I took a bus back to my home state of Massachusetts this weekend to escape from the city for a few hours, and while I was there I managed to catch one of the last performances of Boston Ballet’s “Simply Sublime.” It’s an ambitious title for a program, so I was excited to see if it would live up to its name.
The program seemed at first to be the weirdest combination of dances ever. It started off with Fokine’s soft, romantic Les Sylphides, then jumped to Wheeldon’s sharp Polyphonia, and finished with Balanchine’s vivacious Symphony in Three Movements. After seeing them all in succession, though, I realized that the combination was brilliant: all three are abstract dances focused on the patterns, shapes, and how the movement related to the music.
Check out a great trailer by Boston Ballet here:
Lia Cirio, the principal in Les Sylphides, was graceful, demure, and strong all at once. However, it was the demi-soloists who really blew me away. I had never noticed Adiarys Almeida’s lush upper body and Rie Ichikawa’s musical precision before. The corps was a little messy, though. My mezzanine seat made their not-quite-straight lines and slightly-off counts obvious. (Then again, being in the Les Sylphides corps is not easy. It brought back memories of being twelve and learning the ballet in Variations class. Kneeling for that long hurts!)
Luckily, Polyphonia was absolute perfection. It may be my new favorite ballet. Four couples in blue leotards performed complicated pointework and partnering to a really bizarre score by György Ligeti. It actually seemed as though the music was composed after the ballet had been choreographed. Lia Cirio again was extraordinary—the girl is pure muscle! At one point, she went from a bridge over Sabi Varga into a back walkover and landed on pointe (!). The whole piece ended with all four women doing a saut de basque and landing in their partner’s arms horizontally, in perfect unison.
The program ended on a high note with Symphony in Three Movements, one of Balanchine’s fun, sassy ballets. The corps, wearing white leotards and ponytails, pranced around in dizzying formations. Then James Whiteside and Kathleen Breen Combes did a pas de deux, and I could have died happy. I’m a huge fan of both of them. (Okay, part of that might be because of James Whiteside’s pop star alter ego…)
Overall, it was definitely worth the trip home! While I love being able to see NYCB every weekend now that I live in New York, Boston Ballet was the first company that caught my heart, and “Simply Sublime” was one of their best programs yet.
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.