Director’s Notes: No Longer Vanilla

John McFall has made Atlanta Ballet an incubator for innovative choreography. In John McFall’s teenage mind, nothing equaled the enchantment of ballet. He remembers being cast as a swashbuckling supernumerary in Scheherazade when Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo visited his hometown of Kansas City. “I was leaping around the stage, sword in hand, swiping atMore »

Director’s Notes: The Choreographers’ Company

Paul Lightfoot has rekindled NDT’s core mission: creating groundbreaking contemporary ballet. Nederlands Dans Theater’s sleek performances don’t show it, but just two years ago, the company was in serious trouble. A review of government arts funding recommended a 50 percent cut. In search of a solution, the board hired a new artistic director: Paul Lightfoot,More »

Director’s Notes: He Came, He Saw, He Created

At Hamburg Ballet, John Neumeier built not only a world-class troupe, but a whole new generation of ballet lovers. John Neumeier personifies ballet in Hamburg. Before he arrived 39 years ago, the German city-state had little in the way of a ballet tradition. Today, the local audience’s affection for the choreographer—and the world-renowned ensemble heMore »

Director’s Notes: District of Dreams

The Washington Ballet was always a hometown favorite. Under Septime Webre, now it’s also a top national troupe. An all-Tharp program. World premieres by Edwaard Liang and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. A new ALICE (in wonderland). The Washington Ballet’s last season was full of creativity and virtuoso performances. It’s a long way from the 1970s troupeMore »

Company Life: It Can Happen In An Instant

What began as a routine company class a few years ago for Miami City Ballet’s Sara Esty turned into anything but when a principal ballerina landed badly from a tour jeté. Then in the corps de ballet, Esty felt all eyes turn to her as people realized that she—the dancer’s understudy—would now be starring inMore »

Director’s Notes: A Taste of Europe

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s Benoit-Swan Pouffer has created an edgy, eclectic troupe. It’s a late-spring day in New York’s stylish Chelsea neighborhood, and Benoit-Swan Pouffer is auditioning a new dancer. Over the last half hour, he has put together and taught a short combination; now Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s artistic director is standing at theMore »

Company Life: Choreographing From the Corps

The life of an emerging choreographer can be stressful. You’re trying to make a name for yourself, to establish your own distinct voice, to earn and then juggle multiple commissions. But some dancemakers struggle with more than choreographer’s block: They also dance with major companies. And many are corps de ballet dancers, workhorses who performMore »