Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: July 6, 2007
Category: history

Luigi, Gus Giordano, and Matt Mattox: Jazz masters

By Rachel Straus

With syncopated hip, rib, and head isolations, jazz dance doesn’t ignore the body’s sexiness. It puts it front and center. The high-decibel energy trumpets cool confidence, regardless of whether the movement is lyrical, hard-edged, or silly. Like jazz music, jazz dance didn’t develop inside the conservatory or concert hall. But having drawn []

Published: May 6, 2007
Category: profile

Teaching tots: Beverly Spell introduces ballet with imagery, stories —and a sequential lesson plan

By Rachel Straus

“Good morning knees!” sings out Beverly F. Spell as she and her students bend over to make verbal and facial contact with their kneecaps. The four-year-olds don’t realize that, through this exercise of straightening their legs in time with the music, they are learning anatomy and developing their hamstrings in preparation for []

Published: February 20, 2007
Category: history

The Hows of Horton: The Lester Horton Technique

By Rachel Straus

The Lester Horton technique constructs some of the best human skyscrapers in the dance world. And like good building design, the Horton technique’s emphasis on flat backs, pelvic hinges, and “lateral T’s” produces a long-muscled, powerhouse dancer–something not easily toppled. Uninitiated eyes widen the moment an advanced Horton dancer strikes a “lateral []

Published: January 1, 2007
Category: profile

25 to Watch: Peng-Yu Chen

By Rachel Straus

American friends refer to her as Pong. And at 5’2″ this Taiwanese-born dancer, who performs with American Repertory Ballet, has a nickname that matches her explosive talent. With a daredevil defiance of gravity and sinuous, snappy movements, Peng-Yu Chen is a young artist whose training in ballet, folk dance, and modern []

Published: September 1, 2006
Category: profile

Career Transitions: Lynne Calamia food stylist

By Rachel Straus

Lynne Calamia danced with Ballet Hispanico and the Broadway productions of Chicago, Cats, and Fosse. She Stopped dancing at age 34

” I wanted to quit dancing two years before I did. I didn’t want to move anymore. I wanted to be appreciated for more than how my body looked. I was []

Published: September 1, 2006
Category: career talk

Career Transitions: Jason Hadley costume maker

By Rachel Straus

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dance stopped performing at age 31.

“I toured with Trockadero for 7 years. We did 140-160 shows a year. I was tired! When I first joined the Trocks I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t stay there forever. I also knew what I wanted to []

Published: March 1, 2006
Category: career talk

Starting out: Dance program grads make the leap to professional life

By Rachel Straus

Some call it tunnel vision. Others speak of good timing. Many describe it as a matter of hedging one’s bets. Bellamy F. Eure’s journey from student at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts to professional dancer with Philadanco involved all of the above. Raised in a business minded family, Eure began weighing her []

Published: January 7, 2006
Category: career talk

The new gypsies: ballet dancers who call their own shots and carry their own bags

By Rachel Straus

“And you Gypsies who speak the language of horses and make a quest of roaming the world, you will live in the open, wandering by chance, sleeping in trees or besides the rivers, watching reflected stars.” — From a Portuguese fable translated by Sophia Healy

Traveling by foot, train, and bus, Bonnie []

Published: November 7, 2005
Category: profile

A Grandiva Diva: Ian Archer-Watters

By Rachel Straus

A dancer laces a pair of size 11 double-wide pointe shoes around each calf. Making one last check in the mirror for makeup and hair, Ashley Merrill-Lynch moves with the other corps de ballet members to the stage wings. One by one, the dancers step under the blazing lights, each executing []

Published: March 1, 2005
Category: career talk

Passing the Torch: Coaching in the New York International Ballet Competition

Inside three New York City studios, 48 young ballet dancers work intensely, absorbing three vastly different pieces of choreography. Every second counts as all eyes focus on a coach. This figure—singing out counts, correcting, demonstrating, and encouraging with exclamations like “Breathe. Extend. Good!”—is giving each dancer an invaluable opportunity: A chance to shine at the []