Islands Meet Underwater

Bessie McDonough-Thayer carries Eleanor Smith, Addys Gonzalez looks on in Vanessa Anspaugh's We Were an Island. Photo: Ian Douglas

Vanessa Anspaugh presents a new work at Danspace St. Marks. “No man is an island,/ Entire of itself,/ Every man is a piece of the continent,/A part of the main.” John Donne knew that in 1623 when, in bed with an undetermined illness, he wrote “Meditation XVII” of his Devotions upon Emergent Occasions.  Choreographer Vanessa Anspaugh may have had something similar in mind when she titled her … [Read more...]

Pushing Into the Upper Room

Rachel Berman jumps, James Tyson foreground, in Sarah Michelson's 4 at the Whitney. . Photograph © Paula Court

Sarah Michelson premieres 4 at the Whitney Museum, January 24-February 2, 2014. Watching three of the four related works that Sarah Michelson presented between 2011 and 2014 is like entering an immaculate world of passion abstracted. And by passion, I don’t mean that of one person for another; Michelson seems more deeply involved in the devotion, the single-minded burning zeal demonstrated … [Read more...]

Three Choreographers Grace a Busy Week

(L to R): Stuart Singer, Netta Yerushalmy, and choreographer Joanna Kotze

Vicky Shick, Doug Elkins, and Joanna Kotze show work in an event-filled January week. Every January without fail, New York offers a smorgasbord of dance. The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) convenes in town, and the table is laid for it in every available performing space. The first two weeks of the month are also a time when dancers, choreographers, and dance enthusiasts … [Read more...]

Collapsing Three to Make a Fourth

David Thomson (L) and Ryan Kelly in Bleed. Photo: Ian Douglas

Tere O'Connor's  Bleed, premiering on BAM's Next Wave Festival,  is built on the bones of three previous works. Writing about Tere O’Connor’s work is always a challenge (he himself does it very well). Watching his marvelous new Bleed in the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Fishman Space is akin to recalling a night of dreaming. In it, as in dreams, events pour into one another, places morph into … [Read more...]

Fire Burning at Both Ends

Donna Uchizono (L) and Rebecca Serrell Cyr in Uchizono's Fire Underground. Photo: Ian Douglas

Donna Uchizono Company premieres Fire Underground at New York Live Arts. The title of Donna Uchizono’s harrowing new work is Fire Underground. The words evoke flames smoldering, unable to break through. Fire under the skin. Fire heating up the brain. Anger that has to be restrained.  Uchizono makes no secret of the dance’s source.  She spent twelve years adopting a child in Nepal and … [Read more...]

How Many Ways In?

Silas Reiner in Way In, by Riener and Rashaun Mitchell. Photo: Ian Douglas

Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener collaborate on Way In. I wasn’t hung up on pink when I was a little girl. Much later, I read that studies had shown the color to have a calming effect on people in need of calming, such as jail inmates. And, sure enough, when I found myself sharing a pinkish bedroom for a year or so with another dancer, I frequently slept until 11 A.M. Entering St. … [Read more...]

How Comfortable Are You?

Anneke Hansen's she is not a comfortable thing. Foreground: Hansen. Behind her; Alice MacDonald. Rear: Ashley Handel (L) and Emily Moore. Photo: S.E. Bicknell

Anneke Hansen Dance performs a new work at the Martha Graham Studio. I pondered the title of Anneke Hansen’s new, full-evening dance before I saw the piece and again as I was walking home from what is now the Martha Graham Studio Theater. she is not a comfortable thing. What can that mean? That being a woman sometimes means not being comfortable with your body? That the way some people … [Read more...]

Life as Disorder, Order as Life

Jeff Sykes (L) and Bryan Strimpel lift Matthew Albert in Brian Brooks's Run Don't Run. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

David Dorfman and Brian Brooks present new works in two of BAM's theaters. Choreographer David Dorfman wears his heart on his sleeve. As his newest work Come, and Back Again shows, it’s a very big heart and an imaginatively tailored sleeve. His past works have tackled political, historical, and social topics, but always in warmly personal ways. He’s not shy about friendship as a topic … [Read more...]

Re-visiting The Old, Exploring The New

Molissa Fenley's new Found Object. (L to R): Rebecca Chaleff, Peiling Kao, Molissa Fenley, and composer-vocalist Erin Gee. Phot: Ian Gibson

Molissa Fenley reconstructs two key works and fashions a new one at New York Live Arts, October 2 through 5. Elizabeth Streb is in the house!  Not everyone at New York Live Arts for the opening night of  Molissa Fenley and Company’s season would understand the exclamation point. I don’t deny Streb’s celebrity status in the downtown dance world, but the enthusiastic punctuation is there … [Read more...]

Asserting the Uncertain, Cooking the Rough

(L to R): Michael Ingle, Anna Adams Stark, Donna Cicchesi, and Tara O’Con in Flutter. Photo: Madeline Best

Megan V. Sprenger / MVworks at The Chocolate Factory and John J Zullo Dance/Raw Movement at St. Mark’s Church. When you’re watching Megan Sprenger’s absorbing new Flutter at the Chocolate Factory, you don’t think about butterflies poised above a blossom or birds winging to a new perch. Darker definitions come to mind: restless or uncertain movement, shivery excitement, “disturbance of the … [Read more...]