Edited by Jack Anderson
The Joyce Theater welcomed back the Limón Dance Company for its
pandemic-delayed 75th anniversary season, resplendent with choreography
that spanned nearly a century. By Karen Bardash.
“Morning Afternoon Evening”
by Beth Jucovy
There are times when performances cannot and should not be categorized.
That is true for “Morning Afternoon Evening,” a beautifully
conceived interdisciplinary work choreographed and directed by Beth Jucovy,
artistic director of “Dance Visions NY.” Is this a dance piece,
being that it is performed by a company named “Dance Visions NY”?
Is it a poem with movement or a performance of a poem – as the focal
point of the forty-five-minute piece is a poem with movement? Or is this
a theatre piece of outstanding narration? Karen Bardash believes it is
all of the above.
A Dance to the the (eek!) House
It was December 18 and Barney Yates, never one for those saccharine holiday
music shows, was pleasantly surprised to find himself in Catherine Gallant's
"Escape from the House of Mercy" at St. Michael's Church, 225
West 99th Street. The piece was about House of Mercy, a home for "abandoned
and troubled women" that began in the 1850s at 86th Street near the
current Riverside Drive and later moved to Inwood Park, where it operated
from 1891 to 1921. It was one of various institutions lining Inwood Park
that served alcoholics, drug addicts, tuberculosis patients, petty criminals,
runaways and “women of ill repute." A girl could get locked
up there for years for such "offenses" as dancing in public
or walking alone at night. To keep them in line, inmates were punished
with starvation diets, head shaving and restraints. The concert was cool,
even if the institution's legacy is disconcerting.
Anabella Lenzu on film
On October 30, 2021 Argentine-born choreographer-dancer Anabella Lenzu
celebrated her 15th anniversary with a zoomcast of four film renditions
of her dance works, combined with a one-on-one interview with dance journalist
Celia Ipiotis ("Eye on Dance & the Arts"). The selections
were meant to expose Lenzu's soul as a woman, mother and immigrant. By
Recreating classics of Modern Dance
with "The Well"
"The Well," a presentation of Loretta Thomas' Moving
Visions Inc., took stage at Mark O'Donnell Theater at Actors Fund Arts
Center October 22 to 24, 2021. It was a collection of 20 dances recreated
from their Modern Dance origins in the early 20th Century. By Barney Yates.
Kathryn Posin Dance Company Comes
Home to Bond Street
The spirit of neighborhood renewal and the styles of the Joffrey were
amply present in The Kathryn Posin Dance Company's presentation October
19, 2021 at The Gene Frankel Theater. Ms. Posin, who stepped out on stage
to dedicate the evening, had originated her company next door and felt
this concert was like a return to her roots and to the creative energy
that galvanized Bond Street for many years. The evening was funded, in
large part, by a City Artists Corps Grant, which enabled the evening.
(Posin says, her backers matched it...and voila!). By Barney Yates.
Mimi Garrard Shows Us the Money
At New York Live Arts (NYLA) on October 17, Mimi Garrard Dance Company
premiered "Money" and "Junk Journey" and completed
the program with her 2019 "Cosmic Man." Ms. Garrard's finesse
in film making and choreography, paired with a masterful performance by
Austin Selden, provided a delightful and different evening. By Gabriella
A balletic "Musik" by
Barney Yates reports an unexpected complexity in watching a dance performance
in a cool room while masked. Breath goes up past the nose clip causing
one's glasses to fog. So when he attended New Chamber Ballet's "Musik"
(world premiere) September 17 at Mark Morris' James and Martha Duffy Performance
Space, the performance was seen through fogged glasses, not rose-colored
glasses. But it might as well have been the latter. He was charmed.
Periapsis Music and Dance
With its four-dance recital at Dixon Place June 27, Periapsis stayed true
to its vision of integrating original music and choreography, and they
do so with taste, intelligence, and total commitment. By Paul Berss
Cornfield company dancers. Photo
Cornfield Dance spaces out behind
St. Marks Church
On the sunny Sunday afternoon of June 6, 2021--a hot one for early in
June--Barney Yates rode his trusty old bike to the block of East 11th
Street between Second and Third Avenues to watch “Spaced Out &
Small Stages (excerpts),” performed by Cornfield Dance, the Cunningham-based
group led by Ellen Cornfield, and guest soloists from The Bang Group,
which is led by David Parker. It was worth the ride.
Alessandra Corona Performance Works
Photos by Steven Pisano
Barney Yates went with a happy heart to Alessandra Corona Performing Works'
live performance of dances by Ms. Corona and Maiya Redding on May 6, 2021
at Theatre at St. Jean 150 E. 76th Street. He had been introduced to Ms.
Corona's work at a concert in 2017 and was eager for more of her magic.
This time, there were two premieres, Corona's "Labyrinth" and
"Breaking Through the Generational Curse" by guest choreographer
Maiya Redding. The performance was offered both live and streaming. It did
Beth Jucovy streams a multidisciplinary
Since Covid-19 struck, artists have been grasping to adapt their art forms
to the streaming space. With "EVENING: a Mosaic of Poetry, Dance,
Art and Nature" we see Dance Visions NY, under the direction of Beth
Jucovy, throwing itself full-flight into a synthesis of video art, poetry
and dance with an extended meditation on gravity and desire. By Barney
Mare Nostrum's Emerging Choreographer
Series at La Guardia PAC
MNE Performing Arts (aka Mare Nostrum Elements), in partnership with LaGuardia
Performing Arts Center (LPAC), presented its 2020 Emerging Choreographer
Series, a program of new works. It was the product of a highly competitive
audition process in which 90 applicants vied for nine spots. The series
has been developed so that its young participants get the benefit of a
lot of thorough mentoring. Judging from what Barney Yates saw, it worked.
Of course, mentoring is a rather invisible part of any performance--you
never know what you would see in its absence. But there was overall a
high level of conceptual thought and execution in the evening. A youthful
mind was evident in the dances, but no empty-headedness.
|Anabella Lenzu in "No More Beautiful
Dances." Photo by Todd Carroll.
Anabella Lenzu and CJ Holm in Exponential
Festival at The Brick
When you go to The Brick on Metropolitan Ave. in Brooklyn, you expect
to see experimental work the likes of which you have not seen before.
So it was with The Exponential Festival's double bill of "No More
Beautiful Dances" with Anabella Lenzu and "Becky's Lament"
with CJ Holm. Lenzu made performance art; Holm left you guessing. By Barney
Passion vs. Peace in the Dances
of Beth Soll
Beth Soll & Company presented "Dances of Passion and Peace"
November 22 and 23 at University Settlement on Eldridge Street. The concept
was inspired, she says, by Hermann Hesse's "The Glass Bead Game."
Barney Yates says, to put yourself into Ms. Soll's head, familiarize yourself
with the book before you go to this performance.
|Dylan Baker and Tommy Seibold in "Bang."
Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.
Soaking WET went out with a "Bang,"
Soaking WET went out with a bang October 3, 2019 in its final program
at West End Theatre. David Parker and Jeffrey Kazin, the producers who
started the series in 2003, will be taking up new positions as dance programmers
at The Flea Theater. Their two-part program was overshadowed by "Bang,"
the first dance of Program B. Originally made for Parker and Kazin, winner
of a string of awards, it launched the Bang Group company and so Parker
named the troupe for it. This time, it was danced for the first time by
Dylan Baker and Tommy Seibold. Barney Yates came away suitably impressed..
| "Between Heaven and Earth." Photo by Jennifer
Martita Goshen memorializes a great
Martita Goshen created "Between Heaven and Earth" to be the
fourth part of a quartet of dances celebrating the the "greatest
American race horse," Barbaro, who captivated the world with his
breezing win in the 2006 Kentucky Derby but shattered a leg in the Preakness
just weeks later. Like the previous installments of Goshen's Barbaro series,
"Between Heaven and Earth" was a work of peaceful movements
and an elegaic tone, set to compositions by varied composers, some classical,
some folk and contemporary. Barney Yates, in reviewing the performance
in The Scripps Studio at Paul Taylor Dance Studio, draws on his own racetrack
experience to give some advice to the thoroughbred industry.
Neville Dance Theatre in "53
Movements." Photo by Noel Valero
Barney Yates goes to Dixon Place to review Neville Dance Theatre's "53
Movements," set to Terry Riley's musical masterpiece "In C."
The score is a seminal work of minimalism that is improvisation-based
and calls--no surprises--for improvisational dance to accompany it. While
finding the concert thoroughly enjoyable, Yates tries to pick apart the
experience to see where improvisation begins and begins, and how it works
|Demetria Charles in "Oracle." Photo by
The Oracle at Periapsis
"Periapsis," in an astronomical sense, means the point in the
path of an orbiting body at which it is nearest to the body that it orbits.
Periapsis Music and Dance is a Brooklyn-based ensemble of dancers and
musicians led by composer/pianist Jonathan Howard Katz that endeavors
to find the closest point in the orbit of dance around music. So it explores
how to cultivate the nexus of music and dance in unique ways. Barney Yates
caught the ensemble in "Oracle," a program of dance-music collaborations
at Kumble Theatre for the Performing Arts at LIU Brooklyn.
Laura Pawel and Dancers
Laura Pawel and Dancers
Laura Pawel is ever true to her specialized early modern dance aesthetic.
Her "non-technical" work was a legitimate style when it emerged
in the late sixties, a time of re-imaginings. It offered pedestrian, everyday
movement and improvised talk as a trained dancers' rebellion against formalism.
And here it is, at Chen Dance Center in Chinatown, true to its origins,
for all of us to see and re-experience (or experience for the first time),
performed by people who set the style. In watching it, Barney Yates only
wonders how it strikes audience members who don't share the dance community's
Jeanette Stoner and Dancers
On his second visit to Jeanette Stoner and Dancers, on a cold winter's
night, Barney Yates finds warmth in the mood and acting values behind
the dances, even while conscious of his own cold feet.
|Alessandra Corona with James Samson. Photo by Natalia
Alessandra Corona presents two
Alessandra Corona Performing Works presented a double-bill of "W2!
(Women Too!)" by Manuel Vignouile and "Interaction" by
Guido Tuveri to GK Arts Center in Dumbo December 7 and 8, 2018. It was
an evening of dance dedicated to the relationship of the sexes. Barney
Yates says we are lucky to have Alessandra Corona and her lovely collaborations
with choreographers from her native Italy and others we might not otherwise
Willis and projections by Mimi Garrard. Photo by Andrew Williams.
Mimi Garrard and Marcus Jarell
Mimi Garrard Dance Company presented "Mimi Garrard and Marcus Jarell
Willis," a program of live dance and video, November 11, 2018 at
New York Live Arts. Throughout the evening, there was an impressive mesh
of live dance with computer-generated imagery. There was commentary on
the 2016 presidential election, holding a mirror up to our shared grief.
An "Everyman" demonstrated a real sense of trauma and grief
at the issues weighing on all of us. By Barney Yates.
| Francesca Todesco in "Harp."
Photo by Julie Lemberger.
Francesca Todesco's 20-year journey
Swiss native dancer Francesca Todesco joined forces with Dances by Isadora,
Sokolow Dance Ensemble and the Thoughts in Motion Dance Company at University
Settlement to present a variety of recreated works by American modern
dance pioneers such as Isadora Duncan and Anna Sokolow. Musical interludes
in between the performances made for a varied evening of American modern
dance and classical music. The night was rich in dance history. By Rina
|FALL FOR DANCE FESTIVAL -- Introdans in "Canto
Ostinato." Photo by Stephanie Berger.
Introdans and Rennie Harris at
Fall for Dance Festival 2018
The annual Fall for Dance Festival, presented by New York City
Center, exposes many people to new, but also well-established artists
and offers well-mixed programs. Introdans told a ‘night-story’
with “Canto Ostinato” and an excerpt from “Funkedified”
by Rennie Harris was instructive as well as entertaining. By Rina Kopalla.
|ET SI -- Marie Gaudillière and Stéphane
Ripon. Photo by Valérie Broue.
“Et Si” a smart pas
de deux about a dance romance
“Et Si” means “And if.” It’s a very
fine small-in-space but big-in-conception dance piece at Avignon Festival.
By Lucy Komisar.
|VARHUNG - HEART TO HEART -- Ljaucu Tapurakac, Tzu-En
Meng and Ching-Hao Yang. Photo by Michel Cavalca.
“Varhung – Heart to
Heart” expressive, angular reflection of rural Taiwan
At Avignon, The Tjimur Dance Theatre of Taiwan presents a finely
designed contemporary dance inspired by the culture of the Païwan
tribe, an aboriginal group of the island’s south. Choreographed
by Baru Madiljin, “Varhung – Heart to Heart” is slow,
expressive, angular. It tells stories of people’s lives, loves,
difficulties though the cultivation and harvesting of the ginger plant.
By Lucy Komisar.
|DANCE 'N SPEAK EASY -- Photo by Mooh
“Dance ‘N Speak Easy”
a stunning hip hop dance show set in U.S. 1930s prohibition
“Dance ‘N Speak Easy,” a stunning work by Wanted
Posse set in the U.S. 1930s prohibition era, was Lucy Komisar's favorite
production at the 2018 Avignon Theater Festival. The mood is swagger,
the language is hip hop, the undercurrent is aggression.The dancers are
mostly black and the choreographer Njagui Hagbe and director Philippe
Lafeuille play off stereotypes even to the zoot-suited brimmed hats of
the time. This is not the hip hop you will see on the streets. The dancers
are accomplished. The troop is well known in France.
|"Meditation on Violence" by Susan Vencl,
part of "Critical Junctures."
Choreographer Susan Vencl teams
up with composer Arlene Sierra
At the Graham Center, choreographer Susan Vencl presented a program of
two group dances set to music by contemporary composer Arlene Sierra.
The evening contained a live musical interlude and two danceswhich lived
up to their billing as a "meditation on randomness and unpredictability."
By Paul Berss.
|"Kinderspiel" by Michael Mao. Photo by
Michael Mao Retrospective
Michael Mao Dance celebrated its 25th anniversary at New York Live Arts
April 26 to 28 with a four-part retrospective of past works that included
"Kinderspiel" (2000), "Weaving" (1999), "Shifting
Shades" (2012-18) and "Still Night" (1993). By Barney Yates.
|Austin Selden. Photo courtesy Mimi Garrard Dance
Mimi Garrard Dance at New York Live Arts
Mimi Garrard's evening of live dance and video was a collaboration with
dancer Austin Selden. With unusual movement and background projections
that are often multiple repetitions of Selden, fractal style, we are catapulted
into beholding states of consciousness that are unfamiliar, even foreign.
By Barney Yates.
(1978), Pina Bausch masterpiece. Photo by Stephanie Berger (BAM)
Masterpieces by Pina Bausch at
Mind-blowing, as usual, Tanztheater Wuppertal performed a double bill
with masterpieces from 1970’s by Pina Bausch (1940-2009): “Café
Müller” (1978) and “The Rite of Spring” (1975).
Directed by Adolphe Binder, it continues to be one of the most remarkable
dance companies in the world, with Pina's memory seemingly alive in their
flesh. By Marcela Benvegnu.
Yin Yue's YY Dance Company
FoCo is displayed powerfully in
Yin Yue's triple bill
Yin Yue has created an innovative contemporary dance technique, called
FoCo (Folk-Contemporary). On the stage of Peridance Salvatore Capezio
Theater, her YYDC (YY Dance Company) presented a triple bill to a crowded
audience, demonstrating the strength of that technique. They also offered
a very good illustration that in dance, if everything is in the right
place "less is more." By Marcela Benvegnu.
Alessandra Corona introduces two
Italian choreographers' disquisitions on love
Barney Yates thoroughly enjoyed his introduction to Alessandra Corona
Performing Works on May 30, when he attended her program of new dances
by Italian choreographers. She and her ensemble of six dancer plus a narrator
offered an evening of thoroughly Italian character, introduced poetically
by a monologue, "Imperfect Recipe for Pure Tragedy." The sunny
Italian disposition shone through the pain and angst of love as it was
variously portrayed in two major dances.
Booth in "Numinous" by Jeanette Stoner. Photo courtesy Jeanette
Stoner and Dancers.
Jeanette Stoner rocks
When you attend a Jeanette Stoner evening, you are amazed at how much
more she can do with a loft production than most choreographers can do
with a great big theater. Her concert of old and new works, presented
April 29 to May 2 in her loft at 83 Leonard Street, was another such demonstration.
By Barney Yates.
|A view of the Carnegie Hall stage arranged for the
Kabuki spectacle, the unit set of screens with painted pine trees
at the east and west edgesand a special stage layer in place for Kabuki.
Ichikawa Ebizo IX's
Grand Japan Theater in Kyogen: "Sanbanso," Noh: "Tsuchigumo"
(The Earth Spider) and Kabuki: "Shunkyo Kagamijishi"
The Grant party is generally considered to be the first known group
of Americans to have glimpsed examples of either theatrical form. According
to Japanese accounts, the General was deeply moved by the program, which
consisted of some ten plays and dances, and he advised Lord Iwakura to
maintain the ancient, inherited repertory—whose glory days had been
contemporary with the careers of Chaucer and Leonardo da Vinci—with
great care, as the nuanced performance traditions could easily erode.
By Mindy Aloff
Jannetti. Photo by Eric Bandiero.
Latin Folk Music, Velvet Underground
and More in Jannetti's "A Weekend of Dance"
The lights opened on Andrew Jannetti, sitting alone in the center
of a room in a lone chair. His arms were slumped at his side, his tie
undone in exhausted resignation. His entire being appeared exasperated,
even as Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" began to play. Jannetti's
dance commenced with him acting out the lyrics of the song, performing
actions like reading by examining the palm of his hand and moving pages,
and working, portrayed by mimicking the action of a laborer shoveling.
As the lyrics of the song evolved into a more free-flowing story, so too
did Jannetti's dance, as he went from sitting motionless on a chair, gesturing
with his hands, to dancing around the chair, unrestrained. By Timothy
Annual Thunderbird American Indian Dancers' Dance Concert and Pow-Wow.
Photo by Farnaz Taherimotlagh.
Thunderbird American Indian Dancers
Authenticity is rare. Some rappers do come from the ghetto; some
from middle class neighborhoods in Queens. For every Elvis Presley and
Marilyn Monroe, there are a thousand imitators. The Thunderbird American
Indian Dancers bring us more than authenticity. They bring skill, grace,
and a most welcome running commentary that opens the door to Native American
culture. By Glenda Frank.
The dog meets a monster, photo byIan Douglas.
of dance theater in “Shadowland”
Pilobolus takes dance theater to a new dimension, transforming
the performers to silhouetted figures behind a screen, using body artistry
to turn dancers into shadows of elephants, café tables, lobsters
and a centaur. In “Shadowland,” Pilobolus invents a form of
silhouetted kinetic poses. By Lucy Komisar.
WET -- Lisa Parra in "It Could Have Been Different." Photo
by Tim Fujioka.
Perspectives from Soaking WET
Soaking WET, producers David Parker and Jeffrey Kazin, presented a program
September 24 to 27, 2015 at West End Theater that was conceptually ingenious
and therefore, exciting. Works by Karen Bernard, the team of Marsi Burns
and Alice Tierstein, Rachel Cohen and Deirdre Towers were staged. Soaking
WET is in residence at the West End, where it presents various collections
of works. In its overall theme of perspective--on oneself, one's past
and one's urban environment--the concert was spot-on throughout. By Barney
Tech Kids Dance." Photo compliments of Ballet Tech.
Ballet Tech Kids Dance
The ambitious kids from the Ballet Tech, the New York Public School for
Dance, truly amazed Rosalie Baijer during the opening night of their 2015
season at the Joyce Theater. This school's mission is inspiring in that
it gives free classical training to kids who are born to dance but lack
the opportunity to take classes.
Lohse played a disco Juliet in "Dances for Lovers," presented
by Women in Motion as part of Soaking WET. Photo by Quinn Batson.
Women in Motion at West End Theater
Soaking WET was an evening of works by choreographers at different moments
in their careers: Maura Nguyen Donohue, Garnet Henderson, Deborah Lohse,
Zoe Rabinowitz and Catherine Tharin. Donohue's tale of the dying seas
and Deborah Lohse's dancing disco Juliet stood out. By Barney Yates.
"Le Monde est Fini" - photos by Nan Melville.
Steps Repertory Ensemble
If anything should give us confidence in the future of the Steps Repertory
Ensemble under the new (relatively) leadership of Bradley Shelver, it
was the ensemble's program April 30 to May 2 at Ailey Citigroup Center.
Rosalie Baijer reports that the first night's program offered four works
of ingenuity and aplomb, danced with assurance by an able company of dancers.
| Brett Umlauf (center) and cast members of Nutcracker
Rouge. Photo by Joshua Flannigan.
"Nutcracker Rouge"a new, exaggerated spin on the holiday
classic presented by Company XIV, revels in the human form, in young athletic
flesh, in the grace of accomplished dance, in innovative costumes, and
in the multiple talents of its mostly young, cross-gender performers.
It is exciting and moving. You are invited to sit back, order a drink,
and give yourself over to absolute pleasure.
By Glenda Frank.
Anahid Sofian company. Photo by
The Anahid Sofian Dance Company Celebrates with
The Anahid Sofian Dance Company celebrated its 35th anniversary with
a gala program of Middle Eastern dance and music at Manhattan Movement
& Arts Center. By Paulanne Simmons.
Hastings and the Butoh Rockettes in "Victoria's Shadow."
Photo by Julie Lemberger.
Performance Mix Festival at Here
Every year the redoubtable impresario Karen Bernard pulls another edition
of her Performance Mix Festival out of the hat, and she did it again in
mid-June at Here. This year there were six main events, each comprising
five or six separate dance or performance art acts, with each evening
completely new and different; every program included something I was very
glad to have seen. By Henry Baumgartner.
Ballet - Danielle Brown, Ricardo Graziano
and Company in Frederick Ashton's Valses nobles et sentimentales.
Photo by Frank Atura.
Sarasota Ballet's Ashton Festival
America may now have an important new dance center: Sarasota, Florida,
home of the Sarasota Ballet, which Iain Webb has directed since 2007,
transforming what was apparently a local group that had its ups and downs
into one of increasing national distinction. And now the company has done
something extraordinary: it has produced its Sir Frederick Ashton Festival,
four nights of works by one of the twentieth century's greatest choreographers,
supported by talks and films in the afternoons. By Jack Anderson.
Golden and Yvette Quintero in "Charlotte's Way." . Photo
by Darial Sneed.
"Charlotte's Song" at Theater
for the New City
"Charlotte's Song" at Theater for the New City examines the
relationship between a daughter and her psychotic mother. But the piece
itself has a sort of split personality. It's a strange sort of hybrid,
containing both dance and theater but not at all resembling what is usually
called dance theater. It's more like two different shows taking place
in the same theater simultaneously. Yet both components are substantial
and serious efforts, and Celeste Hastings's dancing is truly remarkable.
By Henry Baumgartner.
Anna Sokolow Way
The section of Christopher Street by the Greenwich Village apartment building
in which Anna Sokolow lived has been renamed Anna Sokolow Way. That was
also what From the Horse’s Mouth called its series of programs honoring
this fiery American modern dancer, teacher, and choreographer who died
in 2000 after several decades of both inspiring and scaring dancers, students,
Philip W. Sandstrom interviews Tere O'Connor about his
new work “BLEED” that is premiering at BAM Fisher in the Fishman
Ich, Kürbisgeist is set in a harsh, quasi-medieval
landscape facing destruction, populated by a community speaking a rigorous,
specific and completely invented language, where each word is a somewhat-recognizable
amalgam of English, Swedish, German and Sid Caesar. Partly centered on
the annual harvest, the work includes at least 100 pumpkins, with new
ones needed for every performance. Interview with Paul Lazar by Philip
Savichev&Celine Gall in "And then , one thousand years of
Peacei. Photo by Jean-Claude Carbonne.
BAM presents Angelin Preljocaj’s
"And then, one thousand years of peace"
A work inspired by the apocalypse as conjured by St. John in the
Book of Revelations and created with an international team of collaborations.
Interview with Angelin Preljocaj By Philip Sandstrom.
Rite." Photo by Stephanie Berger.
A Brilliant "Rite"
“A Rite" is a dance-theatre creation based on “Le
Sacred du Printemps” by Igor Stravinsky. Conceived, directed and
choreographed by Anne Bogart, Bill T. Jones, and Janet Wong. The piece,
presented by BAM, sometimes weaves in and out of Stravinsky's score, sometimes
shadows it, sometimes makes its own path but always follows a distinctive
vision about the individual and society, the historical and the personal.
Everywhere you look, the eye is delighted, and the musical selections,
although canned, are masterful. By Glenda Frank
moment in Leimay’s “Becoming-Corpus” Photo by Harry
at BAM Fisher
A flash of light on a darkened stage reveals a group of almost-naked people
standing stock still, in silence. Then wiry lines of light slice through
the darkness: one, another; soon a bunch of bright ribbons of light illuminate
various slices of seven dancers. Are the dancers moving, and even growing
and shrinking before our eyes? No, this is only an illusion produced by
Shige Moriya’s deft hand with the projector in Leimay's "Becoming
Corpus" at BAM Fisher.
Avignon dancers on perpendicular wall with projection of factory,
video by Bernard Gilhodes.
Avignon Festival avant garde and
traditional dance-theater pieces tell haunting stories of life and politics
Tiny white figures move over projected scenes on the high perpendicular
wall of a former factory. The figures appear to catch and throw boxes
from a conveyer belt. The video changes from the factory to a prison to
a road with speeding cars that seem to run over the curious shapes. The
music is clanging, electronic, repetitive, sometimes with an Asian or
African feel. The white forms scamper over the wall, sometimes appearing
to be at 90-degree angles to the ground. We can see thin black ropes that
keep the spectacular gymnastic dancers defying gravity. “Ouvert!”,
the production by the celebrated French Groupe F and directed by Christophe
Berthonneau, marked the opening of the 67th year of the Avignon Theatre
Festival. By Lucy Komisar.
performs MILLS/works -- "Selkie's Song," the world premiere.
MADCO performs MILLS/works at New
York Live Arts
Local audiences may recall Joseph Mills from his days dancing with Momix
and Erick Hawkins, twenty-odd years ago. But he has also worked with the
St. Louis–based Modern American Dance Company, who recently visited
New York to show us a program of Mills’s original choreographic
work. Three pieces were presented by the company, ranging from a premiere
to a piece from 2001, and we also saw Mills himself perform solo in an
old Momix standby, "Circle Walker." By Henry Baumgartner.
muse, Gwyneth Larsen, visits a writer, Aidan O'Shea, who is seated
among floating pages in
an onstage pool. Photo by Adele Bossard.
Bodies descended from the heavens and seemingly solid objects became weightless
to rise up and whirl through the air in "Breaking Surface,"
the acrobatic aerial dance-theater work Gwyneth Larsen and William Mulholland
created for their company, AiRealistic. What they made you see often defied
expectations not only of how the law of gravity is supposed to operate,
but also of what theatrical combinations of dance and acrobatics look
like. By Jack Anderson.
Nordic Modern Dance
Three Nordic companies came to New York to affirm the vitality of modern
dance in northerly realms: the Tero Saarinen Company from Helsinki, Dansk
Danseteater from Copenhagen and Carte Blanche from Bergen. Only the Finnish
group was known in New York, but it had not visited here since 2006 (when
I reviewed it for New York Theatre-Wire on March 30, 2006). This time
around, it once again made “Hunt,” Saarinen’s powerful
solo to “The Rite of Spring,” its major attraction. The Danish
and Norwegian presentations were totally new to us. There weren’t
all that many, however: this was far from a choreographic smorgasbord.
Each group presented just one production, lasting only an hour. By Jack
Pacific Northwest at the City Center
Pacific Northwest Ballet made a welcome return to New York with a much
too short season and a much too small repertory that surely made many
balletomanes plead, “We want more!” The Seattle company, directed
by Peter Boal, brought only two attractions: a triple-bill of masterpieces
by George Balanchine (“Concerto Barocco,” “Apollo,”
“Agon”) and a peculiar version of Prokofiev’s “Romeo
and Juliet” by Jean-Christophe Maillot. Nevertheless, the dancers
and their fine orchestra, conducted by Emil de Cou and Allan Dameron,
were enough to make one crave, “More, please.”By Jack Anderson.
Oracle," by the choreographer Meryl Tankard. Photo by Regis Lansac.
Meryl Tankard "The Oracle"
Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” is a century old this
year, and with “The Oracle,” the Australian choreographer
Meryl Tankard makes her contribution to the anniversary celebrations.
By Jack Anderson.
Pina Bausch’s Orpheus and
Eurydice, 1975 and 2012
Seeing Pina Bausch’s Orpheus and Eurydice again after thirty-seven
years suggests how things change, how my perceptions have changed, and
how much they remain the same. By George Dorris.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Cedar Lake presents three programs by different choreographers:
"Violet Kid," by Hofesh Shechter, and "Grace Engine,"
by Crystal Pite, and the familiar, "Annonciation," by Angelin
Preljocaj. By Jack Anderson.
BALLET -- Alejandro Virelles, left, and Dayron Vera in "For 4."
Photo by Erin Baiano.
Angel Corella’s company first came here in 2010 as Corella Ballet
Castilla y León. Now it’s back as the Barcelona Ballet, its
new name reflecting its architecturally imposing and culturally vibrant
new home city. Its director remains the deservedly popular dancer Angel
Corella, and his guidance has made the troupe increasingly assured, with
a particularly strong male contingent. By Jack Anderson.
Last Touch First
Apparently affluent indolent people pose in the drawing room of a 19th-century
manor house at the start of “Last Touch First,” by Jiri Kylian,
the Czech-born former director of Nederlands Dans Theater, and Michael
Schumacher, an American dancer based in Europe. Much happens; most of
the time, very slowly, but there are moments when, despite the visual
clarity of the action, you can’t be sure just why it is happening.
This helps make “Last Touch First” something of a mystery:
its choreographers withhold, as well as supply, information. By Jack Anderson.
Reviving Martha Graham
The Graham company had a worthy season, one I happily applauded. But seldom
did I feel an urge to cheer. That’s often been my reaction to the
company these days: it has inspired genuine respect, but little unrestrained
enthusiasm. The dancers themselves are not to blame; they are talented
and clearly devoted to preserving the Graham legacy. But too many of their
presentations have smacked of academic lecture-demonstrations, as if Janet
Eilber, their director, felt she had to put every dance into some sort
of historical or esthetic context to make it comprehensible. Can Graham’s
works really have grown so remote that they now require the theatrical
equivalents of scholarly annotations? Can they no longer come alive on
stage otherwise? By Jack Anderson.
Bach by the Geneva Ballet
When the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève
announced it was offering an hour-long ballet to selected preludes and
fugues from Bach’s "Well-Tempered Clavier," it was easy
to imagine what the Swiss company’s production might look like:
the stage would be bare, costumes would be spare and each contrapuntal
musical phrase would be solemnly yoked to a corresponding choreographic
phrase. By Jack Anderson.
|Ann Liv Young
as Sherry, in blackface. Photo by Photo Ian Douglas.
"Black Dance" at Danspaced
at Danspace"Black Dance" was the title of the evening’s
program, and yet none of the artists performing--Young Jean Lee, Pedro
Jiménez, and Ann Liv Young-- were “black” in the usual,
African-American sense of the term. It seems that the evening’s
curator, Dean Moss, meant his title in the sense of “dance with
an outsider sensibility.” And he got some, for sure. By Henry Baumgartner.
|Scene from "Passage"
by Bulareyaung Pagarlava. Photo by Liu Chen-Hsiang
Another Way into the
Although New York audiences have long been familiar with Lin
Hwai-min’s amazing Cloud Gate Dance Theater from Taiwan, its second
company, Cloud Gate 2, is only now appearing here for the first time.
But this is not your usual second company: Cloud Gate 2 is a completely
separate company that does not perform Lin’s work at all; rather,
they specialize in the work of new or lesser-known dancemakers from Taiwan
or elsewhere in Asia--though the choreographers on this program, who were
all from Taiwan, all have had some international exposure. By Henry Baumgartner.
& Jerron Herman. Photo by Sam Kanter.
Mark Lamb Dance at Metro Baptist
Unexpected pleasures can sometimes turn up in out-of-the-way places. Take
Metro Baptist Church, a modest house of worship tucked away among the
overpasses back of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Who could have predicted
that it would be home to a resident dance company? Yet Mark Lamb Dance
is based there, and for the past two years Lamb has been the organizer
of a Second Saturday Sanctuary Salon Series, presenting monthly performances
involving dance and the other arts. By Jack Anderson.
ANGELS -- Joseph Mills performs in the "Icarus Aspires"
section of "Questions About Angels" at Theater for the New
City, NYC January 13 to 22, 2012. Circle Walker sculpture in photo
is by Alan Boeding. Photo by Jeff Greenbe.
Questions About Angels
Angels are both puzzling and appealing. Although they are supposedly
amorphous and sexless beings, they can be depicted by humans only in material
terms, artists and writers making them often radiantly beautiful and even
sexy. They can be physically powerful, as well. The peculiar nature of
angels prompted Billy Collins to write "Questions About Angels,"
the title poem of his collection of 1991. That poem, in turn, became one
of the inspirations for Joseph Mills’s suite of little dances, also
called “Questions About Angels.” By Jack Anderson.
company in "Continuous Replay." Photo by Julia Cervantes.
Bill T. Jones Picks
Up the Keys
New York Live Arts presented its inaugural events this September,
featuring the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in "Body Against
Body," two programs drawn from the early years of Jones and Zane’s
collaboration, work from the 1970s and early ’80s that, in some
cases, had not been seen since it was new. Most of the pieces were duets--intended
originally, of course, to be danced by Jones and Zane in person. But both
programs included performances of "Continuous Replay," a more
populous piece from 1977 that has been revived a few times over the years;
each time it sticks in the mind, thanks to its extensive use of nudity.
By Henry Baumgartner.
Shemy& Company. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
The Degamit Shemy
Deganit Shemy won praise last summer for "2 kilos of sea,"
an outdoor site-specific work in the courtyard of the John Street United
Methodist Church. Now she’s back with it, this time inside a theater.
In its new incarnation, the 45-minute piece for four women and a man has
moments of interest, yet remains strangely uncompelling. Something always
seems missing: quite possibly, a proper site. By Jack Anderson.
HUMPBACKED HORSE--(L) Vladimir Shklyarov as Ivan the Fool and (R)Vasily
Tkachenko as the Humpbacked Horse. Photo by Stephanie Berger.
Ratmansky's Balletic Tributes
The brief New York engagement at the Metropolitan Opera House
in Lincoln Center by the venerable Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet of St. Petersburg
was a season of balletic tributes. There were two full-evening ballets
with scores by Rodion Shchedrin, who turns 80 next year. Both multi-act
productions, tributes to Russian literature, were by Alexei Ratmansky,
today’s most talked-about young Russian choreographer. The tragic
“Anna Karenina” disappointed, for it was a tale dully told.
Fortunately, all the components of “The Little Humpbacked Horse”
blended harmoniously. The work may be something of a mess, yet it’s
a charming one. By Jack Anderson.
Northwest Ballet principal dancer Maria Chapman as Myrtha, Queen of
the Wilis. Photo by Angela Sterling.
A New Old "Giselle"
"Giselle" has been largely spared the insensitive tinkering
that has virtually ruined some stagings of such other 19th-century classics
as "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty." And now Pacific
Northwest Ballet of Seattle has given us a "Giselle" whose final
performances coincided with the annual conference of the Dance Critics
Association. What its members saw and cheered was a production that remained
faithful to19th-century concepts of choreography and dramatic action,
yet seemed not a relic, but very much alive. With a staging that is both
historically informed and theatrically compelling, the company's artistic
director Peter Boal, along with dance history specialists Doug Fullington
and Marian Smith, have created a "Giselle" of exceptional interest,
one that enhances this beloved classic by revealing new facets of dramatic
meaning while at the same time enriching our ideas regarding the interplay
of dance and mime. Pacific Northwest Ballet has made "Giselle"
live anew. By Jack Anderson.
Founded in 1959, Danza Contemporánea de Cuba makes its New
York debut at the Joyce Theater as part of its first United States tour.
Danza Contemporánea is both proudly Cuban and eagerly internationalist,
and is similar to other companies that call themselves "contemporary,"
without being a cookie-cutter imitation of any of them. Like many such
groups, it is technically eclectic, in this case showing the influence
of modern dance and ballet, but also current street dance trends and its
own Afro-Cuban traditions. By Jack Anderson.
Aspen Santa Fe
The gusto of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, peforming at Joyce Theatre, is irresistible.
Here is a company that clearly enjoys romping through space, and the slightly
offbeat repertory assembled by its directors, Tom Mossbrucker and Jean-Philippe
Malaty, makes its performances more than just displays of energy. Yet
it has plenty of energy to display, as was evident in the three works
it chose for its latest New York visit. During that introduction, dancers
emerge one by one from behind shimmering dark curtains. As they continue
to the music, they take wide stances, lurch, sway, and appear to stake
out territory for themselves. Here is ground on which they can stamp,
and although danger may lurk, they are ready to accept that danger as
part of existence. And who are these beings? Humans? Animals? Humans ceremonially
possessed by totem animals? By Jack Anderson.
Phillipe Saire in Lonesome Cowboy." Photo by: erias.
Dancing Swiss Cowboys
We all know what guys are like. Choreographers, writers, and film-makers
keep showing and telling us. Guys can be tough, bluff, and even violent,
yet buried within them is a longing for tenderness, which struggles to
emerge, even as they may be burying one another in violent encounters.
After all, hugging and wrestling sometimes look similar. With the aid
of five men from his Lausanne-based company, Philippe Saire choreographically
preached this message once again in "Lonesome Cowboy." It's
a message that may not tell the whole truth about masculine behavior,
yet there's enough truth in it that, if told skillfully enough, it bears
repeating. And the Swiss troupe did repeat it with skill, although without
adding any fresh insights into it. By Jack Anderson.
SECO--Rebeca Tomás in "Alegrias." Photos by Cathy
"A Palo Seco" with Rebeca
Ordinarily, you do not expect the leading dancer in a Spanish flamenco
program to begin a solo by sitting down at a piano and playing Beethoven's
"Moonlight Sonata." Nor do you expect the musicians for such
a program to launch into "Somewhere over the Rainbow." But all
these things happened during Rebeca Tomás's "A Palo Seco,"
and the fact that they did was a sign that Tomás is seeking to
develop flamenco in new ways. By Jack Anderson.
BY MOONLIGHT--Center front: Cecille De Los Santos; Backgroud right
to left: Jade Enriquez, Nodiah Biruar Dimaporo, Amira Aziza, Diane
"Pandibulan: Bathing by Moonlight"
Kinding Sindaw is endearing. Now 18 years old, this New York-based organization
seeks to preserve the dances, songs, and traditions of various areas of
the Philippines, and it does so with warmth and skill. "Pandibulan:
Bathing by Moonlight," its latest offering, honors the Yakan people
of Basilan, an island in the southern Philippines. I suspect that many
New Yorkers with no family connections with the Philippines may never
have heard before of either Basilan or the Yakan people. I certainly place
myself in that category. But I also suspect that, like me, these New Yorkers
will be charmed by this production conceived, choreographed, and directed
by Potri Ranka Manis. By Jack Anderson.
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