The Top 5 Moments from the Dance Magazine Awards
Last night, a verrrry impressive group of dance-world celebrities gathered at NYC's Ailey Citigroup Theater for the Dance Magazine Awards, honoring Patricia Wilde, Mats Ek, Yuan Yuan Tan, Philip Glass and Martha Clarke. The DM Awards are always pretty extraordinary, and this year was no exception. Here are our top five highlights from the star-studded night.
5) Patricia Wilde's acceptance speech. Wilde, a longtime New York City Ballet dancer and former artistic director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, told the kinds of stories that make our ballet-nerd hearts incredibly happy—like that time Salvador Dali made her a very unusual headpiece (whoa!), and that time George Balanchine mentioned a new section of choreography she had yet to learn 30 minutes before she went onstage (eek!). It was a fabulous lesson in ballet history, as lived by one of the greats.
4) Mats Ek's tribute video. Two words: Sylvie Guillem. The selection of clips featured a fantastic group of women—including Ek's wife, Ana Laguna— performing the choreographer's tender, funny works. But it was Guillem, that crazy queen of the ballerinas, who made the most lasting impression—especially in an excerpt from Ek's Smoke. Here's a longer clip of Gullem in the piece:
3) Yuan Yuan Tan in After the Rain. Two of the most memorable works featured last night were set to the same piece of music, Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Speigel—not a coincidence, really, given how beautiful and dreamy and all-around amazing it is. One of our favorite dance videos of all time is Tan and fellow San Francisco Ballet principal Damian Smith performing After the Rain, Christopher Wheeldon's perfect take on the Pärt piece, at sunset at the 2010 Fire Island Dance Festival. Wheeldon presented Tan's award last night, and it seemed only fitting that that gorgeous After the Rain clip was the highlight of her tribute video. Here's the whole thing:
2) Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo performing part of Martha Clarke's Chéri. Man, it was such a ballet paradise last night! To honor Clarke, ballet stars Ferri and Cornejo showed us an excerpt from Clarke's new dance-theater work, Chéri, which opened Sunday night. And oh goodness, talk about chemistry. You could feel the heat radiating from these two glorious dancers during their steamy bedroom pas de deux.
1) Philip Glass's acceptance speech. OK, pretty much everyone in the audience was trying to hold back squeals from the moment Glass took the stage. He's such a legend, and his amazing music has given dance and dancers so much. But then Glass proceeded to talk about how much dance has given him, and we all just melted. In case you need a little reminder of how perfectly Glass and dance go together, here's Les Ballets de Monte Carlo performing the last section of Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room:
Congratulations to all the awardees! We've got a slideshow of photos from the ceremony (all by Christopher Duggan) below, and click here for video highlights from the evening.
[portfolio_slideshow nowrap=0 thumbs=true timeout=4000 showtitles=true showcaps=true showdesc=true]
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.