Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: February 12, 2015
Category: review

Justin Peck's 'Rōdē,ō: What Would Agnes Say?

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK — It was as if the feisty spirit of Agnes De Mille had cast a wicked spell. De Mille, whose ballet first brought Copland’s Rodeo to life in 1942, would not have looked kindly on Justin Peck’s decision to make an abstract dance on that classic score. And so when []

Published: August 3, 2012
Category: history

Royal Winnipeg Ballet at Jacob's Pillow

By Rachel Straus

Like the history of Jacob’s Pillow, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s evolution reads like a pioneer’s tale. Becket, Massachusetts and Winnipeg, Canada are not obvious places to build internationally hailed dance institutions. Yet in 1939, Gweneth Lloyd and her former pupil Betty Farrally formed the Winnipeg Ballet Club. A few years earlier, Ted []

Published: July 1, 2011
Category: history

Melissa Hayden: Ballet’s unstoppable force

By Rachel Straus

At 14, Gillian Murphy remembers walking into her first class with renowned ballerina Melissa Hayden, whose intense demeanor could seem harsh. “She bounded into the room and electrified us with her energy,” says Murphy, now a principal with American Ballet Theatre. “We learned something very important about seizing the moment, pushing []

Published: January 1, 2011
Category: history

Robert Alton

Robert Alton and Greta Garbo in MGM’s Two-Faced Woman (1940)

“I have exactly six minutes in which to raise the customer out of his seat. If I cannot do it, I am no good,” Robert Alton (1902–1957) once told a reporter. For three decades, the choreographer created hundreds of colorful, sexy and funny dance numbers for the stage and screen. He fused existing ballet, tap, ballroom, modern and jazz steps together, creating the breezy dance style of the American musical still seen on Broadway today. []

Published: January 1, 2011
Category: history

History Quiz: Robert Alton

By Rachel Straus

1. Name the famous jazz teacher who Alton encouraged to start teaching.

2. The Bolshoi-trained ballet dancer, Mikhail Mordkin taught Alton a beautiful _____ _____ _____ and an expansive use of the _____ _____.

3. Alton made which Hollywood star move effortlessly?4. In his first gig as a film dance director, Alton []

Published: April 1, 2008
Category: technique

Mentoring student teachers: role models who bridge the gap between concept and practice

By Rachel Straus

Not long ago only a couple of hundred dance studios, college dance departments, and public school dance classes existed in this country. Today there are thousands. Attendant to the boom in dance popularity, it seems that anyone with chutzpah can call themselves a dance teacher. Too often novices teach without proper training []