Dance News
It includes this familiar face! (Erin Baiano)

Something's coming, I don't know when
But it's soon...maybe tonight?

Those iconic lyrics have basically been our #mood ever since we first heard a remake of the West Side Story film, directed by Steven Spielberg and choreographed by Justin Peck, was in the works. THE CASTING. THE CASTING WAS COMING.

Well, last night—after an extensive search process that focused on finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican/Latinx community—the WSS team finally revealed who'll be playing Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino (joining Ansel Elgort, who was cast as Tony last fall). And you guys: It is a truly epic group.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Misty Copeland. Photo by Jayme Thornton

Is anybody else confused about why dance isn't an Olympic sport, yet??? I mean, honestly. Dancers train like Olympians every day! They can stun you with their technical prowess, wow you with their uncanny athletic ability AND make you cry all at the same time. Dancers are freaking magicians, and it's time we let them into the Olympics!

Here's who we'd want to see on Team USA if dance were a part of the Olympics. This team is STACKED! Check it out!

Keep reading... Show less

Ballet choreographer wunderkind Justin Peck dropped a trailer last week for his new ballet, The Times Are Racing, and I can't stop watching it. That's partly because it takes place in a subway station—which fascinates me endlessly as a New Yorker (Look! I take those stairs!)—but mostly because the score by Dan Deacon is driving and sublime and the movement is Peck at his best: intricate but never crammed, sprawling but never sloppy. The ballet premieres tomorrow night for New York City Ballet, and 1.) It's going to be danced in tennis shoes, à la Jerome Robbins, and 2.) Peck is dancing in it himself! And if the trailer is any indication, it looks like there will be some NYC-esque missed connections and meet-ups. (I love all things NYC-related. Can you tell?)

Keep reading... Show less

In our September issue’s History: Lesson Plan, we learn about Bessie Schönberg, a celebrated composition teacher at Sarah Lawrence College for nearly 40 years, known for championing her students’ individuality. A revered mentor, she helped shape the creative work of four generations of artists.

Schönberg at Bennington College in 1934

Fun fact: The New York Dance and Performance Awards, which were established in 1983 to honor innovative dance work, are more commonly referred to as “The Bessies” in honor of Schönberg. She received her own Bessie Award for lifetime service to dance in 1988.

The 2016 Bessies take place Tuesday, October 18, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Howard Gilman Opera House. Among the nominees for awards in outstanding production, revival, performer, emerging choreographer, music composition/sound design and visual design are Camille A. Brown, Justin Peck, Donald McKayle, Ephrat Asherie and Gillian Murphy. Check out the full list of nominees here.

Photo courtesy of the American Dance Festival archives

For more on Schönberg, subscribe to Dance Teacher and receive the September issue.

A screen capture from Heatscape

Vogue recently spotlighted this film, which previews Justin Peck's new work, Heatscape, to be premiered by Miami City Ballet at end of the month. In the video, dancers—casual in jeans and Keds—explore the city's mural-covered Wynwood Walls, which inspired the ballet.

If you like that, be sure you've seen the music video for "Man On Fire" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, directed by Ballet 422's Jody Lee Lipes. In the uplifting final scene, New York City Ballet dancers perform in a West Side Story–esque alley on a dusty stage of gravel and sand.

And for a final ballet-in-streetwear favorite,  who could forget the mysteriously captivating Cylindrical Shadows, featuring choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet? We guarantee you'll feel like you've been transported to another world.

Ahhhh. Have a relaxing Wednesday evening, everyone.

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 HatchfundBallet 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!

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox