World Ballet Day Returns
After an incredibly successful event last year, World Ballet Day will return on October 5th.
2016 was a record-breaking year; through a partnership with Facebook LIVE, over 700,000 people watched the live stream from major ballet companies, and over 6.7 million watched afterwards through on-demand.
2017 will see a continuation of the partnership with World Ballet Day and Facebook LIVE. Five of the world's most well-known companies will join forces (for the fourth time!) to provide 20 hours of behind-the-scenes live footage: The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet. Their goal is not only to celebrate the beauty and athleticism of ballet, but to show the perseverance it takes to be a ballet dancer.
The videos will showcase a variety of things; morning class, rehearsals, and backstage prep for future shows. Show your excitement buy using the hashtag #WorldBalletDay , and keep an eye on www.worldballetday.com for the full schedule as we get closer.
Photo credit: World Ballet Day, San Francisco Ballet
Ballet is Bigger in Texas
Lately, the news has been pretty bleak. But there's always a silver lining; even in a world overrun with negative media, the arts community has a way of rebounding and generating hope and excitement in the world. Our friends in the Wild West are helping to do just that by expanding their company!
The Texas Ballet Theatre will be adding four apprentices AND five new company members this season. The 55 year old company is considered to be extremely prestigious and growing in popularity. In this day and age it can be hard for a ballet company to compete with alternative forms of entertainment, so it's refreshing to see that ballet is still alive and well within our communities. You may ask: in a world where more and more dance companies are struggling to get by - how DOES TBT do it? Well, they have some key strategies when it comes to staying relevant.
In order to maintain their popularity, the company performs new and innovative works, while also performing the classics. This means that they cater to all ages and types of audience members. For example, in the winter you can go and see "The Nutcracker", or you can go see "The Nutty Nutcracker." This season they will be performing Beauty and the Beast, along with Swan Lake and several others. In truth, this company covers the spectrum, and the Texas crowd loves it. So maybe the ballet world can learn a thing or two from this company... y'all better start giving the audience some options!
A 'Dance Moms' Triumphant Return
Chloe and her mom Christi are back for this season of Dance Moms! Now that former star Abby is behind bars (read our coverage of that drama here), these two have crept out of the shadows to rejoin their former dance team. In an exclusive interview with E! News, the mom and daughter duo shared their thoughts on the new team coach, Cheryl Burke.
Chloe feels that new coach Burke is celebrating the team for their differences, which was refreshing and enlightening. She also made a jab at Abby, claiming that Abby’s method of dance training was harsh (to say the least!). Mom Christi said that she appreciated Burke’s honest style of teaching, and she liked that Burke was giving the girls a chance to take the lead.
It sounds like the new team has taken a liking to Burke, but will this honeymoon last? Let's be honest - this group is notorious for always having something new to complain about! You could probably send in Mother Theresa, and they would still find a way to start drama. Stay tuned.
Photo credit: Jammi York/BUILD Series, Getty
New Study Shows Dancers Brains Are Different
For the past three years, the University of Maryland and the University of Houston have conducted a joint research study on dancers, studying their ability to their conclusion is that dancers brains seem to be programmed differently than those who do not dance. The study shows that dancers uses multiple areas of their brain all at once when dancing - one part controls movement, another generates movement qualities, and they work together to do the movement and make decisions.
This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise - as dancers, we know that our craft is good for our brains. Dancers have to have complete control over our bodies, while balancing choreography and often acting as a certain character onstage. Karen Kohn Bradley, director of graduate studies at the University of Maryland, puts like this: "When you see dancers who are dancing beautifully, their whole brain is being engaged. They are thinking about the sequence, focus, timing and qualities of lightness and strength all at once."
It's not completely clear if people are born with these brain patterns, or develop them over time. Regardless, the study does help us understand how dancers can process choreography in the moment and retain it over time. The research is also incredibly valuable for dance education. "We've all heard of the laser beam shooting out of the leg to improve battement technique...but we also need imagery that evokes feeling."
Read more of the interview at Dance Magazine