Carreño flying high in "Diana and Acteon." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.
If you're a bunhead like me, odds are you've been obsessed with former American Ballet Theatre principal José Manuel Carreño since...oh, I don't know—maybe 10 pm on February 3, 2003, when the documentary Born to Wild: The Leading Men of American Ballet Theatre aired on PBS?
The film shows off not only Carreño's ballet skills (along with those of Ethan Stiefel, Vladimir Malakhov and Angel Corella!), but also Carreño doing a little dancing in the streets of Havana, his hometown. He's pretty darn charming onstage, but nothing compares to that scene of him good-naturedly breaking it down Cuban style with a bunch of adoring fans. Later, he works the floor in a local salsa club, having a great time partnering anybody and everybody. Obviously the guy's a people person, as well as an amazing dancer.
Carreño gave his final performance with ABT in 2011. But yesterday it was announced that he'd be taking on a new role: artistic director of Ballet San Jose.
Things have been rocky at BSJ recently. In January 2012, longtime artistic director Dennis Nahat was ousted, and for a while the company's future seemed uncertain. Could a high-wattage, personable star as director be just what the doctor ordered for the troubled company? Maybe so. And Carreño has piloted the Carreño Dance Festival for several years, so he does have some directorial experience.
I can't find that clip of him dancing in the streets online, but this post wouldn't be complete without a bit of Carreño eye candy. So here's the next best thing: Carreño and his cousin, Ballet Nacional de Cuba star Alihaidee Carreño, performing the showstopping Diana and Acteon pas de deux in Havana (for perhaps the most appreciative audience in the world). Enjoy!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "