23 March 2021
By Makhaila Anderson, Queens University News Service
As a dancer, Raven Barkley understands the power of gestures, symbols and movement. All literally guide her life’s journey. She says the poetry of Amanda Gorman and the election of Kamala Harris as vice president show young people of color — all people, really — that they can dream big.
“We still have a lot more work to do as a nation but this is definitely a start,” Barkley, who performs with the Charlotte Ballet, said in a recent interview. “I’ve seen a change in the confidence of our younger generation and how the stars in their eyes light up knowing that they can do that too. They can be in these leadership roles, they can sit at the table, they can discuss the topics that need to be discussed to make a change in our society.”
“I am a firm believer that representation matters,” she said. “If we don’t see women of color or even people of color in these positions, these leadership positions, then we don’t see what the possibility is.”
African-American mentors play a significant role in Barkley’s life. She trained at the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City, a company founded by Arthur Mitchell, the first Black principal dancer in the New York City Ballet. The Harlem company is the world’s first Black classical ballet company, and she credits its leaders, Andrea Long, Virginia Johnson, and Robert Garland, for their role in mentoring her.
Read the full article here.
4 March 2021
By Rachel Howard
If a choreographer wants to make the most of this pandemic era, Sarah Van Patten is the woman to put on the screen. Van Patten, who joined the San Francisco Ballet in 2002, is the finest actress-dancer in the company, so it is good to have a beautifully directed record of her theatrical genius in Danielle Rowe’s new dance film, “Wooden Dimes,” the clever Art Deco centerpiece of the Ballet’s digital Program 3, which begins streaming Thursday, March 4.
Rowe, increasingly in demand to choreograph for regional companies and here making her first ensemble work for the Ballet, has carried out “Wooden Dimes” with a shrewd eye for spectacle and a mature choreographer’s skill. There are shiny prop-driven delights throughout the production, particularly a Ziegfield Follies-like sequence with fluffy feather fans shot from above and a clever group rendezvous with a massive table. But the real beauty of the film comes in two long pas de deux, simultaneously swirling and nuanced, for Van Patten and Luke Ingham. Between these little love poems our story, spare as it is, unfolds.
Read the full review of “Wooden Dimes” here.
By Marina Harss
16 February 2021
On January 1, 2021, Uruguayan ballerina María Riccetto officially became the new director of her national ballet company, Ballet Nacional de Sodre. Seldom has the selection of a new leader felt so apt. Riccetto’s career has been a model of hard work, perseverance and attention to craft, rewarded by recognition and responsibility.
Many ballet lovers in New York City remember Riccetto with great fondness. The former American Ballet Theatre soloist, born and raised in Uruguay, had a very particular quality: the ability to transmit a combination of affability and joy, in roles like the young girl in Le Spectre de la Rose, or Twyla Tharp’s Known by Heart, or even as a flower girl in Don Quixote. When she danced, you felt you knew her.
In 2012 she returned to Montevideo, her native city, at the invitation of Julio Bocca, who had just taken the reins at BNS. It was one of the most significant decisions of her career. She became the troupe’s leading ballerina, performing every important role in the repertory. In 2017, she was awarded a Benois de la Danse for her performance of Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin.
Along the way, she became a household name in Uruguay, as universally recognized as the country’s soccer champions. Since last year, she has been a fixture on the Uruguayan version of the TV show America’s Got Talent. There is even a line of perfumes named after her. “Floral, with a hint of jasmine,” she told me.
So it makes perfect sense that, after retiring from the stage at the end of 2019 at age 39, she would be tapped for the company’s top job. When I caught up with her in early February, via Zoom, she spoke from her new office, with a photograph taken during one of her performances of Giselle behind her. What follows is an edited version of our conversation, translated from Spanish.
Read the entire article here.
Nearly one year after our last in-person Listening Tour stop at Ballet Hispanico, DDP is sharing an inside look at the vision of Ballet Hispanico Artistic Director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro.
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