Meet the Ballet Dancers, Choreographers, and Companies on the Dance Magazine list for 2022

Meet the Ballet Dancers, Choreographers, and Companies on the Dance Magazine list for 2022
Meet the Ballet Dancers, Choreographers, and Companies on the Dance Magazine list for 2022

Dance Magazine published it’s annual “25 to Watch” list earlier this week.

The list includes upcoming dancers, choreographers, and organizations to watch across many dance disciplines. We also can’t help but be enthused about those from the ballet world. Continue reading to discover more about them, and be sure to check out the whole “25 to Watch” list here.

Adriana Pierce

Adriana Pierce’s career so far appears to be a jack-of-all-trades, a master-of-many laundry list of dream gigs, including dancing in Miami City Ballet, the 2018 Broadway revival of Carousel, FX’s “Fosse/Verdon,” and the new West Side Story film, as well as choreographic opportunities that continue to grow in scale. Though she came out while studying at the School of American Ballet, it wasn’t until she met a group of other queer women and nonbinary dancers on Zoom in 2020 that “I really felt a sense of community about my individuality and sexuality through ballet,” she says. Pierce does not want the next generation of LGBT dancers to compartmentalize their identities in the same way she did. Enter #QueerTheBallet, a bold production and education effort she created last year to bring more queer tales to the stage.

Pierce’s choreography questions what equitable partnering looks like and how pointe work can be divorced from its gendered history, which she will practice in 2021 with a piece for American Ballet Theatre dancers and a virtual commission for The Joyce Theater, both duet performances for two women. In the spring, a commission from Carolina Ballet is planned. Pierce is likely to continue pushing ballet forward in increasingly diverse ways—on her bucket list are immersive ballet works, Broadway directing and choreography, and a full-length queer narrative ballet: “I want people to feel as comfortable witnessing gay tales on a ballet stage as they do Giselle.” Wingenroth, Lauren.

The Odalisque dance de Trois performed by Ballet22 in their summer 2021 digital season has something distinctive. It wasn’t the exquisite pointe technique, crystalline turns, or lively musicality that were plentiful. The Ballet22 dancers in the normally all-female Le Corsaire variation were male—and not guys in drag hamming it up for laughs, but simply male dancers expressing their craft on pointe.
Ballet22, founded by artistic director Roberto Vega Ortiz and executive director Theresa Knudson as a pandemic project, invites male, mxn, transgender, and nonbinary dancers to train and perform on pointe in their authentic gender identity. In early 2020, Vega Ortiz and his close friend Carlos Hopuy of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo offered Zoom classes. The company increased that Vega Ortiz and Knudson could launch the performing company in December 2020. Ballet22 has attracted dancers such as Gilbert Bolden III of the New York City Ballet, Daniel R. Durrett of the Boston Ballet, Diego Cruz of the San Francisco Ballet, and Duane Gosa of the Trocks, as well as commissions from choreographers such as Myles Thatcher, Ramón Oller, and Ben Needham-Wood.
Ballet22 challenges ballet’s conventions regarding who gets to dance, what they bring to dance, and how they dance as the larger societal discourse about gender continues. — Bauer, Claudia
Courtney Nitting
Courtney Nitting assaults choreography with the speed of a cat. Her fast-paced spins and jumps energized Kansas City Ballet creative director Devon Carney’s 2021 piece Sandhur. “I’m a speed freak,” she admits. “My favorite is petit allégro, and I feel it can never be quick enough.”
The speed demon, 24, was born in Lafayette, New Jersey, and began her studies at the New Jersey School of Ballet. She then learned at the School of American Ballet before enrolling in Pennsylvania Ballet II in 2017 and Kansas City Ballet. Carney describes Courtney as “a force to be reckoned with.” “She has a wide dynamic range and amazing footwork.” Every moment she steps onto the stage, she fills it with energy and joy.”
The authored article is written by Darshana Joshi and shared with Prittle Prattle News  exclusively.
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