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.
The last time New York-based dancer/choreographer/media artist Jonah Bokaer performed in Los Angeles, it was with Merce Cunningham Dance Company, more than 10 years ago. Indeed, the multi-hyphenate was 18 when he had the distinction of being the youngest dancer ever to join the iconic troupe in 2000, staying until 2007.
Cassandra Trenary, American Ballet Theatre soloist, for one, had a very good year. The fast-rising star debuted as Princess Aurora in Alexei Ratmansky’s “The Sleeping Beauty” during the company’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, reprising the role while on tour to Paris.
“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.
“My choreography was everything that I wanted it to be and more. For me personally, it was a huge challenge when it came to internal virtues, like leadership. Getting up in front of the room and having to own it.”
“Why did you quit?” and “Why did you give up?” were some of the responses that Shelby Elsbree, former dancer with Boston Ballet, heard upon announcing her retirement from the company earlier this year.
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.
Feminism, queer theory, ontology, postcolonialism—these subjects and more cropped up in the whirlwind 90 minutes I recently spent interviewing Cecilia Lisa Eliceche ahead of the UK premiere of her latest work, “Unison.”