All Kinds of Promotions at ABT
Oh my goodness, yesterday was a MAJOR day for some of our favorite dancers at American Ballet Theatre! The company announced five promotions, which means five ABTers are going to be celebrating their way through the rest of the troupe's season at NYC's Metropolitan Opera House.
First up, the big one: Our friend Isabella Boylston (she was on the cover of DS back in 2006—do we know how to pick 'em, or what?) was made a principal dancer. This is huge, you guys! She's been dancing principal roles beautifully for a couple of years now, and we're thrilled she's getting the title that goes with her repertoire.
(Left) Boylston on our September 2006 cover, and (right) as Odette in Swan Lake with ABT recently. She's all grown up! (right photo © Gene Schiavone)
Four other deserving dancers were promoted to the soloist level: Joseph Gorak, Christine Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher and Roman Zhurbin. All of them have been serious standouts in the corps from the beginning. We're especially excited about Gorak, who is the most perfect prince–with the most perfect feet—this side of David Hallberg. (Hallberg, fittingly enough, happens to be one of his mentors.)
Congratulations, all of you! And here's hoping you get five minutes of downtime during the whirlwind Met season to celebrate.
The French dance film that made waves at last year's Venice Film Festival is heading stateside: Polina opens in theaters on July 21. The story follows a young Russian ballerina-in-the-making, played by dancer Anastasia Shevtsova, who's performed with the Mariinsky Ballet.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)