Dance companies have embraced social media like few others arts organisations – and even the founder of Twitter is a ballet fan. Judith Mackrell visits San Francisco Ballet to find out what new technology can do for dancers and audiences alike. San Francisco Ballet (SFB) may well be at the forefront of this new wave. At their modern, purpose-built base in the city’s Civic Center, I find a company in thrall to social media. “I’m not really a technology person,” shrugs principal ballerina Maria Kochetkova. Yet in 2007, she was one of the first professional dancers to sign up to Twitter and, as @balletrusse, she now has 180,000 followers. Other SFB dancers aren’t far behind. Meanwhile, in the marketing department, there’s a full-time “digital engagement co-ordinator” posting comments on Facebook and Twitter, and drumming up online buzz. [Source]
Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, nothing short of perfection is acceptable. Bess Kargman’s award-winning, box office hit documentary FIRST POSITION follows six extraordinary dancers as they prepare for the chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, FIRST POSITION paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted ballet stars of tomorrow. First Position had its World Premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and was named the audience choice’s 1st runner-up for Best Documentary. It also won the Jury Prize at the San Francisco Doc Fest, the audience award for Best Documentary at the Dallas International Film Festival, the audience award for Best Documentary at the Portland International Film Festival, and the audience award for Best Documentary at DOC NYC. Prior to its completion, First Position won the WESTDOC PitchFest. Director Bess Kargman was also given the Best New Director award at the Portland International Film Festival in 2012. [Source]
[via Haruko Kawanishi]
UPDATE! There seems to be some confusion about how to see First Position. 1) If you live in North America you can watch it on VOD, iTunes, Netflix or buy the DVD on Amazon (with all of the cool DVD extras). If you live in South America the film will be available in less than two months and if you live in Europe or Australia/NZ the film will be released in cinemas in exactly 9 weeks. We apologize profusely for the delay but because we have sold the film to distributors all around the world we don’t have control over the release dates they choose or how long they take to subtitle the film in various languages.
”Septet,” on a program with ”Doubles” (danced a bit somnolently) and ”Pictures,” proved as delightful as it was revealing, historically. It is not a major work, but it has a clarity of movement that matches the clarity of sound so important to Satie. Mr. Cunningham has since created more complex and sophisticated pieces. Never, however, has he been so pure. ”Septet” is a rarity in the Cunnigham canon. It will surprise a great many people. It is reportedly the last piece Mr. Cunningham choreographed along traditional lines before he embarked upon the regular use of chance procedures as a compositional device. It is also set to ”real” music rather than the controversial sound scores now common in the Cunningham troupe. [Source]