Bradley Shelver's Future as a Solo Artist
My first solo tour in Italy (in November) was very exhausting, yet incredibly rewarding. I spent a total of three weeks there. Before the tour, I went to Amsterdam, where I had the opportunity to watch Jirí Kylián reconstruct one of his only evening-length works, called One of a Kind. In 2002, he had planned to teach me Blackbird, one of his solos, though at the time, neither of us had room in our schedules to get into the studio together. Instead, I learned it by watching a video. I was asked to perform this solo at a gala held in Teatro Comunale Francesco Cilea in Reggio Calabria in the south of Italy, though I couldn’t, because this time, I didn’t have time to rehearse it.
Instead, I chose to dance an 11-minute solo by Elisa Monte and David Brown, titled Run to the Rock, set to music by Nina Simone. The gala featured classical soloists like Giuseppe Picone of Italy, Joel Carreño and Viengsay Valdés of Cuba, Anna Tsygankova of the Bolshoi Ballet, Alicia Amatriain and Jason Reilly of the Stuttgart Ballet and Ivan Putrov of the Royal Ballet in London. I was the only representative of contemporary dance. The program consisted of works by Itzik Galili, William Forsythe, Marius Petipa and Agrippina Vaganova, so it was certainly a mixed bill. Our first press conference was just as eclectic, with reporters from across Europe. The performance was a tremendous success, and I appreciated the praise I received for being the only contemporary dancer.
Though many of the other performers had danced together before, this gala was my first time onstage with any of them. After years of being in the biz, it still amazes me that dancers, no matter where they are from or what language they speak, can connect and form a bond that feels like family even if it only lasts for the performance.
The next day, I traveled to Rome for my day off before flying to Naples to teach master classes at the Labart Conservatory and the Patty Schisa School. My classes were filled, sometimes with almost 70 dancers. Even though I had taught at the Labart Conservatory before, so students knew what to expect, I was still surprised at how many of them had heard of me. I must admit it was flattering when they surrounded me and asked for pictures and autographs. I have never before experienced such an overwhelming response. I’ve decided to start planning another tour for the summer of 2006.
The life of a dancer is truly an adventure. The solo artist’s world is filled with excitement and glamour, yet also requires dedication, sacrifice and overcoming stress and other obstacles, such as endless touring, muscle pains, physiological effects of injuries, trying to run your life from the road and balancing relationships with your friends and family whom you don’t get to see very often. I think the strength we have is our love for the adventure, the joy of bringing the language of dance to so many people, regardless of color, creed or political convictions. I would not trade my life in dance for anything. I feel that my happiness comes from the joy and fulfillment of my audiences—that is why I breathe; that is why I dance.
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.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.