Different Circuses: Elizabeth Streb and Sarah East Johnson

AJ Human Fountain. Photo by Stephanie Berger

Elizabeth Streb has the mind of a physicist, the heart of a circus performer, and a movie stuntman’s appetite for risk. Upping the ante while balancing all the factors involved seems to be what sustains her. In the 1980s, when she first started showing her work in small downtown black-box theaters or loft spaces, watching her performers topple—straight as boards, faces down—onto a mic’d mattress … [Read more...]

At the Threshold of the Closet

Comrades in Arms. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

One of the most intriguing things about Tere O’Connor’s Cover Boy is its overall rhythmic structure. During the hour it takes the piece to unfold, the movements of the four performers (Michael Ingle, Niall Jones, Paul Monaghan, and Matthew Rogers) set up subtle interplays between asserting and backing off, between attacking and melting. This dynamic formalizes and expresses the implications … [Read more...]

Walking With Merce

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Roaratorio. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

So long, Roaratorio. Goodbye, Biped. Farewell, Second Hand. And Pond Way, Split Sides, Rainforest, it’s been great to know you. Pardon the tears. New Yorkers may see scraps from these works in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Events at the Park Avenue Armory on the last days of 2011. Then silence and stillness. Or, as Cunningham’s longtime collaborator, composer John Cage, might remind us, a … [Read more...]

Home Is Where The Dance Is

Bringing it Home (Alicia Graf Mann, center). Photo: Paul Kolnik

What do we crave from the thirty dancers who make up the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company? That they be gorgeous, sleek, limber, powerful, virtuosic—sassy when the choreography calls for it, soulful ditto. They do not stint. They can knock dancing into the stratosphere or into our laps. Sometimes they turn the wattage up too high—forgoing subtleties for the highest, the biggest, the baddest, the … [Read more...]

Jump for Mother Ann’s Love

Asli Bulbul Receiving Heaven's Gift

What fascinates people about the Shakers—members of religious communities that settled in New England in the late 18th century, proselytized, expanded, and began to wither a hundred or so years later?  We marvel at the austerely beautiful furniture they made, their ingenuity, and the fact that they considered drawing, singing, and dancing gifts from God that were to be practiced freely and … [Read more...]

Goodbye to the Green

Peterson (foreground), Diamond, and Martel in Wooden

Since Laura Peterson began to show her choreography in New York around six years ago, she has become increasingly interested in transforming theater spaces through lighting, audience placement, and movement ideas. I’m thinking in particular of her 2007 I Love Dan Flavin, which I saw in the funky, cramped intimacy of the old Dixon Place, and Forever (2009), which utilized the columns and mirrored … [Read more...]

Going with the Flow

Lar Lubovitch's new Crisis Variations (Laura Rutledge aloft). Photo: Paula Lobo

In 2000, I saw Lar Lubovitch’s Men’s Stories: A Concerto in Ruins at the Angel Orensanz Center on the Lower East Side. The former synagogue with its dark wood paneling, high blue vault of a ceiling, and stained glass windows gave the nine superb dancers who rushed in and out of it a slightly mystical aura—as if they’d channeled the ghosts of rabbinical students maddened by their studies. The … [Read more...]

November Potpourri

Kristi Boone and Gray Davis in Paul Taylor's Black Tuesday. Photo: Gene Schiavone

Seeing American Ballet Theatre during its too-brief season at City Center (nine works and eight performances in five days) could give spectators who devour the company’s spring shows at the Metropolitan Opera a new slant on the dancers. No tutus or tiaras on view, no see-me-ace-this displays of virtuosity, no hordes of elaborately costumed courtiers standing around watching some princess do what … [Read more...]

The Sculpture Dances

Marnie Palomares and Alisdair Macinroe (original cast). Photo: Jeff Busby

The star of Gideon Obarzanek’s Connected isn’t someone whose autograph you’d ask for, nor would you wish he/she/it would friend you on Facebook. The most compelling presence onstage during Chunky Move’s early November season at the Joyce was a kinetic sculpture designed by California artist Reuben Margolin. Obarzanek, the director and choreographer of the Melbourne-based company, has always … [Read more...]

Pairs Made in Heaven: Reitz & Rudner, Burrows & Fargion

Sarah Rudner (left) and Dana Reitz in Necessary Weather. Photo: Stephanie Berger

In 1994, we were all younger. Yet in the photo accompanying the review I wrote that year of Necessary Weather, the luminous collaboration by Dana Reitz, Sara Rudner, and Jennifer Tipton, Reitz and Rudner look almost exactly the way they do performing the piece at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in late October, 2011. They wear the same white pants and flowing, diaphanous white shirts. Reitz’s hair is … [Read more...]