Stella Abrera, ABT’s proud Firebird, soon in flight at the Chandler 2

Dance
by 
She’s a woman of color in a white ballerina world. She began her training in Southern California, joined American Ballet Theatre, had a serious injury, recovered and was promoted to principal in 2015. Misty Copeland, right? No, it’s Stella Abrera. A Filipina American, her career trajectory is similar to Copeland’s but without all the hoopla. ...

Jack Cole, Jerry Robbins put dancing sailors into the zeitgeist, 1944-5

Dance · Film
The war was just over — September 2, 1945. The streets of the nation, especially the big cities like New York and Los Angeles, had been teeming with military men. So it’s not that unusual that choreographers were putting these figures into their dances. And yet, it’s odd, isn’t it, that a trio of sailors ...

Pick your Sugar Plum Fairy NOW!

Dance · Music
Hey, you Sugar Plums and Snowflakes! Stop dancing in our heads, and start whirling ’round the Segerstrom Hall stage. This will occur sooner than you can shake a candy cane. In a real first, Segerstrom Center of the Arts is presenting a big-city-style, lengthy run of American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” at the esteemed Orange ...

Eugene Loring coaches Daniel Levans as “Billy the Kid”

Dance
Ever wonder what ballet coaching does? Above, Eugene Loring (right), choreographer of “Billy the Kid” and ballet master of the American School of Dance on Hollywood Boulevard as well as founder of the dance department at UC Irvine, coaches Daniel Levans in a 1973 re-staging of his work. (Levans, sadly, just passed away.) John Kriza, ...

Goodbye, Daniel Levans 3

Dance
Sad to hear of the loss of the versatile American classical ballet dancer Daniel Levans (sometimes ‘Levins’), who was a principal with American Ballet Theatre right when I was first falling in love with the art form — and ABT! I was delighted in recent years to be Facebook friends with Daniel. Raised in the ...

Johan Renvall, ABT dancer, no more

Dance
This kind of beauty should never perish, and yet … it does. Remembering Johan Renvall, a splendid dancer with American Ballet Theatre from 1978 – 1996. Anna Kisselgoff’s obituary in the New York Times here. A wonderful unposed photo below of Renvall with ballerina Martine Van Hamel, below, shared by arts•meme friend Patsy Tarr. Thank ...

She’s our Yankee Doodle Dandy: Misty Copeland

Dance
As we approach the Fourth of July weekend, 2015, we salute the lady in red, white and blue. It’s Misty Copeland, recently named as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and one of only four American ballerinas to hold that prestigious title in our national ballet company. In addition to Misty, who was raised ...

Gone fishing

Dance
Natalia Alonso & Gary Jeter II
A lot of chatter, lately, amongst dance geeks on Facebook about the great classical ballet pose the “fishdive” which, according to pundits was not part of the original Petipa choreography (way too athletic and upside down for that era) but seems to have been introduced in the 1946 version of “The Sleeping Beauty.” This notwithstanding, ...

Pure Petipa, courtesy of American Ballet Theatre

Dance
In this great portrait by dance photographer Gene Schiavone, American Ballet Theatre principal dancers Marcelo Gomes (Prince Desire) and Diana Vishneva (Aurora) pose in “The Sleeping Beauty” the full-evening ballet that just had its world premiere at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. ABT resident choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s restaging of original choreography by Marius Petipa may ...

A triumph for ABT, Ratmansky’s “The Sleeping Beauty”

Dance · Fashion · Reviews
American Ballet Theatre celebrated its 75th anniversary last evening at Segerstrom Hall with its sublime new “The Sleeping Beauty” staged by Alexei Ratmansky using original choreography by Marius Petipa interpolated with contributions of his own. The sheer beauty of the production and the revelation of how fresh and compelling the Petipa language positions our national ...