Director’s Notes: Returning To Its Roots

Ted Brandsen has made the Dutch National Ballet more national…and international. Onstage, Dutch National Ballet dancers have a no-nonsense energy and an intoxicating confidence—and for good reason: The company has been on the rise since Ted Brandsen took the reins in 2003. The dancer-turned-choreographer has hired a host of up-and-coming young soloists, and produced anMore »

The Extra Step

When New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder heard she’d be dancing Giselle, she was excited—and nervous. Bouder had already danced Aurora and Odette/Odile at NYCB, but the Romantic-era Giselle was a lifelong dream. “It had been one of my absolute favorites since I was a child,” she says. Opportunity knocked in 2008 when legendaryMore »

Work In Progress: Frances Chung Dolls Up

It took eight years for Frances Chung to rise from corps to principal at San Francisco Ballet. The Canadian dancer’s ascent was accompanied by admiration for her sunny disposition and utterly committed performing style. Still, until last month, in  traditional story ballets, Chung, 27, had always been the bridesmaid (or ghostly version thereof), rather thanMore »

Director’s Notes: Big, Bold, Bolshoi

New director Yuri Burlaka is leading the historic institution into the 21st century. Even on a Friday morning in the midst of a three-week tour to London, the atmosphere in a Bolshoi company class is reverential. There’s no chatting or laughing at the barre. The soft-spoken coach, Marina Kondratieva, enumerates steps calmly and thoughtfully. EachMore »

Corps Stars

Last spring, as American Ballet Theatre began rehearsals for its Metropolitan Opera House run of La Bayadère, someone important was missing.   All the Nikiyas and Gamzattis were in the studio; no Solor or Bronze Idol was unaccounted for. But Marian Butler, a member of the corps de ballet since 1995, was out with anMore »

College Before Career?

Traditionally, ballet dancers bypassed college to maximize their dancing years. But for today’s generation, earning a degree before auditioning for the corps has become a smart move. The right undergraduate program can be an opportunity to grow intellec­­t­ually, polish up technique and work with major choreographers. Even more importantly, it can offer experiences that willMore »

Company Life: Dancing with the Boys

Whenever San Francisco Ballet soloist Elana Altman sees her name on the cast list for Giselle’s Myrta, she knows it’s time to start preparing for the role’s high-flying grand allégro and stamina-testing jeté sequence. Does that mean she does extra petit allégro in pointe class? No. Altman, like many women ballet dancers who want toMore »

Director’s Notes: Old-Fashioned Innovator

Ballet Austin’s Stephen Mills stretches his dancers and his audiences. On the brink of insanity, Hamlet struggles with three alter-egos in a sequence that blends balletic precision with modern dance elasticity. By fusing the timeless with the contemporary,  Ballet Austin’s 2000 production of Shakespeare’s classic cemented the company’s reputation for bringing form-breaking movement to old-fashionedMore »