Or, I’m rehearsing for an upcoming show, onstage, and I don’t know what comes next. Each time I wake up relieved that it was only a dream. However, this is the reality of how I often felt throughout my dance career. Once I knew the steps, there was no undoing it. It was the process of getting there that haunts me to this day. Even as a young dancer I had trouble. At 9 or 10 years old, I couldn’t wait to make it into my dance studio’s junior company, and I prepared by watching VHS tapes of recitals from previous years on repeat. But I could never prepare enough to predict what would be shown in the audition...

Audition for Colorado Ballet Academy’s Summer Intensive & Pre-Professional Division

Are you looking for inspiration to develop and grow as an artist, preparing you for a career as a dancer? The Raydean Acevedo Colorado Ballet Academy’s (CBA) Summer Intensive and Pre-Professional Division receive rave reviews from students, teachers and directors. These programs offer aspiring dancers instruction and career guidance from internationally renowned master teachers and CBA’s accomplished faculty. Training takes place in Colorado Ballet’s eight state-of-the-art studios at The Armstrong Center for Dance. Under the leadership of Director Erica Fischbach and SI Directors Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, students receive professional training in an environment that fosters growth, wellness and excellence in all aspects of dance—from classical ballet to the divers...

Fixing These 5 Bad Habits Can Take Your Dancing to the Next Level

BY GAVIN LARSEN via www.pointemagazine.com Striving for higher extensions, more turnout and bigger jumps may be at the top of your agenda in daily class. But what about those finer points of your technique, the subtleties that make a dancer really shine? They need just as much of your attention, and letting seemingly innocuous bad habits linger will impact your overall dancing. “There are no shortcuts in ballet,” says Cynthia Harvey, artistic director of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. “You can’t expect good results by ignoring details that are the building blocks of technique.” We break down five bad habits that are easy to overlook—but have a major impact. Knuckling Peff Modelski, a faculty member at Visceral Dance Chicago w...

Meet The Movement Coach Who Helped Rami Malek Transform Into Freddie Mercury

BY JENNIFER STAHL via www.dancemagazine.com Watching Bohemian Rhapsody through the eyes of dancer, there’s a certain element of the movie that’s impossible to ignore: Rami Malek’s physical performance of Freddie Mercury. The way he so completely embodies the nuances of the rock star is simply mind-blowing. We had to learn how he did it, so we called up Polly Bennett, the movement director who coached him through the entire process. In a bit of serendipitous timing, while we were on the phone, she got a text from Malek that he had just been nominated for a Golden Globe. And during our chat, it became quite clear that she had obviously been a major part of that—more than we could have ever imagined. What Exactly Is a Movement Director? Although the profession seems to be mo...

From Professional Dancer to Professor of Dance

via www.dancemagazine.com In the final years of her decade-long career with the Lewitzky Dance Company, University of Arizona Associate Professor Amy Ernst began to develop an interest in dance injury prevention. She remembers feeling an urge to widen her understanding of dance and the body. Soon after retirement from the Company, she was hired by the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Inglewood, California as a physical therapy assistant, where she worked for the next three and a half years. This work eventually led her to pursue an M.F.A. in dance at the University of Washington-Seattle. She remembers growing into the role of a professor during her time pursuing her degree. That incubation phase was critical. Ernst joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 1995, and now as direct...