Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: August 27, 2015
Category: history

In Remembrance: Maggie Black

By Rachel Straus

It is a rare teacher who develops a loyal following among ballet and modern dancers, but such was the case with Maggie Black (1930-2015) who died at age 85 in May on Long Island. This fiercely independent ballet teacher’s transformative effect on dancers’ abilities was famously dubbed “Black Magic” by none other than []

Published: October 9, 2013
Category: review

An Odette for the Ages

By Rachel Straus

Sara Mearns as Odette. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

On Sept. 17, New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns entered the pantheon of great interpreters of Swan Lake. Dancing the lyrical Odette (white swan) with elegiac grace, and the sharp Odile (black swan) with erotic hauteur, Mearns almost redeemed Peter Martins’s staging of []

Published: December 1, 2012
Category: profile

Damian Woetzel: From Ballet Star to Dance Impresario

By Rachel Straus

Damian Woetzel

Not since the defection of Rudolf Nureyev has a ballet dancer moved so rapidly into the sphere where the arts, politics, power, and the media collide. Yet the international visibility of Damian Woetzel, whose Americana-style charisma won him accolades for two decades performing with the New York City Ballet, []

Published: May 17, 2012
Category: review

Wheat 1, Chaff 2 at New York City Ballet Gala

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK — New York City Ballet titled its spring gala on May 10 “À la Française, ” and indeed it was, with all of the works having French connections of one sort or another. French composer Marc-André Dalbavie’s Trio No. 1 (2009) was Ballet Master-in-Chief Peter Martins’ choice of score for []

Published: February 28, 2012
Category: review

Crystal Pite's Futuristic Choreography

By Rachel Straus

Seeing “The Matrix” in 1999 made my heart sink. It wasn’t Keanu Reeves’s acting that depressed me; it was the advances in live action animation. In the final battle scene, Reeves and Hugo Weaving engage in mortal combat. With millisecond timing, they evade each other’s rocket-force punches by bending their head to []

Published: October 24, 2011
Category: review

Rediscovering the Fight in “Agon”: The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK — Suzanne Farrell is hailed for her staging of George Balanchine’s ballets. So it was with great anticipation that the Suzanne Farrell Ballet was greeted at the Joyce Theater on Oct. 20 for its six-day, sold-out run. The company, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, began as a series of masterclasses []

Published: May 31, 2011
Category: review

When the Works Are (Mostly) Top Notch

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK – New works by three of the ballet world’s most in-demand choreographers were among the calling cards on American Ballet Theatre’s “From Classics to Premieres” program, May 25 at the Metropolitan Opera House. Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon were represented by world premieres, Benjamin Millepied (a.k.a. Mr. Black Swan) by a []

Published: May 10, 2011
Category: review

A New Apollo: Chase Finlay of New York City Ballet

By Rachel Straus There is no better way to anoint a rising City Ballet male star than to award him the title role in Balanchine’s “Apollo.” On May 5 corps dancer Chase Finlay hit the big time, receiving curtain calls and roars of applause. The 21-year-old looked like a young Nordic god (much the way []

Published: May 9, 2011
Category: review

Vintage Wine, Nubile Bodies

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK — Not a tutu or jewel-encrusted bodice was in sight at New York City Ballet’s opening night, May 3 in the former New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. The dancers wore the minimum — leotard and tights — but delivered the maximum, forming configurations of crystalline complexity as created by []

Published: January 3, 2011
Category: profile

New Artist of the Month: Robert Fairchild

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK — New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Fairchild, 24, has a favorite quote. It lives on his Facebook page, alongside information about his hometown (Sandy, Utah) and pictures of his new puppy (Griz). The quote comes from the television series “Friday Night Lights,” whose inaugural 2006 season coincided with []