When she dances Martha Graham’s 1929 work Heretic, Fanny Gombert stands out. Even though she’s in a line of eight women moving precisely in unison, Fanny’s stunning good looks catch your eye, and her serene and natural joy holds it. Her extensions are impressive and her articulated spine sculpts the contractions and releases of Graham’s technique. Beyond Fanny’s performing ability, what makes the 23-year-old Graham II company member so compelling is her confidence and drive, which allow her to take risks both onstage and off.
Born in the South of France, Fanny began studying ballet at age 6. After receiving her Baccalaureate—the French equivalent of a high school diploma—Fanny moved to Paris, where she continued her training in classical ballet and discovered jazz and modern dance at the Rick Odums Dance School. “I was immediately interested in the Graham technique,” Fanny says. “Like ballet, it requires a lot of lines and legs, but it’s more dramatic and uses a totally different dynamic.”
After receiving her diplômé (a Bachelor of Arts) from Rick Odums in 2008, Fanny moved to NYC to study full-time at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Though she had studied some Graham technique in Paris, she needed a stronger foundation. “I had to perfect the basics,” she says. Her diligence paid off: Within a year, Fanny was understudying roles for Graham II, and in September 2009, she became a member of the prestigious second company. Virginie Mecene, director of the Graham School and Graham II, says Fanny’s strong work ethic accelerated her progression. “Fanny’s open and willing to assimilate new ideas and corrections into her work,” Mecene says.
Fanny’s bravery, Mecene adds, can be seen in the young dancer’s decision to move to the States on her own. Fanny knew it was a risk. “It was very exciting at first,” she says, “but after a few months I felt really far from home.” But she soon found camaraderie within Graham II. “Many of us are from different countries, and we understand each other’s occasional homesickness.”
Along with her strong technique, fearlessness gives Fanny an edge. “She has the potential to succeed in any major company,” Mecene says. Fanny hopes to dance with the Martha Graham Dance Company, but she’s not limiting her plans for the future. “Graham’s repertory was created a long time ago, and I need to experience what’s going on in dance today,” Fanny says. “I would also love to dance for other companies that are experimenting with new choreography and creating fresh work.”
Until then, she fulfills her creative urge by choreographing pieces for the Graham School’s student performances. “I love it,” she says. “It’s hard, but I get to put myself and my experiences into my work.”
Fave Dance Retailers: Yumiko and Repetto
Favorite non-MGDC companies: Ballet Preljocaj and Batsheva Dance Company
Can’t leave home without…: "A good pair of sneakers."
Boyfriend? “He’s in Paris, but we talk almost every day.”
Fave thing to do in NYC: See a performance with friends, and spend all night discussing it at a Spanish restaurant.
Jenny Dalzell is a dancer in NYC and assistant editor at Dance Teacher and Dance Retailer News.
Photo by Ramon Estevanell
Rapping, dance duo Ayo & Teo may still want "ice on their wrists so (they) look better when (they) dance," as they're 2017 chart topping song, "Rolex" says, but the two are featuring a more unusual accessory in their recent dance routine: The cotton swab. After teaming up with DoSomething.org for the Give A Spit About Cancer campaign, Ayo & Teo are encouraging people to join the national bone marrow registry and donate marrow for those suffering from blood cancer.
Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals are loving how versatile and supportive these shoes are! Pro tip: The heel is centered under the body so you can feel confident and stable!
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Perfectionism is extremely common in the dance world, because dancers hold themselves to terrifically high standards. It's easy to get a little discouraged when you aren't improving as quickly as you want. But there's a difference between healthy self-criticism and an unhealthy obsession with perfection. How can you tell when your drive to be better has crossed the line—and what can you do to get back on track?
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"Simon Cowell came backstage during 'AGT' and told us, 'Go out there and do your best. They're going to like you.' "—Artyon
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That mixture of humor and grace is evident in Harpootlian's growing body of choreographic work. Her one-act show Better Late Than Never, for example, which premiered last summer, has a jazzy, West Side Story vibe, offsetting heavier moments with touches of whimsy. "There's always a balance in my work," Harpootlian says. "I want to use humor to balance out the darker aspects. It's like one of my friends once said: 'You make me laugh, and then you make me feel bad for laughing.' "
Winter is drawing to a close and you know what that means -- It's time to really kick this year into gear! Move U has done the research so you can find your best match, look good, and feel great this season with a twist unique to your team! Here are five looks to put your performance on the map in 2018.
We already knew Taylor and Reese Hatala can do anything. After all, they're both incredibly versatile dancers capable of serving up some serious face. And now the super siblings can add another title to their resumé: that of fashion magazine cover stars.
Last week Disney Channel star Sofia Wylie released a behind-the-scenes look at the making of her YouTube dance series. Along with some stellar dancing, the video shows the dance community featured in her "4k Dance Series" and the things they've learned from being a part of the dance project. And though the project features dance, we love that it also emphasizes supporting and building up fellow dancers.