"Ritual" Honors the Spiritual Power of Dancers' Daily Work
We've never seen anything quite like "Ritual," an extraordinary short film by Stacey Menchel Kussell.
It's certainly striking visually: In a beautiful, meditative montage, six dancers—Navarra Novy-Williams, Doron Perk, Makeda Roney, Xavier Townsead, Isaies Santamaria Perez and Chisato Yanagisawa—warm up, take class and rehearse. We feel the comfort and happiness they get from these familiar routines.
But the film is also set to poetry by black and Jewish spoken word artist Aaron Samuels, which adds another layer of meaning. The text muses on Samuels' family memories of Passover, and Kussell connects those deep-rooted traditions to dancers' own traditions.
In Kussell's own words: " 'Ritual' examines the tenacity and resilience that motivates us to keep our traditions and honor our histories, no matter our heritage or creed."
(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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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer