Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is currently on tour in Israel to perform in the 25th anniversary of Karmiel Dance Festival. Principal dancer Alexandra Kochis is guest blogging about the experience for Pointe.
We have arrived in Israel! After a few airline delays and one 11-hour flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv, we are finally checked into our seaside hotel in the town of Acre.
Good news for all aspiring ABT dancers: The company just annouced a new apprentice program. Each year, it will prepare six talented dancers to become apprentices with the corps de ballet under the guidance of ABT Studio Company artistic associate (and Pointe editor at large!) Kate Lydon and ABT ballet master Clinton Luckett. The dancers will train intensively for 10 weeks beginning in September, then dance as apprentices during The Nutcracker, and ABT's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Congrats to former Pointe cover girl Melissa Hough! The Houston Ballet first soloist just won a fellowship grant from New York Choreographic Institute to create a new piece on her fellow company members in Texas. Specifically, the grant gives her funds to choreograph a work to be performed in an informal studio showing.
Boston Ballet principal Misa Kuranaga is one of the most inspiring dancers I've ever met. After losing her apprenticeship with San Francisco Ballet, instead of giving up, she begged the School of American Ballet to train her. She went back to school, back to the basics, completely reworking her technique. Now she's one of ballet's most beloved stars. This photo is one of my favorite outtakes from our August/September cover shoot.
Balanchine was the first to show off dancers' bodies in all their exposed glory with his leotard-and-tights ballets. These days, contemporary costumes offer even less coverage. Edgy ballet choreographers seem to be obsessed with bare legs right now. What's a dancer to do if she's got some dimples on the back of her thighs? Flush cellulite away by getting your body's lymph fluid moving with a few minutes a day in an inverted yoga pose—a shoulder stand, a head stand, even resting your legs up the wall. Anything that gets your feet above your heart will help.
Happy August! Our new issue is out, and it's chock full of great stories. My personal favorite to work on was The Dance Bag Diet in which top stars gave us a peek inside their daily snacking habits. Daniil Simkin turns out to be a bit of a cookie monster, Heather Ogden totes a grapefruit for the fresh scent it gives her bag, and Craig Hall likes to take a swig of water with peppermint oil before going onstage: “It’s like drinking a box of Altoids.”
Maintaining a student-teacher bond in ballet requires a balancing act more difficult than any exercise on pointe. Built on a foundation of trust and understanding, dancers must feel comfortable enough to place their budding careers in the hands of their instructor, but not so at ease that boundaries are crossed and respect is lost. During this week’s episode of "Bunheads," Michelle learned that befriending students comes at a cost.
Before opening its new purpose-built facilities this winter and relaunching its school this fall, Pennsylvania Ballet just unveiled a new website—and it's kind of great. By that I mean it's loaded with amazing photos and videos of the dancers rehearsing, performing, warming up, cracking up. Check it out at paballet.org.
For the second year in a row, Sacramento Ballet is teaming up with the Firefighters Burn Institute to create one hot 2013 calendar. Each month will feature a photo of a dancer and local firefighter partnered. The best part? You get to decide who makes the cut. Visit sacballet.org to vote for your favorite Sacramento Ballet dancers as many times as you want through August 10. Each vote is a tax-deductible fee of $2, and will benefit the Sacramento Ballet and the FFBI.
The Paris Opéra Ballet's American tour might be over, but they haven't completely abandoned us. On Sunday, August 5, movie theaters across the country will be showing POB's La Bayadère. This is no ordinary performance; it's Pointe cover girl Ludmila Pagliero's breakout as Gamzatti.