The New in the Old, The Old in the New

Daniel Fetecua Soto and Elise Drew Leon in Sean Curran's Nocturnes for Ancestors. Photo Joseph Schembri

The Limon Dance Company performs at the Joyce; Miki Orihara debuts a solo program. It was several days after I saw the Limón Dance Company at the Joyce Theater that I suddenly discerned subtle connections among the four works on the program that artistic director Carla Maxwell put together for the company’s 68th anniversary—two by company founder José Limón (1908-1972) and two new works, … [Read more...]

Up and Coming Meet the Masters

Daphne Fernberger (L) and Lorrin Brubaker in Lar Lubovitch's Concerto Six Twenty-Two. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor

Juilliard Dance presents works by Tharp, Lubovitch, and Feld. Suzanne Beahrs Dance performs at Danspace. I count Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen among the world’s great dances. When I saw it in 1979, performed by her marvelous company, I thought I’d die of pleasure. How could I not hustle uptown to see Juilliard Dance’s annual challenge to its super-talented students, when Baker’s Dozen was … [Read more...]

The Many Faces of Spring

Martha Graham's Appalachian Spring. Foreground: Abdiel Jacobsen and Blackely White-McGuire. At back (L to R): Katherine Crockett. Charlotte Landreau, Xiaochuan Xie, Tamisha Guy, Ying Xin. Photo: Costas

The Martha Graham Dance Company celebrates Appalachian Spring's 70th with a new work by Nacho Duato. Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring was first performed in October of 1944 in the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on a not very large stage intended for chamber music concerts. Its back and side walls with working doors would have made it awkward for the eight dancers to make … [Read more...]

Taylor’s Treasure Trove

Sean Mahoney and Jamie Rae Walker in Paul Taylor's American Dreamer. Photo: Tom Caravaglia

The Paul Taylor Dance Company celebrates its 60th anniversary, March 11-22. Paul Taylor made his first piece of choreography 60 years ago and went on to create 139 more. Some are among the most beautiful or the funniest or the most terrifying dances you will ever see. His company is performing twenty-one of them, plus two new ones, during its two-week 60th anniversary season at Lincoln … [Read more...]

Another Rite

Martha Graham's Rite of Spring. Abdiel Jacobsen (L) and Lloyd Mayor lift Xiaochuan Xie as the Chosen One. The Shaman (Ben Schultz) watches. Photo: Charles Eilber, courtesy of the Martha Graham Dance Company.

The Martha Graham Dance Company dances The Rite of Spring and Nacho Duato's Rust at Jacob’s Pillow, August 21-25. I like to imagine that at least once a month this year, somewhere in the world, a dance company and/or an orchestra has been thundering away at Igor Stravinsky’s masterpiece Le Sacre du Printemps, Obviously, I’m no statistician, but it does seem that, in 2013, the centenary of … [Read more...]

A Nightmare Turns Fifty

Paul Taylor's Scudorama. Laura Halzak (prone), Michelle Fleet (in air), Jamie Rae Walker (L), Julie Tice (in an earlier cast). Photo: Paul B. Goode

Wishing Happy 50th birthday to a dance like Paul Taylor’s Scudorama mightn’t be a good idea. The cake could blow up in your face. You have to be a bit crazy to love this dance. Made the year after Aureole, which lives on in an indestructible springtime, Scudorama cringes and crawls and hides from view. The current revival dates from 2009. Scudorama’s 1963 premiere at the American Dance Festival … [Read more...]

Taylor Made

Sean Mahoney and Amy Young in Paul Taylor's Perpetual Dawn. Photo: Paul B. Goode

Can one refer to someone as a perpetual dark horse, or is that a contradiction?  If not, I’d like to apply it to Paul Taylor.  You can never predict what he’ll come up with, or what thumbscrews he’ll apply to his essentially buoyant vocabulary of steps. Among the 21 works on view during the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s three-week season at Lincoln Center, some, such as Speaking in Tongues, are big … [Read more...]

Looking Back, Journeying Forward

Miki Ohara costumed for Martha Graham's Errand into the Maze. Photo: John Deane

The Martha Graham Company, aged 87, is a determined survivor. It has soldiered on past the death of its sole choreographer in 1991, the sale of its 63rd Street building, and a lawsuit over its rights to Graham’s dances. Then, not long after the company took over the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s studios in Westbeth, hurricane Sandy caused flooding in the basement storage space and damaged sets, … [Read more...]

Re Winterbranch: The Comment That Grew

Winterbranch in 1971 performance. Carolyn Brown leaping. Photo: James Klosty

If you happened to read “East to West to East,” my Arts Journal response to Benjamin Millepied’s new company, L.A. Dance Project, soon after I posted it on October 29 (which was shortly before I lost power and connectivity), you will find some small but crucial changes in the early November updates. They occur in my passage about the lighting for the group’s staging of Merce Cunningham’s 1964 … [Read more...]

Looking Back, Forging Ahead

The Emperor Jones, Daniel Fetecua Soto  (red pants) amid his memories. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu

A man in a fancy military jacket—gold epaulettes and all—sits slumped on an outsized throne. Six men creep in warily, circle him, bow mockingly, jump about, seem to confer. The man doesn’t move. This is how José Limón’s The Emperor Jones begins. Limón choreographed the dance, based on Eugene O’Neill’s play of the same, in 1956, to a turbulent commissioned score by Heitor Villa-Lobos. The décor and … [Read more...]