• Michael Mahany

Amidst The Pandemic There's Still Reason To Celebrate #InternationalDanceDay


It’s International Dance Day!


Though the first four months of 2020 have already felt like their own decade and most folks aren't in the mood to celebrate, there has still been a ton in the world of dance to which we can raise a glass.


So, what better way for a fledgling blog like us to commemorate #InternationalDanceDay than to re-inspire your dance-loving heart with a little recap of the stories we’ve have covered so far here at DN&C? Perhaps, also a peek into an upcoming series? Yeah? We thought so!


Here are 3 Reasons To (Still) Celebrate International Dance Day:

1. “The Remarkable Year Of The Female Choreographer” Leads To Pod De Deux’s “Women Of Broadway” Summer Series


Michael Mahany, Ellyn Marie Marsh, and Kevin Raponey host the upcoming summer series on the 'Pod De Deux Podcast'.

Last week NYC Dance News & Culture published "Broadway’s Remarkable Year Of The Female Choreographer"; a piece celebrating the fact that 10 of the 14 new musicals slated to come to Broadway in the 2019-20 season were to be choreographed by women. The story also included a startling breakdown of the statistics for female choreographers in regard to the history of Tony Award For Best Choreography, exposing that, in the awards' 73-year-old history, only seven different women have won the trophy.

Because of the overwhelming interest in the piece, Pod De Deux Podcast is continuing the effort. The pod announced yesterday its plan to examine further into this unprecedented crack in the glass ceiling of New York’s Great White Way by interviewing as many of the nine women who were hired to choreograph Broadway shows this season.

DN&C Editor Michael Mahany (me!) and fellow Broadway performers, Ellyn Marie Marsh, and Kevin Michael Raponey, will not only quest to bring listeners an opportunity to hear directly from the women who shaped Broadway dance this year, but also a chance to hear how they're coping with and have been affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.


Already confirmed for the series are Kelly Devine — the Tony-nominated and Olivier winning choreographer behind Diana: A True Musical Story; Lorin Latarro the dance creator charged with bringing Mrs. Doubtfire to life; Six The Musical’s Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, A Christmas Carol's Lizzi Gee, and Girl From The North Country’s Lucy Hind.


Watch the series announcement video, here.


More: 5 Reasons Dancers Can Celebrate Stephen Sondheim's 90th Birthday


2. Camille A. Brown Proves She's Still Cornering The NYC Dance Market


Camille A. Brown. Photo credit: Whitney Browne.


In case you'd forgotten, choreographer Camille A. Brown — regardless of an industry-wide pandemic shutdown — still has a commanding stance in the dance and theatre community.


Under normal circumstances, the last few weeks would have marked the official start to award season here in the Big Apple, cueing the beginning of celebratory lunches, photo-ops, and cocktail parties, but with many organizations canceling or postponing events, this year will certainly be different. Fortunately for Brown though, other ceremonies like The Lucille Lortel Awards and The Drama Desk Awards have both opted for virtual presentations.


Brown, who so far this year has earned three major award nominations two Lortel noms for Outstanding Choreography for For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf and Toni Stone, and a Drama Desk choreography nom for For Colored Girls... has not only been a dominating figure in Off-Broadway theatre this season, but also on stage in the worlds of opera, contemporary dance, television, and Broadway.


Read more about Brown's incredible and continuing run, here.


More: “Don’tcha Wanna Dance” Unites Artists Around The World — Virtually


3. Ballet's Biggest Stars Use Their Platforms For Good


James Whiteside, Tiler Peck, Isabella Boylston, and Megan Fairchild.


To fill the giant cultural dance void left in a society stuck at home, some of the biggest names in ballet have taken to using their social media platforms to share their talents.


DN&C featured four of them — Tiler Peck, James Whiteside, Isabella Boylston, and Megan Fairchild.


Whiteside and Boylston, both star-status stand-out principal dancers with American Ballet Theatre, have also been offering a co-taught class series they're calling #TheCindiesBalletClass via IG Live to their respective followers.


"This is an unprecedented time for the arts community," Whiteside told DN&C. "As theaters, studios, and arts organizations were forced to close their doors, it became clear that we would have to be resourceful in the ways we continued to move and train on our own."


Peck the subject of Hulu's 'Ballet Now' and a star principal at New York City Ballet has been using her own individual Instagram account to offer a free streaming ballet class each day, called #TurnItOutWithTiler.

"I have always found it helpful to have a routine and things I look forward to in my day anytime I am facing fear, challenges, or uncertainty," Peck said. "I recently had a serious injury that I had to work hard to overcome and the one thing that kept me going some days was the structure I had put into place for myself.”


Peck, prior to the pandemic shutdown, had recently returned to performances with City Ballet after a year-long rehab of a severely herniated disc in her neck.


Megan Fairchild, also a star principal at NYCB, recently dedicated her personal YouTube channel to both teaching classes and hosting a new series of podcast-style interviews with colleagues. Fairchild explained to DN&C that gathering together for class even virtually can be therapeutic for dancers.


"Normally, I really enjoy company class for myself, because as a principal dancer, it’s one of the rare times we connect as a company," Fairchild said, "and because of social distancing, this could be a really isolating time. So for me, connecting through ballet class is not only for physical maintenance but emotional morale."


More: Looking For Something In 2020 That Doesn’t Suck? Here’s 9 of Michael’s All-Time, Best-Of, Go-To, Dance Video Clips


So, Raise A Glass!


While we all work through this bout of crazy, it's helpful to remember there's still a lot of good going on out there in the dance world. And, until we have the chance to dance again safely together (SOON), pour yourself another cocktail, put on some music, and DANCE!


... just don't knock over any furniture. (We can't cover that...)


Michael Mahany serves as NYC Dance News & Culture’s founder and Editor-At-Large. Additionally, he is a professional actor, singer, dancer who appears nightly in the 10th Anniversary production of 'Rock Of Ages' in New York City. He's also a co-host of the 'Pod De Deux' dance podcast. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter, or visit www.michaelmahany.com for more. Story tips? Email: michael@nycdancenews.com.

Like what you read? Be sure to subscribe (for free)!


#InternationalDanceDay #PodDeDeux #WomenOfBroadway #MichaelMahany #EllynMarieMarsh #KevinMichaelRaponey #CamilleABrown #LucilleLortelAwards #DramaDeskAwards #Ballet #TilerPeck #JamesWhiteside #IsabellaBoylston #MeganFairchild


Top photo credit: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) (License)

©2020 by New York City Dance News And Culture.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram