foot in mouth: February 2008 Archives

Okay, I admit it, I have mixed feelings about the two dreamscape premieres: there are moments when Taylor achieves an impressive surreality and other times when the dance devolves into a series of discrete shards. But I do think he's experimenting with new ways to put a dance together--impressive for anyone, but especially someone who's been at this business for more than 50 years. And the New York City Center season offers 17 other dances as well.

I don't know a choreographer who catches the emotional tone of the music he's chosen-- without reflection, without you feeling the choices, so it seems even more inevitable than with Balanchine or Morris. (I'd have to write a bunch of lists to be sure about that, but I feel sure about it, at least.) As a friend of mine once said, "This is what ballet would be without the affectations." Taylor's works are beautifully, solidly put together and often complex in their shadings under the dominant color. The cliche about him is that he works in Manichean opposites: all dark or all sunny. What then to do with "Promethean Fire"? While there ARE very dark pieces, melancholy runs under even the joyous ones (for example, "Aureole").

Here are several dances on the top of my list (and I haven't seen everything, if you're wondering about certain obvious omissions): "Arden Court," "Aureole," "Cloven Kingdom," "Musical Offering," "Black Tuesday," "Esplanade," and "Promethean Fire." (Taylor loves Baroque composers, and I love what he does with them.) I've also heard about "Diggity" (with the Alex Katz cut-out dogs) for years, and am eager to see it. (Actually--I just remembered!--I DID see it: probably the year it premiered, when I was 14, at Zellerbach in Berkeley in 1978. I remember Caroline Adams doing an attitude to the back, facing the wings, that came from the deepest, darkest part of her spine. But I don't think it was in "Diggity." I do remember the dogs and I think I remember people hopping over them--the humans galumphing and the dogs staying perfectly still.)

If I could only go to a few performances, I guess I'd choose from among these dates: Friday February 29; Saturday March 1, evening or matinee; Wednesday March 5; Thursday March 6; Wednesday March 12; Thursday March 13; Saturday March 15 matinee or night; Sunday March 16.

Or you could go to everything Michael Trusnovec is in! Here's a profile I wrote on him for Newsday. (Check out the slide show, on the box down to the left of the story.) Trusnovec's a deer! (Gong) And he'll be hard to miss: big roles in "Musical Offering," "Black Tuesday," "Promethean Fire," "Counterswarm" and both premieres. He's also in "Arden Court" and "Esplanade." I can't remember if he's in "Cloven Kingdom" this year.

The season continues through March 16.

Here is Paul Taylor himself on why he makes dances. Touching--a bit wrenching, in fact, in its plainspoken way.

February 29, 2008 10:52 PM | | Comments (1)

This version of the ballet, by Russian choreographer Nikolai Boyarchikov to the Prokofiev score, inspired all sorts of thoughts that had no place in a short preview.

Was wondering whether the Russians have a greater comfort with symbolism, with showing us the inner workings of the mind or the outer workings of fate--larger or smaller than the social. It made me think, on the good side, of Balanchine's dark angel in "Serenade" and seductive dancer Death in "La Valse" and, on the bad, of the psychologism of Boris Eifman.

The Russians think of ballet as a spirtuo-aesthetic realm, art and spirit always twined, so poetry necessarily means plumbing the depths or climbing to Heaven--or, in Boyarchikov's case, both at once. Beautiful, striking choreography, I thought.

In this here featurette, I discuss the leads at Tilles, Robert Gabdullin and Yaroslava Araptanova. In the DVD I saw of a recent live show, they were very appealing. Not sure if they'll be R and J in New Jersey.

The company, which had a long history as the Perm Ballet before it became the Tchaikovsky Ballet and Orchestra, is also touring California and Connecticut in the next several weeks, I think. Sorry, no link to help out with that.

February 28, 2008 5:03 PM | | Comments (2)

Juliette Mapp breaks Foot contributor Eva Yaa Asantewaa's heart again--in a good way this time. Eva writes:

Juliette Mapp's "Anna, Ikea and I"--the kinetic-aural memoir of her development in dance--is huge. Simply huge. And beautiful. And arguably the most assured, definitive presentation--and certainly the most emotionally affecting, as I see it--in this season's round of contemporary dance. Premiered last night, it concludes tomorrow evening, Saturday, at Danspace Project, and you should make every effort to get there (even in a snowstorm).

For Eva's full review, go here.

From Apollinaire: One disappointment is the shortened runs at Danspace (in the gorgeous St. Mark's Church in the East Village). There used to be an occasional Sunday performance. And it made a difference. Recently, it's been strictly Thursday through Saturday. Critics et. al. often have three shows in a row they have to go to for story purposes. And for everyone else, the run is too short for word of mouth to have a chance. As I won't get to see this show (hehe), I really hope Mapp gets to have an encore week of performances.

The recent encore trend in downtown dance has been a smart development. Perhaps Danspace could extend its spring season into July, where they could have encores to coincide with the Lincoln Center Festival. In fact, they could have their OWN festival--perhaps a best of compilation in conjunction with PS 122, DTW, Joyce SoHo and Dance New Amsterdam. If the past few years are any measure, this festival will trump the uptown one!! Specifically for Danspace, if the Church worship schedule has put Wednesday and Sunday off limits, it could do what BAM often does: begin with a Tuesday performance, then run Thursday through Saturday.

Back to GO. For those of you who live in Long Island here's another recommendation: the Dutch troupe ISH, mixing extreme sports with goofy clowning.

February 22, 2008 11:42 AM | | Comments (0)

Our very own Eva Yaa Asantewaa says it great in this Times feature by Felicia Lee:

His message is never under the surface; he's never been shy about saying it's spiritual. That's what I think makes Ron's work so special: people look at it and get it. He always picks the juiciest music, and his dancers are just fantastic.

At the Joyce through Sunday. Check it out.

February 13, 2008 3:37 PM | | Comments (0)

She's a version of Nureyev. Or something like. Or would be in another era.

Anyway, my essayette for New York magazine on peripatetic Kirov/ABT star Diana Vishneva, who's having a real season here in New York this year.

And, here, my review for Newsday of Christopher Wheeldon's final dance as resident choreographer for New York City Ballet, "Rococo Variaitions," and Nikolaj Hubbe's moving farewell. (An oddly muted review: I must have been trying [too] hard not to sound soppy and weepy, plus stuff two endings into 450 words. Will miss Wheeldon's opportunity to make ballets with a sizable corps, like "Evenfall" or "Carousel." And will miss Hubbe. A lot. Who will fill his shoes as the Poet in "La Somnambula," for example? Who, who?)

February 11, 2008 5:09 PM | | Comments (0)

...The Jaurena family of tangoistas: with Raul leading the band (he just won a Latin Grammy for his tango tunes--long overdue), his daughter Carolina dancing, and his wife, Marga, singing.

I go to lots of tango shows in the city--and I've never heard music as rich and various as this. Here's my featurette for Newsday on the family.

February 7, 2008 11:41 PM | | Comments (0)

Here's my feature for Newsday on the lovely pomo choreographer Trisha Brown. The focus is on nature in her life and work. (Newsday has become very Long Island-focused, and Brown has a cottage in the woods on the island, so it was a natural direction to take.) She's one of those interview subjects you want to kiss afterwards, because she keeps handing you these great quotes. In her case, I could feel her working to make her language delicious. Hope you enjoy.

And here's an interview from last week with Brown I found on WNYC's Sound Check.

And here's the esteemed Claudia La Rocco's article in the Sunday Times on Brown's graceful retirement.

Did I mention the occasion for the Brownomania? The company's show at the Joyce Theater in Manhattan this week.

Okay, see you at the end of the week.

February 3, 2008 10:32 PM | | Comments (0)

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