José Carreño, Artistic Director
Carreño flying high in "Diana and Acteon." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.
If you're a bunhead like me, odds are you've been obsessed with former American Ballet Theatre principal José Manuel Carreño since...oh, I don't know—maybe 10 pm on February 3, 2003, when the documentary Born to Wild: The Leading Men of American Ballet Theatre aired on PBS?
The film shows off not only Carreño's ballet skills (along with those of Ethan Stiefel, Vladimir Malakhov and Angel Corella!), but also Carreño doing a little dancing in the streets of Havana, his hometown. He's pretty darn charming onstage, but nothing compares to that scene of him good-naturedly breaking it down Cuban style with a bunch of adoring fans. Later, he works the floor in a local salsa club, having a great time partnering anybody and everybody. Obviously the guy's a people person, as well as an amazing dancer.
Carreño gave his final performance with ABT in 2011. But yesterday it was announced that he'd be taking on a new role: artistic director of Ballet San Jose.
Things have been rocky at BSJ recently. In January 2012, longtime artistic director Dennis Nahat was ousted, and for a while the company's future seemed uncertain. Could a high-wattage, personable star as director be just what the doctor ordered for the troubled company? Maybe so. And Carreño has piloted the Carreño Dance Festival for several years, so he does have some directorial experience.
I can't find that clip of him dancing in the streets online, but this post wouldn't be complete without a bit of Carreño eye candy. So here's the next best thing: Carreño and his cousin, Ballet Nacional de Cuba star Alihaidee Carreño, performing the showstopping Diana and Acteon pas de deux in Havana (for perhaps the most appreciative audience in the world). Enjoy!
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
Almost a month out, Puerto Rico continues to suffer the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Maria. Many of the island's residents still lack power, clean water, and safe housing. Ballet classes? For Puerto Rican dance students, they must feel like an impossible luxury.
But a dance studio in Florida is working to allow a group of young Puerto Ricans to continue their training. And it needs your help.
Yes, I am a dancer, and yes, I am fat.
There's nothing quite as soul-crushing as the reactions I've received when I've told people I dance. They can range from disbelief to confusion to shock. To many people, it's somehow incomprehensible that a plus-size person like myself could grace a stage. While the body-positive movement has been trucking along at full force over the past few years, it hasn't made much progress in the dance community yet. In fact, the words "body positivity" and "dance" are almost never used together in the same sentence.
Despite that fact, dance is what helped me learn to love my larger frame. In honor of National Body Confidence Day, I wanted to talk about my first time in a studio, and about the tremendous progress I've made since.
If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.
All photos by Joe Toreno.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?
What do you get when you combine a Beyoncé anthem, fierce girls from all over the world, and choreography by legends like Ellenore Scott and Lamar Lee? You get the epic music video below. The viral video features little girls who live everywhere from Tanzania to Washington D.C. dancing and lip-syncing to Queen Bey's song "Freedom," and the result is electrifying. These littles can dance—and they bring a determination and enthusiasm to their movement that's truly inspiring.