Director’s Notes: Maestro in Montevideo

Julio Bocca injects his experience and flair into Uruguay’s Ballet Nacional Sodre. Julio Bocca’s performances during his 20 years at American Ballet Theatre had the tangible feel of verismo. Whatever character he danced—Romeo, Albrecht, Onegin—grabbed you from the stage and swept you into the action. So why wouldn’t the Argentinian star demand energy and excellenceMore »

Director’s Notes: The Maverick in Monaco

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo is Jean-Christophe Maillot’s personal playground. Box-office pressure doesn’t seem to be part of the vocabulary at Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. For the past two decades, this maverick company devoted to the sleek neoclassical work of choreographer-director Jean-Christophe Maillot has been steadily supported by the micro-state of Monaco. Ballet after ballet, theMore »

Director’s Notes: Storytelling in Music City

Nashville Ballet’s Paul Vasterling puts narrative and music at the forefront of the company’s focus. The dancers are fighting again, but Paul Vasterling is unfazed. He’s watching it unfold at the front of the stage, fingers to his chin like a man contemplating artwork. A punch to the gut, a kick to the backside. OneMore »

Director’s Notes: American Down Under

Ethan Stiefel takes on his biggest role yet as artistic director of Royal New Zealand Ballet. International ballet stars labeled “Made in America” are an endangered species. But former American Ballet Theatre principal Ethan Stiefel is one of the rare few. He first made a global name for himself through guest appearances with The RoyalMore »

Director’s Notes: The Revitalizer

Emily Molnar has given Ballet BC fresh life. Watching the exuberant dancing of today’s Ballet BC, you’d hardly guess that the troupe was on the brink of collapse a little more than four years ago. In 2008, dwindling audiences had compounded the company’s financial difficulties. Forced to lay off staff and dancers, that December, BalletMore »

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 »

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 »