What We Learned from "city.ballet." Season 2, Episode 6
Let's establish this right off the bat: Alexei Ratmansky is a genius. The prolific choreographer—it seems like he has a new work premiering every five minutes—has made four works for New York City Ballet, and episode 6 of "city.ballet." follows the creation of the fourth, Pictures at an Exhibition, which premiered this fall. Here are five things we learned from the ep.
1. The dancers are totally, utterly devoted to Ratmansky. They will do anything for this guy. "I will roll around on the floor and then get up and do a manège," principal Sara Mearns says. "I'll do it twice. And he's actually making me do that!"
2. Ratmansky himself is a pretty fantastic mover. He used to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet, so there's obviously a lot of training in his body. But that's not what's impressive about him—there's something ineffable about the quality of his movement. Even the amazing NYCB principals working behind him can't pick up some of its subtleties.
3. Once again, we see just how collaborative the choreographic process is. Like NYCB artistic director Peter Martins, Ratmansky keeps an open dialogue with his dancers as a piece takes shape, listening to and incorporating their ideas. "You feel like you're part of the process—like someone's not just directing you to do these steps," says soloist Georgina Pazcoguin.
4. The glimpses we get of Pictures at an Exhibition are enchanting. Full disclosure: I saw the premiere of this piece live, and am completely obsessed with it. But while it's rare for the energy of a live performance to translate on video, Ratmansky's choreography is so potent it even reads through a screen. It's just that full of character—and characters.
5. AMAR RAMASAR'S LAUGH. It's the last thing we hear in the episode, and holy mother it's amazing.
Click the image below to watch the full episode!
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
The Olympics are always full of inspiring Cinderella stories, where athletes no one had heard of mere months ago end up blowing all expectations out of the water, and maybe even nabbing a medal in the bargain. But we've recently caught wind of a different kind of Cinderella story—and it's one we really, really hope shows up in the Closing Ceremonies of the PyeongChang Olympics, airing tonight on NBC starting at 8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific time.
Being a dancer comes with the task of having to entertain the same questions over and over again from those outside the dance world. Of course, we love having our friends and family take an interest in our passion—but if someone asks ONE MORE TIME whether or not we've met Travis Wall, we might just go crazy.
Here are 10 questions that dancers hate getting asked.
Contemporary phenom Christina Ricucci has super-flexible hips, which means she can stretch her legs to unbelievable heights. But when she noticed herself making contorted positions in class, Ricucci realized she was approaching her extensions all wrong. "I went back to the basics in class, squaring my hips and using my turnout," Ricucci says. "I learned to create proper positions, rather than whacked-out versions of them."
Some dancers are so wonky they have a hard time supporting their high legs, while others struggle with limited flexibility. But no matter your facility, you can find a balance of stretch and strength to achieve your fullest range of extension. It's not about how high (or not) your legs can go: It's the quality of the movement, and how you get those legs up, that counts.
Last month, we asked why there wasn't a Best Choreography category at the Oscars—and discovered that many of you agreed with us: Choreographers should definitely be acknowledged for their work on the super-dancy movies we can't get enough of.
Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.
We've decided to create a Dance Spirit award for the best cinematic choreography of 2017. With your input, we've narrowed the field to four choreographers whose moves lit up some of the best movies of the year. Check out our nominations for best choreography below—and vote for the choreographer you think deserves the honor. We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 2.
Once upon a time (until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi concluded, to be exact), figure skaters had to compete to music without words. Before this rule change, a skater faced an automatic point deduction if the music even hinted at vocals. Understandably, there were *a lot* of Olympic programs skated to classical music, and you'd tend to hear the same music selections over and over and over.
There are plenty of current Olympic figure skaters who'd make beautiful dancers (first among them Adam Rippon, whose gorgeously choreographed long program won the internet, if not the gold). But today, as we wait for the women's figure skating competition to crown its new champions, we wanted to throw it back to one of the most beautifully balletic skaters of all time: Sasha Cohen.
The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.