Cool kids everywhere are obsessed with hugely talented singer/songwriter Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange. Cool kids everywhere are also obsessed with world-class ballerina and all-around superhero Maria Kochetkova. What happens when you put these two artists in a ballet studio together? Magic of the highest, coolest order.
Magic also known as the music video for Blood Orange's "I Know," which features Hynes and Kochetkova in an elegantly playful dance-off. We see Hynes partnering Kochetkova; we see Kochetkova following Hynes' movement cues, and Hynes following Kochetkova's; we see the two of them laughing at his attempts to replicate her virtuosity. He's so obviously in awe of her talent, and she's so clearly respectful of his.
The whole thing is refreshingly spare—just the two of them, the empty studio, and the workings of their formidable imaginations. And the song is fantastic, which definitely doesn't hurt.
Happy Friday, y'all:
Hi! How are you? Busy, I bet! Har har. (Ho ho?)
Look, I know I'm late—it's Christmas Eve, and I'm sure you're dealing with all kinds of #reindeerprobz—but I thought I'd reach out to you anyway. Because I'm not just some girl who'll be happy with a Kylie Lip Kit and Adele tour tickets. (Actually, if you can get me either of those things, you are an actual MAGICIAN and I will worship you forever. But I digress.)
No, Santa: I'm a dancer. And that means I have special gift needs. Needs that I want to make sure don't go undocumented.
And so here, in no particular order, are the things I really, actually, genuinely want for Christmas. Take notes.
2) Gisele Bethea's feet. Gimme.
3) The Fraternal Twins' swagger in general, and facial expressions in particular.
4) Yanis Marshall's everything. Just...everything.
5) Speaking of everything: all the things from Maria Kochetkova's t-shirt line.
6) Tickets to Hamilton sometime before next summer. Again, you'll need to work some magic here, but I believe, Santa. I BELIEVE.
7) My very own pointe shoe Christmas tree. (And, on a related note, several air fresheners.)
WANT. (screenshot via YouTube)
9) For the following people to make cameos in Center Stage: Dance Camp:
- Zoe Saldana
- Ilya Kulik
- Susan May Pratt
- Julie Kent
- The girl who said "Did you see how on I was?"
- That old salsa club lady
- Warren Carlyle—specifically, Warren Carlyle doing this
- Channing Tatum (a little series crossover never hurt nobody)
- AMANDA SCHULL, OBVIOUSLY. WHERE IS AMANDA SCHULL???
10) To live inside the Bieber "Sorry" video. Forever.
Got it? K thanks Santa! Safe sleighing! Tell Dancer and Prancer I say hi!
Maria Kochetkova is not only an incredible ballerina, but also a consistent go-to for style inspiration (seriously, check out her Instagram—I want everything she wears). It was only a matter of time before the San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre principal made her mark in the fashion world as a designer. Kochetkova just released her t-shirt collection, "Koche-Kova," online (just in time for the holidays! Hiiii friends and family, I know you're reading this).
Each quote is hand-picked and hand-written by Kochetkova and then printed onto the tees. She says of her picks, "Sappho is one of the very few female poets writing in the 6th century BC and Emily Dickinson’s strength and vision is inspiring. Pushkin is one of the greatest Russian writers so I had to include him...Kharms is another writer I’ve read since I was a child. His seemingly simple writing that is nonetheless filled with sarcasm appeals to me." We love the concept, the quotes and the charm of these shirts (and also because when have we ever not loved a ballet-fashion collaboration?). Check out some of our favorites below.
A quote from Alexander Sergeyvich Pushkin's "Eugene Onegin" (photo via koche-kova.com)
Maria + Emily Dickinson=the undeniable coolest. (Photo via koche-kova.com)
So much yes. (Photo via koche-kova.com)
Unless you've been living in some strange internet-less hole, you probably already know that yesterday was a HUGE day for the ballet world. American Ballet Theatre announced seven (count 'em!) promotions—and one of them was the extraordinary Misty Copeland, who's now the company's first African-American female principal.
From Copeland's epic Under Armour campaign—she willed what she wanted.
The crowd—and by crowd I mean mainstream press, as well as dance fans everywhere—went WILD.
Copeland got social media shoutouts from (almost literally) everyone, including Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Taye Diggs and Laverne Cox.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 30, 2015
Brava! Yay! And Hallelujah to you @mistyonpointe . Beaming with pride at your magnificent achievement as Principal Dancer ABT?????? — Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) July 1, 2015
All hail the Queen. My "sister" Misty Copeland was just promoted to Principal dancer with ABT!! An amazing day for dancers and chocolates...
— Taye Diggs (@TayeDiggs) June 30, 2015
Tears of joy. Congrats @mistyonpointe on your promotion to principal dancer at #ABT #inspiration #historymakers http://t.co/L1QM7l2QvT — Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) June 30, 2015
She was a trending topic on Twitter and a front-page story in the New York Times.
All of this is so, so well-deserved. Copeland has been an incredible force both onstage and offstage during her decade and a half with ABT. She is a genuine celebrity, yes, but also a true and wonderful artist. She's worked unbelievably hard—and now she's made history.
But let's not forget about the other dancers currently celebrating over at ABT—especially the gorgeous and long-overlooked Stella Abrera, who was also made a principal yesterday after spending 14 years as a soloist.
Abrera as Gamzatti in La Bayadère (© NYC Dance Project)
Not only audience members but also company dancers have been hoping for this promotion for ages. Because the members of ABT love, love, love Stella. Just look at this video Abrera's good friend Julie Kent captured of the ABT dancers reacting to Abrera's promotion:
A video posted by Julie Kent (@juliekentofficial) on
There are a lot of newly christened soloists, too: Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Luciana Paris, Arron Scott and Cassandra Trenary all earned the title yesterday. We're especially excited about Brandt and Trenary, rising stars we've been following since they joined the company in 2011. (And how cute is this: Brandt and Scott are dating. A bf–gf promotion! D'awww.)
And as if that weren't enough, ABT also announced that the fantastic Maria Kochetkova of San Francisco Ballet and the dashing Alban Lendorf of the Royal Danish Ballet will join as principal dancers, while Boston Ballet firebrand Jeffrey Cirio will come onboard as a soloist. These are all artists we can't get enough of—we're really looking forward to seeing more of them at ABT. (SFB and RDB fans, fear not: Kochetkova and Lendorf will continue to dance with their respective home companies.)
Congrats all around! What a wonderful week it's been.
Happy Friday, ladies and gents! Does it feel like this has been an especially long week? It does, right? I have this theory that the colder it is, the slower time passes.
Anyway, here's a little something to reward you for making it through: a #FouetteFriday video!
Our friends over at TenduTV recently posted this INSANE clip of San Francisco Ballet principal Maria Kochetkova flying through the 32 fouettés at the end of the Don Quixote Act III pas de deux. (It's from the Youth America Grand Prix film Ballet's Greatest Hits, which is fantastic—go get it.)
Here's the thing about Masha: She's not just tossing these guys off. Her form is pristine. Look at that placement! It's perfect, turn after turn. Naturally, she sprinkles the series with doubles—complete with fan action—and caps the whole thing off by repeatedly changing her spot, like the total boss she is. Basically, our fouetté dreams are her fouetté reality:
Have a happy, dance-y weekend!
Earlier this week, Guinness World Records announced that Joffrey Ballet star Fabrice Calmels is the tallest ballet dancer in the world. Calmels measures a whopping six feet, six inches. I'm just 5' 2.5" myself (and yes, the .5" is important), which makes his height seem even more astounding. I mean, can you imagine partnering with him? He'd toss me in the air like a basketball, and it'd be so. much. fun.
For his official Guinness World Records page, Calmels chose a photo juxtaposing his stature with that of tiny San Francisco Ballet principal Maria Kochetkova. The image was originally posted on Instagram this summer. (They were both performing at a gala in California.) In it, Masha—five feet of ballet sunshine—looks adorably petite next to the giant Calmels.
(photo via Guiness World Records)
But the photo cuteness actually started back in April, when the two posed backstage at NYC's David H. Koch Theater:
Awww, she's so leeeettle next to him! (via @BalletRusse)
There's something so darn perfect about the two of them side by side. I know what you're thinking: Wouldn't all photos of Calmels be better with an even tinier Kochetkova in them? I agree. So for your Saturday afternoon viewing pleasure, I present a game:
Spot the Masha!
1. Careful, Othello. You never know who might be listening...
(Calmels in Lar Lubovitch's Othello, photo by Cheryl Mann; Kochetkova in Helgi Tomasson's Swan Lake, photo by Erik Tomasson)
2. So that's how La Bayadère's Solor became such a great warrior...
(Calmels in Stanton Welch's La Bayadère, photo by Cheryl Mann; Kochetkova in Perrot's La Esmeralda, photo by Erik Tomasson)
3. Mini Masha is straight chillin'.
(Calmels with Victoria Jaiani in Edwaard Liang's Age of Innocence for the Joffrey Ballet; Kochetkova's photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe)
(Calmels photo by Giuliano Bekor; Kochetkova photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe)
5. It's a bird! It's a plane! No: It's Super Masha!
(Calmels photo via @FabriceCalmels; Kochetkova in Helgi Tomasson's Trio, photo by Erik Tomasson)
Brief soapbox moment: Does anyone else feel like the Christmas season started the minute Halloween was over? I mean, Starbucks immediately brought out their cranberry-colored cups and ginger-bread-y goodness. The drug stores swept their candy aside and replaced it with Santa hats, Christmas lights and red-and-green wrapping paper. And the holiday commercials descended with gusto. Don't get me wrong, I love me some good old fashioned holiday spirit (#nogrinch!), but what ever happened to Thanksgiving?!
Kochetkova: supreme elegance, even when she's on her smart phone.
Anywho...I'll admit that there is one holiday commercial out this year that I'm kind of obsessed with. San Francisco Ballet principal Maria Kochetkova's VISA Checkout and Gap.com commercial is perfect.
It begins with the familiar swells of an orchestra tuning and warming up, with shots of dancers marking on stage. Then, the Morgan Freeman voice-over kicks in (love!). He asks: "Can Maria Kochetkova pay for holiday gifts at Gap.com while dancing The Nutcracker?"
The answer is yes, of course she can—and she doesn't let a single lift, jump or pirouette interrupt her. (Question: How does one spot while typing on a phone?) So in case you ever wondered how professional ballerinas get their holiday shopping done during Nutcracker season, here's your answer:
This year's Dance Against Cancer poster features an original drawing by artist Keith Haring.
A dance gala is always a good thing. But an impressively star-studded dance gala for a very important cause? It doesn't really get better than that.
The third annual Dance Against Cancer benefit, hosted by the American Cancer Society and produced by Erin Fogarty and New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht, will be held on May 6 in NYC. Like the last two galas, it'll feature performances by some of the dance world's best and brightest, many of whom have personal connections to the cause.
And I do mean best and brightest. The lineup is incredible: NYCB’s Maria Kowroski, Wendy Whelan, Tiler Peck, Lauren Lovette, Robert Fairchild, Tyler Angle, Gonzalo Garcia and Daniel Ulbricht; American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Alicia Graf Mack and Matthew Rushing; Martha Graham Dance Company’s Katherine Crockett and Lloyd Knight; and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company's Clifton Brown and Attila Csiki. There'll also be a special sneak peek at Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella, performed by San Francisco Ballet's Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada, and world premieres danced by Lil' Buck and ABT's Herman Cornejo.
Watch this beautiful, touching video describing Dance Against Cancer and its mission, with testimonials from many of the dancers who'll be performing at the gala. Then click here to find out more about the show and buy tickets. (Not in NYC? There's also an option to simply donate to the American Cancer Society.)