News

5 Reasons Why You'll Love ​This Documentary About the Joffrey Ballet's New ​​Nutcracker

Photo by Cheryl Mann, courtesy of WTTW11

Last year, the Joffrey Ballet premiered a brand-new Nutcracker, retiring Robert Joffrey's original production. It was a big deal—it cost $4 million to create, and celebrated choreographer Christopher Wheeldon was at the helm. Now, a year later—and just in time for the holidays, so you can get your Nutcracker fix from in front of your laptop—WTTW, Chicago's public-media organization, has debuted a documentary about the making of the ballet.

This is seriously fascinating stuff, all packed into an hour—we highly recommend you watch. Here are five of our favorite moments from the documentary:


Photo by Cheryl Mann, courtesy of WTTW11

1. The ballet is set in Chicago (duh), in 1983, the year the city hosted the World Fair. It was one of the city's most significant cultural events: More than 25 million people attended the six-month-long fair that represented nearly 50 countries. Finally, the divertissements feel organic and make sense!

2. The tree-growing bit is the best special effect I've seen in a ballet in a reeeeally long time. Actually, my favorite might be the rat puppets. Major props to puppeteer Basil Twist.

3. When Chicago's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, heard that the Joffrey Ballet was saying goodbye to Joffrey's original production in favor of a brand-new one, he told those involved, "Don't mess it up." (Except he substituted another four-letter word for "mess.")

4. Christopher Wheeldon falls through the orchestra pit, breaking his foot—during tech week.

5. The Russian divertissement is now for Buffalo Bill and his Western ladies. That is all.

Watch it now!

Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Diary
Claire McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.