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Vala Dancewear Blog

  • Robotic 'Swan Lake' Moves Audiences to Tears

    Photo Credit: Kerstin Gauffin

    Photo

    I know it sounds like something straight out of a B-rated Sci-fi movie but it's absolutely true! According to PopSci.com, Swedish scientists have built "a robot swan (that) is literally moving people to tears with a four-minute, professionally choreographed routine, dramatically executed to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”   The graceful automaton makes its grand debut today at Sweden's Gothenburg book fair. Read the rest of this incredible article here.

  • ABT's Nutcracker T-Shirt Design Contest

    Sketch by Richard Hudson. Copyright 2010 Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Sketch

    Attention young artists! This one's for you! American Ballet Theatre invites young artists, ages 4-17, to design a T-shirt inspired by ABT’s World Premiere production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, performing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, from December. 22 – January 2, 2011.For detailed contest information including submission dates, please click here!

     

    PS: If you're the lucky winner, be sure to tell us about it! We'd love to give you a special shout-out!

  • ABT's Kevin McKenzie Coaches Orlando's Giselle

    Kevin McKenzie, artistic director of American Ballet Theatre, works with Orlando Ballet dancers Patric Palkens and Katia Garza.

    Kevin

    Seems like everywhere you look, there's another production of Giselle popping up! In this article, "Kevin McKenzie, artistic director of American Ballet Theatre, has been looking in on rehearsals for “Giselle” as he visits the company led by his friend Robert Hill, an alumnus of American Ballet Theatre." (....) Read the article here.

  • NYCB's New "Personal" Ads

    Photo Credit: Henry Leutwyler. Janie Taylor, right, and Sébastien Marcovici appear in a New York City Ballet advertising campaign.

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    From the Wall Street Journal, "New York City Ballet's new marketing campaign features a relaxed, casually sexy aesthetic that represents a radical image overhaul for the company, part of its most significant effort yet to appeal to the younger New Yorkers it hopes will become future patrons."

    Impressive, yes? To get a fresh-faced peek at some of your favorite NYCB dancers, click here.

  • 19 New Dancers Join Expanded Boston Ballet

    From left: Adiarys Almeida, Keenan Kampa, Lasha Khozashvili, and Joseph Gatti are among the dancers added to Boston Ballet’s roster this season. (Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)

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    Now here's something to get excited about!

    "Just two years ago, facing a financial crunch, Boston Ballet laid off staff and reduced the main company from 50 to 41. Artistic director Mikko Nissinen said the aim was to operate short-staffed for two years in order to regroup and pay off debt, then build the company back up.

    “We did two to three rounds of trimming on every possible front,’’ Nissinen said recently by phone. “We cleaned out our debt royally, and moved our financial picture to a very good place.’’ This season, working on a budget of $24 million-$25 million, the main company roster is back up to 47, and further additions are planned over the next few years." ~ Quote Boston.com

    To read the rest of this happy piece of news, click here!

  • ABT Announcement: José Manuel Carreño to Retire

    Photo Credit: Erin Baiano for The New York Times. José Manuel Carreño performing in “Le Corsaire” at the Metropolitan Opera House.

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    Yes, I know. 'Tis truly a sad, sad day. American Ballet Theater Principal José Manuel Carreño has announced his plans to retire in August 2011. You can read more about this tragic event here.  {PS: All hope is not lost...he's merely retiring from ABT, not the world of dance as a whole! *Snoopy dance*}

  • An Epic Collaboration: Baryshnikov and Cunningham

    mikhail-baryshnikovThis next piece of news just makes me want to book a flight to New York, ASAP! 

    According to the New York Times, "On Oct. 4, Mikhail Baryshnikov will perform as part of a special benefit program to introduce a new collaboration between the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Baryshnikov Arts Center. “BAC Flicks: Mondays With Merce,” a new monthly film series and programming collaboration, is intended to educate audiences about Cunningham’s legacy and creative process."

    This is sure to be a stellar event of epic proportions! To learn more about the kick-off event, the film series, or to purchase tickets, click here to read the rest of the article.

  • Alonzo King + Ballet = Serious Business

    AlonzoIMGFor Alonzo King, ballet is serious business indeed. The famed choreographer and artistic director of Alonzo King LINES Ballet recently interviewed with the Herald Scotland's own Phil Miller to discuss his intense dedication to the art of dance:  

    “As a young dancer, training with many leading schools and based in New York, he was reprimanded for his intensity and drive. He says that, like many dancers, he did not want to evolve in a steady, normal way – he wanted to be the best he could be immediately. “If you find young dancers, they know what they want from life. They know. You go into these schools and you see them: they are focused and have a mental design of what they want to become. It’s a remarkable thing to see and I was like that. I remember teachers would say: ‘Calm down, take it easy, relax,’ and I would think: ‘What are they talking about? They’re crazy! I have a lot to do here.’ I was intense. I still am.” ~ Quote Herald Scotland.  Read the rest of this fabulous article here. {FYI: He even discusses what it was like to teach Patrick Swayze during one of his last  films!}

    Alonzo King LINES Ballet performs in Edinburgh, Scotland August 26-29 at the Edinburgh International Festival.

  • The Joys and Travails of Dancing On Pointe In Bali

    Robin Gilbert Campos performs with Carlos Fittante in Bali.

    Robin

    Even under the best conditions, dancing on pointe isn't exactly a cake walk.

    Now imagine how much harder it would be to glide across cement or worse--gritty, marble tiles? (Gasp!) Impossible, you say? Well, ballerina Robin Gilbert Campos of BALAM Dance Theatre begs to differ. In fact, this highly adaptable dancer is performing this month in Bali on some of the most challenging dance surfaces--from mud and moss to unsecured carpet! (Shudder)

    Robin recently sat down with BALAM's artistic director, Carlos Fittante to discuss the perils of pointe work in Bali: "Ballet and point dancing have a very specific training practice and environmental conditions, including being able to take ballet class and rehearse on a good floor on a regular basis. There is not an opportunity for any of that here in Bali. In this tour, we have had to rehearse on an outdoor cement courtyard, often wet with rain, mud and moss, while wearing our walking shoes. The temple stages we perform on are also cement with a thin carpet pieced together without being secured by tape, and sometimes the temple stage floors are bare marble tiles covered with grit. I have my point shoes rubberized as a precaution." ~ Quote Robin Gilbert Campos

    (I don't know about you, but I definitely wouldn't want to attempt such a feat!) To read the rest of Robin's amazing interview, click here.

  • Atlanta Ballet's Celebration Open to the Public

    You are cordially invited to attend this weekend's festivities in honor of Atlanta Ballet's Grand Opening of the new Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre! "The new Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre, almost twice the size of its West Peachtree Street predecessor, will be the permanent home for the professional company and its nationally respected Centre for Dance Education. It will also serve as a unique resource for the not-for-profit performing arts community, offering special event, rehearsal and performance space." ~ Quote: Atlanta Ballet

    The celebration kicks off on Saturday at 10:30am with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event, followed by facility tours, mini performances and short open classes. You can read all about it here! {PS: If you happen to attend, send us an email or leave a comment telling us all about it!}

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