Posts tagged with "ballet"

Ballerina illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

SF Ballet Release Film

San Francisco Ballet announces the premiere of Dance of Dreams, a new dance film directed by Benjamin Millepied, featuring San Francisco Ballet dancers performing choreography by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor, and Christopher Wheeldon. Filmed in iconic San Francisco locations including the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the new six-minute film is set to “Scène D’Amour” by Bernard Hermann from Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco–based thriller film from 1958, played by members of SF Ballet Orchestra. “The connection of this company to the people of San Francisco is so strong. It’s a die-hard audience,” says director Benjamin Millepied. “Dance of Dreams is a moment of dancing, a moment of reconnecting dancers to the city and the thing they love most.” Click here to see the film trailer. “Here in San Francisco, we’re still sheltering in place and I wanted to explore new work under these circumstances. Dance of Dreams celebrates San Francisco, while giving our dancers the freedom to move outdoors in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Bay Area, and with choreography by some of the finest choreographers of our time,” says SF Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. “Benjamin [Millepied] felt like a natural fit to direct this project. I am thrilled to be able to work with him in a capacity that integrates his background in film and cinematography with dance.” 

Dance of Dreams offers a glimpse of San Francisco as the city enters its fifth month of shelter-in-place restrictions. The film is choreographed for six dancers, including solos for Principal Dancers Joseph Walsh and Frances Chung, choreographed by Peck and Taylor, respectively; and pas de deux for Soloists Ellen Rose Hummel and Daniel Deivison-Oliveira, choreographed by Rhoden, and Soloist Madison Keesler and Principal Dancer Benjamin Freemantle, choreographed by Wheeldon. SF Ballet Orchestra Music Director Martin West mixed and mastered the recording, which incorporates more than 150 tracks recorded remotely by more than 60 musicians from the Orchestra. With this project, the Company enters an era of unprecedented digital engagement via uncharted territories, grappling with what is lost while ushering in new future possibilities. Millepied and all of the choreographers generously donated their time, working remotely from their respective locales.

The film begins with Joseph Walsh on the grounds of the iconic San Francisco Art Institute in movements that suggest a yearning for what the past and future hold: community, connection, and love. Shifting to an evening scene beside the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s foggy weather greets Hummel and Deivison-Oliveira, leading to Chung in solitude against the rugged shores of Sausalito. Among the swells and sonorities of Hermann’s “Scène D’Amour,” the film ends at the Palace of Fine Arts, a location featured in the film Vertigo. Keesler and Freemantle offer a closing pas de deux—an ode to perseverance through challenging times.

Social distancing rules were observed during the filming process, and the pas de deux are danced by dancers who have been sheltered in place together. Dance of Dreams will be available to the public at 12 noon U.S. PDT on August 13, 2020 on SF Ballet @ Home, YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV.

Millepied and Tomasson’s professional relationship began two decades ago at New York City Ballet (NYCB), when Millepied danced a principal role in Tomasson’s Prism as part of NYCB’s 2000 Diamond Project IV. Millepied began choreographing while at New York City Ballet and created his first work for SF Ballet—set to John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances”—in 2017. He is now Artistic Director of L.A. Dance Project, and his career has expanded to include filmmaking; he founded The Amoveo Company, a multimedia production company, in 2012. For Dance of Dreams, Millepied selected the music and settings; Tomasson invited the participation of the four choreographers whose work the film features.

Director Benjamin Millepied is a choreographer, filmmaker, and artistic director distinguished by his career as a dancer at New York City Ballet and his growing body of creative work. Born in Bordeaux, France, Millepied trained with his mother, Catherine Flori; at the Conservatoire National de Lyon; and at the School of American Ballet before becoming a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. His choreography is performed by New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Berlin Staatsoper, Mariinsky Ballet, among many others, and was featured in Darren Aronofsky’s award-winning film Black Swan, in which he also starred. Millepied founded the L.A. Dance Project in 2012. In 2013, he was appointed director of Paris Opera Ballet, where he was the subject of the documentary film Reset. He returned to Los Angeles in 2016 to focus on L.A. Dance Project and his own choreography and filmmaking. Among many awards and honors, Millepied was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. 

Choreographer Justin Peck is Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor with New York City Ballet (NYCB). Peck joined NYCB in 2006 and was promoted to Soloist in 2013. He began choreographing in 2009 at the New York Choreographic Institute. In 2014, after the creation of Everywhere We Go, Peck was appointed Resident Choreographer of NYCB. He also served as a member of NYCB’s interim artistic team from December 2017 until his appointment as Artistic Advisor in February 2019. He has created more than 30 ballets, which have been performed by Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, Dutch National Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet. In 2014, Peck was the subject of the documentary Ballet 422, which followed him as he created Paz de la Jolla, NYCB’s 422nd original dance. Peck choreographed the 2018 Broadway revival of Carousel, for which he was awarded the 2018 Tony Award for Best Choreography. In addition, Peck choreographed the feature film Red Sparrow, and will be creating new choreography for the upcoming film remake of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg. His Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes won the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production in 2015. Peck created his first work for SF Ballet, In the Countenance of Kings, in 2017. His second work for the Company—Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming—was created for the 2018 Unbound: A.

Choreographer Dwight Rhoden is founding artistic director and resident choreographer of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Born in Dayton, Ohio, he performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballets Jazz De Montréal, and as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has choreographed for New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, Colorado Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, The Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet, Ballet Nice Mediterranean, Rome Opera Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet, among others. Rhoden has directed and choreographed for television, film, and theater, including So You Think You Can Dance, Cirque du Soleil, world tours for Prince and Lenny Kravitz, and the feature film One Last Dance. Rhoden was nominated for a Benois de la Danse Award for his The Great Gatsby for the Mariinsky Ballet. He’s been an artist in residence at USC Kaufman, Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, New York University, and Southern Methodist University. Honors include a New York Foundation for the Arts award, induction in the NYFA Hall of Fame, the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography, and an Honorary Doctorate from Boston Conservatory. Rhoden created LET’S BEGIN AT THE END, his first work for SF Ballet, for Unbound: A Festival of New Works in 2018.

Choreographer Janie Taylor is a dancer and stager with L.A. Dance Project and a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Born in Houston, she trained in Texas and Louisiana before attending the School of American Ballet in New York, where she received the Mae L. Wien Award. She joined New York City Ballet in 1998, and was promoted to soloist in 2001 and principal dancer in 2005. Taylor appeared in the 2000 feature film Center Stage. Since retiring from the New York City Ballet in 2014, she has staged ballets on companies around the world. She has also started a career in design, creating costumes for New York City Ballet and L.A. Dance Project. In 2016, she joined L.A. Dance Project as a dancer and rehearsal director. 

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, OBE, trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet (NYCB). Wheeldon was named NYCB’s first resident choreographer in 2001 and has since created works for many of the world’s major ballet companies. He founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company in 2007. Wheeldon now serves as artistic associate of The Royal Ballet, where choreography credits include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale. He choreographed Dance of the Hours for Ponchielli’s La Gioconda and Richard Eyre’s Carmen for the Metropolitan Opera, as well as a special excerpt for the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, ballet sequences for the film Center Stage, and the Broadway musical Sweet Smell of Success. In 2014, Wheeldon directed and choreographed the musical An American in Paris, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Choreography and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography and Direction. Other recent credits include a reimagination of The Nutcracker for The Joffrey Ballet, a gala presentation of Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon starring Kelli O’Hara and Patrick Wilson at New York City Center, the premiere of Corybantic Games with The Royal Ballet, and productions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Tokyo, The Winter’s Tale with The Bolshoi Ballet, and a re-staged version of Cinderella for the English National Ballet at The Royal Albert Hall. Among Wheeldon’s awards are two Olivier awards for Aeternum and Polyphonia, and two Benois de la Danse awards for Cinderella and The Winter’s Tale, as well as the Martin E. Segal Award, American Choreography Award, a Dance Magazine Award, multiple London Critics’ Circle Awards, and the Léonide Massine Prize for new choreography. In 2016, Wheeldon was named an OBE and made an Honorary Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

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San Francisco Ballet Streams Online

On June 30, San Francisco Ballet will stream its 2020 Opening Night Gala program – SPELLBOUND – to mark the end of a season that started with great hope and was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is being presented as a heartfelt message of appreciation to the nearly 3,000 San Francisco Ballet Critical Relief Fund donors, as well as annual fund supporters, and patrons who generously donated back their unused 2020 Season tickets. The stream will be available from 10 am until midnight U.S. Pacific Daylight Time on June 30 on SF Ballet @ Home, YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV. Viewers will also be able to contribute to the SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund and have their gift matched by a generous $1 million challenge grant put forward by the SF Ballet’s Board of Trustees.

A special intermission presentation featuring a new work created on Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan will highlight the program. The 2020 Season marks the 25th anniversary season of Tan’s remarkable tenure with the Company. The piece, by SF Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, is a tribute to Yuan Yuan Tan’s mother.

“Throughout all of my years working with Yuan Yuan as both a dancer and a choreographer, I’ve always admired the support of her parents,” says Possokhov. “First hearing stories from her childhood, then later meeting them and watching as they stood by her side at every performance and milestone, I realized what an integral role they played in the progression of her incredibly successful career as a ballerina. In choreographing this piece, I wanted to honor Yuan Yuan’s mother, so we can appreciate the steadfast dedication to her daughter’s journey. During the process, the movements evoked emotions and memories of my own mother, who also firmly stood by my side throughout my life.”

Held on January 16, 2020, the Gala’s twelve pieces include the world premiere performances of Val Caniparoli’s Foreshadow and Myles Thatcher’s 05:49, in addition to the SF Ballet premiere of the pas de deux from David Dawson’s Swan Lake (featuring departing Principal Dancers Sofiane Sylve and Carlo Di Lanno) and the SF Ballet premiere of Danielle Rowe’s For Pixie. Other highlights include Principal Dancer Esteban Hernandez and newly promoted Principal Dancer Max Cauthorn in Bournonville’s “Jockey Dance,” and newly promoted Principal Dancer Wona Park with Principal Dancer Wei Wang in Victor Gsovsky’s Grand Pas Classique. Tan is also highlighted alongside Vitor Luiz, in his final performance as a principal dancer with SF Ballet, in a pas de deux from Yuri Possokhov’s Bells. Osterweis Capital Management was the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala. Full programming is listed below.

SF Ballet @ Home is made possible through the generosity it has received from the community through the Critical Relief Fund. The recordings are produced under agreements with the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, American Guild of Musical Artists, American Federation of Musicians, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

About Yuan Yuan Tan

Yuan Yuan Tan’s remarkable 25-year career at SF Ballet has created not only some of the most prominent principal roles in the field of ballet, but also a path for her significant contribution to bridging the world of dance globally. Tan’s remarkable artistry and the inspiration she imparts on future generations of aspiring female performing artists continue to define the role of a prima ballerina today, reaching political and social realms. Nominated by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Mayor Mark Farrell noted April 9, 2018 as “Yuan Yuan Tan Day” for the people of San Francisco and awarded her the year’s San Francisco Mayor Art Award. He said: “Her grace, skill, versatility and strength have helped her become the first Chinese prima ballerina in the United States and one of the greatest Chinese ballerinas of all time. She has gracefully served as cultural ambassador for San Francisco and the United States. We are immensely grateful for her contributions to our city’s cultural history.” Chelsea Clinton featured Tan in her 2018 children’s book She Persisted Around the World, alongside other female leaders in science, the arts, sports, and activism who are role models in their determination to break barriers and change the status quo.

Helgi Tomasson first noticed Yuan Yuan Tan at the Fifth International Ballet competition in Paris in 1992, where she took the gold medal in the junior division. She won the gold medal and the Nijinsky Award at the 1st Japan International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition the following year. Tan was invited by Tomasson to join SF Ballet in 1995 as soloist, and two years later was promoted to principal dancer, making her the youngest principal dancer in SF Ballet history at the time. Over the course of Tan’s exceptional 25-year career at SF Ballet, she has danced a remarkable repertory traversing works of preeminent choreographers including Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins; and has created leading principal roles including Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, Chi-Lin, and The Fifth Season; William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016; Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean and Symphonic Dances; Mark Morris’ Sylvia; Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU, Firebird, and Diving Into the Lilacs; Liam Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries and Hummingbird; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To, Continuum, Ghosts, Number Nine, and Quaternary. Yuan Yuan Tan was featured as Queen of the Snow in the 2008 PBS Great Performances broadcast of Tomasson’s Nutcracker, co-produced by SF Ballet and KQED Public Television San Francisco, in association with thirteen/WNET New York.

Arguably the most notable ambassador to bridge dance between China and the United States, Tan facilitated SF Ballet’s historic first-ever tour to China in 2008 and still performs several times a year in her native country where she also frequently participates in teaching workshops, competitions, and other community programs to nurture new generations. Tan was the first Asian dancer appearing in the World Star Show in Prague. Her appearance on TEDxShanghai in 2016 titled “My Life as a Ballerina” was critically received and garnered her the reputation as the “irreplaceable pride of China on the global stage.” In 2004, Tan was featured on a cover of Time as a “Hero of Asia”; named one of the world’s most influential Chinese for her contribution to the arts by Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV in 2015; was honored with “You Bring Charm to the World” award from HKSTV in 2017; and in 2018, appeared on the Chinese cultural program The Reader.

Programming Details

Men’s Regiment from Stars & Stripes

Composer: John Philip Sousa, arranged by Hershy Kay

Choreographer: George Balanchine

Foreshadow (World Premiere)

Composer: Ludovico Einaudi

Choreographer: Val Caniparoli

Pas de Deux from Swan Lake (SF Ballet Premiere)

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreographer: David Dawson

“Jockey Dance” from From Siberia To Moscow (SF Ballet Premiere)

Composer: Carl Christian Møller

Choreographer: August Bournonville

For Pixie (SF Ballet Premiere)

Composer: Nina Simone

Choreographer: Danielle Rowe

Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire

Composer: Riccardo Drigo

Choreography: after Marius Petipa

Intermission Performance

Dedicated to… (World Premiere, June 30, 2020)

Director and Director of Photography: Erik Tomasson

Composer: Victor Osadchev

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

Editor: Hidetoshi Oneda

Costume Design: Original costumes for Yuri Possokhov’s Carmen, designed by Mark Zappone

Music: Victor Osadchev

Balcony Pas de Deux from Romeo & Juliet

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev

Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

05:49 (World Premiere)

Composers: Ivan Pavlov and Annie Bandez

Choreographer: Myles Thatcher

Grand Pas Classique

Composer: D. F. E. Auber

Choreography: Victor Gsovsky

Pas de Deux from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Composers: Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, and Justin Meldal-Johnsen

Choreographer: Justin Peck

Pas de Deux from Bells

Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

Finale from Diamonds

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreographer: George Balanchine

About San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

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YAGP COMPETITION

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) – the world’s largest ballet scholarship organization – presents YAGP’s Pas de Deux Virtual Competition. Over 12,000 aspiring dancers – ages 9 to 19 – danced at YAGP’s 2020 regional auditions around the globe; 34 cities in 14 countries. The three highest-ranked Pas de Deux performances from each location will be showcased on YAGP’s social media channels Friday, June 26th through Sunday, June 28th. Internationally recognized members of the dance world – including Cynthia Harvey (ABT JKO School), Peter Stark (Boston Ballet II), and Amanda Bennet (Basel Theater) – will be watching and judging each variation. On Wednesday, July 1st these judges will announce the winners! In addition, each participant will be automatically reviewed for scholarships, job offers, and placements to the schools and companies represented on the jury.

Students will be representing schools in California, Indianapolis, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Arizona, Massachusetts, Missouri, District of Columbia, North Carolina, Colorado, Michigan, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, as well as Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary in Canada and countries Spain, Romania, Portugal, Italy, and Russia.

The Judges
Contemporary Category

Matthew Dibble – Repetiteur and Dancer, Twyla Tharp Dance

Karine Plantadit – Tony Award-nominated Dancer/Actress; Former dancer at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

John Selya – Former Dancer, Twyla Tharp Dance

Ashleigh Wilson – Former Soloist, SemperOper Dresden

Classical Category
Natalia Bashkatova – Former Principal Dancer, Bolshoi Theater; Performer, Cirque du Soleil

Amanda Bennett – Artistic Director, Ballet School of the Basel Theater

Cynthia Harvey – Artistic Director, American Ballet Theater, JKO School

Deborah Hess – Senior Faculty Member, Canada’s National Ballet School

Oliver Matz – Director, Zurich Dance Academy

Pascal Molat – Trainee Program Assistant, San Francisco Ballet School

Robert Parker – Artistic Director, Elmhurst Ballet School

Peter Stark – Associate Director Boston Ballet II and Head of the Men’s Program, Boston Ballet Academy

Dates

Contemporary Pas de Deux will be Friday, June 26 at 6 PM EST

Classical Pas de Deux Group 1 will be Saturday, June 27 at 6 PM EST

Classical Pas de Deux Group 2 will be Sunday, June 28 at 6 PM EST

To support dancers while they are staying at home, YAGP has also launched a new Virtual Scholarship Program and Free Online Classes. Every dancer who placed in the top 12, Classical Category, during the 2020 YAGP Semi-Finals was eligible to apply for scholarships to top dance institutions through YAGP.  For the first time in history, 18 of the world’s major dance schools awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to 105 talented young dancers from 21 countries; 6 dancers were offered company trainee positions, 1 received a 2nd company professional contract – and it all happened online! With YAGP’s extensive global repertoire of alumni and affiliated dance professionals, free online classes are available for all dancers of any level. Teachers include Luca Masala (Artistic Director of Monaco’s Princess Grace Academy), Sasha De Sola (YAGP Alumna and Principal Dancer at San Francisco Ballet), Maria Khoreva (Mariinsky Ballet), Kathryn Morgan (Miami City Ballet), Skylar Brandt (American Ballet Theatre), Peter Stark (Boston Ballet), Oliver Matz (Zurich Dance Academy), Jason Beechey (Palucca School Dresden), and TONY-nominated Broadway performer Karine Plantadit (YAGP Judge and Emcee, former dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) teaching a special class on the Horton technique for ballet dancers. As the YAGP community practices social distancing, its social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube) are providing these daily classes at 12 pm EST, which will remain available on each channel permanently.

The Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition, and global dance network; connecting students, teachers, schools, companies, sponsors, dancers, choreographers, and audiences worldwide. Over 12,000 young dancers from more than 40 countries participate in YAGP’s competition, master classes, and educational events each season. Over the past 20 years, YAGP has facilitated more than $4 Million in scholarships to the world’s leading dance institutions. Over 450 YAGP alumni are currently dancing in 80 of the world’s leading dance companies, including American Ballet Theatre, Dutch National Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, ParisOpera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and many more. More information, at WWW.YAGP.ORG.

360 Magazine, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monaco Starts to Reopen

The Principality of Monaco has gradually started to reopen in compliance with health and safety measures imposed by the Government of Monaco.

After June 2nd, public restaurants, stores, and attractions began to open in an attempt to revitalize the large tourism sector of Monaco’s economy.

Monaco looks forward to travel restrictions being lifted for North American travelers so they can welcome tourists again — a cosmopolitan nation with 139 nationalities that come together and make the world’s second-smallest country diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.

The Hospitality Industry Reopens in Monaco

Step by step and in strict compliance with measures to fight the pandemic, various sectors of the tourism industry have begun to reopen, starting with hotels.

Several hotels are opening up to guests, such as Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Hôtel de France, and Hôtel Fairmont Monte-Carlo. They are all focusing significant attention on the health, well-being, and safety of their guests as COVID-19 precautions will remain crucial to the Monaco community.

Reinventing Monaco’s Culture

Along with the hospitality industry, Monaco offers a plethora of artistic and cultural talent for locals and tourists to enjoy. As a result, different cultural organizations are currently adapting their shows to safer environments in response to COVID-19. For example, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is maintaining a strong social media presence and offering virtual tours and games, while Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo is uploading numbers of impressive ballet performances on the France 3 (PACA) and Monaco Info websites.

New Brian Justin Crum Video

BRIAN JUSTIN CRUM DROPS NEW VIDEO “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS” ON THE HEELS OF HIS BIG AMERICA’S GOT TALENT: CHAMPIONS WIN  

Brian Justin Crum, best known as the powerhouse vocalist from America’s Got Talent (Season 11) and now America’s Got Talent: Champions, has just dropped a new video “We Are The Champions,” fresh on the heels of his big win. Check out his winning performance of “Your Songhere.

The show-stopping talent, who garnered millions of views from his performances of Queen, Michael Jackson, Radiohead and Phil Collins –generated some of the highest online statistics seen by the show’s talent. He also won the hearts of the audience who resonated with his story of being an overweight, bullied, gay teen. He strongly supports anti-bullying and LGBT efforts.   

Check out “We Are The Championshere.

Crum also appears in the Queen musical ballet “Somebody To Love on February 14.

He will be releasing singles, video and a new album this year. Follow @brianjustincrum

 

MADONNA × ‘TAKING FLIGHT’

GOLDEN GLOBE AND GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING GLOBAL ICON MADONNA TAKES FIRST POSITION TO DIRECT MICHAELA DEPRINCE’S MEMOIR ‘TAKING FLIGHT’ FOR MGM

 

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures (MGM) announced today  Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning global icon Madonna (W.E.) is set to direct Taking Flight, based on Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince’s Random House Children’s memoir Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina. The announcement was made by Jonathan Glickman, President, Motion Picture Group, MGM.

Camilla Blackett (Fresh Off the Boat, New Girl) will adapt the screenplay for Taking Flight, which follows DePrince’s life as an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone as she overcomes great odds to become a world- famous ballerina. DePrince was featured in the 2012 ballet documentary First Position and later debuted as a professional dancer at the age of 17 in the Joburg Ballet in South Africa. She appeared in Beyonce’s 2016 cultural phenomenon “Lemonade” and is currently a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.

Madonna made her directing debut on 2008’s Filth and Wisdom, a comedy centered on three flatmates living desperate lives in London which she co-wrote with Dan Cadan. She also directed and co-wrote 2011’s W.E. alongside Alek Keshishian. The drama chronicled the relationship between British King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson.  Her upcoming projects include co-writing and directing a film adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer’s novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. Tentatively titled Loved, the film portrays the protagonist’s relationship with her gay twin brother. She produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary looking into the lives of Malawi’s over one million orphans in the wake of the AIDS pandemic.

A master of personal and professional reinvention, Madonna is the highest-selling female recording artist of all time. She has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and has won over 200 awards including seven Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes Awards and two Brit Awards.

Glickman said, “We could not be more thrilled that Madonna will bring this remarkable story to the big screen.  There is no director better suited to tell Michaela’s journey with passion and sensitivity, and we cannot wait to bring this film to audiences all around the world.”

Madonna said, “Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” said Madonna.  “We have a unique opportunity to shed light on Sierra Leone and let Michaela be the voice for all the orphaned children she grew up beside. I am honored to bring her story to life.”

Alloy Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Elysa Koplovitz Dutton will produce alongside Ben Pugh and Guy Oseary. Glickman and Tabitha Shick, MGM’s Executive Director of Worldwide Motion Pictures, are overseeing the project on behalf of the studio.

“We were immediately awestruck by Michaela’s journey and know Madonna’s vision and passion for the material will deliver a film that inspires audiences everywhere,” said Les Morgenstein.

MGM has had a successful track record adapting books to screen, most recently with Warner Bros. Pictures on the romantic drama Everything, Everything, based on Nicola Yoon’s best-selling novel and produced by Alloy Entertainment; Me Before You, based on Jojo Moyes’ international best-seller, which went on to gross $200 million worldwide with Warner Bros. Pictures; If I Stay, based on the young adult best-seller from Gayle Forman, which went on to do well at the box office with Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line. Warner Bros. Pictures, MGM and Alloy Entertainment are currently in pre-production on The Sun Is Also A Star, based on the bestselling YA novel by Nicola Yoon, directed by Ry Russo-Young and starring Yara Shahidi.

MGM’s upcoming 2018 slate includes: The Hustle, a hilarious new comedy about two female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who compete to swindle a naive tech billionaire out of his fortune starring Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, will release in theaters on June 29; Fighting With My Family, a comedy-drama written and directed by Stephen Merchant, based on the true personal story of WWE Superstar PaigeTM and her family of professional wrestlers,starring Florence Pugh, Vince Vaughn and Dwayne Johnson, will release in U.S. theaters on September 14; Operation Finale, directed by Chris Weitz and starring Golden Globe Winner Oscar Isaac and Academy Award Winner Ben Kingsley will release on September 21; Creed II, a continuation of the Rocky saga, starring Golden Globe Winner and Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, will be released in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures on November 21.

Alloy Entertainment is behind the global television franchises Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl and feature films Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sex Drive. Most recently Alloy Entertainment produced Everything, Everything, with MGM and Warner Bros., staring Amandla Stenberg and is currently in post-production on Good Girls Get High for Verizon’s go90 directed by Laura Teruso.

Madonna is represented by CAA and Maverick Management. ICM Partners and Full Circle Literary represent Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.

 

About Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content as well as the premium pay television network EPIX, which is available throughout the U.S. via cable, satellite, telco and digital distributors.  In addition, MGM has investments in numerous other television channels, digital platforms and interactive ventures and is producing premium short-form content for distribution. For more information, visit www.mgm.com.

About Alloy Entertainment

Alloy Entertainment, a Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. Company, is a creative think tank and full-service editorial partner that develops and produces original books, television series, and feature films. The company generates unique commercial entertainment franchises and collaborates with authors, leading publishers, television networks, and movie studios to deliver its properties to the world.

COOPER PHILLIP

Edited by Vaughn Lowery 


With her stunning voice and intense drive, COOPER PHILLIP captures the undivided attention of most people around her. COOPER has always been a small town girl with big dreams. Born in Russia to a family of classical musicians, her adolescent years were shaped by her grandmother and aunt. Her mother, a master violin player, toured the world with various symphonies. This separation led COOPER to take comfort in music at an early age where she was mesmerized by the vocal stylings of Ella Fitzgerald. She learned many of her songs, paying close attention to her pronunciation and vocal tone.  At 12 years of age, COOPER went to live with her mother. It was a major adjustment for both of them, but her mom soon realized her daughter possessed a gift and encouraged her musical talents. Moreover, COOPER attended the prestigious Moscow State Classical Academy (she studied classical piano, theory, harp, jazz, blues, ballet and voice). Her vocal teacher at the academy introduced her to the music of Mariah Carey – COOPER was obsessed!


“I WOULD JUST LISTEN TO HER FOR HOURS, UPON HOURS.”


She diligently worked to expand her range and control her voice to impress both her audience and her teachers. She loved the challenge.

 

“[THERE’S] SOMETHING ABOUT BEING IN FRONT OF A [LIVE] AUDIENCE; AND WINNING A COMPETITION AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE, ONLY MADE ME MORE CURIOUS …. AND, I BECAME [MORE] INTERESTED IN SEEING WHAT I COULD DO WITH MY VOICE.”

 

She began singing every day, taking in the sounds of Barbra Streisand and learned both classical piano and harp.


Determined to pursue a career in music, COOPER’s mother allowed her to move to New York City at 17. With barely a dollar to her name, she worked and hustled, singing in weddings and clubs and sleeping in the storeroom of a restaurant where she sang. It wasn’t easy but she would not be deterred. After a few years in NYC, COOPER jumped at an opportunity to sing in Los Angeles. With a strong sense of direction, COOPER began pouring her heart into songs she would write for her debut EP, Walk A Mile. In writing, she found an outlet to tell her story of love and pain in soul-filled ballads like Black Box, Tough Love and her song, Silence.  She’s performed her music at various venues in LA such as Viper Room, Soho House, Spaghettini, Hotel Café and Sayers Club.

For additional information on this recording artist visit http://cooperphillipmusic.com