Where are the Black Ballerinas? We all saw Under Armour’s massively successful Misty Copeland commercial, Stacia L. Brown asked back in May where the other ballet dancers of color are. Brown points out that ballerinas are “avatars of possiblities for littler girls.” And with no representation onstage - in real life or on TV - children of color don’t think ballet is a possible hobby or profession for them. Copeland’s Project Plie initiative works to increase access of the art form to increase diversity, and hopefully this, plus that freaking amazing billboard, will show that you can do ballet, even if you have “the wrong body for ballet.” Also, if *she* has the wrong body, I’m screwed. Does Under Armour carry a hooded slanket collection?
Art History on the Highways: Art Everywhere U.S., a collaboration of American art museums and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), artists, estates, foundations and rights agencies, will bring pieces of American art to the public via highway billboards and other public spaces. Forget the liscense plate game - “I just need to find MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS before we reach Kentucky and I win!”
The Class Divide in Theatre: Melissa Hillman points out that theatre is not excluded from the assumption that the more money you have, the more important you are. Special snowflakes we are not, unless you have enough cash.
Natalia Osipova does not want you to eat her shoes: The Royal Ballet principal dancer is a total HBIC: “Ballet has evolved and the ballerina figure with it. The world around us offers new challenges, new stimuli and new opportunities, and I believe that it is the responsibility of every artist to be constantly ready to respond to these. There is simply no reason, nor time, to perpetuate century-old clichés, such as the remote, semi-divine figure of the 19th-century ballet star.” Watch her talk about dancing Giselle and GIRL, LOOK AT THAT EXTENSION. Also, I love how that video shows what rehearsal is really like - sweaty, messy, lots of people around, and falling in and dancers falling in and out of movement as they figure it all out.
New Arts Reporters at WaPo: Peggy McGlone and Geoff Edgars will join the Features staff of The Washington Post in September. McGlone will cover local arts and Edgers will be the national arts reporter. Peter Marks will haze them by making them sing through the entire libretto of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s musical.
A three-year-old girl was killed in Baltimore today. McKenzie Elliott died because she was hit by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting.
My acquantices shrug.
Well, it’s a bad neighborhood.
…a stone’s through from Johns Hopkins.
She shouldn’t have been outside in the first place.
On a Friday afternoon?
I bet her parents aren’t even around.
Just spoke with 3-year-old McKenzie Elliott’s father who was on the bus coming back from work at Cheesecake Factory to take her to the pool.— Justin George (@justingeorge)August 2, 2014
It’s easy to shrug and lock your doors and say, well, that’s too bad.
I need to try the hard thing instead.
Just for fun, here’s a (limited) roundup of news in the performing arts this week. Did I miss something? Let me know.
Detroit Institute of Arts Collection Valued at $8.5 Billion: New York Firm Victor Wiener Associates conducted the appraisal this time around; it was previously valued at 2.7 billion to $4.6 billion by Artvest Partners. A market value for the collection is needed for the city’s bankruptcy trial, so expect some very highbrow THE PRICE IS RIGHT game-playing happening in Motor City. The DIA is hoping for the price tag to be irrelevant with the approval of the grand bargain, a deal that combines pledges from foundations and the state to pay pensions and keep the collection intact.
National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medals Awarded: President Obama presented both medals in a ceremony at the White House on Monday. Recipients included John Kander, Bill T. Jones, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Linda Ronstadt. The official White House schedule shows no karaoke date between Ronstadt and Obama to sing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” with Kander on piano even though that would be the best thing ever.
Ira Glass Says Shakespeare Sucks then Calls Takes Backsies: THIS AMERICAN LIFE host Ira Glass saw the Public Theatre’s production of KING LEAR and announced he’s not a fan on the Bard’s work. Then, after the rosemary gin fizzes wore off, said, “Oh, that was something tweeted in the spur of the moment. I’m not sure, in the cold light of day, if I even believe it’s true.” Mike Daisy is RILED UP, but I prefer Lois Beckett’s response.
Radical Presence opens at Walker Art Center: Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art opened last week in Minneapolis and runs through early January 2015. The show “chronicles the emergence and development of black performance art across three generations, beginning with Fluxus and conceptual art in the early 1960s through present-day practices.” The show is curated by Fionn Meade, his first as Senior Curator of Cross-Disciplinary Platforms. Other performances this season include Ralph Lemon, The Campbell Brothers and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (well-known for Rosas danst Rosas, better known for Beyonce stealing the Rosas danst Rosas choreography for the Countdown video).
Oregon Ballet Theatre Hires Executive Director : Dennis Buehler joins OBT from Milwaukee Ballet, where for the past seven years he was executive director and helped the company stabilize its finances. OBT had its own financial struggles, but closed the fiscal year with a budget surplus. I can’t wait for his guest spot on PORTLANDIA.
An Artistic Boost for Downtown Baltimore: The Baltimore Development Corporation approved a proposal by to turn three abandoned buildings on the 400 Block of N. Howard street into performance venues and co-working spaces for several arts groups, including Annex Theater, EMP Collective, Acme Corporation and Stillpointe Theatre Initiative. The cost of this “theater incubator” is $7 million, which is WAY more than what the 4-H provided when I had my own baby chicks incubator incident that we do not speak of to this day.
Six Dallas Companies Get a Ride Up the ‘Elevator’: The AT&T Performing Arts Center announced “The Elevator Project,” in which six small performing arts companies will perform one show from each of their seasons at one of the Center’s Wyly Theatre spaces. The companies are Upstart Productions, Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, Dallas Actor’s Lab, Second Thought Theatre, Cara Mía Theatre Co. and African American Repertory Theater.