Tamara Rojo shakes off the pink satin ribbons to put sex back into ballet

Tamara Rojo and Sergei Polunin

The new head of English National Ballet believes it is time for her art form to rediscover its edge and aims to do just that in her first Coliseum season.

Male dancers compete rather like rappers, she said, to prove who can jump highest or spin fastest. It is a competition she wants young boys and men who do not like ballet to come to see. “Boys don’t get introduced to ballet in the same way,” she said. “It is not very often that a family decides to take a boy to the ballet. But once they are introduced they really enjoy it, and men particularly love the mature themes.”

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Ballet’s Greatest Hits – YAGP Gala (Youth America Grand Prix)

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Presented by Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world’s largest dance education initiative, and subject of the award-winning ballet documentary “First Position,” “Ballet’s Greatest Hits” presents a one-of-a-kind glimpse of ballet from today and yesterday. The film is hosted by “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” Executive Producer, Nigel Lythgoe, and stars leading figures from the world of ballet. Dancers such as Marcelo Gomes, Veronika Part, Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston, Stella Abrera and Skylar Brandt from American Ballet Theatre, Maria Kochetkova and Taras Domitro of San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet favorites Ashley Bouder and Daniel Ulbricht, Matthew Golding of Dutch National Ballet, Alejandro Virelles of Boston Ballet and Greta Hodgkinson of National Ballet of Canada perform iconic roles from the classical repertoire including Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle, Flames of Paris, Don Quixote and La Bayadere. Audiences will gain special insight from backstage interviews with the performers and ballet luminaries such as Alexei Ratmansky, Angel Corella, Benjamin Millepied, Edward Villella, Jose Manuel Carreño, Mathieu and Denys Ganio, Matthew Bourne, Susan Jaffe and many others. See them dance, hear them talk and feel their passion in a unique dialogue between ballet’s history and its present. “Ballet’s Greatest Hits” is a star-studded event not to miss!

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Bolshoi Head Dismisses Ex-Ballerina’s Pimping Claims

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The Bolshoi ballet’s general director, Anatoly Iksanov, dismissed as “nonsense and dirt” claims by ex-ballerina Anastasia Volochkova that dancers were pimped out to wealthy patrons as infighting escalated. Volochkova appeared on a show on state TV aired at the weekend alongside Iksanov’s rival, the ballet’s principal dancer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze. She said the practice was now “a lot worse” than when she was fired from the theater 10 years ago. The two were questioned by presenters Tina Kandelaki and Margarita Simonian. Iksanov also hit out at Tsiskaridze, who on the same show said he was ready to take the general director’s job. Speaking during a press conference held yesterday at the Bolshoi building in Moscow, Iksanov called on Tsiskaridze to resign from the ballet, because he can’t fire him. A battle for control of Russia’s most famous theater, which was founded in 1776 by Catherine the Great, has become public since an acid attack in January on the theater’s artistic director, with Georgian-born Tsiskaridze and Iksanov trading accusations.

Read the full story on Bloomberg here.

L.A. Ballet’s Balanchine Festival follows in master’s steps

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Colleen Neary will never forget the day when George Balanchine articulated the blueprint for her life’s work. She was in her early 20s, then a respected New York City Ballet dancer.

“He put me in to teach company class,” she says. “He said to me, ‘This is what you will do in the future.’ I said I wanted to dance, but he said, ‘You won’t dance forever. You will teach dancers my ballets.”

Fast forward to 2013, to a rehearsal of Balanchine’s 1941 “Concerto Barocco” at the Westside headquarters of Los Angeles Ballet.

Read the full article in the L.A. Times here.

Chinese dancers pursue ‘Korean dreams’

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Fang Mengying and Huang Zhen rehearse at the Universal Ballet Company in western Seoul last week.

It is the dream of many ballet dancers to pursue a career in France or Russia, home to some of the oldest companies in the world.

But some Asian dancers have come to Korea to develop their careers, as in the case of Huang Zhen, a ballerino from Hong Kong, and Chinese dancer Fang Mengying.

The two dancers will make their debut as main characters in “Swan Lake” by the Universal Ballet Company (UBC), a leading ballet troupe in Korea, next week. The company will stage “Swan Lake” at Seoul Arts Center as a season opener starting Friday through next Tuesday.

Fang is one of the six dancers, along with longtime principal dancer Kang Ye-na and Hwang Hye-min that will dance the lead role of Odette.

The Chinese dancer graces the official poster for the production as well. It is unusual for a soloist, not a principal, to appear in the poster of a season opener or dance a lead role in such a large-scale production as the “Swan Lake.”

Read the full article in The Korean Times here.

Tickets for UBC’s production of “Swan Lake” ranges from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call 070-7124-1737 or visit www.unversalballet.com.

Russian Police Say Dancer and Two Others Confess to Bolshoi Attack

The New York Times have published three articles about the Bolshoi acid attack:

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A dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet and two other men have confessed to carrying out an acid attack in January on the company’s artistic director, Sergei Filin, a crime that gripped Moscow and left one of Russia’s most revered institutions in turmoil, the police announced on Wednesday.

Read the full article.

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Prosecutors have yet to lay out a possible motive in the January attack on the Bolshoi Ballet’s artistic director, Sergei Filin, but the revelations of the past few days suggest that it may boil down to a ballerina.

Read the full article.

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The Bolshoi Ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko on Thursday tried to deflect blame for the January attack on Sergei Filin, the company’s artistic director. Mr. Dmitrichenko said he had agreed that an ex-convict acquaintance would “knock him around,” but that he was unaware that the man planned to douse Mr. Filin’s face with sulfuric acid, jeopardizing his eyesight.

Read the full article.