Monthly Archives: July 2021


By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Saheem Ali
Featuring Abena, Shola Adewusi, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Pascale Armand, MaYaa Boateng, Phillip James Brannon, Brandon E. Burton, Joshua Echebiri, Branden Lindsay, Ebony Marshall-Oliver, Jarvis D. Matthews, Jacob Ming-Trent, Jennifer Mogbock, Julian Rozzell Jr., Kyle Scatliffe, David Ryan Smith, and Susan Kelechi Watson

By Bob Shuman

Shakespeare in the Park returns to the Delacorte with a new version of The Merry Wives of Windsor, called Merry Wives, which is suited less for the outdoors than for small screens, reflecting the cramped quarters of the last 16 months: the neighborhood and its regulars; the local laundromat and fading signs for Biden-Harris.  COVID goes unmentioned, despite the fact that one former cast member had tested positive (social distancing protocols are in place), amid street drumming, lip-syncing, helicopter propellers (not part of the show, although overhanging air-conditioners are), and hair-braiding salons.  The Public’s staff has never seemed as accommodating (many thanks) or probably given as thankless a job, in asking audiences to keep their masks on;  despite a rainy weather forecast, Oscar Eustis, the artistic director, is emphasizing how the theatre belongs to the audiences in his introductory speech—volunteers and employees at Shakespeare in the Park have, over time, displayed de rigueur meanness with the bourgeoisie–and taxpayer largesse. After a year in the dark, because of the pandemic, this summer’s production, still wants to cancel, in accordance with current societal trends, dealing those in attendance an adaptation, which ultimately asks the public, and artists, what it will take to pull beyond sit-comming the Bard and art, and envisioning work as something other than variations on the broken record of one-party New York political thinking.  

The performers are ebullient, however, playing West African immigrants in South Harlem—and, as a homecoming to the theatre, the vehicle, with a popular Shakespearean character, who receives his just desserts for premeditated womanizing, is a sunny, colorful, becoming segue back into live work, even if these creatives  seem to have been binging on “Roadrunner” cartoons, as artistic inspiration.  Were our times not so dangerous (speaking now beyond infectious diseases), a light review could be left, guiltlessly, but Merry Wives, is also “shrunk,” like clothes might be in Mistress Ford’s laundry, simplified with easy stereotyping, which can impose meanings and facilitate inaccurate appraisals of communities and original art (recall that one of Verdi’s outsized masterpieces, Falstaff, is based on the same play, more complex and psychologically examined). The issue of how adaptors and adaptations change meaning by becoming overly obvious, direct, and simplified—by changing words and calling it free speech–is worthy of examination, where even a play by Shakespeare might be misapprehended and erased, for our own good.

In Central Park, on July 14, the predicted rain never comes, although it is explained that a cast member had been injured the night before, reminding of the almost forgotten physical reality of theatre and the Herculean effort of putting up plays, especially after a postponed opening and at this time.

Merry Wives may be all it wants to be.  And, for the moment, after so long, maybe it is all it needs to be.

with AbenaShola AdewusiGbenga AkinnagbePascale ArmandMaYaa BoatengPhillip James BrannonBrandon E. BurtonJoshua Echebiri, Branden LindsayEbony Marshall-OliverJarvis D. MatthewsJacob Ming-TrentJennifer MogbockJulian Rozzell Jr.Kyle ScatliffeDavid Ryan Smith, and Susan Kelechi Watson

By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Saheem Ali

Tickets are reserved through the Public in online lotteries

Visit the Public 

© 2021 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.


(via Jim Byk/Kelly Guiod, The Press Room)

The Wooster Group’s production
of Bertolt Brecht’s

The Mother 
to make US debut
The Performing Garage
October 2021


Photo: The Wooster Group’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Mother in rehearsal.
Performers: Ari Fliakos, Kate Valk
Photographer: Michaela Murphy 

(July 29, 2021 – New York, NY) – Following its world premiere at Vienna’s prestigious Wiener Festwochen, The Wooster Group’s new production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Motherdirected by Elizabeth LeCompte, will open in New York at The Performing Garage (33 Wooster Street). Performances will run from October 12 – November 6 and an official opening on October 26, 2021. The Mother marks the first time The Wooster Group has staged a work by Brecht.
After a year’s delay due to the global pandemic, the piece premiered in June at Wiener Festwochen, the festival’s only theater piece from the United States. Brecht conceived of The Mother as a “learning play,” intended to both entertain with its clear, plainspoken language and musical numbers, and to incite social change. Brecht addressed the play mainly to working class women. It tells a story of a poor, uneducated Russian mother’s journey to revolutionary action. The play premiered in Berlin in 1932 and was the last of Brecht’s plays to open in Germany before the Nazis seized power.
The Group’s modern American interpretation of The Mother evokes parallels between contemporary political unrest and the socialist revolutions that inspired Brecht’s play. In embracing Brecht’s ideas for his “learning plays,” the Wooster Group takes a direct approach to the source text and incorporates new music by composer Amir ElSaffar.

The Wooster Group’s production of The Mother is composed by the Group, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte and features performances by Kate Valk in the titular role, Jim FletcherAri FliakosGareth Hobbs, and Erin Mullin. The sound is by Eric Sluyter, the video by Irfan Brkovic, and the lighting by David Sexton. Musician and composer Amir ElSaffar, who works across classical, jazz, and Arabic musical forms, has provided new music for the piece. (The play’s original music was written by Hanns Eisler). 

The full company for The Mother includes Hai-Ting Chinn (choral music director), Erin Mullin (stage manager), Michaela Murphy (assistant director), Joseph Silovsky (technical direction & set construction), David Glista (technical director at The Performing Garage), Bona Lee (production manager), and Cynthia Hedstrom (producer). 

The Mother is supported by co-production funds from Wiener Festwochen and piece by piece productions. 

Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Howard Gilman Foundation; Lucille Lortel Foundation; Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; Harold & Mimi Steinberg Foundation; the Group’s Directors Circle; and generous individual donors. A special thank you to Rita Ackermann and Hauser & Wirth.

Music by Amir ElSaffar is commissioned by The Wooster Group with funds from New York State Council on the Arts and New Music USA (made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Howard Gilman Foundation, Anonymous).  

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(Mark Fisher’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/22; Photo: Michael Hugo, Kira McPherson and Corinna Brown in Coppelia: A Mystery, directed by Theresa Heskins. Photographer: Jenny Harper.)

New Vic theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme
This delightful promenade show uses pretty-as-a-picture design, undercut with creepy asides, to bring ETA Hoffmann’s famous tale alive

Who knew there was a Victorian village round the back of the New Vic? Where you thought there was just a car park and a 1980s edifice, there are now shop windows stuffed with antiquarian books, caged birds and jars of sweets. Someone has been constructing children’s toys in a workshop and the cakes have yet to be consumed in the teashop. Overhead are rows of fairy lights and colourful bunting. Sheet-music butterflies settle on the plants.

It would be chocolate-box idyllic if it were not for one thing. The longer you look at the bric-a-brac, the more you spot the eyeballs. Counting them is fun, but sinister as well.

That contradiction between the delightful and the troubling sums up this superb promenade adaptation by Theresa Heskins. At any moment, you could be in for a jolly adventure or led up a morally dubious path. Lis Evans’s exemplary design, with its pretty Slavic costumes and creepy hanging limbs, only adds to the ambiguity.

Drawing on the original ETA Hoffmann stories and the famous ballet, Heskins retells the story of Dr Coppelius and his amazingly life-like puppet daughter. Our entry point is Corinna Brown’s Swanhilde who, armed with curiosity where cash fails, helps us commit a daring raid on the main theatre to discover more about the ultra-realistic doll.

Bouncing excitedly on her toes, she wins us over with her high-pitched laugh and zest for life. She also gives us permission to think Michael Hugo’s Coppelius is a bit of a weirdo. We need that because there is something peculiar about him. Who else would wine and dine a mechanical doll – even one as mesmerising as Kira McPherson? He puts Coppelia through her stiff-jointed paces as if he expects her to come to life. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to play a trick on a man like that.

(Read more)



(Sara Keating’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 7/26; Photo: Waiting for Poirot performed at the People’s Park, Limerick. Photograph: Keith Wiseman.)

The daring murder mystery is full of action and keeps families entertained throughout


The People’s Park, Limerick

It is 1925, the early days of Irish Independence and the newly established Garda Síochána is still finding its feet. In Limerick city, Sir Montague Garrick’s Travelling Theatre & Electric Cinematograph has taken up residence at the People’s Park to entertain locals with a daring murder mystery play. With the sudden death of the leading man, however, the drama spills off stage, and the audience is held hostage until the murderer is found. Will the elusive detective Hercule Poirot, expected any minute, solve the case, or can detectives Maguire and Patterson get to the bottom of the strange events?

Mike Finn’s script is embedded in both the site and broader setting for this enormously ambitious ensemble production, directed by Tara Doolan and Pius McGrath. The script is crammed with local lore that feeds off both the history and contemporary reality of Limerick city, as well as clever Covid puns that are integrated easily into the players’ rhyming welcome to the audience as it assembles for the beginning of the promenade piece, which is also the start of the show within the show.

Finn’s play is in open conversation with Beckett’s famous play in which nothing happens. However, the meta-theatrical dialogue is not overdone and there is plenty of action to keep a family audience entertained throughout the 90-minute experience: comedy chases, a changing cast of suspects, messenger boys coming to and fro on bikes, news of a theft from the nearby Limerick City Gallery of Art.

(Read more)


(via John Wyszniewski, Everyman Agency; Photo: (c) Daniel M. Weiss.)

Based on Real-Life Struggles of Runners, One Woman Show Celebrates Resilience Through The Stories of Athletes

 “Bracing and beautiful… absolutely intoxicating.” – New York Times

“Fantastic… run to get a ticket for this truly excellent show.” – No Proscenium

Due to popular demand and critical acclaim, ENDURE: Run Woman Show, an immersive theatrical experience in Central Park based on the real-life struggles of runners, has added additional performances at 6:30pm on Wednesday–Sunday and at 2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Created, written, and narrated by Melanie JonesENDURE, which opened on July 14, is both a physical and emotional journey telling the story of a woman running her first marathon, and the events in her life that propel her to the race. Directed by Suchan Vodoor, the show explores human resilience from inside the lived experiences of athletes and celebrates the creative potential of sport to tell deeply human stories. The strictly limited engagement of ENDURE continues through August 8.

Additionally, an open rehearsal of MOTHER, a new chapter of Run Woman Show, will take place on Friday, August 6, at 1pm.

“Bracing and beautiful,” declared Laura Collins-Hughes in her New York Times Critic’s Pick review, adding, “Endure is a play about survival and aspiration and excellence, about having yourself for company over the long slog, about building strength in pursuit of a happier life… it is absolutely intoxicating.” Edward Mylechreest in No Proscenium wrote, “This fantastic piece of immersive theatre is absolutely worth the wait. It is a beautiful story, told in an exquisite manner, that I think can connect with so many people. Lace up your shoes, and run to get a ticket for this truly excellent show.”

ENDURE: Run Woman Show is, quite literally, a walk in the park. Equipped with a sanitized and synchronized audio player, audiences will follow one performer (Mary Cavett or Casey Howes) on a winding and circular 5K / 3.1 mile journey. Audiences are not required to run. As park goers listen to the inner monologue of the athlete voiced by Jones, they’ll not only be greeted by the natural beauty of Central Park but also the vulnerable and transformative thoughts of the runner. Set to a musical soundtrack by Swedish composer Christine Owman, the intimate audio serves as a backdrop to the highly physical live performance unfolding in front of audiences.

“When I discovered running, I realized that the stronger I got on the outside, the stronger I felt on the inside,” said Jones, 45, who has completed four marathons and one Ironman. “Long-distance running, at its best, is a spiritual experience: uplifting, clarifying, transformative. A runner feels connected to their environment, their best self, even humanity. My hope is that ENDURE gives audiences a sense of that tranquility and peace.”

Performances of ENDURE: Run Woman Show continues through August 8 with performances scheduled Wednesday–Sunday at 6pm and 6:30pm and Friday and Saturday 2pm and 2:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at

ENDURE: Run Woman Show is designed to be pleasantly Covid-safe with intentionally small audiences of 15 people. Audiences are encouraged to observe at their own pace, distance, and discretion. ENDURE takes place in the southern end of Central Park, beginning and ending within walking distance to Columbus Circle. The exact starting point will be communicated to ticket buyers in advance of the event. The running time of ENDURE is 75 minutes.

ENDURE: Run Woman Show is made possible with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

About the Artists

Melanie Jones (Creator, Writer, Co-Producer | she/her) is a Canadian marathoner, Ironman finisher and mother. She’s also a writer, performer, and producer whose immersive theatre, video, and performance works include JOYRIDEIn You (And You?)Run Woman Show (ENDURE and MOTHER), and Experiments In DelightENDURE: Run Woman Show won two 2012 NYIT Awards, was a Most Memorable Theatre Moment of 2011 (Calgary Herald), was shortlisted for the Brick Award (2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Jones’s work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Calgary 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada, Alberta Foundation for the Arts. ENDURE has been presented in five cities and four countries, including the 49th Annual Calgary Marathon in May of 2013. Jones was a 2013-15 Artist In Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Immigrant Artist.

Suchan Vodoor (Director, Co-Producer | he/him) is a director, producer, and designer based in New York City. He specializes in crafting interactive, immersive experiences and directing devised physical theatre. His work has included a decade as Resident Director of Six Characters, a troupe of punk rock clowns from Alphabet City; Art Directing “You Are So Lucky”, a daring nightlife experiences at a 100-year-old mansion overlooking the Hudson River; and Creative Production of “Seeing You”, an immersive exploration of WWII from Ryan Heffington & Randy Weiner.

Mary Cavett (Performer | she/her) is an actor, dancer, and collaborator. She graduated from Juilliard with her MFA in acting in 2020. Theater work includes: The Shape She Makes (A.R.T.); HamletA Midsummer Night’s DreamMacbeth, The Liar (Santa Cruz Shakespeare); Here In The Bright Colorado Sun (workshop O’Neill Theater Center); MacbethA Twelfth NightJulius CaesarMuch Ado About Nothing (Smith Street Stage); Romeo & Juliet (CRY HAVOC); ENDURE: A Run Woman Show (Edinburgh Fringe/ NYC). Film &TV: PAN AMAll My ChildrenSurrogate ValentineStage V; various projects with filmmaker Derrick Belcham. Cavett also danced eight seasons with the Radio City Rockettes. She loves collaborating across artistic disciplines and finds the most compelling work to be that which does not fit neatly into any one box. She believes the arts help us learn and heal as a community and are a catalyst for understanding, unity, compassion and change.

Casey Howes (Performer | she/her) is a Brooklyn-based dancer and choreographer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Howes has been dancing her entire life, catalyzing her training at The Colburn School Under Leslie Carothers and Glenn Edgerton. During her studies, Howes performed works by renowned companies and choreographers like Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Vim Vigor, Batsheva, to name a few. After graduating from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance with a BFA in Dance & Choreography, she joined Pilobolus Dance Theater and started internationally touring both repertory work and a multimedia show called Shadowland. Over the past few years, she has performed and taught all around the world with Pilobolus and helped to create their first women’s trio, which debuted at The American Dance Festival in 2018. Howes is thrilled to be continuing her exploration of site-specific immersive theater, and is honored to join the Run Woman Show family.

Christine Owman (Composer | she/her) is a Swedish composer, songwriter and recording artist. Producing everything herself, Owman’s music is a dichotomous blend of dreamy sounds and raw distortion, reverb, bass and noise expressed through clever, uninhibited lyrics. Her albums include When On Fire (2016), Sleepwalker EPLittle Beast (2013), Throwing Knives (2010), Open Doors (2003), Morning Thoughts (2002). Owman’s full band consists of Magnus Sveningsson of The Cardigans on the bass, Andréas Almqvist of Vånna Inget on the drums, Robert Wegner on the guitar and herself on the cello, guitar and vocals. Owman has worked, toured and/or opened for a number of bands and artists including Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Mark Lanegan, SoKo, Wovenhand, Chelsea Wolfe, Vånna Inget and members of The Cardigans.

Funding Credits

Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.


30th Anniversary!!
JULY 28 – AUGUST 14, 2021
HOT! began at Dixon Place in 1992 as the first inclusive all-embracing month-long LGBTQ+ festival of theater, dance, music, literature, performance art, and homoeroticism for the whole family. It remains the longest running festival of its kind in the world! 
This year’s fest deviates from our usual fare: a mini-festival featuring mostly music & comedy, perhaps it’s more appropriately called SPARKS! We kick off with a DP commissioned production by Maggie Moore & Elizabeth Ziff (of BETTY fame) and continue thru mid-August with the hottest queer comedy & music in NYC, fused with sparks of venturous theater & dance!
DP safely welcomes in-person audiences… Join us for our 30th celebration of queer culture!
Here’s the HOT ’21 lineup:
Weds & Thurs, July 28 & 29, 2021 – 7:30pm
The Songs of STARPATH
Starring Carole Willis Walker & tink
A musical story of friendship, fringe fame, and the creative path.
Created & performed by
Maggie Moore & Elizabeth Ziff
Sat, July 31, 2021 – 8pm
The Best of YAAAS! Comedy
Night 1 of 2
Bobby Hankinson hosts an outrageous night of stand-up w/the best of NYC’s vibrant queer comedy scene, with headliner Whitney Chanel, Alex Kim, Nikki Palumbo, Danny Suggs, & James Tison.
Tues, Aug 3, 2021 – 7:30pm
To Be Quite Honest
Written & Performed by
Jaxin Jackson
To Be Quite Honest is a lyric solo performance about the journey to peace through gender transition, from a black, non-binary, queer, person.
Weds, Aug 4, 2021 – 7:30pm
Short Shorts
A special evening of LGBTQ+ monologues, scenes, and live music from up and coming composers/musicians
Mae Krell and Sug Daniels.
Thurs, Aug 5, 2021 – 7:30pm
Lesbopalooza 25th Anniversary: The Movie
Kay Turner’s Lesbopalooza 25th Anniversary, an epic variety show at DP in 2019, is now a HOT new documentary! Tonight features live appearances by the filmmakers!
Sat, Aug 7, 2021 – 7:30pm
They/Them Happy Hour
Tracy Hoida & Margot Mejia
Two up-and-coming playwrights present compelling pieces from their new theatrical works.
Mon, Aug 9, 2021 – 8pm
The Best of YAAAS! Comedy
Night 2 of 2
Drew Tessier hosts HOT’s night 2 of stand-up w/the best of NYC’s vibrant queer comedy scene with headliner Jaye McBride, Oscar Aydin, Auberth Bercy, Calvin S. Cato, Keira McGill, & Drew Tessier.
Weds, Aug 11, 2021 – 7:30pm
Black Artists’ Matter
Curated by Arif Silverman
Black Artists’ Matter is a variety show celebrating original work (or Matter) of emerging & established Black Artists.
Hosted by Auberth Bercy & featuring Shalom Diggs, Kenneth Oonyu, The Bunny Show, & Roderick Woodruff
Thurs, Aug 12, 2021 – 7:30pm
Dying Alone, Together: LIVE!
A special LIVE episode of LGBTQ+ dating, sex & relationship podcast Dying Alone, Together with co-hosts Jack Tracy & JJ Bozeman.
Surprise guest interview TBA.
Fri, Aug 13, 2021 – 7:30pm
HOT Dance!
Curated by Sangeeta Yesley
An evening of live in-person dance with featuring choreographers Anthony Alterio; Efrén Olson-Sánchez; Kennyth Montes de Oca; Nadia Khayrallah; Chanette Manso, Sara Pizzi and Aika Takeshima.
Sat, Aug 14, 2021 – 7:30pm
Pop Off
A celebration of up & coming independent LGBTQ+ Pop, R&B, and Hip-Hop musicians.
Featuring Jack Tracy, Javarr, J.R. Price, Mel Lennon, Marcel “The Artist”, & Vegas Valentine.
Everybody loves good deals, here’s ours:
See all HOT! shows with a Festival Pass for only $50!
The HOT Festival is supported, in part, with funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts w/support from Gov. Cuomo & the NY State Legislature, and generous donors like you!
Rent Dixon Place!
Rent DP for media/film production & livestream/in-person performances & special events! For more info about our facilities & equipment inventory, check out:
Further questions? Shoot us an email at Bake 2 cakes in 1 oven — have a great experience with your production and support Dixon Place!
Support DP’s Mission & Programs
Your kind donations support the community and ensure Dixon Place continues to bring together visionary artists and adventurous audiences. Thank you!
Dixon Place | 161A Chrystie Streetbtwn. Delancey & RivingtonNew York, NY 10002-2885

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(Dimiter Kenarov’s article appeared in The New Yorker, 7/23; Photo: During the coronavirus pandemic, Ivo Dimchev embarked on a series of small-scale shows in private homes. Photographs by Mihaela Aroyo for The New Yorker.)

The queer performance artist has improbably become one of Bulgaria’s most famous singer-songwriters.

In April, 2020, about a month into Bulgaria’s first full coronavirus lockdown, when all restaurants and theatres and music venues were shut, the performance artist and musician Ivo Dimchev posted a message on his Facebook profile announcing that he would perform private shows upon request at apartments and houses around Sofia and beyond. “I don’t want to sing online,” he wrote. “I want to sing in people’s homes . . . I mean in their living rooms . . . They sit on their sofas . . . I sit in a chair three meters away with my MIDI keyboard upon my knees. Of course, we’re all wearing masks. I arrive, I don’t touch anything, I sit down, I sing for 30-40 minutes, and I leave.” The price of a home concert was buying an Ivo Dimchev T-shirt.

In the past few years, Dimchev, an openly queer artist in a relatively conservative and patriarchal country, has improbably become one of Bulgaria’s most famous singer-songwriters. As a performer, he slides effortlessly between masculine and feminine modes; his vocal range is equally protean, moving from a low baritone to a soprano embellished with theremin-like vibratos. His fans compare him to Freddie Mercury, Kate Bush, and Annie Lennox, but his closest parallel may be the English-born singer Anohni, formerly of the band Antony and the Johnsons.

(Read more)


The words and wisdom of Constantin Stanislavski:

The auditorium was filled by a crowd of simple workingmen and peasants. They listened to what was going on on the stage in the deepest of silences. The serious thoughtful mood . . . prevented them from staging an ordinary theatrical ovation. After the end of the performance the spectators sat for a long time without any movement and departed without any noise, as if they were leaving a temple of worship after prayer. (MLIA)


(Anna Galayda’s article appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines, 7/7; Photo: Olga Kereluk.)


Young dancers from other countries frequently come to study at Russia’s prestigious ballet schools, but some stay afterwards and have gone on to become lead performers at Russian theater companies—and what’s more, not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
1. May Nagahisa, Japan 

May Nagahisa was recently promoted to first soloist at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. In the ballet hierarchy, this is just one step from the very top—the title of a principal. For a dancer at one of the world’s leading theaters, this is a meteoric rise. Nagahisa made her debut at the Mariinsky at the age of 15, which is extremely rare and essentially unprecedented for a foreigner. At the time, May was a student at the famous Princess Grace Academy in Monaco, having won a spot there thanks to the Youth America Grand Prix competition. It was almost as if fate itself was leading her to Jean-Christophe Maillot’s famous Monte Carlo Ballet, but Maillot recognized that Nagahisa’s potential in classical ballet was much greater and broader than what was required for his productions and released her into the big world.

(Read more)


(Sally Weale’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/20; Photo: The education secretary, Gavin Williamson. Arts groups have warned cuts would affect the viability of some courses at universities, leading to possible closures. Photograph: Tayfun Salcı/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock.)

Education secretary Gavin Williamson says money will be put towards Stem and medicine courses

Ministers have been accused of “one of the biggest attacks on arts and entertainment in English universities in living memory” after proposals to cut funding for arts and creative subjects in higher education were confirmed by the universities regulator.

When the planned cuts emerged earlier this year, artists and musicians launched a campaign to fight the proposals, accusing the government of neglecting the country’s “cultural national health” by pursuing what they described as “catastrophic” funding cuts to arts subjects at universities.

The controversial reforms affect a specific funding stream which is directed at high-cost subjects in higher education and will result in money being taken away from creative arts subjects, while more is invested in other high-cost subjects, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem), medicine and healthcare, in line the government’s priorities.

The Public Campaign for the Arts warned the cuts would threaten the viability of arts courses in universities, leading to possible closures, which would in turn damage the pipeline of talent leading from higher education into the creative industries, which are worth £111bn a year to the UK economy. Courses affected include music, dance, performing arts, art and design and media studies.

The cuts will halve the high-cost funding subsidy for creative and arts subjects from the start of the next academic year. The universities regulator for England, the Office for Students (OfS) insisted the reduction was only equivalent to about 1% of the combined course fee and OfS funding, but campaigners said together with other cuts the impact would be devastating.

(Read more)