Are we seeing a breakdown in the ballet company system? Where the brightest stars used to twinkle in the great companies, all is changing. Alina Cojocaru, the great Royal Ballet ballerina, has announced today shes joining English National Ballet – run by another great Royal Ballet ballerina, Tamara Rojo. For ENB to have the two finest talents of the past decade in Covent Garden now at the head of their cast lists is the biggest stunner since… well, since the Bolshoi Ballets young superstars Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev quit to join the smaller Mikhailovsky Ballet.
Or since the Royals super young male star Sergei Polunin quit Covent Garden and landed with another of Russias “secondary” companies, the Stanislavsky Ballet pictured right in Coppelia.
Another straw in the wind was the almost unthinkable departure this month of a leading Paris Opera Ballet ballerina, Mathilde Froustey, for the much smaller San Francisco Ballet. People just don’t leave Paris Opera.
Osipova, after the Mikhailovsky began to look unstable given its owner’s business problems, agreed to join the Royal Ballet next season – but it’s hard to predict whether that’s about joining the Covent Garden company or about living in a vibrant London, where dance in general has so many fresh options.
All sorts of norms are now up on their ear. Its as if the worlds top football strikers had said no to the Premier League and were forming their own.
Why is this happening?
Behind the scenes: http://vimeo.com/21096567
Limited Fine Art Prints now available here:
Frederic Franklin, an exuberant, British-born ballet dancer who was an early inspiration for choreographers George Balanchine and Agnes de Mille and a frequent stage partner of the renowned ballerina Alexandra Danilova, died Saturday at a New York hospital. He was 98.
He had complications from pneumonia, said his partner, William Ausman.
Most dance companies make money by selling tickets to their performances. Boise-based troupe Trey McIntyre Project has a more expansive business model: “We’ve decided that we have a real asset, which is the creative process itself. We’re selling that,” says John Michael Schert, the company’s co-founder and executive director.
Roslyn Sulcas writes: The photographer Henry Leutwyler was building a career in fashion and portrait work in Paris in the late 1980s when he was sent on assignment to photograph Jorge Donn, the charismatic principal dancer who had risen to fame with Maurice Béjart’s Ballet of the 20th Century. The job proved to be a turning point for the Swiss-born Mr. Leutwyler, now 51, who subsequently spent time photographing Mr. Donn and his fellow dancers in Béjart’s company, which was based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
After moving to New York in 1996 Mr. Leutwyler continued to take celebrity portraits but found a way back to dance when New York City Ballet hired him to document repertory pieces.
One assignment turned into several more, and eventually he won permission to take pictures backstage, in class and rehearsal. The result is “Ballet: Photographs of the New York City Ballet,” Steidl, $88, a weighty tome that offers a subtle, revealing view of the life of one of the world’s most prominent ballet companies.
But the birches are hardly corps material. They are more like their ballerina owner, refusing to vanish into the background. Against the surrounding green, their white trunks stand out with startling grace.
Some things aren’t meant to fit in.
There was no hammering Makarova into another member of the corps. Her delicate figure, barely 5 feet tall, conceals the backbone of a test pilot, a CEO, a commander. She started dancing late, at 13. Within a decade, she had climbed to the top ranks of Russia’s Kirov (now Mariinsky) Ballet.
And then she walked away.
SOFT-SPOKEN, INTELLECTUALLY FOCUSED, allergic to displays of temperament and attentive to his colleagues, as well as to the language of classical dance, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky is, understandably, in demand by ballet companies from Miami to Australia. He has made his mark on classical works of nearly every description: long ballets; short ballets; story ballets; storyless ballets haunted by characters looking for a story; ballets that are formal constructions or moving architecture; ballets for opera. Many of his works are set to music by composers from his native Russia (he has an especially keen interest in the music of Dmitri Shostakovich), and several are personal reconstructions of stagings by Soviet choreographers of the Stalinist period, whom Ratmansky believes have been given short shrift by history.