Posts Tagged ‘New York City Ballet’

Wanted: Artistic Director of a Ballet Company

Two mid-size ballet companies in North America are in search of artistic directors. Gradimir Pankov is leaving his post at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens of Montreal after 15 years. John McFall is departing Atlanta Ballet after 20 years. In comparison to the majority of the 140-odd ballet troupes across the North American continent, which have minimal seasons and only a handful of dancers, Les Grands and Atlanta employ between 20 and 30 dancers and commission in-demand choreographers for their seasons and tours. So, what is required to helm a ballet company?

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Justin Peck’s New Graffiti Ballet

Peck’s Heatscape video promo doesn’t express bohemian culture as much as it reveals the corporatization of culture, marketed to young people in spaces owned by real estate titans. Let’s hope Peck’s actual ballet doesn’t fumble so drastically into contested urban spaces, where art and big business are meeting. Let’s hope Heatscape is just a hot dance.

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The Beauty of Nature (Trained and Untrained): A Schumacher Ballet Film

Helene Davis, of Helene Davis PR, was good enough to send this short film, featuring Ashley Laracey and Harrison Coll in an excerpt from Dear and Blackbirds by Troy Schumacher. The excerpt appears to be shot in Colorado, or thereabouts… Ah, mountains, prairie and dark cumulous clouds. The statuesque dancers’ serious yet delicate interchanges mysteriously harmonize with the monumental landscape.

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Ballet Goes to Broadway, Again

The blogosphere is alive with news about the current forays of New York City ballet principal dancers Robert Fairchild, Megan Fairchild, and Tyler Peck into Broadway.

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Dance as a Luxury Product: the Post 9/11 Environment

The Slovak National Dance Congress 2014 recently asked me to speak about the state of New York City dance. Since I’ve been living in New York City on and off since 1979, I felt up to the task. In the following slides (which have been converted into a movie), I tease out the changes that have occurred for New York City concert dancers following 9/11. What I found most striking (and dismaying) in my research was that the U.S. capital of Terpsichore is increasingly recognizing dancers and dance organizations not as the obvious—as artists and art groups—but as brands for luxury consumption.

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Women as Forces of Nature in Balanchine’s Kammermusik No. 2

George Balanchine is famously credited with saying that “ballet is woman.” This idea is boldly apparent in his Kammermusik No. 2, which premiered on New York City Ballet in January 1978, and more recently was performed by the company as part of their 2014 winter season.

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Paz de la Jolla: A trip to the ballet, not to California

Peck, a twenty-five year old City Ballet corps member, is not a complete novice in the art of choreography. La Jolla is his fourth work for City Ballet, following his most recent critical success, Year of the Rabbit. But La Jolla, set to Bohuslav Martinu’s Sinfonietta la Jolla, didn’t win me over. Peck’s choreography rarely conjures any sense of La Jolla as an actual place. The ballet seems to be in the service of displaying the dancers’ high level of technical ability, and Peck’s choreographic proficiency. He skillfully arranges his 18 dancers in geometric formations and patterns through an array of steps that feature the classical ballet lexicon. It’s a charming, impressive display. However the confounding part about La Jolla is what it actually evokes: the urgent, frenetic pace of New York.

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Music and Dance Partnerships

Another event that featured music as much as dance was the September 17 Alice Tully Hall performance of the Simón Bolivar National Youth Choir and the José Limón Dance Company. The highlight of the one-night only occasion, celebrating Venezuala’s El Sistema, was Missa Brevis.

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Lifting Ballerinas

Have you ever wondered what it would take to partner a female ballet dancer? The May 6 matinee at New York City Ballet was an excellent primer for any one considering that question. In each of the four works from the All (Jerome) Robbins program, at the former New York State Theater, the male lead rarely left the side of his female partner.

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The joys of the ballet spoof

There is nothing like a good ballet spoof. At New York City Ballet’s January 21 matinee performance, the company danced at Lincoln Center Jerome Robbins’ “The Concert” (1956). Whether you get the inside jokes regarding specific ballets, Robbins’s jabs at ballet traditions—the good, bad and the ugly—directly communicate.

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