News Flashes


  • New York City Ballet principal Wendy Whelan, who will retire in October, joined the faculty of NYC's Ballet Academy East last summer. Whelan, who will tour her Restless Creature duet-driven concert through the rest of this year and into the next, teaches as part of BAE's pre-professional division. She joins other NYCB alumni, such as artistic director Darla Hoover, pre-professional division faculty Peter Frame and guest faculty Stacy Caddell and Charles Askegard. 


  • NYCB soloist (and Dance Magazine September cover) Justin Peck has been named the company's resident choreographer. In this role, the 27-year-old Peck will create two premieres for NYCB each year, while continuing to dance with the company. He has created six works for NYCB over the last two years, and his latest ballet premiered last night in the company's September fall season gala. Peck is only the second choreographer in residence in City Ballet's history--Christopher Wheeldon served from 2001 to 2008.


  • Former American Ballet Theatre principal Ángel Corella is the new artistic director of Pennsylvania Ballet. He has spent the last six years as director of his own company, Barcelona Ballet (previously Corella Ballet Castilla y León), in Spain. Corella replaces Roy Kaiser, who served as artistic director for 19 years.





Photos from top: by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of NYCB; by David Michalek, courtesy of Ballet Academy East

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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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