Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who's in the Spotlight-2010

Robert Fairchild:

If there was ever a crush-worthy ballet boy, it’s 22-year-old Robert Fairchild. A new principal with New York City Ballet, Fairchild beckons the viewer with innocent, pool-like dark eyes and limbs that reach for days. It’s hard to resist his effortless charm and open, eager dancing—though one senses that there might be a tinge of angst beneath it.

Fairchild’s brisk climb up the NYCB ranks began in 2005, when he was named apprentice and won the Mae L. Wien Award. A year later he was in the corps, followed by a promotion to soloist in 2007. Watching him in Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, you’d never guess that his early training in Salt Lake City was mostly jazz and tap (he followed sister Megan, also an NYCB principal, to SAB in 2002). He brings an explosive energy to the neoclassical roles, and while he’s at ease with contemporary movement, he’s eager to bump up his classical side, a task he calls “a struggle.” He’s equally at home in emotional, character-driven roles like Romeo in Peter Martins’ Romeo + Juliet (which he originated in 2007) and in more abstract works like Douglas Lee’s Lifecasting (2009) and Jiˇrí Bubenícˇek’s Toccata. As for his future plans, Fairchild has an “anything goes” philosophy. He plans to come into rehearsal every day without expectation and tackle anything thrown at him. —Khara Hanlon

Julia Rhoads Chicago dancer/choreographer:

Julia Rhoads isn’t exactly a newcomer—her Lucky Plush Productions recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. But in the last two years she has emerged as a witty, media-savvy choreographer of substantial, often satirical dance theater. Her Punk Yankees (presented last October) is about sampling her own work and about appropriation on the Internet, especially of YouTube-posted dance. “Everyone’s worried their stuff is going to get ripped,” she says. Her tongue-in-cheek StealThisDance website, where you can buy, steal, or share work, aims to stimulate discussion of intellectual property. William Forsythe was so impresssed with the site that he described her as part of a “brilliant new generation.” Her next project, a collaboration with theater director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, will premiere in June. A native of Western Springs, IL, and once a dancer with San Francisco Ballet, Rhoads’ taste for the experimental has recently shifted toward inclusiveness: She cultivates input from performers. “I love setting up structures of risk, allowing for vulnerability,” she says. “I want audiences to feel they know the people onstage.” —Laura Molzahn

Adrienne Benz:

Combining superior athleticism with supple grace and elegance, the 5' 2" mighty-mite Adrienne Benz is a picture of stylistic versatility. Whether being battered about like lions’ prey as The Chosen One in Doug Varone’s Rite of Spring, or lofting over her partner’s head in James Kudelka’s tender There, below, the 24-year-old BalletMet Columbus dancer embodies each role fully.

Benz can’t get enough of performing. “The best feeling is when the curtain goes down,” says the New Jersey native, “leaving me physically exhausted and still riding an emotional high.”

In her seventh season with BalletMet, Benz can be seen in several featured roles, including Titania in David Nixon’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Feb. 5–14 at the Capitol Theatre in Columbus, OH. —Steve Sucato


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