This fall Hubbard Street Dance Chicago initiates an innovative choreographic-study project to pair local Chicago teens with company member Rena Butler, who in 2018 was named the Hubbard Street Choreographic Fellow. The Dance Lab Choreographic Fellowship is the vision of Kathryn Humphreys, director of HSDC's education, youth and community programs. "I am really excited to see young people realize possibilities, and realize what they are capable of," she says. "I think that high school is such an interesting, transformative time. They are right on the edge of figuring themselves out."
A group of dancers, clad in long maroon dresses and armed with garden rakes, are scattered over a gentle hill. Suddenly—clearly visible despite the camera's considerable distance—two white horses appear on the hilltop. The dancers stand stock still, as if frozen in time, as a man and woman carefully lead the majestic beasts around and among the motionless dancers in a twisting pattern. At the bottom of the hill, more dancers enter a horse pen, kicking up dirt and darting in front of and around three chestnut horses, close enough to touch their muzzles and swishing tails. Soon the dancers sprint in a circle, occasionally diving and sliding to the dirt, with the horses at a fast clip behind them. It's a game both playful and perilous. One dancer stays on the ground, rolling, spiraling and twisting in the dirt, as the 1,500-pound equines gallop ever faster toward him. At the last second, the horses halt, just inches from crushing him beneath their hooves. It's a dangerous, exhilarating and magical spectacle.
When Marius Petipa began his career as a choreographer with Russia's Imperial Theaters in 1847, he forever changed the face of ballet. He made more than 50 ballets, and many are still part of the classical repertory of ballet companies all over the world. His far-reaching influence includes a reimagining of the corps de ballet, which was until then little more than background decoration for the featured dancers. He also pioneered a new structural model for the pas de deux and demanded a higher technical standard from dancers.
Merce Cunningham was an American choreographer known for his avant-garde approach to composition and the music-dance relationship. He let chance dictate many of his choreographic decisions and believed the music should be created separately from the movement.
Robert Joffrey was an American choreographer and founder of the Joffrey Ballet. Rather than relying on established company models—showcasing the work of one choreographer or solely the classics—he instead built a diverse repertory of commissions from up-and-coming choreographers and revivals of master works.
Talley Beatty was one of the pioneering African-American choreographers of the 20th century. Though he never received the public acclaim that Alvin Ailey did, Beatty distinguished himself as a captivating performer and sophisticated choreographer with dances that fused lyrical jazz, ballet and modern.
Royal Ballet prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn and celebrated Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev created one of the most magnetic and beloved partnerships in ballet history. Appearing together throughout the 1960s and '70s, they brought a special chemistry and artistry to their roles, propelling them to superstar status at The Royal Ballet and worldwide.
Get Dance Teacher in your inbox
Seated on the floor in a wide butterfly stretch position, Virginia Commonwealth University professor Scott Putman is the picture of relaxation. His posture is impeccable—head stacked on top of tension-free shoulders, hands resting on his shins and a spine that seems to levitate up out of his hips and legs. “Soles of the feet together. Find your sitz bones," he says soothingly. As he gives concise instructions, he begins a series of small spinal actions—shifting back in the pelvis (for lumbar flexion), folding over (to engage the thoracic spine) and stretching through the sternum (for slight thoracic extension). He calls this “Awakening the Spine," and it's the beginning of his Elemental Body Alignment System (EBAS), a structural alignment and reeducation system that he has developed over the past 20 years.
Eiko Otake and Takashi Koma Otake are interdisciplinary performance artists from Japan who have been creating work together since 1972. Although they don't consider their work butoh—a Japanese performance art recognizable for its intensity, control and heavy white makeup—their creative aesthetic is strongly influenced by it. The work is distinctive for its extremely slow, minimalistic movement and their collaborative, hands-on approach to every aspect, from movement to costumes to sets.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Florida State University professor Tom Welsh arrived in Tallahassee in 1991, dance science was uncharted territory. "Mostly, it was technique teachers who were looking for ways to keep their dancers dancing," he says. "It was just a field people imagined could happen." He immediately set to work building the university's dance science program from the ground up. Over the course of his 26 years at FSU, Welsh has created a successful dance science model, based on four elements: collaboration with physical therapists, a state-of-the-art conditioning studio, injury prevention and management initiatives and devoting time to research.
Fayard and Harold Nicholas, aka the Nicholas Brothers, were known for their one-of-a-kind “flash act" performances, characterized by full-bodied animation, rhythmic perfection and fearless stunts. They were among the first African-American entertainers to break through the segregation of pre-Civil-Rights-era America and be featured in integrated films.