New York City Ballet is known for a lot of things—Balanchine’s choreography, no real “stars,” those extra-wide fourth positions—but none more so than putting the women up front and center. As Andy Veyette puts it (and as Balanchine himself put it, many years ago), “Ballet is woman” at NYCB. Again and again in this episode, the male dancers emphatically state that their main job as partners is to make the ladies look good. “It’s not about you,” says principal Amar Ramasar. “It’s about making the woman look beautiful.”
The dynamics of this attitude frankly fascinate me. I mean, maybe women have a historical position as always being right when it comes to their interactions and arguments with men, but the men of City Ballet are so finely attuned to their female counterparts, so ready to take the blame for any kind of onstage mishap, that they almost come across as devotional. I was fascinated by this article in the current issue of Pointe magazine where five leading male dancers remember School of American Ballet teacher (and former principal and partnering all-star) Jock Soto instructing them to always, always take the blame. No matter what.
I’m sort of touched by this attitude, even as I recognize the unfairness of it. (Let’s face it: At some point, it’s gotta be the woman’s fault when a bit of partnering goes wrong, right?) It’s a hybrid of modern-day chivalry, in a way. As Chase Finlay says, “It’s about making the woman feel safe.”
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.
Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.
This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.