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. ...

Gillian Murphy’s historic footing in “Giselle”

Dance
“Giselle” is arguably the greatest solo role for a ballerina in the classical canon. One proof point is that unlike “Swan Lake,” the ballet is named for a woman, not a bird or a lake! “Giselle” tells the story, over a full-evening performance, of a simple peasant girl smitten, then devastated, by love. She uses ...

What makes a balletomane? A lean.

Dance
If when peering at this Andrea Mohin photo for the New York Times … ~your heart picks up pace, ~ it messes you up, ~ you “get it,” ~ you feel deep joy … seeing the way that David Hallberg is leaning away from his “Giselle” partner, Natasha Osipova, well then … mazel tov, you’re ...

The dignity of ballerina Natalia Makarova 4

Dance · Film
I was struck by a passage in Natalia Makarova‘s biography, “A Dance Autobiography,” (Knopf, 1979) edited by Robert Gottlieb (“What did ballet ever do to deserve this?”) when he was editor-in-chief at the New York publishing house. The text recalls an indignity Makarova suffered at the Kirov Ballet soon before she defected to the West ...

Natalia Osipova’s ethereal “Giselle” 1

Dance
I met and briefly interviewed the phenomenal 24-year-old Bolshoi and ABT ballerina Natalia Osipova yesterday, in rehearsal for an upcoming performance in Orange County next January. She struck me as a magnificently moody Russian. Read my L.A. Times article here. This Russian television broadcast shows Osipova’s unearthly technique, particularly her jumps, and there is something so ...