Tolstoy, Plus Choreography
Joe Wright's film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina hits select theaters today. While you've probably heard a lot of buzz about its stars—particularly Keira Knightly's powerful performance in the title role—you may not have heard that it also has some serious dance cred.
The story of a 19th-century Russian adultress who commits suicide by throwing herself under a train doesn't exactly exactly cry out for choreography. (Even the fabulous Alexei Ratmansky had a hard time making a ballet version of Anna Karenina—it met with uncharacteristically mixed reviews.) But Wright's version is darkly theatrical, and I mean that literally. It's set in a dilapidated theater, with action happening both onstage and in the wings. In that context, dance seems a bit more natural.
Wright called in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a European darling who's made works for the likes of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, to choreograph Anna Karenina. You won't see anything as dramatic as pointe work, but his dances are central to the movie. Anna even first meets her lover Count Vronsky on the dance floor, in a swirling, heady sequence.
Gorgeous Alicia Vikander, who plays Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya, studied for 10 years at the Royal Swedish Ballet School, and it shows. While some of the other actors seemed to struggle a bit with the more involved dance sequences (Knightley included, unfortunately), she's perfectly comfortable with all the waltzing and swooping lifts. She also apparently worked with Cherkaoui to refine the choreography.
The film is an interesting experiment, and while it's not always successful, it's definitely worth seeing. (Plus the costumes are to. die. for. Nothing makes a dance sparkle quite like Chanel jewelry!)
Get a sneak peek at all the glamorous drama in the trailer below.
Remember that fabulous old-school clip of dancers tapping in pointe shoes that Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo brought to our attention back in March? As we mentioned then, toe-tap dancing was actually super popular back in the 1920s and 30s—which means there are more videos where that one came from. And because #ToeTapTuesday has a nice ring to it, we thought we'd take this opportunity to introduce you to Dick and Edith Barstow, a toe-tapping brother and sister duo from that era who are nothing short of incredible:
Guess who's back? Back again? The Academy's back! Tell a friend.
After one day at The Academy, the All Stars have successfully taken the Top 100 down to 62. But their work is just getting started: Now they need to keep narrowing the field to a Top 10, ultimately deciding who each will partner with during the live shows.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns is some SERIOUS #goals. Her strength and power onstage borders on superhuman. But what's extra magical about Mearns is that she really puts in the fitness and cross-training work outside of the rehearsal studio. And she's overcome her fair share of injuries. Which is why she was the perfect source for Vogue's latest ballet fitness story.
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.