We dancers are lucky the rest of the population has become so interested in our craft. It means there are more outlets for films like Ballet 422, which will be featured in the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival (April 16–April 27).
Originally backed through crowd-funding site Hatchfund, Ballet 422 documents the creation of Justin Peck’s latest work for New York City Ballet. Peck has been in the spotlight since he fulfilled his dream of collaborating with musician Sufjan Stevens and fans and critics went gaga over the results in Year of the Rabbit. Paz de la Jolla, an homage to Peck’s southern California home region and NYCB’s 422nd original ballet, premiered in February to positive reactions. Now audiences will see this promising dancemaker’s process in action, and we could not be more excited about that.
The tantalizing trailer shows the always gorgeous (and increasingly popular with mainstream media) Tiler Peck in rehearsal, plus Justin mapping formations, reviewing footage and discussing his vision with the orchestra. Camera crews were clearly given full access, going everywhere from Justin’s apartment to the costume shop to dress rehearsals and live performances.
The film was conceived by former NYCB soloist and director of media projects Ellen Bar and directed by her husband, filmmaker Jody Lee Lipes. Bar says in the Hatchfund description that she has long dreamed of “pulling back the veil on the making of a new ballet.” We feel the same way, and we cannot wait to see more!
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When you think of a major basketball team's dancers or cheerleaders, you probably picture the Laker Girls—scantily clad, with shiny curls cascading down their backs. You definitely don't picture a group of 15 40-years-old-and-up "seniors," mean-mugging and ripping off breakaway pants. But the New York Liberty's Timeless Torches do exactly that, and they routinely bring down the house during halftime at the WNBA games where they perform.
The exhibit Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955–1972 is filled with exhibits, performances and conferences honoring the three postmodern dance living legends.
"I describe it as organized chaos," says Kimberly Rishi with a laugh, as she hunts for a quiet space inside her 12,000-square-foot studio in Ashburn, Virginia. In any given week, Studio Bleu Dance Center's 11 dance studios accommodate 800 enrolled students, 52 staff members, adults who take drop-in classes, plus kids in vocal and piano programs and an affiliated ballet conservatory. "It may look like there's always a party going on," Rishi says, "but that's not the case. There's a schedule, and everyone knows where they're headed."
When Rishi took the reins in 2003, there were only 80 students, 20 of whom were competitive. Today, 300 dancers are enrolled for the competition program. And just this winter, she launched a musical theater program, taking in triple-threat hopefuls in the area. While the Ashburn area (outside of Washington, DC) is burgeoning, faculty member Heidi Moe says Studio Bleu's growth is due to more than changing demographics. It's the direct result of Rishi's business experience and leadership ability.
Irish dancer Cara Butler remembers the helpful advice that her teacher Donny Golden gave her as a child to ease her mind before competitions.
"I remember that he was really good at calming my nerves as a kid. He would always say, 'Your nerves are a form of energy. Use it as fuel.' That was something, especially when I was younger, that would always get me through it. I find that even today I still get nervous about certain performances. But he taught me to just use it as energy and think of it as a good thing. If you're not nervous, where is the emotion and the passion? Nerves are good."