The Royal New Zealand Ballet is Feeling the Heat

Patricia Barker teaching at the New Zealand School of Dance

It may be winter right now, but things at the RNZB are getting heated. The ballet company has been under a lot of scrutiny from the media recently for several issues, one being their significant downsizing. However, recently appointed director Patricia Barker (of Pacific Northwest Ballet fame) has come forward with a rebuttal.

A few weeks ago, the New Zealand Herald wrote an article stating that nearly half of the thirty-six member company was leaving by the new year; though turnover in a ballet company is normal, having half of a company depart is unusually high. It's not the only unusually unstable thing - the company has had 3 directors in the last 6 years.

Barker has come forward to attempt to address some of these rumors about departing dancers, noting that the number of dancers who left during her tenure was actually ten. Several retired, several were not rehired, and several moved to other companies.

Dance Magazine provided the following quote from Barker: "As far as dancers coming and going, it's the evolution of any company. All of the attention towards that gives me a sense the community really cares about the organization and I hope that we continue to get this much media coverage as we move into the next season and the wonderful ballets are done."

Though it's not a totally clear answer as to just what's going on down there, I suppose it all goes to show that any publicity is good publicity, right? In the meantime, the company's Board of Directors has arranged for an independent investigation into the company's hiring procedures. Stay tuned.

The Dance Competition Heard Around the World

Ballet Beyond Borders

The "Ballet Beyond Borders Grand Prix Dance Challenge" is about to begin, and the guest list includes some pretty notable celebrities and artists.

The line up includes dancers from Brazil, Mexico, Kazahkstan, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Romania, Korea, Panama, Italy, China, the U.K. and the United States. The star-studded cast will be meeting up in Missoula, Montana to compete and exchange artistic point of views. According to the RMBT Artistic Director Charlene Carey, "bringing the world to Missoula for five days of world-class dance competition and diplomatic exchanges is the heart of our mission and we are thrilled to be sharing this with the community.”

So who’s on the A list? Well, you may have heard of Patricia Kelly (the late Gene Kelly’s wife!). Also on the list are stars like Baktiyar Adamzhan, Julia Duarte, and Merritt Moore. The squad will be arriving in Montana January 9th, and the competition will last until the 13th. Is anyone else picturing the best dancers in the world under one roof? 'Cause we are! Check out their plan for opening night with Mrs. Kelly, entitled “Gene Kelly, The Legacy.”

New Year, Same Great Stuff!

Happy New Year from the DancePlug Team

Happy New Year, pluggers! We hope you had a safe and happy holiday season.

2017 was an exciting year for DancePlug. We added some talented new teachers to our team, and brought you classes and exercises in a variety of styles like contemporary, jazz, tap, and house. Our audition database was always full of opportunities and gigs from around the world. Our articles brought you advice from dance professionals on topics like auditioning, college dance programs, and injury prevention. And of course, our reviews and Dish reports kept you updated on all the news happening in the dance world.

We're also looking forward to what this year has to bring. We have a lot in store that we're excited about - more great classes from our amazing teachers, health and wellness articles to ensure you're at the top of your game. And we'll keep working to make sure that you always have the most up to date information on the hottest auditions and opportunities.

We love being your hub for all things dance, and we're looking forward to spending 2018 with you!

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Ranjeet Singh

Ranjeet Singh is our newfound superhero. He is a kindhearted policeman who has elevated traffic safety to a whole new level of awesome, and we’re kind of obsessed.

Singh is a traffic director in India, and he has incorporated some Michael Jackson moves into his daily routine to make the streets a safer place. The officer claims that traffic violations have decreased in his busy intersection, and now an Indian university is researching his theory to see if he’s right! Could it be that the moonwalk actually saves lives?

His dancing began about 12 years ago, and while the steps were a bit peculiar at first, he is now very popular amongst his community. He also says it’s a great way to make the job more fun and a great way to catch the attention of drivers who might otherwise ignore traffic safety. The man with 50,000 followers on Facebook stays humble though, and claims "I just want youngsters to stay safe and follow rules.”