Krishna to Krishna: “Damn You!”

Surupa Sen in Krishna's Lament. Photo: Nan Melville

The Hindu god Shiva is sometimes pictured in Indian art and philosophy as half-man, half-woman. One beguiling interpretation of this vision is that he ceded half of his body to his beloved consort, Parvati, to show how much he loved her. In Hinduism, the union—or desired union—between masculine god and desirous female soul is the subject of many ravishing poems and dances. But as the three members … [Read more...]

Two Black Women, Two Dark Journeys

Chipaumire, journeying. Photo: Ian Douglas

In 1982, Ishmael Houston-Jones asked himself some questions about Black Dance (a term embraced at the time by those who considered themselves part of it) and how that aesthetic related to the work that he and some of his African American colleagues on the downtown New York scene were interested in creating. The result: two weekends of performances produced that year by Danspace Project at Saint … [Read more...]

Taylor: Then, Now, and Forever

Eran Bugge, Robert Kleinendorst, and Aileen Roehl in The Uncommitted. Photo: Rick McCullough

Happy 50th birthday, Aureole!  Sorry I missed the celebration. You certainly don’t look your age. When I think of all the ideas you spawned for your boss, Paul Taylor, I’m amazed at your daisy-freshness. This is some season for the Taylor company: three weeks at the capacious, formerly named New York State Theater, instead of the usual two at the smaller New York City Center. Twenty-two works … [Read more...]

Re-entering Martha’s Inner Landscapes

AJ CIRCUS Lloyd Knight Xiaochuan Xie3

The program that the Martha Graham Dance Company presented on the opening night of its Joyce Theater season (March 13 through 18) concluded with a gripping performance of Graham’s 1947 masterwork Night Journey. The audience clapped and cheered and rose to its feet. In my heart, I muttered, “That’ll show them.”  Show whom what?  Show the world? Show the directors of the company that audiences can … [Read more...]

Three Women, Three Styles

ChristinaNoel Reaves, Jessica Weiss, Lonnie Poupard, Jake Szczypek in Jody Oberfelder's Sung Heroes. Photo: Christopher Duggan

College basketball has nothing on the March Madness that seems to overtake the New York dance season just as spring is trying to inch in. I find myself momentarily mixing up dancers and works in my mind and trying to read notes scribbled on top of one another in a dense, black blob. Then there’s the pen that ran out of ink. . . . Three performances have been running around in my mind on … [Read more...]

Living in a Green World

Ia'ara Moses and Chen-Wei Lee (at back Rachel Osborne, Matan David) in Ohad Naharin's Hora. Photo: Stephanie Berger

When Ohad Naharin left New York for Israel, his homeland, in 1990 and took over Batsheva Dance Company, he developed a distinctive movement style. In all his dances, the performers are muscular in unconventional ways. Watching them, I imagine elements of the inner apparatus that moves the human body trying to find new conduits into motion. Sometimes a dancer’s hip or a shoulder is impelled to … [Read more...]

Contending with Loss

Davalois Fearon, Emily Stone (center back), Natalie McKessy, and men in Stephen Petronio's The Architecture of Loss. Photo: Julie Lemberger.

Stephen Petronio’s melancholy, disturbingly beautiful new Architecture of Loss is, I’m pretty sure, fraught with more stillness and more silence than any of the works he’s made over the last couple of decades. The word “architecture” in the title tells us that he’s not trying to show us mourning as a response to loss; he’s showing us loss as absence and the evanescence of supporting … [Read more...]

So, Ludwig. . .

(L to R) Amber Star Merkens, Lesley Garrison, Chelsea Lynn Acree leaping. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Ludwig van Beethoven must have had more stamina than he’s usually credited with. If you research his Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, Orchestra, and Chorus, Op. 80, you find that its first public performance in 1808 ended a program that lasted four hours and included among its nine items the premieres of Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies (conducted by the 38-year-old composer), his Fourth Piano … [Read more...]

Walking Backward in Devotion

Nicole Mannarino in Sarah Michelson's Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer. Photo: Paula Court

The first time I saw dancing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, it was 1971 and Trisha Brown’s dancers were walking on two walls of one of the huge galleries, via ropes, pulleys, and tracks mounted on the ceilings. The last time I saw dancing at the Whitney, it was 2012 (March 1 to be exact), and Sarah Michelson’s Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer had taken over most of the museum’s fourth … [Read more...]