Mutant remakes street dance

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On the occasion of Jonah Weiner's in-depth profile in The New Yorker on Brooklyn's most eccentric (and mesmerizing) street dancer, Storyboard P, I offer a review I wrote on his BEAT Brooklyn outing. Here are the first couple paragraphs:Almost everything that the otherworldly Brooklyn street dancer Storyboard P does defies expectations, especially if you're expecting straight-up … [Read more...]

Theatre of the Unjust

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If crimes against humanity were theatre, what form would they take? That is the question African dance-theatre artists Panaibra Canda and Boyze Cekwana raise in "The Inkomati (dis)cord," at New York Live Arts as part of the Crossing the Line festival earlier this fall, and the question I consider in my review of the production for the Australian dance magazine Fjord Review. Here is a chunk … [Read more...]

Ballet Bug

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In art as in life, there is no such thing as being faithful enough. Fidelity is an absolute. It cannot be measured in numbers of steps or scenes preserved any more than a romantic betrayal can be calibrated by the quantity of lovers taken on the side, though the numbers do tell some kind of story. Rather, faithfulness to a text, whether choreographic or literary, is a question of spirit. We want a … [Read more...]

Purgatory at the New York City Ballet

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  About a week ago, New York City Ballet announced its annual promotions. For those dancers moved up from the corps, it is impossible not to add worry to the elation.     The problem this year is not what it sometimes is--that the dancers have yet to distinguish themselves. This crop--Lauren King, Ashley Laracey, Megan LeCrone, Lauren Lovette, Georgina Pazcoguin, Justin Peck, Brittany … [Read more...]

Uptown, Downtown

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  Dance in January is dizzying and divided even by New York standards.     Uptown, New York City Ballet gets back to mixed programmes, almost always with a blast of Balanchine in the first week or two. This year, it's two weeks of Balanchine's Tchaikovsky, which may prove too much vastness of feeling mixed up with shimmery imperial pomp at a go.    But every ballet lover should at least try … [Read more...]

Love and the Law

I didn't find out about the Sandy Hook shootings until Friday at 3 pm, when I entered my class at FIT to find my students listening to President Obama's brief address on YouTube. I let them listen, then turned it off.  Later I wondered why I had been in such a rush (not that they minded, it turned out; they'd probably been "processing", as educators like to say about the un-process-able, … [Read more...]

“Anna Karenina” dancing in a theater near you

I have misgivings about director Joe Wright's treatment of the novel in his new film--how he understands Tolstoy and Anna. But the way the filmmaker animates the drama, with the crucial help of Belgian-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, is absolutely exhilaratingly bold. For anyone wondering how pervasive choreography can be in a serious feature film, this movie is not to be … [Read more...]

Valentino red, Balanchine light and dark

Valentino's costumes for the fall gala (puffy and ridiculous mainly, making the beautiful women dancers look bulbous and encased and their fine, pointe-clad feet resemble hooves) may have generated the buzz for New York City Ballet this season, but the real excitement was, thankfully, the dances: three programs of pure Balanchine-Stravinsky, the last two of which continue until Sunday. … [Read more...]

Time, space, and outer space

With the Whitney Biennial's embrace of dance for the first time this spring, with commissions to choreographers Sarah Michelson and Michael Clark, and MoMA following suit next month with some sweet day, a curated series of postmodern premieres, it's fitting that fall began with works that also merged the disciplines. Here's a chunk of my review for the Financial Times of Jason Somma … [Read more...]

From Russia with love: 1950s Bollywood

August's week-long, free, outdoor Downtown Dance Festival has closed every year for the last five with the Indo-American Arts Council's increasingly popular, adventurously curated Erasing Borders show, which combines classical Indian dance with an Indian hybrid-- this year, mid-century Bollywood by way of the Russian provinces. Here's a bit from my Financial Times review of a month ago: The … [Read more...]