In my experience, ballet teachers who tell you to be yourself are very rare. When you get a step wrong, most of the time they will tell you to watch another girl in the class and do it liker her, or that girl will be called up to the front of the studo to proudly demonstrate for the whole class. Everyone is then told to copy her. In general, it seems like most dancers learn by copying, rather than knowing when they are doing a step right or not.
For all of the endless groaning that goes on backstage during Nutcracker season, the holiday warhorse brings many benefits for the ballet world. Aside from the influx of revenue for companies and opportunities for dancers, Nutcracker also often gives audiences a chance to see top-notch guest artists from all over the world. Here are just a few of the exciting guests scheduled to perform this December—leave others you know about in the comments.
As an editor at Pointe, sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy store. I'm constantly surrounded by all things ballet, I'm able to see some of the best performances and I get to meet many of the dancers and artists I idolized when I was growing up. I know that I am one incredibly lucky bunhead. So as I stuff my face with turkey and pumpkin pie tomorrow, here are a few of the top ballet-related things I will be thankful for.
Congratulations to the winners of the Genee International Ballet Competition! Francesca Hayward, 18, and Sean Bates, 18, both of the Royal Ballet School, were awarded silver medals. Orazio Di Bella, 19, of the Elmhurst School of Dance, Lachlan Monaghan, 17, and Tierney Heap, 17, of the Royal Ballet School won bronze medals.
I was recently talking with my parents about Alexei Ratmansky's new Nutcracker, which he's choreographing for ABT. It's coming to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December, and I for one can't wait to see it. By all accounts, it will be more grown-up, with a fresh, yet classical approach to the story.
Got the choreography bug? The Young Choreographer's Festival in New York City is now accepting applications for their June 2011 performance. For the second year in a row, this program presents work by up-and-coming young artists of all dance genres. Any budding choreographer ages 18 to 25 is invited to submit their work to be performed at Symphony Space alongside prestigious guest artists. The advisory board includes esteemed teachers and choreographers such as Kat Wildish, Sheila Barker, Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo, and others.
Ballet dancers train long and hard to excel at what they do. It is imperative that they be confident in their technique when they step onto a stage, as doubt can have a crippling effect on a dancer's ability to perform a movement that they've practised and rehearsed scores of times. I've often had the opportunity of seeing elite dancers in class and rehearsal, and their relaxed manner and the ease with which they correctly execute all the steps shows that they know they can do this. However, ballet dancers are also famously superstitious and wedded to rituals that
Last Sunday and Monday, I had the opportunity to perform in Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum. It was so much fun! Before the performance, there was a company class with ABT that I got to take--and wow, the company dancers are soooo good. It was amazing to be in the same class with them.
I have an odd confession to make: I enjoy watching dancers who have bad feet. And I don't just mean that I can appreciate good dancers in spite of their stereotypically "bad" ballet feet. I actually like their lack of instep and/or little arch.
What an exciting trip this was! Overall, I was extremely impressed with the kindness and enthusiasm of the Cuban ballet fans. Dance is a huge deal in Havana--there are pictures of Alicia Alonso everywhere. Many people saw our first performance and insisted on coming back for the second one. They waited for us outside the stage door and took pictures and asked for autographs. They tried hard to communicate to us in broken English how much they enjoyed the program. I met some people in the hotel who had traveled from Argentina specifically to see the dance festival.