Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: August 7, 2013
Category: profile

Jessica Lang Dance at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

PillowNotes

by Rachel Straus

The PillowNotes series comprises essays commissioned from our Scholars-in-Residence and others to provide audiences with a broader context for viewing dance.

When Loie Fuller’s Chinese dancers enwound/A shining web, a floating ribbon of cloth,/It seemed that a dragon of air/Had fallen among dancers, had whirled them round/Or hurried them off on its own furious []

Published: July 26, 2012
Category: profile

Jessica Lang Dance at Jacob's Pillow

by Rachel Straus “A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.” ~Emily Dickinson In 2002 Jessica Lang opened a mysterious letter that was discovered in the office of Benjamin Harkarvy, the recently deceased artistic director of The Juilliard School’s dance division. The letter was five years []

Published: April 1, 2012
Category: history

Maggie Black's transformative approach to ballet training

By Rachel Straus

At the height of her popularity from the late 1960s to the 1990s, Maggie Black could be found teaching a sea of professional dancers, six days a week in her New York City studio. The petite and always charismatic Black was known to demonstrate in pink fuzzy slippers with her hair in pigtails. []

Published: August 1, 2011
Category: history

Kurt Jooss: The founding father of Tanztheater

By Rachel Straus On the brink of World War II, German choreographer Kurt Jooss arrived in New York with his company to perform. Before curtain, Jooss learned that some black audience members had been barred from their seats. Jooss told the theater administration that unless they amended their whites-only policy, there would be no show. []

Published: February 1, 2010
Category: profile

Broadway Soul Mates: Elizabeth Parkinson and Scott Wise

Elizabeth Parkinson and Scott Wise momentarily consider the most challenging part of leaving behind their Tony and Astaire Award-winning performance careers. Now full-time teachers at their school FineLine Theatre Arts, the married couple look into each other’s eyes and simultaneously reply, “Three-year-olds!”

Wise: “Those three-year-olds don’t care who you think you are.”

Parkinson: “It’s []

Published: August 1, 2008
Category: technique

Improving your plie

By Rachel Straus

Like a recipe for quality of life, Risa Steinberg’s description of a good plie combines a philosophical approach, a touch of physics, and common sense: “It never ends. Once you know it’s going to help you do something better, you’ll love it.” She believes that the most constructive plies are passionate and voluptuous. []

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 Pickard distinguishes []