Ohad Naharin Will No Longer Direct Batsheva Dance

Ohad Naharin and the company - photo: Michal Chelbin

Last week Ohad Naharin, famed Israeli choreographer and Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Company, announced that he will be stepping down from the role in September of 2018. Naharin, who has led the company since 1990, will be replaced by the current rehearsal director (and former Batsheva dancer) Gili Navot.

He's certainly not the first dance director to take a step like this. In 1999, Jiri Kylian gave up his position as artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theatre. More recently, in 2008 Alexei Ratmansky left his position as artistic director of the Bolshoi and moved to American Ballet Theater to focus on choreography.

Naharin has become world-renowned for not only his leadership of the company and choreography, but for his development of the moment language 'Gaga', which he began on his Batsheva dancers and is now taught around the world. Naharin has stated that this new shift will allow him more time and energy to devote to choreographing and further refining the Gaga technique.

Naharin will still remain involved in the company, continuing as resident choreographer.

photo: Michal Chelbin

New Report Says Bolshoi Canceled Nureyev Ballet for 'Gay Propaganda'

Rudolph Nureyev

Last week, Russia's Bolshoi Ballet reported that it would postpone its upcoming performance of a brand new ballet entitled "Nureyev", based on the life of famed ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev, who defected from Russia in 1961.

Well, the scandal just keeps getting more complicated. Russia's TASS news agency, which is run by the state, has cited an unidentified source that claimed that Russia's Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky gave the show the boot because it may push "gay propaganda."

A law that was passed in 2013 bans the spread of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. Several images and videos from the show have been leaked, alongside interviews with individuals linked to the production, have hinted that it may contain nudity, transvestites, and the topic of Nureyev's homosexuality.

The original announcement from TASS that stated the production would be postponed has been deleted, and replaced with a new article that does not state that Culture Minister Medinsky was involved. Instead, the report states that Medinsky "supported" the Bolshoi's decision to cancel the production. The minister is quoted as saying "this didn't happen. We don't interfere in repertory politics and don't engage in censorship."

This announcement has fueled the fire of controversy already surrounding the show, as critics from the Western dance world, as well as dancers among the Bolshoi.

Stay tuned.

This Tiler Peck Music Vid Will Start Your Weekend Right

Tiler Peck in "Medicine Man" by Charlotte OC

If your week has been anything like ours, it's been a doozy. Well, the good news is, it's the weekend! And we here at DancePlug are here to make sure you start it off on a good note - with a little help from this stunning vid.

You probably know Tiler Peck - New York City Ballet principal dancer, goddess extraordinaire. And if you haven't had the chance to see her dance live, don't worry! A new music video by Charlotte OC dropped this week.  It's called "Medicine Man," and it's literally just 3 minutes and 51 seconds of Tiler doing what she does best - being the ballerina we all wanted to be when we were growing up.

Haven't heard of Charlotte OC until now? Yeah, us either. She's a British singer-songwriter with some pretty seriously soulful vocal chops. You can check out more of her music on her website.

Bonus: the choreography for "Medicine Man" was done by Christopher Wheedon, who (fun fact) also choreographed An American in Paris on Broadway.

Take a look to get a little inspiration to help you leap into the weekend!

The Red Shoes are Dancing Towards You

Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes

English choreographer Matthew Bourne is widely beloved for his adaptations of classic stories - Swan Lake, The Nutcracker. And now, he's done it again, tackling the iconic story of "The Red Shoes."

The work is an adaptation of the 1948 dance film that's based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. The story is a fanciful tale about a ballerina who joins a company and becomes the lead in a ballet called "The Red Shoes" (tbh, it's kind of like ballet-ception). She becomes caught up in whirlwind romances and the emotionally destructive power of the red shoes. I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say, it's a little less than happy.

Ashley Shaw in Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes.© Dave Morgan.
Ashley Shaw in Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes. © Dave Morgan

Bourne's version, which premiered in England in the fall of 2016, earned two Olivier awards in London (equivalent to a Tony Award) and was widely acclaimed by critics. Now, the show is preparing for a North American tour, which will make stops in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington DC, and North Carolina.

The North American touring cast features some names you might recognize. New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns will perform the lead role of Victoria Page while the show is in NYC, and American Ballet Theater principal Marcelo Gomes will play lead male character Julian Craster for the entire tour.