A new authentic Cuban ballet school with a pre-professional program has popped up in a western suburb of Chicago.
The Alma Dance School in Wheaton had its grand opening last week. Its directors are Vilma Machin, who danced in the Cuban National Ballet for six years and subsequently the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, and Guillermo Leyva, who danced with Ballet Monterrey, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet de Camaguey in Cuba under the direction of Fernando Alonso among other places.
This is a serious school that offers elementary through pre-professional levels including pointe, partnering, repertoire, and character classes. No drop-in classes permitted; girls must wear pink tights and alignment belts.
Parents in the western 'burbs of Chicago should definitely check out this school. The Cuban curriculum has produced some of the world's greatest dancers, and is not a bad place for a student to start.
ABT opens its "Never again" Nutcracker season at BAM this Friday before fleeing town to the west coast where the competition isn't so stiff. Their television commercial for the run features none other than YURIKO KAJIYA as Clara with Alex Hammoudi. LOL, that's right, just continually remind everyone of the company's artistic losses.
With Alexei Ratmansky off-site and unable to coach, it appears that Kevin McKenzie is dumbing down the steps – again. This was confirmed in the WSJ video clip from Misty Copeland's relentless barrage of "I'm the greatest star and you won't even know I can't do the steps because I'll just change them" PR. What is the problem with picking up both feet under the body, extending one leg forward, and bending backward while looking upward? Yes, it is a hard step to do, but every Clara in this production has made the effort (with varying degrees of success) – but they have made the effort. Why must Misty Copeland change the choreography to a big forward lunge that is infinitely safer but completely out of style and changes the character of the choreography? And doesn't anyone on ABT's artistic staff pay attention to this dancer's big shoulders that ride up two inches when she throws them back behind her ears? The artistic staff seems to be so used to seeing her faults that the faults have become invisible.
And pardon the inelegance of this question, but since when is giving away free tickets the equivalent of attracting new audiences to ballet, and when is the fraud going to stop?