Dance

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...

College Scholarship Programs & Fairs for Dancers

BY MADELINE SCHROCK via www.dancemagazine.com Dancing in college is undoubtedly expensive, but these two events allow you to audition for scholarships from multiple programs at once. Dancewave’s Dancing Through College & Beyond Photo by Linneah Anders, Courtesy Dancewave This fair’s College Scholarship auditions give high school seniors exposure to college reps from across the country. In 2017, 65 percent of the participants were offered merit scholarships totaling $3.4 million. This year’s expanded audition offerings, held at Hunter College in New York City, will accommodate up to 150 dancers. Participating schools include heavy hitters like Boston Conservatory at Berklee, New York University, The Juilliard School, University of Southern California and many more. Oct...

When rips, tears and falls kill a dancer’s career (or don’t)

BY SARAH L. KAUFMAN via www.washingtonpost.com Lauren Post, a corps de ballet member of American Ballet Theatre, caught her foot in the hem of her costume one night and tripped. Just like that, in the middle of a ballet, in front of thousands of spectators at the Metropolitan Opera House, Post found herself in a dancer’s lowest circle of hell. She’d torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. Another dancer had to drag her offstage. Fast-forward a couple of years, and Post is sitting in a movie theater, watching the Jennifer Lawrence thriller “Red Sparrow.” She was there mainly to see her best friend, ABT principal Isabella Boylston, who is Lawrence’s dance double in the movie. Lawrence starts out a Bolshoi ballerina and ends up a Russian spy/sex worker — all because of a grisly injur...

The Secret to Productive Alone Time in the Studio

BY ALICE BLUMENFELD  via www.dancemagazine.com Whether you’re a dancer, a choreographer, or both, having time alone in the studio allows artists to grow in ways that class or rehearsal simply doesn’t. Yet without other people around to tell you what to do or keep you accountable, it’s easy to get stuck staring at yourself in the mirror, wondering where to begin. Here’s how to make the most of your studio time and avoid staring aimlessly back at your reflection: 1. Set specific goals Why are you in the studio? To work on a particular aspect of your technique? To set new choreography? To work on steps you recently learned? Make sure you know why you’re there, otherwise self-motivating can be nearly impossible. 2. Take time to warm up Especially if you’ve p...

Is your body language holding back your career?

BY SARAH WROTH via www.dancemagazine.com Dancers are physical communicators. It is both our profession and our passion. But what happens when the music stops and there is a break in rehearsals? Our communication doesn’t end when the choreography is completed. The truth is, the way you act at rest can make or break your career. Ballet masters, choreographers and artistic directors see meaning in all forms of body language, not just those that happen while the music is playing. Maintain Eye Contact Dancers need to demonstrate active listening skills. Even when you’re not dancing, choreographers take note of who’s watching what is being demonstrated. If your back is turned, there is an assumption that your ears are not open. Julie Kent, artistic director of The Washington Ba...