Annmaria Mazzini in Paul Taylor's "Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal)." Photo by Tom Caravaglia
Just when you think you’ve got Paul Taylor Dance Company member Annmaria Mazzini pegged, she goes and morphs on you. One night she’s totally convincing as a fiery tango siren in Piazzolla Caldera; the next she’s equally magnetic as a groovy hippie chick in Changes. No matter what role she’s inhabiting, she always takes full command of the stage, throwing every inch of her petite frame into Taylor’s notoriously demanding choreography. Mazzini started taking dance lessons at age 12 in her hometown of Allentown, PA, and eventually earned a BFA from Southern Methodist University, where she discovered Taylor’s work. (One of her classmates at SMU was fellow PTDC star Michael Trusnovec, DS April 2009.) In 1995 Mazzini joined Taylor 2, and was promoted to the main company in 1999. Today she not only wows audiences with her chameleon-like stage presence, but also teaches modern dance, choreographs and designs her own jewelry line, AMulets. —Margaret Fuhrer
Congratulations on discovering what makes you happy! You’ve chosen a challenging path—difficulties and setbacks are inevitable in the dance world—but the love in your heart will see you through.
Dancing is your favorite activity and you work very hard at it, but you also love to read. Keep it up. Your imagination will become your most valuable tool in your work as a performer and teacher, so continue to feed it with stories and ideas that awaken your curiosity and invigorate your spirit.
But don’t get your shy nose stuck in those books! Dance is a social art, and you will be interacting with a wonderful range of people. Get to know them, learn their stories and let them know you. They are all going to help you along the way, so make a practice of saying “thank you” often and sincerely. Learn to say it in the language of every country you visit.
Yep, you’ll never be perfect. But it’s more fun to be interesting! Your perceived flaws are as much a part of who you are as your strengths. Keep trying to be better, but be yourself, too. Allow your inner world to express itself freely in the outer world. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself: You will, plenty of times, but it won’t be so bad. It may even be delightful.
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.