NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art has long had an impressive collection of still-life art about dance (much of it by a little-known fellow named Edgar Degas). But The Met as a hot dance performance venue? That's a pretty new thing—and a very, very awesome thing.
Last fall, as we were prepping to shoot our cover story on Andrea Miller's gorgeous Gallim Dance, the company gave a beautiful, innovative performance in The Met's Temple of Dendur. And now the museum has named Miller one of its 2017-18 Artists in Residence. That's especially major because Miller is the first-ever choreographer to hold the AIR title.
So, what does being a Met AIR mean? Next season, Miller will create several works that take advantage of The Met's iconic spaces—the first of which, Stone Skipping, will be performed back at the Temple of Dendur in October. You can find more info about the performance here.
Gallim's dancers won't be the only ones performing at The Met next season. Further solidifying its commitment to live dance, the museum has announced that choreographers Faustin Linyekula and Eiko Otake will also create pieces for its various spaces, and that Monica Bill Barnes' fabulous Museum Workout will return for another run (literally).
How cool is that?
We've talked before about how obsessed we are with "SYTYCD" Season 2 champ Benji Schwimmer's beautiful choreography for ice skaters. But how does a guy from the dance world come up with movement that reads on ice?
By dancing it out in a skating rink:
A post shared by Benji Schwimmer (@benjischwimmer) on Apr 23, 2017 at 7:59pm PDT
Schwimmer posted the clips of his chilly improv session yesterday. (He's developing a new routine for gorgeous figure skating champion Yuka Sato.) It's a fascinating peek at his creative process. And surprised as the Zamboni guy must have been, the idea makes a lot of sense. What better way to figure out ice-friendly choreography than to step onto the ice yourself?
(Is it just us, or do you guys have an urge to find a skating rink and dance around on it in sneakers now, too?)
What does dance mean to you? That's the question Boston Ballet principal John Lam asks his fellow company members in a moving new short film. The dancers' responses, which we hear as we see them performing fluid choreography by Lam, are lovely: "Joy." "Change." "Truth." "Love." "Freedom."
It'd be a meaningful watch even if it were released in a vacuum. But its message hits with special force because Lam created the video to show support for the embattled National Endowment for the Arts, which faces elimination under President Trump's proposed budget.
Watch and share. Because, as Lam says, life is dance. #SavetheNEA #ArtMatters
Would you like to absolutely drown in beauty today? Yes? Of course you would. And we've got just the video for you: "Now More Than Ever," created by Ezra Hurwitz for the Ballet Across America festival, which is currently underway in D.C. The four-minute fantasia features American Ballet Theatre stars Isabella Boylston, Stella Abrera, James Whiteside, Marcelo Gomes and Calvin Royall III performing ravishing bits of choreography in, on and around the historic Kennedy Center.
There are gauzy, gorgeous ballgowns. There are beautifully unexpected uses of the KenCen's opulent spaces. There are worshipful shots of these extraordinary dancers doing extraordinary things.
It's irresistible. Just luxuriate in it. And D.C.-area friends, be sure not to miss the Ballet Across America programs, which are curated by two complete unknowns named Misty Copeland and Justin Peck.
Yo current "Dancing with the Stars" competitors, we're really happy for you, and we're gonna let you finish, but last night Alfonso Ribeiro and J.T. Church had one of the best "DWTS" opening numbers of ALL TIME.
Seriously: If those two had a spinoff show in which they did nothing but dance their way through magical Disney fairylands, we would totally watch that. (And shoutout to J.T.'s equally adorable partner in crime, Gracyn French.) Thank you, Mandy Moore, for conjuring up this glitter-dusted Disney Night goodness:
On to the actual competition! In a surprise to pretty much nobody, rising favorite Normani Kordei continued her leaderboard domination, thanks to her ferociously fierce paso doblé with Val Chmerkovskiy to Mulan's "I'll Make a Man Out of You." For good measure, the duo was accompanied by Donny Osmond in his very sparkliest blazer, because why not.
Also unsurprising: The consistently excellent Simone Biles earned the second-highest score of the night for her contemporary number to "How Far I'll Go" from Moana. Strong and energetic as her performance was, though, we have to admit that we spent about 30 percent of it dying over singer Auli'i Cravalho, who's straight-up incredible.
While many of the other competitors gave fair-to-decent performances (we were especially into Heather Morris and Alan Bersten's sweet Frozen number), we'd like to use this space to discuss one of the stranger things we've ever seen on television: Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd as Not Sexy Pinocchio and Very Sexy Jiminy Cricket, respectively. Somehow it almost...worked? Never underestimate the power of a good pair of lederhosen, friends.
After the parade of Disney delights, Real Housewife Erika Jayne and partner Gleb Savchenko were sent packing—about right, but also a bit of a bummer after their strong Finding Dory-themed waltz. (Any Finding Dory performance that does NOT involve giant fish costumes is a win.) We cheered up quickly, though, when we heard that next week's theme will be Boy Band vs. Girl Group. 'Til then!
We'll always love watching Janelle Ginestra's harder-hitting choreo. But there's something special about her newest video, which is less about slaying and more about FEELING. (Well, feeling while slaying. Ginestra's never not slaying.)
Set to "The Way I Do" by Bishop Briggs, the video begins with Ginestra alone, in a stripped-down, soul-baring performance. Then it goes on to feature one insane group of immaBEAST dancers after another. Have you perhaps heard of Jade Chynoweth? Sean Lew? Kaycee Rice? Taylor and Reese Hatala? Tahani Anderson? Alyson Stoner? Yeah. They're all here. And they all have really intense emotional journeys over the course of the routine. It'd almost be hard to watch, if it weren't so ridiculously good.
Here's a frustrating truth: While those of us who're involved in the world of dance competitions understand how awesome they are, the larger world's perception of them is pretty darn negative, thanks to reality TV's funhouse-mirror portrayals of the scene. And that's why Dance Network's new documentary, "Dance Family," is such a breath of fresh air.
"Dance Family" is a deep dive into the happier realities of dance comps—specifically, Star Dance Alliance's Starpower competitions. It features interviews with SDA co-founder/CEO Gary Pate, his fellow co-founder Grace Wakefield and a host of dancers and teachers who've found success and fulfillment thanks to their Starpower experiences. (The impressive list includes Debbie Allen and Ade Obayomi.) Because that's what dance competitions are, to the vast majority of artists who participate in them: places to learn, excel, get inspired and find a "dance family" of your own.
Usually you'd need a Dance Network subscription to watch the documentary, but the site is currently offering a two-week free trial to new subscribers. (You'll see the option pop up when you create an account.) Check out the trailer below:
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