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...]