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Celebrating 30 Recent Dance Highlights

  • April 10, 2017
  • by Laura Di Orio

This past year was an exciting one for dance. Our beloved artform maintained a presence in mainstream media – like in the buzzworthy film La La Land (with big names Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and choreographed by Mandy Moore) and in the continued success of So You Think You Can Dance (this past season with its first-ever “Next Generation” series). Women were named artistic directors of some major ballet companies this year, and choreographic legends were honored with awards. This year also marks the 130th anniversary of Capezio, and to celebrate, we take a look at 30 exciting dance highlights of the last year.

#1. Capezio’s 130th anniversary. 

The legendary dancewear brand celebrates its 130th anniversary this year. The special day is marked April 13, the birthday of Salvatore Capezio, the founder and craftsman who started it all.

Genee International Ballet Competition 2016. Photo by Anthony Burns
Genee International Ballet Competition 2016. Photo by Anthony Burns

#2. The 2016 Genée International Ballet Competition. 

The prestigious event was held in front of a packed audience in Sydney, Australia, for the first time since 2002 and Talia Fidra, a young Capezio Athlete, took home the silver.

#3. So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation

The 13th season of SYTYCD offered a new format featuring dancers between the ages of eight and 13 and was a huge success. Capezio Athlete Maddie Ziegler was on the judging panel, and fellow Athlete Tate McRae was second runner-up and the show’s leading female contestant. SYTYCD is now auditioning for its anticipated 14th season coming up.

#4. Lady Gaga’s Epic Super Bowl halftime show. 

Lady Gaga wowed viewers with her fierce dancing, singing and performance skills. The show featured Gaga quick-changing from one sparkly, eye-popping costume to the next, and some brave moves, dives and jumps from the fearless performer and her powerhouse dancers.

#5. Dance movies brought home awards. 

Dance became a subject for several dance films this past year, including La La Land, which was nominated for 14 Oscars, taking home six. Other movies include animated film Ballerina and A Nutcracker Christmas, the Hallmark Channel TV movie starring Capezio Athlete Sophia Lucia.

#6. Joffrey Ballet’s first return to NYC in 21 years. 

The Joffrey Ballet has planned its first performance visit in NYC since the company left 21 years ago! The company will perform Romeo and Juliet from March 29-April 2, at the David H. Koch Theater.

#7. NBC’s Hairspray Live.

Maddie Baillio, Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande and more starred in NBC’s musical telecast, Hairspray Live! The show was the network’s fourth made-for-TV musical, bringing live musicals in our lounge rooms.

#8. Hamilton on Broadway. 

It’s still nearly impossible to score tickets to Broadway sensation Hamilton. The show is not only one of the most popular, but it’s a big one for dance, too, winning many Tony Awards, including Andy Blankenbuehler for Best Choreography.

#9. The release of Capezio’s Dear Kate line.

Capezio introduced the first dancewear line to make women comfortable at their “time of the month” this past year. The line features an ultra-protective technology. It’s revolutionary!

#10. Team USA brought home the gold. 

The “Final Five”, as the U.S. women’s gymnastics team members nicknamed themselves, performed incredibly well at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. The gymnasts, including Simone Biles, became household names. You can still get Capezio’s patriotic Freedom Long Sleeve leotard and other products that are great for gymnastics or acro.

Boston Ballet
Stager Kathryn Bennetts, choreographer William Forsythe, Patrick Yocum, and Misa Kuranaga in rehearsal for Artifact. Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet.

#11. Boston Ballet’s partnership with choreographer William Forsythe. 

This year, Boston Ballet begins a five-year partnership with world-renowned choreographer William Forsythe. To kick it off, the company premiered his full-length ballet, Artifact, on February 23, and at least one of Forsythe’s works will be added to its repertoire each year.

#12. The 29th Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance.

The annual conference, hosted by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, honored Robert Battle, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in January. The conference also provided master classes, lecture demonstrations, panels, workshops and performances.

#13. Nederlands Dans Theater’s highly anticipated tour to New York City.

The contemporary dance company toured to NYC in November 2016, and offered masterclasses, a preview of the company’s works at the Works and Process series at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and a run of performances at New York City Center, with four ballets. Crystal Pite’s The Statement blew everyone out of the water!

#14. Lauren Lovette’s choreographic debut at New York City Ballet. 

The principal dancer with NYCB, was asked by Artistic Director Peter Martins to choreograph for the fall 2016 season. Her work, For Clara, featured a cast of 17, with music by Robert Schumann.

#15. Jeremy McQueen’s Black Iris Project. 

Choreographer Jeremy McQueen founded the Black Iris Project in early 2016 with the hopes of creating more opportunities for collaboration among the dance community of black artists, and for the creation of original ballets that celebrate diversity. Next up for Black Iris Project: performances at The Kennedy Center as part of Ballet Across America, a program curated by Misty Copeland and Justin Peck, in April.

Dancers with the Black Iris Project. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Dancers with the Black Iris Project. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

#16. Mr. Gaga premiered in the U.S. 

The documentary film about influential Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, who formed his own movement language, GAGA, premiered at select theaters in the U.S. this past February.

#17. Boston Conservatory celebrates 150 years. 

The performing arts conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, celebrated its 150th anniversary this February. The school is celebrating this spring with various events, performances and a gala featuring actor Alan Cumming as the master of ceremonies.

#18. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival welcomed new artistic director. 

Pamela Tatge took on the new role as artistic director of America’s longest-running dance festival. Jacob’s Pillow also unveiled a new year-round studio, which will be the new home for The School at Jacob’s Pillow and its pre-professional training programs.

#19. 70th anniversary of the Limón Dance Company. 

Companies, schools and colleges around the world celebrated the company’s 70th anniversary by performing José Limón’s masterworks.

#20. Lar Lubovitch received Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The American Dance Festival presented the 2016 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement to Lar Lubovitch, a choreographer known for his musicality and emotional style.

#21. The new National Center for Choreography offers inaugural residencies. 

Christy Bolingbroke was named the first executive and artistic director of the National Center for Choreography, located at The University of Akron. Residencies for dance-makers will begin this summer.

#22. Brenda Bufalino won Bessie for Lifetime Achievement in Dance. 

The 2016 Bessies honored choreographer and American Tap Dance Foundation Co-Founder Brenda Bufalino with the Lifetime Achievement in Dance Award.

#23. More women named directors and choreographers. 

Over the past year, several women were appointed leaders of some major ballet companies: Julie Kent at Washington Ballet, Hope Muir at Charlotte Ballet and, most recently, Paloma Herrera at Teatro Colón.

#24. New York City Dance Alliance Foundation’s Destiny Rising benefit.

NYCDAF has facilitated over $22 million in college scholarships for dancers since its inception in 2010. Its Destiny Rising event this past January included performances by Desmond Richardson, members of American Ballet Theatre and Parsons Dance. All proceeds went toward the Foundation’s mission of advocating education and offering scholarships for secondary and college training.

#25. The Mannequin Challenge. 

This video trend took dance studios by storm in late 2016. Dancers froze mid-action or mid-stretch, with a camera weaving through them to film the scene. It quickly became a fun viral sensation!

#26. Dance stars united for Dance Against Cancer 2016 event. 

Dance Against Cancer raised over $250,000 for cancer research at its 2016 sold-out event. Superstar performers included Capezio Athletes Stella Abrera, Sarah Lane, Jared Grimes, Lauren Lovette and more.

#27. And Still You Must Swing at Jacob’s Pillow 2016. 

Tap dance stars Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith, along with guest dancer Camille A. Brown, presented And Still You Must Swing, a show that highlights the legacy of tap dance and influence of jazz music.  

USC Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center grand opening
Robert A. Cutietta, Glorya Kaufman, C. L. Max Nikias and Jodie Gates at the opening of the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

#28. Grand opening of the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center. 

The University of Southern California opened its new dance center this past fall. The building houses a studio performance space, five dance studios, a training and fitness zone, dressing rooms, classrooms and faculty offices.

#29. The new MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships. 

The UK’s biggest dance event, MOVE IT, was held March 10-12, and will featured the new MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships, an exciting venue for dancers to compete in front of an all-star roster of judges, including Ryan Jenkins, Lukas McFarlane, Jennifer Ellison and more.

#30. Mary Poppins Returns in the works. 

Production has begun for Mary Poppins Returns, the new sequel to the 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins. The new film will star Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and will be choreographed by director Rob Marshall, along with John DeLuca and Joey Pizzi.

Article produced by Dance Informa.

Photo (top): The cast of La La Land in a dance scene choreographed by Mandy Moore. Photo by Dale Robinette.

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