Move over, Sergei Polunin*: There's a new ballet heartthrob in town.
Well, not "new," exactly: The fabulously talented Isaac Hernández has been a lead principal with the English National Ballet since 2015, and previously danced with Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. (He's also part of a distinguished dance family: You met his brother, SFB corps member Esteban, in our March issue roundup of up-and-coming danseurs.)
But a dreamy new video by filmmaker Ezra Hurwitz—"Despertares" [Wake Up], featuring Hernández dancing in studios and on rooftops all over NYC—makes a strong case for this beautiful dancer becoming your next ballet crush:
We've said it before and we'll say it again: dance and film are made for each other. In the past couple of years, ballet companies have used the medium to promote new work, creating "trailers" that give beautiful peeks at upcoming premieres. These short films reach many people who are unable to see the ballets performed live—and they definitely debunk the misconception that ballet is boring. Here are five of our all-time favorites.
Would you like to absolutely drown in beauty today? Yes? Of course you would. And we've got just the video for you: "Now More Than Ever," created by Ezra Hurwitz for the Ballet Across America festival, which is currently underway in D.C. The four-minute fantasia features American Ballet Theatre stars Isabella Boylston, Stella Abrera, James Whiteside, Marcelo Gomes and Calvin Royall III performing ravishing bits of choreography in, on and around the historic Kennedy Center.
We love how creative ballet companies have been getting with their promotional videos recently. The latest company to eschew the traditional (and kind of stale) beautiful-shots-of-beautiful-dancers-dancing route? San Francisco Ballet. Not that its new short film—a teaser for SFB dancer and choreographer Myles Thatcher's upcoming premiere, Ghost in the Machine—doesn't include tons of gorgeous dancing. But rather than asking us to simply admire gifted bodies, director Ezra Hurwitz asks us to consider the creation of the work from Thatcher's perspective.
The New York City Ballet soloist's first work for San Francisco Ballet, In the Countenance of Kings, is set to debut on April 7. #TeamBallet is excited about this one, and for good reason: It features a score by Sufjan Stevens, with whom Peck seems to have an especially powerful chemistry. (See exhibits A and B.)
Curious as we are about what Peck will do with Stevens' cinematic melodies this time—and about how he'll use the talented SFB dancers, a brand-new pool of muses? Or just looking for an especially lovely way to kick off the weekend? Then you'll want to watch the short film SFB released yesterday. Shot by dance filmmaker Ezra Hurwitz and set in a cavernous abandoned train station, it features sneaker-clad company dancers looking especially free as they blaze through Peck's choreography. (Or maybe, as a clever framing device implies, the whole thing is a dream, swirling in the head of principal Dores André.) It's dynamic and joyful and gives us a solid sneak peek at the goodies Peck and Stevens have in store for SFB audiences.
Happy Friday, bunheads!
I know we're only a few days into the new year, with its promise of renewal and a fresh start and yahda yahda yadha. But after the craziness/excitement of Nutcracker and the holidays, odds are decent that you're actually feeling a little...unmotivated in the studio right now. It's just weird to go from EVERYTHING IS INSANE I'M ONSTAGE ALL THE TIIIIIIME to the same-old, same-old routine of classes and rehearsals.
Well, the dancers of Miami City Ballet are here to shake you right out of your post-holiday slump. In "Why We Dance," a beautiful new video by Ezra Hurwitz, artists from every rank of the company talk about what drives them to pursue this nutty, wonderful art. As one of them so perfectly puts it, the question "is not necessarily, 'Why do I dance?' It's more, 'Why can't I stop dancing?' "
There are dozens of gems like that in the three-and-a-half–minute short, set against footage of Miami City Ballet artists in class, backstage and in performance. (You'll catch several glimpses of "Strictly Ballet" season 2 star Mayumi Enokibara, who's now a full company member.) It's intimate and warm and—because we know exactly what the dancers are talking about—very real. If you're a big ol' softy like me, it might even make you tear up a little bit.
Did you find romance at your ballet intensive this summer? Or do you just love all things romantical and summer-y? If you answered "yes" to either/both of those questions, you'll love this new video by former Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz, starring Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Evelyn Kocak and New York City Ballet principal Gonzalo Garcia.
First of all, the dancing is gorgeous—no surprise, given the pedigrees listed in the previous sentence. But it's also set on the serene Connecticut shoreline, and features a hauntingly beautiful score by former NYCB dancer Aaron Severini. The combination is dreamy, peaceful and all-around lovely. (Also, ugh, we miss the beach.)
Gorgeous ballerinas: Believe it or not, they're people, too. New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns may look superhuman onstage, but In a Day's Work, a new film by former Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz, shows the work that goes into the creation of that illusion.
Hurwitz follows Mearns through an average day. We see her drinking her morning coffee at her apartment, taking class at Steps on Broadway, doing a promotional photo shoot (with our friend Erin Baiano), rehearsing in the studio, applying her stage makeup. It looks like a glamorous life—but it's clearly a sweaty, exhausting and sometimes painful one, too. Layered over the footage is Mearns' insightful commentary about what it's like to live for dance.
Take a look!