School Buzz: Behind the scenes at PNB, scholarship alerts and a new MFA program.
Want to know what’s really going on with the dancers of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet? Principal Noelani Pantastico (remember her from the DS December 2005 cover?) is giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the company with the launch of a new website, PNB Unleashed. Pantastico got the idea for the site following the success of her own website, noelanipantastico.com. She enlisted her husband, Brady Hartley, and PNB corps members Lindsi Dec and Benjamin Griffiths to help her create a proposal, which the four then presented to PNB artistic director Peter Boal and the rest of the company. The finished product features exclusive photos and interviews with PNB dancers, an “Ask a Dancer” page filled with advice and tricks of the trade, company news and updates, “A Day in the Life of…” various PNB dancers, and more. Every ballet company should have this much info out there for its fans! Check it out at www.pnbunleashed.com.
Okay, maybe you won’t be earning your master’s degree any time soon, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it, right? Here’s a new program to keep on your radar: The University of California, San Diego, is launching a Master of Fine Arts in Dance Theatre. The goal is to cultivate choreographers interested in dance/theater and collaboration with artists in other disciplines, including visual arts and technology. Classes will begin fall 2008. For more: theatre.ucsd.edu/academics/graduateprograms/dancetheatre
Want a chance to study with top choreographers like Mia Michaels, Cris Judd and Tina Landon? How about the opportunity to win a scholarship to put toward college tuition or dance training at a prestigious program like the Joffrey Ballet School, Broadway Dance Center or Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago? The National Learning and Achievement Organization is launching a new scholarship program, ASPIRE, designed to help teen dancers get the training they need to succeed. So what’s the scoop? You attend one of ASPIRE’s workshops, during which you learn choreography and audition for scholarships. On the faculty and scholarship panel: professional choreographers and dancers, as well as professors from college dance departments. In its inaugural year, ASPIRE will be holding scholarship workshops in Cedar Rapids, IA (February 29–March 1, register by January 30); Des Moines, IA (March 28-30, register by February 27); and Iowa City, IA (June 26-29, register by May 27). For more: aspiredancecompetition.com
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
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. 💃🏽 💃🏽