Blogs

If you're like me, you had at least one photo of Patricia Barker on your wall growing up. The longtime Pacific Northwest Ballet principal was a fearless, eloquent interpreter of Balanchine works, in particular, and ballet fans around the world could write sonnets about her beautiful feet. Today, she's artistic director of Grand Rapids Ballet in Michigan.

Here's a 2001 clip of Barker as Titania in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

 

I have a love/hate relationship with figure skating. Part of me roots for the fact that it's fairly artistic—it's the closest thing to dance I'll ever see at the Olympics. (PS: I'm obsessed with all things Olympics.) On the other hand, I'm always cringing at skaters' lines and sloppy limbs. And then there are the long programs set to music from Swan Lake accompanied by bad, feathery costumes, which are truly hard to watch.

Even ballet fans far from the U.K. know and love longtime English National Ballet star Daria Klimentová.

We know her by her dancing, of course: She is supremely elegant, expressive, and precise. During her 25 years with the company, she brought a jewel-like sparkle to nearly every role in the classical repertoire.

The prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition wrapped up this weekend, and scholarship winners have been announced—including Precious Adams, an American dancer who's been studying at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow. Here's the full list:

Haruo Niyama, Japan
Hakucho Ballet Academy

Sae Maeda, Japan
Mayumi Kinouchi Ballet Studio

Precious Adams, USA
Bolshoi Ballet Academy

David Fernando Navarro Yudes, Spain
Princess Grace Academy, Monte-Carlo

Garegin Pogossian, France

Our very own advice columnist, former Suzanne Farrell Ballet dancer Amy Brandt, recently did an interview for the ballet podcast Balancing Pointe. In it she shares her personal—and not entirely traditional—journey through the professional ballet world, and her words of wisdom for aspiring dancers. (Faithful "Ask Amy" readers know just how wise Amy's words are.)

Elegant Darcey Bussell was one of The Royal Ballet's star ballerinas for two decades, impressing audiences with her beautifully refined technique (and those legs). Here she is breezing through a fiendishly difficult variation from Frederick Ashton's Sylvia. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

If you're having difficulty embodying a character you're dancing in a ballet, you might want to schedule some reading time before the performance.

It sounds like there's a little turmoil over at the Royal Ballet. The Telegraph has reported that soloist Dawid Trzensimiech left the company for a principal contract at the National Romanian Ballet, citing a "lack of care and coaching." Meanwhile, the Royal's corps de ballet was recently in talks with their union about being overworked. (The compromise resulting from the discussions is a lunch break scheduled into the dancers' days.)

Viktor & Rolf presented its spring Spring/Summer 2014 collection last week, and the show featured a symphony of fluid confections. Nearly every piece looked like it might be right at home in a ballet studio—even more so because all were modeled by corps dancers from Dutch National Ballet, who bourréed down the runway en pointe. "We literally wanted to elevate the whole collection," designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren told Vogue. The duo is also slated to create costumes for a new work by Jorma Elo, which Dutch National Ballet will premiere in April.

The new Starz drama "Flesh and Bone" has been described as the television version of Black Swan—so it's only fitting that the show's lead is a veteran of the film.

Starz announced today that Dresden Semperoper's Sarah Hay—a talented dancer who was a member of Black Swan's corps (we interviewed her about the film back in 2010)—has been cast as "Flesh and Bone"'s Claire, an aspiring ballerina with "a distinctly troubled past."