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Sunday January 27

FORBIDDEN DANCE: Capoeira is "a 400-year-old Brazilian martial art that arrived in North America only 25 years ago. Developed by slaves as a weapon to strike for their freedom, it was outlawed in Brazil for such a long time - it only became legal in the 1930s - that in order to survive it was disguised as dance. The outcome is an exhilarating art form that in North America has undergone yet another metamorphosis." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/26/02

POSITIVELY PINA: "One of the seminal performance figures of the 20th century, Pina Bausch is a choreographer who has expanded the possibilities of modern dance, opening up the genre to snatches of dialogue, stage visions and chaotic intrusions from everyday life. She is based in an obscure German town where her avant garde, often violent, work attracted furious hostility. Her own company rebelled over her methods but more recently, after she overcame personal tragedy." The Guardian (UK) 01/26/02

IN LOVE WITH ISADORA: Dancer Isadora Duncan was one of the great dancers (according to some). On the other hand, Balanchine remembered her as a "drunk fat woman who for hours was rolling around like a pig." A new book examines her life: "Isadora's melodramatic death in 1927, at the age of 50, came too late to save her reputation from ridicule. Blowsy and reckless, she commandeered a ride in a sports car (the marque was an Amilcar, not a Bugatti) in order to try out the handsome driver. The long fringe of her red shawl caught in the rear wheel, her neck snapped and her body was dragged along the road for 30 metres. The perfect end, according to Jean Cocteau: 'A kind of horror that leaves one calm'." The Observer (UK) 01/27/02

Friday January 25

SHOOTING STARS: "Of course, ballet has always been a profession for the young. What's different right now at the New York City Ballet is the large number of promising young dancers." Christian Science Monitor 01/25/02

Monday January 21

DANCE OF DISTURBING IMAGES: Pina Bausch is "the world leader of dance-theatre, often imitated, never equalled. Some dance-lovers are strongly resistant to the genre that she has, if not invented, then formulated as the late-20th-century's major contribution to the history of dance." The Telegraph (UK) 01/21/02

Sunday January 20

LESSER OF TWO EVILS: For mid-level ballet companies, the choice of what to do about music is never an easy one. Everyone agrees that live music is preferable to recorded, but the cost can be prohibitive, and once a regular ensemble is engaged, union rules can make it very difficult to disengage them. Still, is the ballet really the ballet when the sound comes from a speaker rather than an orchestra? San Francisco Chronicle 01/20/02

Friday January 18

REACQUAINTANCE WITH THE DANCE COLLECTION: The remarkable Dance Collection at Lincoln Center's Library of the Performing Arts has finally reopened after the library finished a three-year renovation. "It is the largest dance archive in the world, with holdings that date back to 1460." The New York Times 01/18/02

Wednesday January 16

MOVING WITH THE TIMES: Yuri Grigorovich, for 30 years the master of the Bolshoi Ballet, wielded absolute power during his reign. In post-Soviet Russia he was ousted from his perch. "Clearly he saw the writing on the wall in terms of his future with the Bolshoi; as a principal cultural powerbroker in the old Soviet regime, he was a natural target for housecleaning." But he quickly put together a new company, made up of young dancers from the leading schools. The company is now in America for an impressive tour. Chicago Sun-Times 01/16/02

  • 100 CONCERTS IN 27 CITIES: The company's 90 dancers are impressive, but performances in Detroit are uneven - the company is "in the midst of a 27-city, 100-performance tour that has them spending an astounding amount of their waking time on buses." Detroit Free Press 01/16/02

APPRECIATING DANCE: How does one teach the aesthetics of dance as an artform? "All students have seen dance movement, if only music videos on MTV or Broadway musicals. But appreciating dance as an artform requires some understanding of the cultural status of works of art. What makes ordinary movement different from artistic movement? What makes social or ritualistic dance different from theater dance?" Aesthetics-online 01/02

Sunday January 13

THE FACE OF DANCE: "Those of us who love dance are sometimes haunted by the memory of a particular face on stage. What force is it that, without close-ups to simulate intimacy or words to aid communication, imprints the dancers' personalities into our consciousness? Do the thousands of hours of sweat and self-criticism that mold the dancer's body also mold the face? Or is there an essential presence that is inborn? One thing sure is that the charismatic dance face is not achieved through a deliberate effort but mysteriously springs from some deep connection between mind and body." The New York Times 01/13/02

TURNING POINTE: "The Association of Blacks in Dance meets later this month in Brooklyn. The association is a service organization that has helped bring dance by black choreographers and performers to new public prominence in the 15 years since its formation. Founded by three savvy matriarchs of black American modern dance, the association faces a turning point typical in the histories of successful grass-roots organizations." The New York Times 01/13/02

THE NEW DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM: Dance Theatre of Harlem has a new name: "Arthut Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem." "And no one was more surprised by the announcement than Mitchell, artistic director and founder of the company." Los Angeles Times 01/13/02

Friday January 11

PHILADELPHIA - DANCE MAGNET? "With more than two dozen dance companies, Philadelphia has become a dance magnet, drawing performers from other states and building a reputation as one of the top five dance cities in the country. Yet many people in the area are not aware of this." Philadelphia Inquirer 01/11/02

Tuesday January 8

DANCE MAKES A SOFT LANDING IN SF: A little more than two years ago, at the height of the Dotcom real estate craze in the Bay Area, The San Francisco Dance Center found out it had to find a new home. The Center is "a major artery if not the pulsing heart of the Bay Area dance scene, offering more than 400 classes to 8,000 adult students a month. Much like the larger-scale Steps on Broadway in Manhattan, SFDC brings together aspiring young choreographers, established dance figures and weekend amateurs in drop-in sessions on everything from jazz to flamenco." Now the Center has a brand new home and some big challenges in trying to support itself in a new space. San Francisco Examiner 01/07/02

NEW NEW NEW: "True to its founding fathers, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, New York City Ballet remains the foremost creative ballet troupe in the world. No other classical dance company presents as many new works. One reason is the number of ballets produced by the Diamond Project festivals in the last 10 years with 6 to 12 choreographers commissioned at a time. More important, the company has developed choreographers within its ranks." The New York Times 01/08/02

Wednesday January 2

BUILDING A DANCE COMPANY: "Over the last 15 years, fed by the elegant choreography of its artistic director Josť Mateo's Ballet Theater has cultivated a distinctive ballet style, a critically acclaimed repertory of original work, a school and 20-member company. With performances of this season's Nutcracker, which ended on Sunday, the troupe has opened this erudite Cambridge's first home for professional ballet." The New York Times 01/01/02

Monday December 31

THE EXAMINED DANCE: "The theoretical study of dance, using the broad content and methodology of the humanities, is still far less developed than in those other arts. And there is much less in the way of rigorous dialogue among well-trained scholars in the various theoretical disciplines." Aesthetics-online 12/01

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