Being a Soloist in NYCB: "It Feels Like Purgatory"

Welcome to your DT Monday recap of New York City Ballet’s web series “city.ballet.” This week, we’re covering the fourth installment of the series—about the soloists in the company. When an offscreen voice identifies her time as a soloist as akin to purgatory, you know you’re in for a juicier webisode than usual. (So far, "city.ballet." has been pretty classy. No on-screen catfights or ridiculous romantic relationship portrayals. Just the facts and some short shots of dancing.)

Two soloists, Georgina Pazcoguin and Megan LeCrone, spent the same amount of time in the corps—10 years—before being promoted to soloist, but they've had vastly different experiences. Pazcoguin, as Dance Magazine covered, slowly knuckled her way up and briefly considered switching companies when a promotion didn’t look promising. LeCrone, meanwhile, has had three ankle surgeries, a knee surgery and a collapsed lung—she spent 10 years just trying to get healthy enough to dance consistently. That has to be frustrating. (LeCrone is the sister to choreographer Emery LeCrone, incidentally. Dancing runs in that family!)

I found it a little hard to believe that soloist Lauren Lovette didn’t know NYCB mainstay Craig Hall is still “only” a soloist—I doubt anyone in City Ballet is so unaware of hierarchy—but I did love getting to see some beautiful shots of those two in rehearsal. Craig Hall comes across as such a likeable guy! It’s hard not to root for him. And kudos to him for focusing on the present and not getting wrapped up in promotion worries.

Unfortunately, there was only one quick shot of married couple Megan Fairchild and Andy Veyette in this webisode. Sigh. They’re my ballet couple crush.

 

Higher Ed
Charles Anderson (center) in his (Re)current Unrest. Photo by Kegan Marling, courtesy of UT Austin

Given the long history of American choreographers who have threaded activism into their work—Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Joanna Haigood, Bill T. Jones, Jo Kreiter, to name a few—it's perhaps surprising that collegiate dance has offered so little in the way of training future generations to do the same.

Until now, that is. Within the last three years, two master's programs have cropped up, each the first of its kind: Ohio University's MA in community dance (new this fall), and the University of Texas at Austin's dance and social justice MFA, which emerged from its existing MFA program in 2018. These two programs join the University of San Francisco's undergraduate performing arts and social justice major, with a concentration in dance, which has been around since 2000.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

As many dance teachers begin another semester of virtual teaching, it is time to acknowledge the fact that virtual classes aren't actually accessible to all students.

When schools and studios launched their virtual dance programs at the beginning of the pandemic, many operated under the assumption that all their students would be able to take class online. But in reality, lack of access to technology and Wi-Fi is a major issue for many low-income students across the country, in many cases cutting them off from the classes and resources their peers can enjoy from home.

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Dance Teacher Awards

Who knew that a virtual awards ceremony could bring our community together in such a powerful way?

Last night, we celebrated the annual Dance Teacher Awards, held virtually for the first time. Though it was different from what we're used to, this new setting inspired us to get creative in celebrating our six extraordinary honorees. In fact, one of the most enlivening parts of the event was one that could only happen in a Zoom room: Watching as countless tributes, stories and congratulations poured in on the chat throughout the event. Seeing firsthand the impact our awardees have had on so many lives reminded us why we chose to honor them.

If you missed the Awards (or just want to relive them), you're in luck—they are now available to watch on-demand. We rounded up some of the highlights:

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