Conductors Make the World Go ‘Round

Ever wonder what goes on in the pit while ballerinas leap and spin upon the stage? Well, now you’ll know. I wrote an article about conducting for dance, a subject that has always fascinated me, for the Times. It will appear on Sunday, Aug. 3, in the Arts and Leisure section. (If you receive the weekend paper, you’ll get in on Saturday). Meanwhile, it’s already online.


An Ongoing Conversation with Alexei Ratmansky

Ratmansky demonstrating a step to Luciana Paris, of ABT. Photo by Andrea Mohin.
Ratmansky demonstrating a step to Luciana Paris, of ABT. Photo by Andrea Mohin.

This q&a, for DanceTabs, is a composite of various interviews I’ve done with the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky since 2009, when I wrote my first profile of him for The Nation, “Ratmansky Takes Manhattan” (2009). Through his straightforward, thoughtful answers, I think one gets a tiny glimpse into the way he thinks about dance, music, and the creative process. Here’s a short excerpt:

“I sense a big support from history. You can’t really go to the university and learn choreography. I guess you can be an apprentice, but I never had that luck. So for me it’s the only way to learn the craft. Staging another choreographers’ ballets is a great, great school. I discovered that when we did Le Corsaire at the Bolshoi. We had about sixty minutes of original Petipa steps. My co-choreographer Yuri Burlak and I really wanted Petipa’s part of it to lead us. So everything that we knew had come later we got rid of…I’ve also re-staged ballets by Massine with new choreography, like Scuola di Ballo [for the Australian Ballet], as well as Lopukhov’s Bolt and The Bright Stream, and Fokine’s Golden Cockerel [for the Royal Danish Ballet].”

Here’s my recent piece on the Shostakovich Trilogy, “Running Like Shadows”.