So much has been happening in the past few weeks, I thought I would share just a few tidbits of news that I am really excited about.
Liam Scarlett to create his first work for ABT
This young British choreographer has positively burst onto the ballet scene over the past few years, and rightly so. He started choreographing at the Royal Ballet School before going on to choreograph for the main company, English National Ballet, and BalletBoyz, as well as stateside with Miami City Ballet and New York City Ballet. And he can also boast being named the first ever Artist in Residence at The Royal Ballet.
Why I’m Nerding Out: Simply put, I’m in love with this guy’s work. I first discovered him watching Royal Ballet Live two years ago, and my fascination with his work only increased in the year I spent in London. His understanding and mastery of form and structure is clear in his choreography, creating the illusion that time has stopped amidst the seamless transitions within his work. His movement is deliciously innovative without losing any respect for classical technique–in fact, he seems to continue to find ways to make the work more fluid–while the partnering he creates is as creative as anything I have ever seen. Don’t even get me started on his musicality.
Breathtaking is usually the word that comes to mind. I’m really curious to see which dancers he gravitates towards at ABT; I can imagine Hee Seo, Stella Abrera, or the newly promoted Isabella Boylston handling the lyrical side of his work quite nicely, while I imagine he would also have fun with Marcelo Gomes’ easy maturity and Daniil Simkin’s absurd technical ability. In any case, I’m glad to have more of his work on this side of the pond and look forward to the premiere in October!
Isabella Boylston promoted to Principal Dancer with ABT
While we’re on the topic of American Ballet Theatre, I have to stop for a moment to note the handful of new promotions announced at the end of June. Not only is Boylston now a Principal, but four other dancers have been promoted to soloists.
Why I’m Nerding Out: Boylston has been catching my eye quite a bit during ABT’s Spring Season at the Met. In particular, her Gamzatti in La Bayadere was surprising in its sensitivity, an unusual take on a character normally presented as strong and sensual; I was hesitant until I realized the character arc she had chosen to take her character across, one that lent Gamzatti a three-dimensionality and continuity that is often missing from the role. Boylston still has room to grow (as does everyone), but I’m very excited to see what the newest ABT Principal will do next.
Justin Peck named Resident Choreographer at NYCB
The New York City Ballet soloist is the second person to hold the title, the first being Christopher Wheeldon. His most recent work for the company was Everywhere We Go, which premiered at the NYCB spring gala this year. This new position will require him to make two ballets a year for the next three years on his home company.
Why I’m Nerding Out: Justin Peck is the choreographer whose work I can never seem to speak or write about articulately after watching. His movement vocabulary and understanding of structure are clearly products of his training at SAB, and yet there is something indefinably Peck about the way that he’ll introduce a classical form and then deconstruct it right in front of you. My mouth was open for most of Year of the Rabbit because I quite simply couldn’t believe that he had gone there. Clever, quick, and quirky–that’s Peck. And getting to watch more of his artistic growth with at least two New York premieres every year for the next three years? Who wouldn’t be excited about that?
And while we’re talking about nerding out…
How about J.K. Rowling’s latest Harry Potter short story in honor of the World Cup, the announcement of BBC’s Sherlock producing their first ever Christmas special, or the newly released image of Sir Ian McKellan as Sherlock Holmes? Or getting a proper trailer for Series 8 of Doctor Who?
So, if anyone happens to be reading this, chime in! What have I missed? What are you nerding out about?