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Wednesday, October 9


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Orlando Ballet kicks off its new season.

“Tribute” was set to open the season before a mold infestation forced the ballet from its longtime home — a plan that proved to be a lucky break for the company. Because the show is a retrospective, the choreography already has been created. That gave Hill and the dancers some breathing room while they looked for rehearsal space.

What if it had been an all-new program? “It's likely it might not have happened,” Hill says seriously.

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Dancers of New York City Ballet talk about style in and out of the theater.

These nuances are just some of the ways ballet dancers can express their style in a week packed with up to 7 performances and 6-hour a day rehearsals. Often times, the outfits they wear to and from work only see the light of day during their brief commutes to Lincoln Center. So where does that leave their personal style?

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An NBC News story on the state of play at the Bolshoi Ballet. Video.

As difficult as it may be for foreigners to grasp, in a country like Russia, where ballet is sacred, the rivalries and jealousy between Bolshoi dancers and management had reached breaking point. Part of the underlying problem was money. A carryover from Soviet days, Bolshoi dancers are paid a meager monthly salary but can earn large bonuses for successful solo performances. Filin, as artistic director, could make or break a dancer’s career. Every choice for leading roles reverberated throughout the small village that is the Bolshoi. And it was known that Filin rankled Dmitrichenko by passing over his girlfriend for several of those lucrative, leading roles.

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The Shanghai Ballet visits Canada.

Although under another name, Shanghai Ballet can trace it origins to 1965. It was thoroughly reorganized in 1979 as the company we know today, positioning itself as a potential rival to the older, bigger National Ballet of China in Beijing, a city many Shanghainese still regard with competitive disdain.

Soviet teachers trained the generation of Chinese dancers who, later as choreographers, tended to favour Russian bravura and technical display, perhaps because it dovetailed with their own much longer traditions of acrobatic folk dance......

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An interview with Michael Linsmeier, Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer and moonlighting punk rocker.

“I didn’t know what else to do but just throw myself around and slam to the ground and jump high and fall on my face,” he says. “It was just an expression of aggression, just pure frustration. And it scared the crap out of my teacher, but it was also exciting. I finally got it. It clicked for me, what dancing is really about.”

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A preview of the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition.

The event — the 10th in Jackson — runs from June 14 to June 29. Organizers expect about 100 professional and amateur dancers from around the world to compete in junior (ages 15-18) and senior (ages 19-26) divisions. Dancers compete for medals, cash awards, scholarships and company contracts.

Edward Villella will be the jury chairman for the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition. Villella was a New York City Ballet principal for many years and was the founding director of the acclaimed Miami City Ballet.

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An interview with Stanton Welch on the occasion of his tenth anniversary with Houston Ballet.

Then-Artistic Director Ben Stevenson commissioned Welch in 1999 to create Indigo for Houston Ballet. Welch felt an immediate connection to the city and its widely admired ballet company. "It actually reminded me a lot of home," he recalls. "The Australian Ballet and Houston Ballet both had a very similar evolution. They both came from the Ballets Russes, and developed into big classical companies that performed both story ballet and contemporary work. Houston Ballet was the most similar to what I had experienced growing up. It felt like home, like something I understood." He also took a liking to the city's independent spirit, which translated to the work produced by its ballet company. "Houston isn't like the rest of America. It's developed its own voice in its own way, which I ­believe is a very Texas thing, and makes the company ­special."

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Welch stages "La Bayadere" for the Joffrey.

"The Joffrey is growing into a larger, more classically oriented company," remarked Welch. "Performing La Bayadère is a necessary part of that growth. Chicago is a huge, important, famous city, and it deserves ballet of that level."

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A preview of Oregon Ballet Theatre's new program by David Stabler for The Oregonian.

"This is my coming out party," says Kevin Irving, the company's new artistic director. "I wanted to show off the company at its best and also show something new."

Oregon Ballet Theatre begins a new era when Irving presents the company premiere of "Por Vos Muero" a work of stately Baroque beauty layered with contemporary touches by rising star choreographer Nacho Duato. "He was my mentor for many years," Irving says. "I'm excited because it's the first time the company has done a work by him."

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A review of the Smuin Ballet by Lauren Gallagher in The San Francisco Examiner.

Perky and pert when love is gleeful, pouty and pining when romance wanes, “Miss Cline” has playful but challenging partnering, though the dancers make it appear effortless: men and women tumble, somersault and swing with acrobatic aplomb.

Not seen on the West Coast in nearly 20 years, “Return to a Strange Land” is a rare glimpse into the early career of one of the most influential choreographers of the past half-century. Choreographed by Jirí Kylián, “Strange Land” is a memorial to Kylián’s mentor John Cranko, whose death at 45 in 1973 devastated the dance world.

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Orlando Ballet copes with housing and funding problems.

Fest and the Central Florida Fair) didn’t qualify for full funding. At that morning’s grant advisory panel meeting, following a recess to re-examine the score sheets, committee chair Sherry Paramore (seconded by panelist Hal Kantor) moved to withdraw $170,171 from next May’s Cultural Facilities grant and use it to fund some of the low-ranked applicants at an average of 68 percent of their requests. The Ballet ended up with $101,825 toward a $191,129 budget for their 2013-14 season.

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A review of New York City Ballet by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

A central problem is that these dancers are having to share roles with others who have been consistently overpromoted by Mr. Martins. When Megan Fairchild enters in his “Jeu de Cartes,” she doesn’t carry her head and neck as if they grew out of her torso; when she extends a leg to the side here or in other items, it has no more force than if it were her thumb. Nothing is more essential to ballet than its ability to light up the space above, around and beyond it; Ms. Fairchild knows how to cover space boldly but not how to project into it.

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Sylvie Guillem is profiled on BBC Two's "The Culture Show." Video.

Filmed over several months with exclusive access, this programme explores what happens when a force of nature becomes a force for nature, and follows Guillem as she continues to defy her own body, confronting the future while remaining one of dance's most mesmerising trailblazers

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Ballet Tucson opens its tenth season.

“Under My Skin,” receiving its world premiere, is choreographed by Chieko Imada in collaboration with Mary Beth Cabana, set to six classic Porter favorites.

Another premiere is company ballet master Daniel Precup‘s “Gemini,” inspired by the story of Castor and Pollux, for whom the constellation Gemini is named.

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A preview of the Joffrey Ballet's "La Bayadere" by Hedy Weiss in The Chicago Sun-Times.

When they began work on the designs several years ago, Welch and Farmer made a trip to Houston’s Natural History Museum to research the masks for the Hindu gods in the ballet, including the god of sleep and the god of war, fire and turmoil.

“For years I had just watched ‘La Bayadere’ for the dancing, without thinking about the story,” Welch confessed. “But once I began working on it I saw that all the characters possessed elements of both good and evil, and that the women are not the usual victims, but powerful.”

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An argument that David Koch's name should be removed from the former State Theater from Harold Meyerson for The American Prospect.

That’s what differentiates David Koch from all the other right-wing and otherwise questionable gazillionaires after whom cultural institutions are named. To be sure, Leland Stanford may have headed a railroad that purchased the California State Legislature before he endowed a world-class university; Henry Clay Frick may have had his goons mow down striking steelworkers before he turned his mansion into a museum—the tribe of miscreant millionaires turned cultural benefactors is large and consistently being replenished, if only because miscreant millionaires feel the need to purchase respectability. But to persist in granting such respectability to the nation’s largest funder of the ongoing assault on majority-rule democracy is something else again. Koch is perfectly free to build his own theater with his own money should he wish, much as Stanford funded a private university and Frick his own art collection. But the city of New York should no more honor Koch in 2013 than it should have honored Jefferson Davis or John C. Calhoun in 1863....

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The photographer Leigh Ledare takes some controversial shots of his mother, a former ballet dancer.

A look at the arc of Tina Peterson's life explains things further. At 16, she appeared as a beautiful, precociously talented ballerina in Seventeen magazine. Later, she danced at the Joffrey and the New York City Ballet before working briefly as a model. She then married, had two children, and – when the marriage failed – worked on and off as an exotic dancer.

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Dance Theatre of San Francisco makes its debut.

Henry says that all 13 performers this weekend have ballet experience. But the dance makers will go their different ways in these premieres. Although Erik Wagner was a member of the SF Ballet corps, "his work is very modern in style," Henry says.....

It is that lack of stylistic orthodoxy that motivated Henry to put together this inaugural season in a mere four months. She has been a member of the San Francisco Opera ballet corps and appeared here last season with Napoles Ballet. Her professional attitude is admirable: every dancer and choreographer will be paid, and their production costs defrayed. With an eye toward the future, Henry is busy building a board of directors.

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