New York-based Lourdes Lopez, who turns 54 in August, plans to be an important part of Miami boomtown. The Lopez-era Miami City Ballet will be doing more performances in its hometown and also will tour through South America, with the possibility of live-streaming performances to Miami audiences. Lopez and her family—she’s married to investment banker George Skouras and has two daughters—will be moving from New Yorkto Miami permanently in June 2013.
Read more about this in: Lourdes Lopez Takes the Lead at Miami City Ballet (oceandrive.com)
Further updates on what happening in Ballet-world you can find in:
- ‘Performing in New York’ returns to Albany (timesunion.com)
Dancers from Albania, Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Cuba, France, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, South Korea, United Kingdom, and throughout the United States will participate. Ten young dancers from local ballet schools will also be attending daily classes and rehearsals at The Egg, with an opportunity to learn about numerous diverse cultures in addition to their daily dance classes.
- ‘Disgraced’ ballet back on Bolshoi posters (english.ruvr.ru)
The Pharaoh’s Daughter – is back on the Bolshoi Theatre repertoire, just a few years after it was drummed out in disgrace. The ballet’s comeback was orchestrated by Pierre Lacotte, a ballet historian who is known in Europe for his remarkable reconstructions of lost 19th century ballets. Lacotte commented on the ballet in a Voice of Russia interview.
- Armenian, Cuban ballet dancers perform in Dominican Republic (panarmenian.net)
Viengsay Valdes, prima ballerina of Cuba’s National Ballet Company (BNC) received standing ovations during her presentation in the 6th Benefit Gala of Dance Stars, held in the Dominican Republic over the weekend, cadenagramonte.cu reports.
17-year-old black ballerina Micheala DePrince defies racial stereotypes (thegrio.com)
Against all odds, Michaela DePrince, once an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone, is now a ballerina. The 17-year-old has appeared on Dancing With The Stars and is featured in First Position, a documentary that follows the pressures faced by six talented dancers as they compete for a spot in an elite dance company or school. DePrince is completing her last year at American Ballet Theatre’s prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York City and wants to bring more diversity to the ballet world. Teen Vogue has more on the story
Sierra Leone war orphan returns to Africa en pointe for ballet debut (guardian.co.uk)
Her father was murdered by gunmen, her mother starved to death and Michaela DePrince was branded a “devil child” at her orphanage because of a rare skin condition. Then, as civil war raged around her in Sierra Leone, a vision came as if from another world.Outside the orphanage gates was a magazine with a picture of a ballet dancer. “I’d never seen anything like it before,” Michaela, now 17, tells the Guardian.
“Calling a little kid a ‘devil’s child’ is terrible,” she says. “It ruined my self-esteem for years. Even still now I don’t like compliments. I just push them away. I don’t like it when people say nice things or when my friends say I’m beautiful. I haven’t been able to accept myself yet as a person. It’s got a lot better, though.”
Michaela adds: “Because they hated me so much, I think I had to prove that, ‘I don’t care if you guys hate me, I’m going to do whatever I want.’ I think that’s the only way I was able to survive at that time.”
- New York City Ballet @ SPAC, 7/14/2012 (timesunion.com)
Saturday’s gala performance was of the caliber that reminds people what the world’s premiere classical dance company is all about and why it’s a cultural treasure the Capital Region should fight to keep for years to come.
The program’s three new ballets – one world premiere and two Saratoga premieres – showed off the company’s versatility, technical prowess and trademark musicality. They also underscored the vital role that new work plays in energizing and propelling an artistic enterprise forward – not to mention keeping it relevant. It made for an exciting night to be in the theater.
- Lourdes Lopez Takes the Lead at Miami City Ballet (oceandrive.com)
Come July, New York-based Lourdes Lopez will be spending a lot more time in her hometown of Miami, which she says is on the verge of something big.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am when I drive by the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and look at it, and I look at the museums that have been built, and I think, My God, it’s like a renaissance for Miami. That’s what it feels like to me,” Lopez says. “There’s this city that’s just about to boom.”
- Ballet Becoming A Popular Exercise Option(pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- At the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, you don’t need dance experience to take a drop-in class. School Director Marjorie Grundvig says you shouldn’t be afraid to jump right in.
“It shouldn’t be intimidating,” she said. “The way that especially ballet class but any dance class is designed is to start slowly – slowly with the process of learning the steps and learning the coordination and then you build on those blocks to become more complex, so it’s a process that anyone can do.”
- Expectation of Perfection: How Chehon Wespi-Tschopp has Changed “So You Think You Can Dance” (uloop.com)
For nine seasons now, FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance” has brought all genres of dance to the forefront through their unique approach to a reality talent show.
- Another Summer Stayer! Guest Blog from Olivia Aylmer on, yep, the ballet (momanhattan.wordpress.com)
Truly, these dancers could not have been more gracious, which made applauding for them after the curtain closed that much more of a pleasure. The principal dancers (or, étoiles as they’re known in Paris), Isabelle Ciaravola (Giselle), Karl Paquette (Albrecht) stepped aside fellow company members enjoy their New York moment on the white flower-strewn stage. MSB and I clutched each other’s arms multiple times over the course of the performance without saying a word as the subtle sublimity of the company’s spot-on rendition struck us.
- Behind closed curtains: the firing of Miami City Ballet’s Edward Villella (miamiherald.com)
Last July, Miami City Ballet artistic director Edward Villella was enjoying the greatest triumph of his career. Night after night, the troupe he launched from a Lincoln Road storefront 26 years before basked in thunderous standing ovations from packed crowds at Paris’ storied Theatre du Chatelet.Those three weeks in Paris topped Villella’s previous high — 22 curtain calls in Moscow on tour with the New York City Ballet at the height of the Cold War.“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Villella said from his Paris dressing room. “I feel exhilarated and happy and so proud of our dancers. We are operating at the highest levels.”
But the accolades abruptly ended when Villella and the company returned home. The ballet had a deficit of over $1.5 million, and was in one of the worst financial crises in its history.
The break climaxes years of tension between Villella and the board at a time when the company has reached unparalleled success: a critically acclaimed debut in New York in 2009, the Paris performances, a national TV debut on PBS last fall, and premieres of two successful ballets from major international choreographers last season.
- After 16 Years, an Elite French Ballet Company Returns to Lincoln Center (velvetroper.com)
At 6 p.m. last Wednesday, a gaggle of elegant ballet fans crowding out onto the balcony of the David H. Koch Theater murmured excitedly about the return of the Paris Opera Ballet to New York City for the first time in 16 years.
Mr. Laurent added that they prepared vigorously for the show, and when he sat down in the audience he was ready to accept the results. “You never know before the show what’s going to happen,” he said. “You built the ballet, but there’s only one moment for the show. You cannot miss it.”
- A triple bill of Cuban dance at Sadler’s Wells (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Sadler’s Wells revives Bourne’s sexy Play Without Words (theweek.co.uk)
The ballet combines dance and theatrical elements to tell a story of seduction and intrigue. Set in 1960s Chelsea, it evokes the shifting relationships and desires between a rich employer, his beautiful fiancée, and his new manservant (the role made famous in the 1963 film by Dirk Bogarde).
- Play Without Words/ New Adventures, Sadler’s Wells – review (standard.co.uk)
You know that moment when you’re about to kiss someone for the first time? That limbo when you desperately hope it happens but you’re not yet sure it will, and everything crackles with electricity?
- Expectation of Perfection: How Chehon Wespi-Tschopp has Changed “So You Think You Can Dance” (uloop.com)
From the audition rounds, to the grueling Vegas week, the dancers brought all of their determination and skills to showcase their abilities. But one dancer has, through his leaps and turns, brought one of the oldest forms of dance into the 21st century—ballet. Classical ballet dancer, Chehon Wespi-Tschopp stunned the judges in his New York City audition, where to the rhythm of “Sail” by American electronic rock band AWOLNATION he transformed traditional ballet into pure artistic expression. Through fluid movement and beautiful extensions, Chehon sailed through to Vegas Week where he continued to impress as he dominated every other style. Joining the ranks of one of the most talented Top 20 groups to grace the stage of So You Think You Can Dance, Chehon and two other ballet dancers(Daniel and Eliana) have proven that through strength and classical technique, ballet can be translated into a variety of other dance genres.
- Bolshoi Theater unveils new plans (english.ruvr.ru)
The 2012-2013 season will boast six opera premieres, including Alexander Borodin’s “Prince Igor” staged by outstanding theater director Yuri Lyubimov, whose bold and experimental version of the classic historical plot will raise many an eyebrow as it has none of the pompousness so characteristic of all of the Bolshoi’s previous productions of “Prince Igor”.But then, the Bolshoi is willing to experiment, says the theater’s General Director Anatoly Iksanov.
Our full-length classical ballets continue to arouse great interest. Foreign theaters either do not have them at all or have abridged versions. Full-length, lavishly designed, pompous classical productions with a huge corps-de-ballet are always the most wanted. Only Covent Garden asked to bring new one-act ballets for the London public to see what our interests are like and what young dancers we have, as well as our current opportunities and prospects for the future.
- Royal Ballet triple bill – review (guardian.co.uk)
In presenting Birthday Offering, choreographed by Frederick Ashton in 1956 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company’s foundation, the Royal Ballet is taking a substantial risk.
- First Position director Bess Kargman was inspired by a ‘little itty baby ballerina’ (arts.nationalpost.com)
In 2009, Bess Kargman sat in the back of a New York theatre and felt moved by the tiny dancer on stage. Miko Fogarty, a 11-year-old ballerina, was performing in the Youth America Grand Prix, an annual student competition open to dancers aged 9 to 19.“She was this little itty baby ballerina. I was in the nose-bleeds and from that far away, I could still see how unbelievably emotive she was and graceful and strong,” says Kargman, a 30-year-old journalism graduate from Columbia University. “I dance so I can spot technique and it’s very rare when you see a kid who possesses incredible technique but doesn’t diminish the importance of artistry.”This lithe little girl inspired Kargman’s lauded debut documentary, First Position, which follows seven dancers as they vie for scholarships in the Youth America Grand Prix. In the film, which opens July 20 in Toronto and Montreal, her camera captures everything, from the reoccurring injuries and the gruelling rehearsals to the family sacrifices involved in high-level competition.
She followed the dancers from New York to Sicily to London, and even accompanies 16-year-old Joan back to his home in Cali, to see his family for the first time in a year. “That scene, the way you experience him reuniting with his family is identical to the way I experienced it,” Kargman says. “I was basically welling up myself. People forget how young these kids are.”
- Les Noces is the masterpiece in this Royal Ballet triple bill (theweek.co.uk)
A Month in the Country is “a masterly haiku”, says Sarah Crompton in The Daily Telegraph. It “compresses all the emotion of a long, wordy play, into 40 minutes of glorious dance”. Dancer Emma Maguire “dazzles” as the young ward, “understanding both the light sharpness of the steps and the emotions they conveyed”.The evening’s light relief comes with Ashton’s Birthday Offering, says Judith Mackrell in The Guardian. It’s a piece of dazzlingly tricky classical invention. Created in 1956, its “inspiring choreography”, even today, pushes dancers to the edge of their musical and technical limits.Dance theatre just doesn’t come any better than Les Noces, says Graham Watts for London Dance. It is certainly “a wonderful flourish” to Dame Monica Mason’s closing signature as director.+++
- Miami City Ballet continues revival by naming new executive director (miamiherald.com)
After a tough year, Miami City Ballet is suddenly coming back strong. First, the troupe announced $3 million in new donations, a life-saving influx of nearly a quarter of its $13 million budget. And Tuesday, MCB announced the hiring of a top fundraiser at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington as executive director.
- Villella leaves Miami ballet sooner than expected (miamiherald.com)
The founder and artistic director of Miami City Ballet is leaving the company sooner than he had planned.
Edward Villella was to stay with the dance troupe through the end of its 2012-2013 season in April. Ballet officials announced Tuesday that Villella had decided to leave now. Villella founded the company in 1986.
- Director Linda Villella to leave Miami City Ballet school (miamiherald.com)
The upheaval at Miami City Ballet continued Friday, as the company announced that Linda Villella, director of the company’s school, will step down Aug. 31. She will be temporarily replaced by incoming artistic director Lourdes Lopez, who is slated to replace founding artistic director Edward Villella when he retires April 30, at the end of the 2012-2013 season.
- Miami City Ballet Director Leaving Sooner Than Expected (miami.cbslocal.com)
Mr. Villella’s relationship with Miami City Ballet grew sour in 2011. That November, the company announced his eventual departure, calling it a mutual decision. But friends and supporters of Mr. Villella, and other sources familiar with the company’s operations (who spoke anonymously to avoid damaging its reputation), said he was forced out because of frictions with an influential group of board members over fund-raising and personality issues.
- Edward Villella Departs Miami City Ballet Early (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
Lourdes Lopez, a former New York City Ballet dancer, was designated by the board as Mr. Villella’s successor as artistic director. The board also brought in Michael M. Kaiser, the president of the Kennedy Center and a noted turnaround specialist, to give advice, and hired an outside public relations firm.
- Villella leaves Miami ballet sooner than expected (cnsnews.com)
He remembered a comment his mentor at New York City Ballet, George Balanchine, made about wanting to “die in the harness,” and he had hoped to make a final bow on his own terms.”I’m not the retiring type,” he said.
He will return to New York, where he was born, to pursue other opportunities in dance.
- Villella leaves Miami ballet sooner than expected(utsandiego.com)
Villella was proud to have built a company where he would have liked to dance, despite one regret: “Just my failure to make everybody understand – and I’m talking about, not only donors and board people, the entire community, all of South Florida – this is a company that’s had standing ovations in L.A., Kennedy Center, Chicago, New York City, Paris. We are known and received better outside of Florida than we are inside of Florida.”