Jennifer Stahl's blog

English National Ballet has just named Tamara Rojo as it’s new artistic director. The 37-year-old Royal Ballet principal will take the reins from Wayne Eagling, who resigned a few weeks ago. Rojo has had her sights set on becoming an artistic director for quite some time—she has a master’s degree in scenic arts and has previously shadowed National Ballet of Canada’s Karen Kain to gain insight into the position.

Forget his ridiculous leaps and irresistible stage presence—Ivan Vasiliev officially became one of my favorite people when he told Pointe that he’d “love to be tall, blond and have blue eyes…and Wolverine claws!” And, just FYI, the guy also has a remote-control helicopter that he can operate with his iPhone. If you haven’t yet read Laura Cappelle’s interview with the Bolshoi-turned-Mikhailovsky superstar, you’re missing out.

Are you searching for a company contract? Auditions are tough, especially in this economy. Anything you can do to get a leg up is worth it.

 

"Both professions require one to know their bodies really well, and to have discipline, like understanding how to move and make shapes. If you know your body, it’s not as awkward when you’re modeling because you’re already super conscious," says Laura Love about the connection between modeling and dance to James Lin of nymag.com's "The Cut" blog. Love performed with Los Angeles Ballet before quitting the stage a couple of years ago to become a model.

Before I even stepped in the theater last night, I knew I was biased. Sylvie Guillem was performing in 6000 miles away, a program of William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián and Mats Ek pieces, and although I'd never seen her in person before, videos and stories already had me convinced I'd love her. And I did. Guillem uses her limbs the way Van Gogh uses brushstrokes, Waugh uses words or Prokofiev notes. Her movement is so liquid, but she's in complete control at every moment—there's authority and specificity without looking arduous.

My first summer in New York I was 17, training at The Joffrey's summer intensive and spending my spare time taking extra classes at Steps, with jazz master Luigi, and at ABT (which, in it's pre-JKO days, offered an amazing daily open class). I was also seeing as much ballet as I could squeeze out of my limited allowance.

 

Sneakers aren’t the primary footwear you associate with New York City Ballet. But next Friday, NYCB dancers will slip out of their pointe shoes and into more casual kicks for the free Fridays at Noon series at the 92nd Street Y. Ellen Bar, a former dancer who now works as the company’s director of media projects, hosts the quirky program featuring past and present sneaker ballets.

In our new issue, Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director Roy Kaiser reveals the company's plans to re-establish an affiliated school this fall. After several years without an official training institution, the launch accompanies the upcoming opening of PAB's new purpose-built Louise Reed Center For Dance. PAB II director William DeGregory will lead the academy with celebrated dancer Aranxta Ochoa as a principal instructor.

 

Choreographer Avichai Scher has made a name for himself in a most curious way. Generally, audiences don't come to Scher's self-produced shows to see his work. They come for the top dancers he hires: New York City Ballet’s Ashley Bouder, American Ballet Theatre’s Marcelo Gomes, San Francisco Ballet’s Sofiane Sylve, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Carla Korbes. It's kind of astounding.

Nigel Lythgoe, the producer of So You Think You Can Dance, is launching another reality dance show. A Chance to Dance will follow Michael Nunn and William Trevitt of UK's BalletBoyz as they search the US for talented dancers to form a new company. The show will premiere August 17 on Ovation TV. Any dancer over the age of 18 is invited to audition.