New Moulin Rouge Musical Enlists SYTYCD Choreographer

Sonya Tayeh

Good news, SYTYCD fans - one of your favorite choreographers is headed to the Great White Way. Sonya Tayeh is on board to be the choreographer for Moulin Rouge, a musical based on the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name. 

If anyone has the diverse skills needed to tackle a show like this, it's Tayeh. She's worked in all kinds of areas of dance. In addition to her Emmy nominated work on So You Think You Can Dance, she's also choreographed concert dance works for Martha Graham Dance Company and Los Angeles Ballet. She's also worked with stars like Florence and the Machine and Miley Cyrus, in addition to teaching all over the world. 

In addition to her two Emmy nods, Tayeh also snagged a Lucille Lortel Award and an Obie for her choreography for David Henry Hwang’s dance play, Kung Fu.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical will be directed by Alex Timbers, and is scheduled to have a lab presentation in New York City between October 30 - December 15. From there, it's expected to head to Broadway, but we don't have any specific dates yet. 

Stay tuned!

Forget the Gym, Workout Like a Dancer!

LA Dance Workout

We’ve all heard the phrase “I want a dancer body,” which usually means that someone wants to have defined, long, lean muscle tone. The truth is, dancers rehearse 8 hours a day (often times more than that) to get that desired body, and there’s not a single class at your gym that can simulate that kind of a workout. However, the L.A Dance Project just launched a new kind of subscription based exercise program called “L.A Dance Workout”, which claims to be “no ordinary online exercise videos.”

Dancers have a rare balance of strength and flexibility, which allows them to maintain a lean muscle mass and a healthy range of motion. The L.A Dance Workout program claims to provide the participant with the same benefits, along with the joy of movement. The immersive experience is designed to work with the body, rather than against it, all while helping to improve posture, endurance, flexibility, and strength. On the website, you can watch the introduction video, and you can’t help but be impressed. The quality of the instructional videos is beautiful, and you can tell a lot of time and hard work went in to this project. But is it actually effective?

Only time will tell us if this new exercise initiative is actually helpful for people who are trying to build a leaner and longer body. In the meantime, we have to address the green elephant in the room. That’s right, the program costs $14.99 a month, which for an online workout regimen is quite a few Benjamins! Most dancers struggle to pay rent, so the idea of paying another monthly fee for cross training can be a little intimidating. However, the program could be worth it; there’s just no telling until we see how people react to an extended use of the videos. Until then, check out the free 10 day trial!

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

Cincinnati Ballet - Romeo and Juliet

This fall, you can find Romeo dancing alongside Juliet at the Cincinnati Ballet. Victoria Morgan’s take on the classic Shakespeare story will be performed in the newly updated Cincinnati Music Hall from October 26th to the 29th.

The story of Romeo and Juliet was written over 420 years ago, and yet Morgan claims that the themes and conflicts in the story are “more relevant today than ever.” We can only assume that she's referring to the political climate and the tensions between people from different walks of life. Our world is full of opposites, enemies, and rivalries, but the love that the two star crossed lovers feel for each other transcends all of these obstacles. So it seems like bringing this production back to the stage will be not just aesthetically pleasing, but also thought provoking.

On another note, the company didn't just receive a renovated theater, but also a new rehearsal space. They now have full access to a state-of-the-art rehearsal studio, which will allow the company to rehearse multiple casts at one time. Talk about time efficiency! They’re going to be able to perfect their performances faster, while enjoying the comfort of a new space with new amenities. Seems like the Cincinnati Ballet knows what’s up… perks for trinas and bunheads galore!

Should This New Ballet Ad Be Allowed?

photo credit: Sasha Onyshchenko

Censorship has always been a pretty hot-button topic in many artistic mediums, dance included. However, we're lucky to live in a country where it doesn't happen too frequently, and artists are free to make the work they want in whatever way they see fit. 

Sometimes, though, issues arise to bring censorship back to the debate table, and this is one of those times. Last week, it was reported that a new ad for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens upcoming season was banned from Montréal's metro system. 

The "offending" image is, admittedly, pretty gory. It features dancer Vanesa Garcia-Ribala Montoya covered in blood with a nail through her foot. It's an ad for the company's performance of Statbat Mater, which has music by Giovanni Batista Pergolesi and was reportedly inspired by the pain the Virgin Mary felt during the Biblical story of Jesus' cruxifixion. 

Montréal's transit system has banned the photo, saying that the graphic nature of the image could inspire violence.

 Sasha Onyshchenko
photo credit: Sasha Onyshchenko

The poster has been refused on the grounds that it could incite violence, according to the Société de transports de Montréal (STM), which cites the blood and the spike through the foot as key factors. The ballet's new artistic director Ivan Cavallari responded in the Montréal Gazette: 

“They speak of violence, but it’s not an image that evokes violence. If they think it’s violent, then what do they say about all the very pretty women in ads for lingerie, who are almost naked?...We’re no longer scandalized about those kinds of things...I don’t understand how in 2017 they can look at a photo like this and say it’s no good.”

What do you think - should the image be allowed to be on the public transport system, or is it not appropriate? Leave us a comment below!