Documenting the Birth of a New Ballet
Ballet premieres are uniquely thrilling: The curtain rises, and suddenly you're watching a combination of music and movement and design that no one has ever seen before. It's pretty cool to see all the puzzle pieces come together in a single moment.
But fabulous as that is, ballet dancers know that the really interesting stuff goes on backstage, in the months before the glitz and flash of opening night. How do the choreographer and the dancers work together to shape the ballet? What inspires the costume designers? How does the orchestra figure out how to tailor its playing to the needs of the dancers? Knowing those nitty-gritty details makes watching the finished product an even richer experience.
Former New York City Ballet soloist Ellen Bar—the director of the awesome NYC-as-dance-playground film version of Jerome Robbins' NY Export: Opus Jazz, and currently NYCB's director of media projects (read: the brains behind their great video campaigns)—gets all that. She's working with NYCB to produce a documentary, Ballet 422, following the life of a new work, from its earliest rehearsals to the stage. Her subject is pretty nifty, too: the ballet Paz de la Jolla, choreographed by up-and-comer Justin Peck (who's also a NYCB soloist).
Bar and NYCB are running a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money needed to complete the documentary. Click here to find out more and donate to the cause.
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.
Happy #WorldEmojiDay, dance friends! 🎉 👯 🎉 👯
Because it's just the cutest, we thought we'd share the emoji challenge the Royal Opera House is currently hosting on Twitter. They've retold a series of ballets (and operas, for that crowd) in emoji form. If you correctly guess the name of a ballet, you'll be entered for a chance to win two tickets to a ROH production.