Passing it on—Wendy Whelan sets Pictures at an Exhibition

In this photo by Lindsay Thomas, Wendy Whelan coaches Pacific Northwest’s Lesley Rausch and Batkhurel Bold in the pas de deux from Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which the company premiered in June. It was Whelan’s first experience setting a ballet. Of the process, she told me: “It was a feeling of happiness that I’d never felt before – like a dancer’s version of having a baby. It wasn’t me, it was about this baby, this thing. This is theirs now, it’s in their bodies.” The full interview is here.

Love Scorned

It’s Onegin week at American Ballet Theatre. What can explain the enduring fascination with this story of a St. Petersburg dandy who scorns the love of a young girl, only to realize his great error many years later? It’s the drama! Onegin has proven itself to be a vehicle for dancing actors who can project an anguished inner life. Here in this photo by Rosalie O’Connor, we have Hee Seo and David Hallberg. My review of their performance is at DanceTabs.

Vishneva’s Farewell

A still from the video I collaborated on with Emily Rhyne for the New Yorker (yes they do videos now!) about the great ballerina Diana Vishneva and her farewell to ABT. See the link to the film above in my bio. Vishneva’s final performance with the company is this Friday, in John Crankos Onegin. Here she talks about moving forward, about fearing that she was never good enough, and about the intensity of the pace at ABT.

The link to the film is here.

Dance Films

In just a couple of years since retiring from Miami City Ballet, Ezra Hurwitz seems to have more or less cornered the market for short promotional dance films. Everywhere you turn—company websites, Instagram, Facebook—one of his films seems to pop up, promoting this or thate new ballet or a dancer or a project of some sort. I was intrigued about how he did this—essentially filling a niche just as it was coming into existence—so I sat down with him, hoping to find out. You can read our conversation on the Dance Magazine website.

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Photo by Ezra Hurwitz


This is Chalvar Monteiro (in a photo by Daniel Azoulay), of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He joined the company in 2015, after dancing for Kyle Abraham for several years. In a company of powerhouses, his dancing stands out for its clean lines, quiet bravura and focus (as you can see here). My eye always seems to find him on the stage. He never skimps on the details, but his dancing has energy and vibrancy, too. Here he is in Sinner Man, from Revelations. My review of the company’s June 17 matinee is at

Return of the Swans

The swan maidens returned to the Metropolitan Opera House this week, in American Ballet Theater’s somewhat shopworn production of Swan Lake. (Some of those costumes need sprucing up!). Despite everything, it’s always fascinating to see each new interpretation of the central role(s) of Odette and Odile. And also to see how interpretations grow or change over time. This week, I caught Isabella Boylston, with a new partner, Alban Lendorf. The performance felt like a breakthrough. And also Devon Teuscher, a soloist who was taking on the ballet for only the second time. Her interpretation seems already somehow fully formed. My review of both casts for DanceTabs is here.

Below, a pic I snapped at the curtain calls, of Teuscher and her partner Alexandre Hammoudi.

Clifton Brown Returns

Andrea Mohin’s beautiful shot of Clifton Brown captures his graceful port de bras, one of the qualities that have made him such a striking presence at Alvin Ailey. After 6 years with Lar Lubovitch and Jessica Lang, he returns to Ailey this season. My q&a with him just posted in the Times.