Posts Tagged: Dance


I have been a fan of Nick Cave’s work since he was an artist in residence at the McColl Center here in Charlotte.  He combines my passion for art, dance and bold vibrant color into works of pure joy. His soundsuits “camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment or preconception.” I would have given anything to be in Detroit yesterday to see the impromptu flash mobs around the city celebrating the opening of his solo exhibition at the Cranbrook Museum of Art. #NickCaveTakesDetroit brings up a flurry of images and videos on Instagram that show how this one man’s imagination can inspire and bring a community together.


This spring, summer, and fall, Cranbrook Art Museum and Detroit will serve as the backdrop for Nick Cave’s most ambitious project to date – Nick Cave: Here Hear. At the invitation of Cranbrook Art Museum, Cave will stage seven months of events throughout the city of Detroit anchored by his first solo exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum, opening this summer. Cave is a 1989 graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art. Cave has said that the time he spent in Detroit was critical to his growth as an artist. He is returning to capture the positive energy currently enveloping the city. “Detroit continues to be an always-surprising environment of creativity, excitement, and engagement,” says Cave.






In Detroit, he will launch his largest performance series ever. His Soundsuits will unexpectedly invade the city for a series of photo shoots; he will stage Dance Labs in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD); he will work with LBGTQ youth and young adults from the Ruth Ellis Center to create Up Right Detroit, a performance filmed in the city; and he will engage students from the Detroit School of Arts and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy to produceHeard•Detroit, a procession of as many as 30 life-size horse sculptures operated by 60 high school dancers who will parade along Detroit’s riverfront. Cave’s project will culminate at the end of the exhibition in October, when the artist will stage Figure This: Detroit, a massive public performance at Detroit’s Masonic Temple.



Cranbrook Art Museum is serving as the producer for the entire Nick Cave project, and will be home to the exhibition Nick Cave: Here Hear, that will include a 7,000-square-foot exhibition of Soundsuits, recent sculptures, and newly commissioned artworks. The exhibition will be on view from June 20 through October 11, 2015. A full weekend of celebrations are planned for the exhibition opening, including a film screening and block party performances in Detroit’s Brightmoor community on June 21. Nick Cave: Here Hear is curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design at Cranbrook Art Museum.

To fully experience the world of Nick Cave, click on these videos…


Nick Cave is an artist, educator, and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound, and performance. He says of himself, “I have found my middle and now am working toward what I am leaving behind.” Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body. Soundsuits camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment or preconception.In a 2013 feature in Interview Magazine, Cave said of his projectHEARD•NY, a large scale performance in Grand Central Terminal organized by Creative Time, “I was really thinking of getting us back to this dream state, this place where we imagine and think about now and how we exist and function in the world. With the state of affairs in the world, I think we tend not to take the time out to create that dreamspace in our heads.” This is relevant to his practice as a whole.

Cave has had solo exhibitions of his work at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2014), Denver Art Museum (2013), Trapholt Museum, Denmark (2013), Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (2013), and Tri Postal, Lille (2012). Cave will have a solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2016. Public collections include the Brooklyn Museum; Crystal Bridges; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the High Museum; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Norton Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Birmingham Museum of Art; the De Young Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Orlando Museum of Art; the Smithsonian Institution; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Cave has received several prestigious awards including: the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006), the Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grants (2002, 2004, and 2005), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave, who received his MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1989, is Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Nick Cave has been represented by Jack Shainman Gallery since 2006 when he had a show entitled Soundsuits. Other solo exhibitions at the gallery include Recent Soundsuits (2009), Ever-After (2011) and a two-part exhibition Made by Whites for Whitesand Rescue (2014).

Biography courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery. Photography by James Prinz. Exhibition information courtesy of Cranbrook Art Museum.


To see one of the soundsuits locally, be sure to check out this one at our own Mint Museum.

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“All you need is faith,trust and a little pixie dust.  – Peter Pan

Winter 2015 940

5000 square foot tent + 3000 desserts + 950 guests + 500 feathers + 300 candles + 200 yards of blue satin and tulle + 1000 playbills + 96 feet of ice + 30 dedicated volunteers + 29 corporate sponsors + 25 amazing dancers + 14 musicians +13 restaurants +10 months of planning + 8 weeks of rehearsals + 6 inspiring community leaders + 4 choreographers + 3 distinguished judges + 1 incredible staff +1 extraordinary event planner =

$790,000 for Charlotte Ballet and 6 deserving Charlotte Charities

UntitledFor the third consecutive year, Charlotte Ballet’s Dancing with the Stars Gala brought the Charlotte community together in a perfect giving circle. Six fearless community leaders took the challenge to dance for their favorite charity and bring awareness to our beloved Charlotte Ballet. Records were shattered in terms of attendance and funds raised.  “An Evening in Neverland”  was the theme in anticipation of Jean Pierre Bonnefoux’s gravity-defying Peter Pan which opens tonight. Let your imagination take flight on a special journey to Neverland by clicking here to purchase tickets!


“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning…”

The story began as guests arrived, being greeted by a magical pixie in a theatrical gown created by Charlotte Ballet’s brilliant costume design team. She directed guests through a giant window where a whimsical world of fantasy and adventure awaited them…


“So come with me, where dreams are born and time is never planned.  Just think of happy things and your heart will fly on wings, forever in Never Never Land!”

An ethereal atmosphere of blue, silver and white with dramatic video projections created a virtual Milky Way.


Winter 2015 905

Winter 2015 903

The dancers took the stage and amazed guests with their moves, stage presence and fundrasing efforts. See below for images (via Jeff Cravotta) and video snippets of the performances.


Executive Vice President, Market Solutions & President,Carolinas Region, Duke Energy
to benefit The Salvation Army & Charlotte Ballet



Community Leader and Creator of the Dancing with the Stars Gala
to benefit the Novant Health Foundation & Charlotte Ballet



Head of Markets Division, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
to benefit RunningWorks & Charlotte Ballet



Global Technology & Operating Executive, Bank of America
to benefit Novant Health, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center & Charlotte Ballet



President, Levine Cancer Institute
to benefit Levine Cancer Institute Disparities in CancerCare & Charlotte Ballet



Attorney, Robinson Bradshaw Hinson
to benefit Discovery Place Welcome & Charlotte Ballet


And the winners are….Judge’s Award Winner Dianne Bailey and People’s Award Winner Cathy Bessant!


The extraordinary event planner Todd Murphy

Winter 2015 942

 “Never say goodbye, because saying goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting.”

TInkerbell suspended high above the tent bids guests goodnight after spending a whimsical night in Neverland…


Jean Pierre Bonnefoux’s Peter Pan runs tonight through March 22nd. Click here to see the performance schedule.

Special thanks to the Gala Committee who brought the evening to life!



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 “I felt like a whole person because I could dance.” -Patricia McBride


Patricia McBride , Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, The George Balanchine Trust

Weeks after graduating from college, I moved to New York to work at Sotheby’s.  For this Southern girl in the big city, it was intimidating to say the least. I was surrounded by incredible works of art, brilliant experts, and glamorous clientele. Many of the decorative objects I handled were worth more than I would make in a year, or even more. One of the perks if working at such an institution was the exposure exquisite culture experiences…we were after all in the center of the universe!

After a string of dating debacles, I met a dashing boy who also hailed from below the Mason-Dixon Line. I knew he was a keeper when he agreed to attend the New York City Ballet with me for a performance of George Balanchine’s Firebird. My boss at the time, the elegant Peter Rathbone of Sotheby’s American Paintings department, would often let us use his tickets. The first time I sat in the amazing seats, I was mesmerized. I had danced growing up, but to watch the perfect syncopation of the dancers with the music along with the elaborate costumes and stage sets by Marc Chagall took my breath away. From that moment on, I tried to attend as the ballet whenever I traveled. I had fallen in love with the sheer joy of dance again.


Jean Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride, The George Balanchine Trust

When I moved to Charlotte several years later, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the city had a wonderful dance company….North Carolina Dance Theater, now known as Charlotte Ballet. The incredible artistic directors (also husband and wife) Jean Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride had both danced for New York City Ballet under none other than George Balanchine. These were dancing living legends right here in my new hometown. They had danced for presidents and world leaders as well as all of the most famous dancers of all time.

George Balanchine Patrica McBride rehearse

Patricia McBride and George Balanchine, The George Balanchine Trust

This weekend, Patricia McBride is being honored at the Kennedy Center for her contribution to the arts along with Sting, Al Green, Lily Tomlin and and Tom Hanks. Tonight, over 300 of her fans, friends and family came together to celebrate her life and give her a proper send off to Washington.


via The Washington Post

Mary Curtis, a brilliant journalist and long time fan, interviewed Patricia about her extraordinary life with many of the greatest talents of the 20th century. George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins created and choreographed many pieces specifically for her. She partnered with everyone from Mikhail Barisyhnikov and Edward Villeal to Helgi Tomasson and Rudi Nureyev. In a brilliant grand gesture, event planner Todd Murphy recreated her last New York City Ballet standing ovation from decades ago by orchestrating the audience to shower her with roses once again.The Queen City could not be more proud of this legendary ballerina who calls our lucky city home.

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by Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post

CHARLOTTE — The happiest ballet studio in the world may be the one just down the street from a Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, inside a bright purple building bearing the words “Patricia McBride/Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance.”

Here, on a recent morning, rows of young women and a few young men are being coaxed and praised and sweet-talked into swirling across the floor with luxurious abandon.

“Good, good! Almost! Just breathe a little more with the arms,” urges Patricia McBride, the former ballerina. She stands at the front of the room, but she can’t resist the urge to move with the music. Her hands and arms weave through the air, her eyes widen on the downbeats.

Keeping still just isn’t her strong suit.

It never has been. In the 1970s, as a leggy, tireless powerhouse, McBride so dominated the repertoire of the New York City Ballet and epitomized its style that she was called “the flag-bearer” of the company.Twenty-five years after she retired from the stage, McBride is still an embodiment of the sheer fun of dancing.


“Soften your arms,” McBride calls out cheerily to these students of the Charlotte Ballet Academy, the training arm of the Charlotte Ballet. McBride is a master teacher at the academy and directs the company with her husband, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, who like McBride is a former City Ballet principal dancer.

“Breathe through your movements.” McBride demonstrates, stretching her leg forward and tossing an arm high over her head. As she does this, with a broad smile and merry eyes, she makes a little “ah!” sound, a singing, high-pitched inhalation, as if that expansive move from fingers to toes gives her a tickle.

Dancing, even in the gentle way that McBride, 72, does it these days, still flushes her with joy. But then, what doesn’t? McBride’s emotional dial seems consistently set at cheerful. She is delighted, of course, to receive the 2014 Kennedy Center Honor, which will be bestowed in a gala event on Dec. 7. But long before this award, she was known for her dauntless high spirits.


Mikhail Baryshnikov and Patricia McBride

It was her easy, ready-for-anything nature that inspired George Balanchine, founder of New York City Ballet, and Jerome Robbins, the late associate artistic director of the company, to create some of their most enduring works for McBride’s body. She was unusually versatile. Not only was she up for anything, she could do just about anything.This wasn’t so much a gift as an ethic — the payoff, as she’ll tell you, for hard work, though it simply looked like pleasure. Her roles swung from pert soubrettes to artless innocents, from sauce pots to glamour queens and a chilly dominatrix or two. The consistent thread was how she made dancing look like the most delicious experience on Earth.

“She brought something onstage that we can’t even see on videos; that’s what’s sad for me,” Bonnefoux says. “That joy and that need to dance. That pulse. A nonstop commitment to the choreography and the steps. She was in it.”

McBride was Balanchine’s first Hermia in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; she was the teasing Columbine in his “Harlequinade.” She created the authoritative, pure-hearted Swanilda in his full-length “Coppelia.” For her, Balanchine also choreographed showpieces in the drop-dead sexy “Rubies” section of “Jewels”; in his Gershwin romp “Who Cares?,” in the romantic “Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet” and “Vienna Waltzes,” and more.


She was the rare ballerina who handled Balanchine’s intricate musicality and Robbins’s character-driven mini-dramas with equal ease. She inspired Robbins’s most famous ballets, including his 1969 masterwork on love and youth, “Dances at a Gathering,” which started out as a pas de deux for McBride and Edward Villella, before Robbins expanded it into a larger piece.They rehearsed it five hours a day for 13 weeks, “and I loved every minute of it,” McBride says. Robbins also created parts for her in “The Goldberg Variations,” “The Four Seasons” and “Dybbuk.”

Happiness is powerful. McBride could jolly up the high-strung Robbins, defusing his famously explosive temper.


“She just disarmed him,” says Helgi Tomasson, artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet, who was McBride’s frequent partner at New York City Ballet. “If something went wrong in a rehearsal, she would laugh it off. She’d say, ‘Oh my gosh, I did that? How silly!’ And Jerry would just break into a smile.”

“Ya dum dee da, yup dee da,” McBride sings out in her studio, buoyed by the piano playing and her students. They skitter and bounce across the floor like drops of oil in a hot skillet. She skims along with them, urging them to travel faster, fly higher, jump bigger. Three hours whiz by. McBride teaches her students a bright, springy excerpt from Balanchine’s “Raymonda Variations,” which she first learned from the ballerina Patricia Wilde, for whom Balanchine created the leading role.


So the torch passes; from one body to another. In the ballet world, where the low-tech means of transmitting steps from teacher to student is revered, old dancers never die. They echo in the muscles of the young.

“Glissades can be really exciting!” McBride calls out in her high, soft voice, showing the dancers the beauty of a basic gliding step. It’s a bit like saying the word “and” is really exciting, but McBride makes you believe it. She is zealous about the details: wrists, rib cage, angle of the head. Those little under-appreciated glissades — work them!  They are the link to everything you do.”

In the afternoon, McBride turns to her company duties, overseeing “Nutcracker” rehearsals until evening. So it goes, day after day, whether she’s readying the chamber-size, 18-dancer company for the holiday production or for one of its other programs throughout the year, perhaps featuring one of the Balanchine ballets so dear to her.

She and Bonnefoux work year-round. During the summer, they take their dancers up to the Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York, where the couple run a dance school they founded 25 years ago.

“Are we crazy?” McBride says, leaning on the table over lunch, with her face in her hand. Her deep-set green eyes and broad cheekbones were perfect for the stage, visible from the upper balconies, expressive. With her dark brown hair in a smooth, chic bob, she still has dramatic looks. But her gaze turns dreamy when she’s asked why she keeps working.

“I don’t know. It’s a love, I guess. To show what you’ve got to pass on. . . . I don’t think I’d like to lie around. What would I do?”


McBride takes her pleasure seriously. She’s been drawing a paycheck from dance since 1959, when she joined the New York City Ballet. She was 16. At 18, she became the youngest principal dancer in company history. In her 30-year career, she danced more than 100 different roles. Among her favorites: the zesty “Tarantella” duet; Robbins’s “The Cage” — she was still a teenager when she took on the part of a murderous sexual predator, which embarrassed her, until she grew to love the powerful rush of it. And especially “Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet,” romantic and lush, full of overhead lifts: “The movement was so incredible,” she says. “It evolved from one flowing moment to another.”

After her lavish sendoff from City Ballet in 1989 at age 46 — she was showered with roses, meticulously de-thorned — she jumped into teaching, joining Bonnefoux at Indiana University. In 1996, the couple were offered the job in Charlotte, running what was then called North Carolina Dance Theatre. The name changed to Charlotte Ballet earlier this year, responding to the city’s rapid growth. The ballet has seen a corresponding spike in interest; since 2010, its ticket sales are up 75 percent and donor gifts have tripled.

The couple’s son and daughter both live in Charlotte; McBride and Bonnefoux have three young grandchildren who join them at the ballet school on weekends.

Work is McBride’s life. It is what shaped her, what makes her happy. And it has deep roots.


She never knew her father. She was born in 1942 during the war; he was mostly stationed overseas. Her brother, a composer, was born a year later. McBride has only a dim memory of seeing her dad when she was 3; her parents divorced soon after. Her mother never remarried. McBride grew up with her mother and her mother’s parents in Teaneck, N.J.

McBride’s mother enrolled her daughter in ballet lessons at age 7 “just because it was a nice thing to do,” McBride says.“I always had an inferiority complex, like I wasn’t good enough,” she says. “I was shy. But dancing gave me so much joy, and I was good at it. I felt like a whole person because I could dance.”

When she was 10, McBride’s grandfather died, and her mother, an executive secretary at a bank, became the sole supporter of the family.“I adored her,” says McBride, a bit wistfully. Born of Swiss immigrants, her mother was disciplined and organized, and she never rested. She came home from the bank and took McBride to daily ballet classes.“She instilled in me the work ethic.”

Meanwhile, McBride was getting old-school, apple-pie dance training from a former vaudevillian, who taught her ballet, tap and acrobatics. The teacher would fit a roll of music into her player piano and the kids would jump until the roll was finished. That’s where McBride got her stamina.

She started dancing on pointe at age 8, which was all wrong, she says. Much too young. To extend the life of her pricey satin toe shoes, McBride would darn the tips with needle and thread, then slather them with glue and harden them in the oven.“I had never even seen a ballet performed,” she says. “I just knew ballet made me happy.”She studied briefly with a Russian teacher in New York, who told McBride she was cut out to be a Balanchine dancer.

Oh, a Balanchine dancer! McBride remembers marveling. What is that?

She found out when she saw her first ballet: Balanchine’s “Serenade,” a mysterious work tinged with romance and sadness. When the curtain rose on its motionless dancers in long tulle skirts, right arms raised in a mute gesture of yearning, or wonder, “I was fixated,” McBride recalls. “I’d never seen anything so beautiful. The girls, the music, that Tchaikovsky.”

A year later, at 14, she entered Balanchine’s feeder school, the School of American Ballet, on full scholarship.“I worked very hard,” she says. “I loved working hard.”“I never knew I was talented — I just knew that I loved it. Working hard was never exhausting. If anything, I just tried to work harder.”

Growing up without a father had been difficult, she confesses, gazing toward the autumn sun streaming through the restaurant. In McBride’s childhood, few families ever divorced, and all of her friends and neighbors had fathers. But as she dove deeper into ballet, she found a meaningful replacement, a man who she says “is still with me every day of my life.”

“I felt that Balanchine was my father towards me,” she says of the choreographer, who died in 1983. “He was the person I most admired and looked up to.”

Quiet, patient and endlessly inventive, Balanchine was the idol of so many dancers who knew him. “I just wanted to please him and copy him,” says McBride. “He was so beautiful to watch in motion.”

She sweeps an arm to the side and rolls her shoulder, sketching his elegance with a gesture. “He didn’t want to change you into something you were not. He would let you be yourself.”

He was an Old World gentleman: When he saw her running for a bus in the snow, without boots, he carried her in his arms over the slush. He brought a box of her favorite toe shoes to Russia when the company was on tour there and she danced so much, she wore out the ones she’d packed. She once performed Balanchine’s “Apollo” with Igor Stravinsky conducting his own music; the two men toasted each other with vodka during orchestra breaks.

McBride progressed steadily, rising to the top in an era of iconic ballerinas: Diana Adams, Violette Verdy, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Suzanne Farrell.

She never had a serious injury. Was that luck, smarts or willpower? “I was determined to dance,” is how she explains it. “That’s why I lasted so long.”


At just over five feet tall, she was the perfect size to dance with the leading men of the day, who were also compact: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Edward Villella, Helgi Tomasson.

“There were times when we were dancing together, she was so enjoying the movement that she would make little sounds, almost like a purr,” recalls Tomasson. “You would hear ‘hmm, hmm,’ during the adagio or whatever it was. All of a sudden you would hear that underneath the music, and it would always make me smile.”

In 15 or so years of dancing together, says Villella, “I never had a cross word with her. She is the most even person imaginable.” The ease of partnering her, he says, “was another amazement.” Villella didn’t know much about partnering when he started dancing with McBride; he was still figuring out how to keep a ballerina from toppling over. McBride was so strong and secure, she made his job easier.

“There are ladies who start to lose their balance and they flail. Or ladies who, when you give them a hand, they clutch.” But with McBride, he says, “it was like a conversation between your fingers. The ease of effort — that’s what Patti was the whole time, because she was a wonderfully trusting partner. She was a dream to work with.”

Sara Mearns, a current New York City Ballet principal, trained with McBride as a young teenager, making the hour-and-a-half commute to Charlotte from Columbia, S.C., every day, six days a week. Without McBride’s teaching, “I wouldn’t be the ballerina I am today,” Mearns says, describing “the joy she had every day. It was such a joyous experience.”

Mearns especially recalls McBride’s focus on presenting oneself to the audience, with a relaxed upper body. And always, a smile.

What McBride emphasizes “is really showing your spirit onstage,” says Alessandra Ball-James, a leading dancer of the Charlotte Ballet. “She wants to see you living onstage.”

Back at the studio, McBride is rehearsing four Sugar Plum Fairies in Bonnefoux’s swift, sweeping “Nutcracker” choreography.

“Soft arms,” she says to Ball-James. “I just felt they were a little stiff.” She flutters her wrists, and it’s like a breeze lifting leaves. “Just so they move a little.”

Ball-James dances again, rippling her arms lightly. It makes all the difference.

“Beautiful!” McBride exclaims. “Good!”

And because it’s true, and also because it’s her nature, she showers pleasure on everyone in the room: “You’re all so good.”

*All images from The George Balanchine Trust unless otherwise noted.


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2013 has been an incredible year…I have been blown away by the creative people I have met, the amazing opportunities I have had, and the unconditional support I have received from friends, family and clients.  Thank YOU for everything and I wish you all the best for 2014…Cheers!2013 has been an incredible year….I have been blown away by the creative people I have met, the amazing opportunities I have had, and the unconditional support I have received from friends, family, and clients. Thank YOU for everything and I wish you all the best for 2014…Cheers! As this year comes to a close, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people who have inspired me over the past year. In their honor, these goals will be on my bucket list for the upcoming year…2012013

1. Express Gratitude

2. Be Courageous.

3. Choose Wisely.

4. Dance.

5. Give Grace.

6. Lift People Up.

7. Take Leaps of Faith.

8. Think About Such Things.

9. Forgive.

10. Laugh.

11. Be Myself.

12. Be Daring.

13. Be Artistic.

14. Do Not Be Afraid To Fail.

15. Be Optimistic.

16. Seek Elegance.

17. Challenge Myself.

18. Regret Nothing.

19. Be Thankful Always.

20. Hustle.

21. Simplify.

22. Love.

23. Engage.

All images via Pinterest.