Dance Flash: 5 Ladies Making Headlines

Move over, Michelle Obama: Judith Jamison, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, joins the First Lady as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009. [via Time Magazine]

Not just another laid off journalist: Back in January, former Dance Theatre of Harlem prima ballerina Virginia Johnson lost her position as editor of Pointe magazine as a result of budget cutbacks. We were saddened by the news, but the clouds lifted recently when DTH announced that Johnson will succeed Arthur Mitchell as artistic director of the company. [via NYT]

Final bows for a Balanchine ballerina: Darci Kistler, the last remaining ballerina at New York City Ballet who was trained and hired by George Balanchine, will retire from the company in 2010. Kistler won’t be going far – her husband, Peter Martins, is artistic director of NYCB, and she plans to continue teaching at the company’s School of American Ballet. [via NYT]

Rumors of a broken neck were greatly exaggerated: Alina Cojocaru, the lissome Royal Ballet soloist who was sidelined by a whiplash injury last year, made a triumphant return to the stage last week. According to The New York Times, Cojocaru’s poignant performance as the doomed Giselle was “one of the great dance renditions of our time.”

Love her or hate her, Veronika Part has been promoted: American Ballet Theater soloist Veronika Part has been the subject of heated debates among critics and fans since she was hired back in 2002. This spring, Part’s worshippers can happily thumb their noses at her detractors when she makes her debut as a principal dancer in the title role of  “La Sylphide.” [via Arts Beat]