SAB's Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara
It’s flattering to be recognized as a standout among your peers. Just ask 17-year-old Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, a student at the School of American Ballet and recipient of the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award. “I was shocked when Kay Mazzo [SAB’s co-chairman of faculty] and Peter Martins [New York City Ballet’s Ballet Master in Chief] told me I’d been selected to receive the award,” Meaghan says. “I was excited and thrilled to be honored.”
Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara in class at SAB, photo by Rosalie O'Connor
Designed to encourage and support emerging artists, the award is given to two young artists affiliated with Lincoln Center each year. Dancer Daniel Ulbricht and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon are both past recipients.
Mazzo says Meaghan received the award because she’s an exemplary student and dancer. “She’s musical, very coordinated and has a beautiful line,” Mazzo says. “When she’s onstage, she’s got a smile that wins everyone over. She’s a delightful performer.”
As part of the award, Meaghan received $7,500 to be used for career and education-related expenses. Though Meaghan dreams of eventually joining New York City Ballet, she plans to return to SAB and to begin taking classes at Fordham University in the fall.
Joffrey Students Study in Russia
This August, approximately 20 lucky students from the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC will spend two weeks studying at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow, Russia. The dancers will live on campus and spend five days a week taking classes.
McCallah Moriarty (left) will study at the Bolshoi Academy this summer, photo by James Culp
Sixteen-year-old McCallah Moriarty is one of the dancers headed to Russia. “Dancing at the Bolshoi Academy is an experience most dancers dream of because the school is world renowned,” she says. “I’m also excited to learn more about the Russian culture.”
Davis Robertson, director of the Joffrey program and summer program, selected McCallah and her fellow travelers based on their proficiency in ballet technique and their “adventurous spirits.” He says the dancers will be treated to a curriculum created especially for them, and that it will feature classes in pointe, character dance and historical dance. The students will also have to get used to dancing on the Bolshoi’s raked studio floors. “Initially, dancing on a rake is quite an adjustment,” Robertson says. “But, after a day or two you adjust to it. By the time the dancers begin their second week of classes, it will be second nature.”
This is the first time that Joffrey students will have this type of international training experience, but the school hopes that the program will be a springboard for an ongoing relationship with the Bolshoi Academy.
East Meets West
James Madison University and China’s Chengdu University have created a unique partnership. This past April, professors from Chengdu spent a week at JMU’s Harrisonburg, VA, campus teaching classical and folk dances from various regions of China. In July, two JMU professors will return the favor by traveling to China, where they will spend a week teaching modern technique, composition and improvisation to Chengdu’s dance students.
“The Chinese dance classes were physically challenging, but not in the same way that my technique classes at JMU were,” recent JMU graduate Kate Folsom says. “We learned to make unusual shapes with our hands and fingers. They were beautiful, but it hurt to hold them for a long time.”
Kate Trammell, the JMU dance professor who spearheaded this project, says she hopes to build on the relationship with Chengdu over time and that she aspires to bring JMU students to China for more in-depth study in the next few years.
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.