A New Leader at New York Theater Ballet and a Call For New AudiencesBy Marina Harss, The New York Times
Wednesday October 19, 2022
Steven Melendez is a stickler for dramatic detail. In a recent rehearsal of the pas de deux from Agnes De Mille’s “Carousel,” Melendez, the new artistic director of New York Theater Ballet, watched the dancers with close attention, frequently stopping them to ask about the intention behind each movement.
“When you put your hand out to raise her chin, what is that?” he asked Nathan Rommel, a recent recruit. Rommel reflected for a moment and came back with an answer. “OK, I want to see that,” Melendez said.
On a chair in the small studio at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery in the East Village lay a worn paperback copy of “An Actor Prepares,” Stanislavski’s 1936 exploration of the actor’s craft. Melendez requires all new dancers in the company to read it. “I have to train the dancers to learn this way of working,” he said.
In one sense, he is following in the footsteps of Diana Byer, the founder of New York Theater Ballet, who ran the company from its inception, in 1978, until August when Melendez took over. The company’s first New York performances under his direction, at Florence Gould Hall on Friday and Saturday, could have been programmed by Byer. They include works by Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Martha Clarke and José Limón.
Click the link below to continue reading the full article.
Photo by Braylen Dion for The New York Times