Men Dancing: Then and Now

Robert Swinston (front) and Germaul Barnes in The Men Dancers: From the Horse's Mouth (dress rehearsal). Photo: Taylor Crichton

Eighty years ago, when Ted Shawn assembled the all-male company that toured the U.S. with him during the 1930s, he aimed to eradicate the notion that dancing was for sissies (the polite, if bullying term for boys whose masculinity was in doubt). Almost all of those who joined Shawn’s Men Dancers were graduates of Springfield College’s Physical Education Department, and he toughened them further in … [Read more...]

Pounding the Earth, Aspiring to the Air

Nitsan Margaliot flying onto Eyal Vizner. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Cultural identity, terrain, traditions, body types, beliefs. How many other markers reveal how we like to move, how we define dance? Two very dissimilar styles appeared last week some miles north of New York City in pastoral surroundings. Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company performed in Jacob’s Pillow’s Ted Shawn Theater July 4 through 8, and on July 6, France’s Compagnie Fêtes galantes opened Bard’s … [Read more...]

Midsummer, Music, Morris

The Mark Morris Dance Group in Festival Dance. Photo: Stephanie Berger

  In 1931, Noël Coward walked out of the first public performance of William Walton’s Façade: An Entertainment in 1923, and a critic described the music for flute, clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, cello, and percussion as “relentless cacophony.” Coward may have been put off by the fact that Edith Sitwell, the author of the poems that formed Walton’s libretto, sat behind a screen and read … [Read more...]

A Single Dance in Four Chapters

Shantala Shivalingappa in Ushio Amagatsu's Ibuki. Photo: Laurent Philippe

Shantala Shivalingappa has always been an artistic voyager. Trained in India’s classical Kuchipudi style (first by her mother, Savitry Nair, then by Vempati Chinna Satyam), she danced with an unbridled white horse in Bartabas’s equine spectacle Chimère. She played Ophelia in Peter Brooks’s production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Miranda in his The Tempest. She has performed with Pina Bausch’s … [Read more...]