For any young dancer performing in The Nutcracker, Marie (aka Clara, depending on the production) is a dream role. But Charlotte Nebres, who will be playing Marie in New York City Ballet's Nutcracker this year isn't just bringing her own dream to life—she's also making history.
Charlotte is the first black dancer to ever perform the role of Marie in NYCB's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, which dates all the way back to 1954. Charlotte was, of course, hugely excited to perform the role of Marie, but, according to the New York Times, when her mother told her that she was the first black dancer cast in the role, she said "Wow. That seems a little late."
When Elle Decor approached Ezra Hurwitz to create a campaign with Tiffany & Co., the former Miami City Ballet dancer-turned-filmmaker knew just who he wanted to feature: the dancers of New York City Ballet.
It was fall 2016. Gianna Reisen—then 17 and in her final year at the School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet's official training school—had just been made the offer of a lifetime: the chance to choreograph a work for the company's fall gala. She would be the youngest person ever to do so.
Two weeks later, Reisen went from an all-time high to an all-time low: She found out she wouldn't be getting an apprenticeship with NYCB. "I absolutely deflated," she remembers. "Imagine if, after seven years of working towards something, it simply doesn't happen. It's sort of heartbreaking."
Former New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild has made it to the top of both the ballet and the Broadway worlds—and his career just keeps getting more exciting. Though Fairchild grew up studying jazz and tap in his home state of Utah, he danced with NYCB for nine years before taking his first professional dip in the musical theater world, a 2015 Tony-nominated turn as Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris. (He reprised the role in the West End and on movie screens around the world.) He then danced in A Chorus Line at the Hollywood Bowl, Oklahoma! in London, and in a 2016 concert staging of Kiss Me, Kate before retiring from NYCB in 2017 to pursue theater, TV, and film full-time. Catch Fairchild as early modern-dance icon Ted Shawn in The Chaperone (streaming now), and as Munkustrap in the CATS movie (pouncing into theaters December 20). —Helen Rolfe
Autumn in the Big Apple means one thing: New York City Ballet's Fall Fashion Gala. Since its inception in 2012 by Sarah Jessica Parker, the gala has produced dozens of new ballets, complete with original costumes designed by the fashion industry's biggest names. Ahead of this year's gala—which takes place September 26th and features new works by Lauren Lovette and Edwaard Liang, with costumes designed by Zac Posen and Anna Sui—NYCB joined forces with INTERSECT by Lexus on an exhibition showcasing the many stunning gala costumes from years past. Dance Spirit met up with Marc Happel, NYCB's Director of Costumes, to talk about the retrospective, the biggest lessons he's learned over the years, and the designers he'd love to work with in the future.
When you think of a Balanchine ballerina, the dancer you imagine probably looks a lot like Teresa Reichlen. The New York City Ballet principal brings long-legged extensions and queenly poise to her extensive repertory of Balanchine "goddess" roles. She's also a captivating force to be reckoned with in works by Jerome Robbins, Justin Peck, and Christopher Wheeldon. Born in northern Virginia, Reichlen began training at age 10 at the Russell School of Ballet. Asked to stay for the winter term following her first summer at the School of American Ballet, Reichlen became a New York City Ballet apprentice a year later. She received her corps contract a year after that. You can see her perform the principal role in Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 during the company's annual Saratoga Performing Arts Center residency this week. —Helen Rolfe
One of the country's top arbitrators has decided to reinstate Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro to New York City Ballet. The former principals were fired last fall for "inappropriate communications," namely graphic text messages.
The dancers' union, American Guild of Musical Artists, fought the termination, arguing that the firings were unjust since they related entirely to non-work activity. After a careful review of the facts, an independent arbitrator determined that the terminations were indeed "wrongful and unjust."
Well over a year after the retirement of Peter Martins, New York City Ballet has announced that former principal dancer Jonathan Stafford will lead the company and its affiliated School of American Ballet as artistic director. Fellow former principal Wendy Whelan will serve as associate artistic director.
When audience members opened their programs at New York City Ballet's revival of Herman Schmerman a few weeks ago, one name had everyone buzzing: Naomi Corti. Just an apprentice, she was dancing a featured role alongside principals and soloists in William Forsythe's challenging, go-for-broke choreography. How was this going to go down?
Quite well, actually. Despite a nasty fall at the beginning of the ballet, 18-year-old Corti held her own next to castmates Sara Mearns and Unity Phelan—and didn't hold back during her solos and partnering sections. When she stepped forward to take her bow
, the audience cheered wildly ; her reaction was a mix of shock and utter joy. Still, we couldn't help but wonder what kind of pressure she must have been under.
NYCB has a history of giving young apprentices big breaks. Current corps members Miriam Miller (as Titania in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Alston Macgill (in a featured role in Symphony in C) both had opportunities to shine during their apprentice years. So how does it feel to take on a big role so young? We talked to Corti to find out.
New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin's vivacious energy and fiery passion infuse her ballet roles, but her effervescent presence also proves perfect for the Great White Way. In 2015 she made her Broadway debut as Ivy Smith in On the Town, and she played the white cat Victoria in the 2016 revival of CATS. An Altoona, PA, native, she started training at age 4 at the Allegheny Ballet Academy. In 2001, she enrolled in the School of American Ballet; in 2002 she became an NYCB apprentice; and one year later she joined as an official corps member. She was promoted to soloist in 2013. Currently, she's performing with the company and can be found curating her brand, The Rogue Ballerina, on her social media channels. —Courtney Bowers
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Every once in a while, the stars align, things fall precisely into place, and the perfect marketing campaign is born. Such is the case with New York City Ballet's new trailer for their upcoming run of The Sleeping Beauty, which was conceived and directed by company soloist Sean Suozzi.
We can't get enough of New York City Ballet's prima ballerina, Tiler Peck. This ballet babe has been featured in the mainstream media quite a bit and is giving people an inside peek at the glamorous and not so glamorous sides of ballet. Peck's most recent media credit includes a video released by Cosmopolitan where she gets real about the challenges she's faced during her demanding career in one of the world's most renowned ballet companies.
What's next for the dance world? Our annual list of the dancers, choreographers and companies that are on the verge of skyrocketing has a pretty excellent track record of answering that question.
Here they are: the 25 up-and-coming artists we believe represent the future of our field.
Thanksgiving is almost here and that means that come tomorrow there will be lots and lots of food to eat (cue happy dance!!!). And because there's always room on the Thanksgiving table for more dishes and treats, we asked New York City ballet dancer and food blogger Jenelle Manzi (who is no stranger to creative culinary concoctions) for her favorite fall recipes of the moment. Whip up these tasty treats as apps before the big meal or serve them as additional side dishes—because there are never too many of those. Happy eating!
If you follow New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns on Instagram, you'll have noticed that for the past several months, her feed has included wedding prep pics in addition to her usual performance posts and cross-training clips. This past weekend, the big day finally arrived, and Mearns married Broadway and television choreographer Joshua Bergasse in a dreamy beach ceremony in North Carolina.