Six dancers from the National Ballet of Cuba recently arrived in Miami after defecting while their company was on tour in Puerto Rico. The dancers have been taken under the wing of Pedro Pablo Peña, the director of Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. Peña is Cuban and has long supported defecting ballet dancers by featuring them in his company and helping them find work in the United States.
Many of us have long distanced ourselves from—or were too young to experience—the terror of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and how it affected the dance community. TEST, a film by former Ballet Frankfurt dancer Chris Mason Johnson, brings us back to when the virus was first emerging and fear was at its greatest. Frankie, played by LEVYdance's associate artistic director Scott Marlowe, is apprenticing with a contemporary dance company in San Francisco, where he meets love interest Todd, played by Broadway vet Matthew Risch.
International ballet competitions are designed to showcase a dancer’s talent and performance skill—which also happen to be the two aims of Victor Gsovsky’s Grand Pas Classique. The female variation consists of steps that align with the music, supporting dancers through difficult moves and reinforcing their musicality. In 2001, Sara Mearns competed in Youth America Grand Prix with this virtuosic variation. Now a principal with New York City Ballet, she had already begun to develop the fiery conviction that has become the trademark to her dancing.
This week, the Australian Ballet's Kevin Jackson will make his debut with American Ballet Theatre, dancing the familiar role of Des Grieux in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon. Mr. Jackson's performance marks only the second time that a dancer from the Australian Ballet has guested with American Ballet Theatre. With his ABT debut around the corner (you can catch him on June 4th and June 6th), Mr. Jackson spoke to Pointe about interpreting the role of Des Grieux, partnering Xiomara Reyes, and the modern significance of the story ballet.
How many aspiring dancers have given up because their body type failed to conform to ballet’s ideals? The Ovation network’s new series, “Big Ballet,” which had its American premiere last week, takes weight out of the equation for 18 plus-size dancers. The show follows Wayne Sleep, a former Royal Ballet principal dancer, and Monica Loughman, artistic director of the Monica Loughman Ballet in Ireland, as they prepare the dancers for a production of Swan Lake.
Dancing peasants in traditional costumes often signal a Romantic ballet. However, they don't always consist of a three-act narrative. Divertissements are short ballets created to feature a dancer’s technical skill. August Bournonville choreographed many, including this folkloric interpretation of Gioachino Rossini’s opera William Tell. The dancers don't appear as characters, but rather perform to express the underlying joy in Rossini’s score. Darci Kistler masters this intention, seizing the stage with an unyielding connection to the music.