Deganit Shemy at the River to River Festival
There's a strange, fascinating little nook in the financial district, not far away from our offices. It's a haphazard, multi-level outdoor space tucked next to the John Street United Methodist Church--essentially an alley, but euphemestically a "courtyard." This afternoon, thanks to Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Sitelines series, a part of the River To River Festival, it also became a stage.
Israeli choreographer Deganit Shemy's 2 kilos of sea takes full advantage of the courtyard's quirks: Dancers drape themselves over walls, bang on metal handrails with sticks, climb lampposts. As in most site-specific works, the dance was in part about the space--exploring it, exploiting it.
Yet what I love most about Shemy's dances is not their use of space; it's their use of people. (And I don't mean bodies, necessarily.) At the opening of sea, the six smiling, giggling dancers cavort through variations on folk steps, accompanied by what sounds like a carnival calliope. Then the music darkens, and the frolicking devolves into something stormier, stickier, more mysterious. These dancers aren't innocents--at least not anymore--and their moods change suddenly and violently. A hand held to an ear to conceal a whispered secret suddenly becomes a stranglehold; tickling becomes poking, becomes stabbing. Shemy's people are taking a beautiful walk along that all-too-clichéd--yet all-too-real--line between pain and pleasure, love and hate, happiness and unhappiness. They've glimpsed paradise--and then lost it.
2 kilos of sea will be performed at the John Street United Methodist Church, 44 John Street, through July 15th. Visit rivertorivernyc.com for more info.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.
There are zillions of things to think about when choosing a summer program, but here's one you might not have considered: using an intensive as an opportunity to focus on a new style. Maybe you're a tap dancer who's ready to see where else your rhythm and quick feet can serve you, or a contemporary dancer curious about the more traditional roots of your genre. A summer program can be the perfect place to broaden your horizons, giving you the opportunity to make technical and artistic changes that stick throughout the year.
Happy birthday, George Balanchine! The great choreographer and founder of New York City Ballet would have been 114 years old today. Balanchine revolutionized ballet, especially American ballet—and he also had quite a way with words. To celebrate Mr. B's birthday, we rounded up some of our favorite iconic Balanchine quotes.