March 23, 2011 |
Dancer Benjamin Millepied, 33, comes off as a bit of a highbrow pawn in "Black Swan," Darren Aronofsky's award-winning ballet-horror film. One imagines his character's pale hands, lifting Natalie Portman, as dull and mean and clammy. Off-screen, however, Millepied has the world in a wide, warm embrace. Even before "Black Swan" launched his career as a film choreographer-actor and set in motion a whirlwind romance and engagement with Portman, he was gaining international renown for his dancing and his stylish, architectural choreography at New York City Ballet and beyond.
May 26, 2010 |
Nostalgia prevailed at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park, where a group of dancer-alumni gathered on Saturday to remember the vivacious New York ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem. Charismatic pioneering black ballet star Arthur Mitchell launched the troupe in 1969 in response to Martin Luther King's assassination. Post- 9/11 economic realities, however, undermined Mitchell's labor of love. While DTH's school still operates at 152nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the performing ensemble has been "on hiatus" since 2004.
May 23, 2010 |
Kings Road Cafe was bustling on a recent mid-afternoon, and Melissa Barak was gratefully digging into a late lunch. Barak, a choreographer and leading dancer with Los Angeles Ballet, suggested Kings Road as a meeting spot because it's one of her favorite restaurants. It also happens to be a central locus among the nearby landmarks in Barak's young life. It's five blocks east from the cafe to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was born 30 years ago, and a seven-minute walk to her childhood home near Melrose Avenue.
May 9, 2010 |
Three couples are negotiating a series of head-to-head moves, rapid-fire turns and daring leaps to cranked-up tango music of Astor Piazzolla. At first glance they could be contestants in a postmodern dance marathon. In reality, they are rehearsing a new piece for Los Angeles Ballet's final program of its fourth season. The beneficent task mistress calling the shots is choreographer Sonya Tayeh, the heavily tattooed 33-year-old known for her work on Fox's hit television show "So You Think You Can Dance."
March 21, 2010 |
Several major transformations are embodied within a single unusual hour of television airing on PBS Wednesday evening. A 1958 Jerome Robbins ballet, which astutely captured the essence of that moment's younger generation, has been transformed into a highly contemporary dance film shot in unexpected New York City locations. Beyond that, there is the improbable tale of two young New York City Ballet soloists who envisioned the entire project and became self-taught executive producers, fighting the odds to get the film made.
February 28, 2010 |
The After-School All-Stars — a tax-exempt group founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early 1990s to provide tutoring, recreation and other programs for poor children — has now grown to provide after-school programs for 81,000 middle and high school students at 450 campuses around the country. And Schwarzenegger continues to support the organization. Speaking at the Feb. 18 "Reaching for the Stars" gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, he said, "I will always be part of raising the money … organizing and helping the committee and promoting it nationwide."
December 20, 2009 |
Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, impatient dancers, choreographers, critics and audience members all hoped that a new breed of innovators would appear to transform theatrical dance the way that Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev radically renewed and updated classical ballet in the first decade of the 20th. We're still waiting. Where are the bold, young choreographers creating imperishable dances, the adventuresome composers and designers venturing off the middle of the road?
August 30, 2009 |
It is early afternoon at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. On the fourth floor, a woman in a black leotard dances in a large studio with high ceilings and great views of the Hudson River. She hardly pauses as the most famous dancer of them all stops at the door, looks pleased and moves on. Mikhail Baryshnikov is proprietor, mentor and role model to the many choreographers and dancers, musicians and actors coming to the 4-year-old center to create, rehearse or perform new work. Baryshnikov himself does his warm-ups and rehearsing in a studio upstairs.
September 15, 2008 |
Talk about bipolar! The highs were lofty and the lows, well, definitely approached a nadir at the ninth edition of the Los Angeles Dance Invitational, on Saturday at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. Having gone through various incarnations since its first concert in 1999 -- from celebrity-driven charity benefits to a choreographers' showcase -- the event continues to honor distinguished dance teachers and other notables in the field. And so it was the presence of Edward Villella -- the erstwhile New York City Ballet superstar who, in 1986, founded Miami City Ballet -- that seemed to bring the most cheers from Saturday's audience.