Reviews

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In 2015, choreographers Akram Khan, Hofesh Shechter and Lloyd Newman drew ire from the UK dance community for criticising the quality of British contemporary dance training, claiming in a joint statement that UK-trained students “more often than not lack rigour, technique and performance skills.” The following week saw headlines abound, forums buzz with debate and Dance UK chairman Farooq Chaudhry step down from his post after chiming in to question whether UK dance schools are truly “serving their students.”

Belle Redux

“Belle Redux,” choreographed by Ballet Austin artistic director Stephen Mills and premiered by the company in 2015, is a dark reboot of the 18th-century French fairytale “La Belle et la Bête” (Beauty and the Beast). The two-act ballet was commissioned by the 3M corporation as part of a program to fund innovation in the arts (as part of his research, Mills met with 3M researchers and engineers), so it’s no surprise that it is unlike Mills’s other story ballets.

A Language for Life

Sambas, waterslides, live chickens on stage—nobody does dance theatre like Pina Bausch. The late choreographer’s Wuppertal-based company has just wrapped up a tour of “Masurca Fogo,” created during a three-week residency in Lisbon in 1998 as part of her World Cities series, a collection inspired by the cultures of various urban locales, from Rome to Budapest to Los Angeles.

Interviews

Shades of Stephanie

“I was very fortunate in Australia; I had an amazing four years at the Australian Ballet School—which was the best training—and when got into the company, I got to dance Christopher Wheeldon ballet within the first three months of joining.

Dancers of New York

Bella-rina

At a recent All Star Ballet Gala in Toronto, you could watch Isabella Bolyston melt into a role, and then, distinctly, conquer it. The American Ballet Theatre principal, Bella to her friends, showed off her fleet footwork in the pas de deux from Bournonville's “Flower Festival in Genzano,” before literally diving into Balanchine's “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux,” smiling all the while. The crowd roared its appreciation.

Shades of Stephanie

“I was very fortunate in Australia; I had an amazing four years at the Australian Ballet School—which was the best training—and when got into the company, I got to dance Christopher Wheeldon ballet within the first three months of joining.

Rising Stars

Rising Stars of the Erik Bruhn Prize

Winning this year's competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize, hosted by the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto, were two dancers from Boston Ballet, soloist Angelo Greco, and corps de ballet dancer, Natasha Sheehan. Together they performed the pas de deux from “Giselle” for the classical repertoire, and danced a contemporary duet choreographed by fellow company member Myles Thatcher.

Editor's Picks

Features

Again, A City Builds Itself

“I had not thought death had undone so many.” These words belong to T.S. Eliot, from his poem The Waste Land. When Wayne McGregor’s ballet “Infra” premiered with the Royal Ballet in 2008, a ballet created in response to the London Bombings of July 7th, 2005, its program notes contained this quote, and derived inspiration from Eliot’s poem.

Glitz and Glam: A Weekend at Wilderness

Glitter—this was one of the first details I noticed when I arrived at Wilderness Festival last Friday. The shimmery stuff was everywhere, winking at me from eyelashes, cheeks, t-shirts, bunting. Poking out of pockets and tumbling out of tents, glinting and gleaming in the hot August sun.

Gallery

Galas & Comps

A Civil Affair

More than three decades at the helm of San Francisco Ballet has sharply attuned Helgi Tomasson to the political mood of his high society season opening gala attendees. Eight years ago, with the gala held one night after Barack Obama’s inauguration as president of the United States, Tomasson closed with George Balanchine’s “Stars and Stripes.” Last Thursday, on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the only red, white and blue to be found were the Bastille Day colors on Vanessa Zahorian’s sash in the pyrotechnic pas de deux from “Flames of Paris.”

A Southern Genée

International ballet competitions have become a somewhat necessary evil in the ballet world. Brought to popular culture’s attention by movies such as First Position, they are, by all accounts, high impact events. Artistic directors from world-famous ballet companies line the judging panels to the watch ballet’s rising stars train, perform and compete.

Young Stars on Summer Night

At the Roman Amphitheatre in Fiesole, a town on a hill that dominated Florence from above, the sidereal luminosity of a cloudless night, married with the soft (for once) hum of the cicadas and the breathtaking roman and etruscan stones reminiscent of classical artistic glory, provide the ideal setting for a dance gala.

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