Repairs are well underway at the Center for Dance, and the Academy should be back to a full schedule of classes by Sept. 11. The subfloors from both the small studio and the dance lab on the first floor have been removed, as well as two feet of drywall. A new pump and electrical panel for the water system is currently being installed.
“People with disabilities lived with the stigma that they can’t do this, they can’t do that, they can’t dance, they can’t walk, they can’t talk. When you dance with a partner, you really forget who you’re dancing with. You forget their age, you forget their ability, disability, ethnicity, height, weight, you know, forget all of that. You start to see people and feel people as people, not a person in a wheelchair.”
A dance scene as determined as Dallas’ deserves a festival that makes its aspirations visible at one big gathering at least once a year. It’s time.
“In the world of classical ballet, the presentation of flowers to the lead ballerinas is a carefully choreographed ritual, one steeped in tradition and rules, and perfected by decades of practice. It’s also a study in contrasts, as ushers with no stage experience must walk across the stage to meet the most graceful of performers at center stage. What could go wrong?” You’d be surprised. Peggy McGlone talks with ushers at the Kennedy Center who do it.
“Dance is a physical manifestation of abstract thought, and I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate this than by making work inspired by independent thought, by self-starting businesses. Using dance as a device for work advancement and learning also taps into something that Millennials increasingly desire in their work experience, something not only fun outside of work, but something applicable to professional growth.”
Lucinda Childs, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Maguy Marin talk about their approaches to Beethoven’s strangest music.
“Executive director Jim Nelson said the company will stage four performances of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling Sept. 22-24 (including two evening shows and two matinees) at the Hobby Center for the Arts’ Sarofim Hall. It also will stage two evening performances of its postponed ‘Poetry in Motion’ mixed repertory program there Oct. 26 and 27.”
Tara Pandeya writes about how she came to study the rigorous, highly developed styles of the Tajik and Uyghur traditions, and how she traveled to Tajikistan to study and ended up a member of the national dance ensemble and winning a televised national competition.
Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, granddaughter of the late King Sihanouk and half-sister of the current king, toured the world in the 1950s and ’60s as one of the leading dancers of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia. In the 1990s, after the years of the Khmer Rouge and the later Vietnamese invasion, she located surviving dancers and musicians and refounded the company, and she’s now training a new generation.
“Two years after headlines screamed ‘Ballet in crisis’ – and the company was a hair’s-breadth from shutting its doors for good – the troupe has received coaching from arts turnaround expert Michael Kaiser, hired an executive director and rebuilt its board of directors. And after four years of travails that began when a mold infestation cost the ballet its longtime home, officials say it’s finally time to start moving forward.”
One line of experimentation has involved electronic shadows on the stage floor, an effect that can be hard to see from the seats of many conventional theaters. That’s not a problem at the Guggenheim, where the audience is above the dancers. Here’s how it works: An infrared camera scans the dancers’ outlines, 60 frames per second, even as they move, and transmits that information to a computer, which then projects images around the dancers. As Mr. Simkin explained during a recent rehearsal, the speed of the computer processing is crucial. “If there is a lag, the brain sees it as a technological trick,” he said. “If there is no lag, as we can do it now, it is like magic, giving another layer to the movement — like a big dress, my father says.”
The new Duplass brothers anthology series, Room 104, just aired an episode that included no spoken text – only dance. Dance Magazine talks with choreographer Dayna Hanson, who created both the storyline and the movement of the episode.
“In November 2005, the city’s oldest professional ballet company, Ballet Internationale, was preparing for its annual Nutcracker performance at the Murat Theater when the company suddenly closed their doors – canceling the upcoming show and leaving professional dancers in Indianapolis out of work. For Victoria Lyras that was the beginning of a long twelve years to bring professional ballet back to the Circle City.” (video)
“The culture believes there is a limitation to how long you can do this kind of thing for your job and to be onstage performing dance. How do we make that interesting? Both because of the movement and because of that idea, we just started talking about athletes and sports. Can you open up an audience to feel like they want to jump out of their seats at one moment? Or even boo, and feel like something is totally failing onstage? And can this movement that is so athletic lead us into a direction that creates a totally different relationship with an audience?”
“I want our audiences to understand the vast scope of what a ballet can be,” says Paul Vasterling. Pushing that distinction means thinking outside the norm, whether in terms of subject matter, movement vocabulary, use of text and singers, or in performance structure and duration. This raises interesting questions around where exactly we draw the line between ballet and modern dance or musical theatre.
“It’s the same as in sports. Once you win a season, repeating everything that you did the next season is the surest way not to win. To stay on that edge, you have to question and risk everything. Once you get used to winning, then you just love that edge. You love the fact it’s risky. Otherwise, I’m sorry, it gets really boring. So there is no formula.”
While the basement and parking garage of the Wortham Theater Center (home venue of Houston Ballet) are flooded, “so far, it seems that the small and mid-size companies came through the storm with minor damage.”
“Company officials said they will try to reschedule ‘Poetry in Motion’ for a later date, but for now they just hope to begin the season with the planned premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s story ballet Mayerling on Sept. 21. As with so many other things across the devastated city this week, that will have to be a wait-and-see matter. The plan depends on the availability of the storm-damaged Wortham [Theater Center], whose basement floors and main stage flooded.”
“Imagine a nearly ceaseless stream of digital imagery, beginning with unusual shadows. Computer-generated projections envelop the performers with auras as elastic as bubbles, shimmering and rippling at the edges like the hot air of a mirage. Sometimes the shadows linger after bodies exit, like the quick-fading imprint of fingers pressed on pale skin, or maybe like the soul after death.”
A former student of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is filing a class-action lawsuit against the school and former instructor Bruce Monk, alleging Monk took nude photos and sold them online.
“Trisha Brown’s dance made a singular impression, but it’s hard to remember specifically what she did. Most photos of her show her aiming in several directions at once, but they’re deceptive. They make her dancing look static when she never was still. I’ve never seen such a fluent body. Yet she didn’t look as if she was just flinging herself around.”
“I’m interested in how we can amplify space and proximity for artists who want to explore an idea bigger than just their next project. For example, there’s the Dancing Laboratory, which will initially center around BODYTRAFFIC, an LA-based company that commissions two or three pieces a year. The commissioning model generally suffers, because the artist must write the grant without knowing what the work will be yet, they raise the funds, and then put all the energy and resources into a few weeks, and expect the commissioned choreographer to make an amazing work. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t; there’s no room for failure or trying new ideas. We decided we want to disrupt that system, as well as offer additional opportunities that would cultivate female choreographic talent.”
Young British choreographer Ruth Brill: “It’s made me more want to strive and achieve, and if I can help redress that balance by doing what I want to do, then brilliant.”
Christopher Morgan’s second job as new artistic director of the beloved Dance Place: “zeroing in on how to make his studios available to local choreographers. He’d like to develop ‘space grants.'”
The managing director of the Dutch National Ballet: “I was surprised by what he had been able to achieve with the patchiness of the training he had. … It’s a bit late for him to be a classical [ballet dancer] but that doesn’t mean he can’t be an artist, a dancer.”
Boston Ballet, Ballet Austin, and Colorado Ballet have all done it, and Ashley Rivers gives a look at the strategies they’ve used.
“On a large plaza in the city last week, company staff diligently set up more than one thousand of the 18-inch robots to attempt the dancing record. You’ll be pleased to know that the team achieved the feat, with a total of 1,069 Dobi robots strutting their stuff in sync with one another, and as a consequence delighting the Guinness World Record officials who had traveled to Guangzhou to verify the effort.”
“She has friends. She goes out. She has a sense of humor. What she’s not? ‘Totally depressed and anorexic,’ said the filmmaker Valérie Müller, who, with her husband, the choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, directed the film Polina.”
“The partnership will team the Russian composer Ilya Demutsky, who has been commissioned to compose a new score, with the Russian choreographer Yuri Possokhov. A former Bolshoi dancer, Possokhov currently is choreographer in residence at the San Francisco Ballet.”
“DMP recognises body movement as an implicit and expressive instrument of communication and expression. DMP is a relational process in which client and therapist engage in an empathic creative process using body movement and dance to assist integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self.”