The Bodies That Inspire by Siobhan Burke

by Siobhan Burke Via

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but for choreographers, the body itself is a rich source. Some dancemakers may be drawn to specific physical traits: lanky limbs, an articulate spine, a muscular build. But those features can’t move on their own. There’s always a heart, a mind, a spirit, a psyche—some form of inner life propelling what we see externally, animating what the body can do. Dance Magazine asked four choreographers: What body inspires you?


Bill T. Jones
Artistic director, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
We’re a company that started out with very eccentric bodies: Larry Goldhuber, Arthur Aviles, people like that. Some of the repertory has such a strong imprint from those dancers that you’re always looking for some version of it, though you don’t want to be shameless about trying to reproduce it. Of course, there aren’t many Larry Goldhubers with 300 pounds, but my company must always have a very large man, somebody with stature. Larry always made me feel small when I danced with him.

For the kind of movement we do, it’s good to have long arms, a supple back, to be able to find stillness in a way that’s hopefully not dead. We talk about the skeleton as rock-and-roll: the bones of the skeleton, the way you let your backbone slip. It’s first got to be strong, like a marionette, so you can articulate from some central point.

Shayla-Vie Jenkins is one example of that. I love her beauty. When Arnie and I started out, we never had a regal black woman with training. They were going to Mr. Ailey or somewhere else. But Shayla was attracted to my movement. Because of the length of her limbs, the way there’s something aloof about her, she can deliver abstract movement convincingly. That’s more about the quality of interpretation than the body, but the two work together in my mind.


Photo of Emily Molnar courtesy Ballet BC.

Emily Molnar

Artistic director, Ballet BC
There’s not one body type that interests me. What interests me is a dancer who is fully engaged inside of their body. There’s no blockage, no insecurity. They’re confident in who they are, and you can sense it in the way they dance. That usually leads, for me, to a body that is strong, agile, vulnerable, expressive and can really move through three-dimensional space.

Ballet BC is reflective of that. Every one of the dancers looks very different. They’re not the same height; some are more muscular. What’s interesting to me is how a group of individuals works as a collective. I think that when everybody is a carbon copy it misses the point of what artistic expression is.

There’s a dancer in Ballet BC, Darren Devaney, who is very slight. One would think on first observation that he wouldn’t be able to partner, but he’s one of the strongest and most supple dancers I’ve seen. Some of the greatest artists I’ve seen are the dancers with more difficult bodies: Maybe they don’t have the greatest arched feet, or the most flexibility, or an enormous amount of rotation or that fabulous arabesque. But it can be more interesting to watch, because they’ve had to create a real understanding of how their body works and what they’re saying with it.


Michelle Dorrance
Artistic director, Dorrance Dance
I like working with a diverse range of individuals. A great example is Ryan Casey, who’s 6′ 8″ and really lanky. He stands out the second he’s onwww. That’s not just another body to me. It’s a body that inspires character work specifically. I centered a lot of scenes around him. I liked playing with the idea that he could look totally gangly, almost absurd, and still execute every sound with utmost precision and clarity and tone and nuance. You’d never think that someone with feet that big and a body that long could wield it with the same efficiency as a smaller, more compact dancer. I love that paradox and the character that comes from it.

I don’t mind if a dancer has some extra weight, some extra meat, a lot of muscle or barely any, as long as they have control. I want dancers who are strong and sharp but also capable of great subtlety. Of course, they have to have incredibly intelligent feet. The music and the integrity of our technique comes first. I want that clarity. But I do ask for more.

Dorrance (left) rehearsing a Petite Suite, with Ryan Casey (right). Photo by Joni Lohr, Courtesy Dorrance.



Andrea Miller
Artistic director, Gallim Dance
I could tell you everything that’s physically beautiful about any of my dancers. But if someone didn’t have the soul or the imagination or the depth to try something new and be bold, I don’t think those physical features would matter.

I see the body in its most inspiring state when a dancer lets their imagination change the makeup of their structure from one moment to the next, like the softness or thickness of their skin. One of my dancers, Dan Walczak, has really transformed in that way. He came from an approach that was more release-based, I think. There was something hesitant in his movement. We really had to get him to engage: engage his fire, his muscles, his focus, his jump. And he completely changed. He has a huge range of expressivity. You can feel his soul, his compassion, his sadness or his silliness. His heart is all over his body.

Miller watching Gallim’s Gwyneth Mackenzie and Matthew Perez. Photo by Carey Kirkella.

Read the original article here.


My Latest Binge Watch: “Strictly Ballet”

by Kristin Schwab via

No, you’re not imagining it: Ballet is everywhere these days. In ads, in music videos and on TV. 

And with an increase in dance coverage hopefully comes an increase in dance knowledge. Just how did all these dancers actually become dancers? Even I, long past my eager pre-professional days at the barre, still find myself fascinated with how different students train around the world.

So is the staff over at Teen Vogue. Last year, the magazine debuted the first season of its web series “Strictly Ballet,” which followed students during their final years at the School of American Ballet. This time around, we’re getting a look at dancers of Miami City Ballet School. There’s Mayumi Enokibara, who left Brazil in hopes of joining Miami City Ballet; Valeriia Chaykina, who left the Vaganova Academy in Russia with dreams of working in the U.S.; and Carlos Valdés, whose whole family moved to Miami from Cuba in support of his dancing. We watch a total of six students deal with injuries, the job hunt and the college versus company struggle. If you’re a binge watcher like me, you’re in luck. All of Season 2 is online.

And don’t forget about Dance Magazine‘s new series that follows a professional dancer during a full day of work, from dawn to dusk. The first episode is with New York City freelancer Melissa Toogood. We’ll be releasing new videos soon.

Read more here.


The American Dream by Ashley Rivers

photo by Lucas Chilczuk for DanceMedia LLC

by Ashley Rivers Via

Many U.S. dancers dream of dancing abroad—of spending time experiencing cities and companies that, to us, seem “exotic.” But at the same time, dancers from around the world fantasize about joining our hometown troupes. What is it that draws them here?

Mayara Pineiro
Corps de ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet
Originally from Havana, Cuba
Growing up at Cuba’s National Ballet School, Mayara Pineiro knew very little about the ballet scene in America. She’d heard about Cuban dancers joining top U.S. companies, but mainly, she dreamed of leaving Cuba. Her family was very poor—her single mother struggled to support Pineiro and her siblings. Pineiro, who had the opportunity to travel abroad to dance at festivals and competitions, saw a different future for herself.
In 2009, when her school left for a Canadian tour, Pineiro decided she would not return. “I always wanted to be in the U.S. and to dance here,” she says, “but I didn’t expect anything.” Just before her tour group left for the airport in Niagara Falls, she excused herself to go to the bathroom. There, she recorded a video message for her mother, before leaving her luggage and everything she owned and crossing the bridge into the U.S. side of the city.
Although American law offers asylum to all Cuban citizens as soon as they set foot on American soil, Pineiro was still a minor—which meant she could not defect, and could not claim asylum, without a parent’s permission. The stakes were high: In Cuba, defecting is a serious offense, and those who do, or who try unsuccessfully, are severely looked down upon socially and may have a hard time finding employment. For 17 days, Pineiro waited at a detention center until her mother could send a recorded video message offering her permission.
Finally, with immigration papers in hand, Pineiro made her way to Orlando, where an uncle lived. “I surprised him—he didn’t know anything,” she says. “I called him and said, ‘I’m here! I need your help.’ ” He gladly took her in, but the first six months were tough. “I believed I wasn’t going to dance again, because I couldn’t afford it,” she says. Just when she had nearly given up, the Ballet Academy of Central Florida and the Art of Classical Ballet in Pompano Beach offered her free training, helping her to get back in shape and audition for companies.
From there, her career became a decidedly international one. Pineiro’s first contract came from National Opera of Bucharest, in Romania, where she expanded her classical roots. The next year, she was a guest artist with Balletto del Sud, in Italy, and got a feel for touring with a small company. But she wanted to be closer to her family in Florida, so she joined Milwaukee Ballet for two years before Angel Corella invited her to join Pennsylvania Ballet last fall.
Pineiro’s career has given her a taste of the differences in dance culture from one country to the next. For instance, she performed The Nutcracker in March in Romania, where the ballet has no holiday connections. She says that in no country has she spent as much time on technique as was the norm in Cuba, where the training is thoroughly classical. But she appreciates U.S. companies’ benefits, like health insurance and the abundance of pointe shoes available—in Romania she needed to make two pairs last a whole season (Gaynor Mindens were required).
However, her strongest impression is of the similarities that she finds. “Wherever you go, you’re in the studio working every day,” she says. Ballet’s steps, and much of the choreography, are the same. “And it’s the same thing, to perform.”
Now that she’s back in the States, she plans to stay. “I feel a freedom here, you know?” she says. “I’m so happy in this company—Angel Corella brings amazing positive energy into the studio every day.” Pineiro loves the openness and friendliness, as well as the international nature of the company. “There are people from all over the world,” she says, “so we translate and learn from each other—we’re like a team.”

photo by Lucas Chilczuk for DanceMedia LLC

photo by Lucas Chilczuk for DanceMedia LLC

Mai Aihara
Corps de ballet, American Ballet Theatre
Originally from Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Growing up in Japan, Mai Aihara set her sights early on American Ballet Theatre. She’d seen photos of the dancers and watched videos of performances, and, to her, ABT was the pinnacle. But it wasn’t until her first visit to New York City at 15 for Youth America Grand Prix that she got a taste of the U.S. dance scene. “Everything was so vibrant and exciting,” she says. She remembers being impressed by the enthusiasm of the audience cheering for contestants, which was very different from the quieter audiences she was used to in Japan.
After placing as a semifinalist at the 2010 Prix de Lausanne, she moved to Stuttgart, Germany, to study at the John Cranko Schule. She was shocked by how much taller and longer-limbed the dancers were. The stages in Europe also seemed so vast—as a petite dancer, she wondered if her own lines would be long and clean enough. Nonetheless, she got her professional start as an apprentice at Dresden Semperoper Ballet, where she was able to meet and dance the work of luminaries like Jirí Kylián. And she learned how to “move big,” eventually coming to terms with her own smaller frame.
Yet she still dreamed of dancing more classical ballets, and in the spring of 2013 she landed an audition—and a corps contract—at ABT. Even though her days are longer than they were in Germany, she still can’t get over dancing at the Metropolitan Opera House. “When I was a child I could only see it in magazines. I am very honored to stand on this stage,” she says. “It’s like a dream.”

photo by Lucas Chilczuk for DanceMedia LLC

photo by Lucas Chilczuk for DanceMedia LLC

Stuart Shugg
Dancer with Trisha Brown Dance Company
Originally from Red Cliffs, Australia
As a student at Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Stuart Shugg found that there was an intangible quality about some teachers and choreographers that attracted him. “I remember going to performances and wondering what it was,” he says. “There was a certain use of weight, gravity and momentum in their bodies.” He eventually realized they all had one thing in common: They were from New York City.
In 2010, while on tour in New York, Shugg met Carolyn Lucas, associate artistic director of Trisha Brown Dance Company (at that time Brown’s choreographic assistant). He’d been a fan of Trisha Brown from his first glimpse: “Her work just made sense to me,” he says. “There’s a very shrewd, undeniable fact that the body is dealing with gravity all the time, and there’s kind of a truth, a physics.” Shugg soon returned to New York to hang out with the company for three months, determined to learn everything he could. Brown offered him an apprenticeship, which soon turned into a company position.
Coming from a small country town in Australia, Shugg admits the transition into New York’s fast-paced culture was a sharp adjustment. “Even trying to order coffee here, oh, my god, you can’t take your time and say, ‘I think I’ll have, um.’ Everybody is going somewhere and everyone is pressed for time. Australia is so laid-back and we have a lot of sun and just a completely different way of living.”
The full-bodied artistic atmosphere makes the move worth it. “In Australia, the dance community is so small and everyone making work is your friend, so it’s difficult to be critical,” he says. “Here, there’s a real openness just to put things out there and to talk about them. The sheer size of the dance scene can be tough, but that’s also why so much has come out of it.”

When you first moved here, what was the most surprising part of dancing in the U.S.?

The respect for each other’s art. It’s still a competitive field, like in Italy, but there’s a base of healthy positivity here, and a real dance community. When there was a blizzard the night of one of our shows, the dancers from Ailey came, so it was sold out! Now that’s support.”
—Elena d’Amario, Parsons Dance,
originally from Pescara, Italy

�2014 Lois Greenfield

2014 Lois Greenfield

“The accessibility: No matter what time of day, there’s a class available. And there is so much variety; you can really expose yourself to as much as possible.”
—Lara Spence, Nimbus Dance Works, originally from Cape Town, South Africa

“My first thought when I moved here was, Wow, they do so many tendus at barre! I wonder why? I couldn’t believe how long barre was (and still is!).”
—Nathalia Arja, Miami City Ballet,
originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil\

“Hearing ‘Take 5’ during rehearsals. In Korea, I rarely had a full day of rehearsal. Physically, I almost died when I first came here. Those five minutes felt like five seconds.”          —Hyonjun Rhee, Tulsa Ballet,
originally from Seoul, South Korea


“The larger-than-life quality of the dancers—on- and offwww. There’s a sense of urgency to perform in every class.”Stephanie Van Dooren-Eshkenazi and Jason Jordan.Buglisii Dance Theatre hibiscus3 hi res
—Stephanie Van Dooren-Eshkenazi, Buglisi Dance Theatre, originally from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

“The ability to dance with individual expression. In Japan, the emphasis was placed on discipline and perfection of technique.”
—Nao Kusuzaki,
Houston Ballet,
originally from Ehime, Japan

Stephanie Van Dooren-Eshkenazi with Jason Jordan, photo by Nancy Long, courtesy Buglisi

“Speaking onstage was terrifying for me because English is not my first language. But it helped me understand American humor.”
—Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Lucky Plush Productions, originally from Havana, Cuba

“I came to the School of American Ballet from the Paris Opéra Ballet School when I was 17, and adapting to the Balanchine style felt like starting all over again.”
—Jerome Tisserand, Pacific Northwest Ballet,
originally from Lyon, France

“The way the crowd reacts. Different cultures show their appreciation in different ways. In Brazil, that means being very vocal during a performance. In the U.S., that means listening quietly. That was an adjustment for me.”
—Augusto Cezar, Nashville Ballet,
originally from São Paulo, Brazil

“What’s amazing is that you just have to have a creative idea and a will, and you can potentially have your own dance company here. It’s the true ‘American dream.’ ”
—Asya Zlatina, Koresh Dance Company,
originally from Moscow, Russia

Jerome Tisserand, photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy PNB.

“How fast the footwork is in pointe class.”
—Carolina Tavarez, Ballet Arizona, originally from Santiago, Dominican Republic


Read the original article here.


Your Body: Working out with Julia Erickson

by Kathleen McGuire Via

With five feet eight inches of svelte muscle, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal Julia Erickson is celebrated for being quick on her feet and light in her carriage. Outside of Pennsylvania, though, she may be most well-known as the dancer who created Barre–A Real Food Bar with her husband, Aaron Ingley. The pair began selling the vegan whole-food energy bar in 2010 because Erickson got so many requests from colleagues who wanted to buy her homemade snacks. Today, the bars are carried by approximately 400 retailers across the country, including natural food outlets, dance studios and stores.
Erickson chose every ingredient based on snacks she eats in the studio—things like dates, nuts and rolled oats. “It has the perfect combination for me of slow- and fast-burning carbohydrates, protein, fiber and natural electrolyte replacement,” she says. “You’re not going to flame out, but it’s not going to make you feel overly full.” Erickson often snacks on half a Barre before a rehearsal to fuel her dancing and half immediately after to replace nutrients for her muscles.
Just as she is meticulous about what she puts in her body, Erickson also pays attention to how she challenges it. She practices yoga a few times a week to balance out the stress that dance places on her muscles and joints. “I like Bikram because it’s not super-intense on the upper body,” she says. “Mostly you are using your own body strength with calisthenics.” She also attends the less-familiar yin yoga, which focuses on stretching in one position, such as the half pigeon, for as much as five minutes at a time. “It really goes beyond the muscle to the connective tissue,” she says, “and I have found that it has been so helpful for me to even out the imbalances and asymmetries in my body.”
Throughout her day, Erickson works out knots with a small, hard ball for her feet and a large, softer ball on her quads and back. “Sometimes soft is surprisingly more effective than mashing on the muscle with something hard,” she says. Barre is currently seeking to expand its product line to include similar balls, as well as an all-natural dietary supplement and anti-inflammatory cream. The dancer-friendly items will soon be for sale at

Read the rest of the article here.

by Kathleen McGuire Via


10 Minutes with Keenan Kampa

by Ashley Rivers Via

There’s something about Keenan Kampa that sets her apart from the average ballerina. Both onstage and off, she is unfiltered, vulnerable and real. After becoming the first American to join the Mariinsky Ballet in 2012, she was almost immediately cast in principal roles, bringing a firestorm of criticism and sniping from some of the company’s Russian fans. Now, she’s left her coveted spot at the Mariinsky behind and is starring in the long-awaited dance film High Strung.

What initially brought you back to the U.S.?
I moved back to have hip surgery in January 2014. I’d had stress fractures in my foot for about three months, and was compensating a lot. In Russia, I had trouble saying “no.” There is no union there, and I worked so much, at times 11 hours a day, every day. I was planning to go back after I recovered, but at the last minute, I decided to stay in L.A. I wasn’t happy in Russia, and I missed my family.

How did you land the lead in High Strung?
NBC came to Russia for the Olympics, and they did a feature on me as an American dancer. High Strung’s director saw it and set up a phone call. Once I got off crutches from my hip surgery, I went to L.A. and read, but I still couldn’t dance. I eventually sent video samples from a class I was giving myself.

What was most challenging for you?
The dance sequences. Ballet is an art form that shouldn’t be seen from some angles. When you’re filming, you have so many cameras on you. I got really insecure, worried that they were filming something that wasn’t flattering.

What was it like seeing yourself on screen?
I wanted to bury myself in a hole. There are moments when you think you look so ugly or stupid. I can tell the days when I first started acting versus those days toward the end.

What have you been doing since?
I’m working on a couple of acting projects. I put together a gala for the Lejeune Foundation in France this summer, which raises money for genetic research and has a clinic for kids with Down syndrome and other conditions.

Do you ever miss company life?
People are quick to assume that the life of a ballet dancer is glamorous, but the daily grind is hard to keep up. If you’re constantly getting criticized, it takes every ounce of joy out of ballet. Now, I’m meeting incredible people with acting, but I’m still able to fall back in love with ballet each day. It’s not a job anymore, but a passion.

What does the future look like?
I’d love to see how successful I could be with acting. Doing the film was new and exciting and challenging. But there’s more to be done with dance and ballet. I’m waiting to see if I miss company life.



NYC’s Battery Dance Festival Kicks Off This Weekend

by Wendy Perron Via

Battery Dance Festival is one of the few gatherings that present world dance as well as NYC companies. Masterminded by choreographer Jonathan Hollander, it features the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, as well as groups from Colombia, Italy, Norway and Poland. It takes place August 15 to 21 against the backdrop of the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan’s Robert F. Wagner Park.

The home-based companies include Hollander’s own Battery Dance Company, celebrating its 40th year with a premiere by former Graham dancer Tadej Brdnik. Other local companies include Buglisi Dance Theatre, Jennifer Muller/The Works and Tina Croll and Company.

The groups from India in the Erasing Borders series, curated by the Indo-American Arts Council, hail from Mumbai, New Delhi, Kerala and Johannesburg. Battery Dance Festival (formerly known as Downtown Dance Festival) gives audiences a chance to (metaphorically) travel around the world, all in one week.

For a complete schedule, click here.

Theater Review: Is Hamilton Even Better Than It Was?

By  Via

A typical musical might list 18 numbers in its program; Hamilton, with 34, is more in the range of operatic works like Porgy and Bess. Ambition is part of it, no less for Lin-Manuel Miranda today than for George Gershwin in 1935. So is scope. The true-life tale of the orphan immigrant turned architect of American federalism (with sidelines in battle, banking, bedding, and duels) could not be told, at least not with depth to counterweight its breadth, in a few ditties and choruses. Nor could Miranda’s overarching point — that the doors of history must especially be opened to those traditionally excluded from it — be made in the traditional forms. When Hamilton debuted Off Broadway at the Public Theater in February, the rapturous reviews, including mine, all hailed its “groundbreaking” incorporation of contemporary musical genres, especially rap and various forms of hip-hop, as a way of refurbishing and selling an old story. A second look, as the slightly revised musical opens on Broadway for what will no doubt be a long and profitable run, suggests that something even more significant is going on. The breakthrough isn’t so much the incorporation of those contemporary genres; after all, Miranda already did that, throwing in Latin music to boot, in the charmingIn the Heights. But Hamilton not only incorporates newish-to-Broadway song forms; it requires and advances them, in the process opening up new territory for exploitation. It’s the musical theater, not just American history, that gets refurbished. And perhaps popular music, too. Call it Miranda’s manifest destiny, though one dreads the caravans of poor imitators that will surely trail behind.

The most noticeable benefit of the hip-hop infusion is density; not only are there a ton of songs, but each is crammed to the margins with words. (The opening number, simply called “Alexander Hamilton,” has more than 500; “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” to pick a classic almost at random, has about 70.) This allows Miranda to keep lots of tracks going at all times instead of having to alternate among them: In each lyric you sense he is keeping his Argus eyes open to the immediate plot point, motivation and subtext, the general chronology, the introduction and development of larger themes, character establishment, dramatic structure, variation of tone, staging opportunities, and, oh yes, pure musical enjoyment. But the laxer “rules” of rhyming in hip-hop — basically, any kind of assonance or consonance or slant rhyming works, as long as it alerts the ear to something meaningful — do more than that, providing approximately the same enhancement to the narrative as the mostly nonwhite casting does to history: They both offer new ways of connecting ideas. I’m not just talking about the brilliant verbal fusillades that stud the score (and get big laughs):

You think I’m frightened of you man? We almost died in a trench
While you were off getting high with the French.
Thomas Jefferson, always hesitant with the president,
Reticent — there isn’t a plan he doesn’t jettison.
Madison, you’re mad as a hatter, son, take your medicine.
Damn, you’re in worse shape than the national debt is in!

Even more powerful than such peacockery is the subtler wordplay that makes you nod with understanding. In that opening number, for instance, Miranda pairs the name Alexander Hamilton with the phrase “a million things I haven’t done” — say them both out loud to appreciate the alignment of sounds — thus permanently joining, in the audience’s ear, the main character with his main quality: impatience to make a mark. Hammerstein would have cringed, yet this and a slew of other verbal leitmotifs, none available to the traditional lyricist, work perfectly to tag each character and, through variation, mark his or her development.

And what of the show’s development? I noticed only a few textual changes since it opened downtown, all smart. The role of the villain, Aaron Burr, has been carefully streamlined (the needless reprise of one of his songs is gone) to keep him as closely tied to Hamilton as possible. The paradoxical result is that Leslie Odom Jr.’s already excellent performance is even more thrilling. Similarly, a second-act song called “The Last Ride,” about President Washington’s quashing of the Whiskey Rebellion, has been retooled as “The Last Time,” about his decision to forestall an imperial presidency by stepping down after two terms. (Hamilton helped write the farewell address.) In all cases the changes tie the narrative more tightly to its main character and thus favor a more emotional reading of history, at the loss of only a few facts. It’s a good trade-off; in almost three hours, which fly by, plenty of facts remain.

There are so many ways such trade-offs could have gone wrong. Miranda’s ambition could have outstripped his craft. The weight of inviolable historical reality could have rendered the story humorless. Even having avoided those pitfalls, the show faced other dangers: The expansion for Broadway could have burst its balloon. And though none of these things happened, there were nevertheless a few moments re-watching it when I, as a critic if not a lay theatergoer, could have been tempted to pick at a scab. The treatment of the story’s women — Eliza Schuyler, who becomes Hamilton’s wife; her sister Angelica, who becomes his romantic friend; and Maria Reynolds, a mistress who betrays him — particularly invites questions, even though Miranda has clearly taken pains to at least acknowledge the way history (and his story) have sidelined them. (Eliza gets Hamilton’s moving, final word.) I still wonder, too, if the manic staging by director Thomas Kail and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, fun as it is, may sometimes get in the way of the action instead of enhancing it. And Miranda himself has perhaps been too busy. His voice starts out strong but quickly acquires a ragged edge that tends to separate him from the preternaturally robust singers around him, including Odom, Christopher Jackson as Washington, Phillipa Soo as Eliza, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica, Daveed Diggs as Jefferson, and, in the plum comedy role of George III, delicious Jonathan Groff, replacing Brian D’Arcy James. But that, like all my other cavils, is far outweighed by everything that’s great, and anyway might be an advantage. Hamilton isseparate from everyone around him; it makes sense that he should sound that way too.

The same goes for Hamilton. Like all truly living things, it has evolved its own unique necessities from what its past already provided. That’s history, too. So let’s not call Hamilton groundbreaking. Let’s call it, with hope for the future, historic.

Hamilton is at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Read more here.