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Great Moments in L.A. Dance in 2013

Gregory Maqoma in "Exit/Exist." photo: John Hogg

With strong flavors of Stravinsky, Balanchine, and Trisha Brown, 2013 was a satisfying year for iconic dance, and dance music, in Los Angeles. The centennial of Stravinsky’s game-changing “Rite of Spring” for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes delivered unto us both the Joffrey’s faithful reconstruction of the nervy Nijinsky choreography and, earlier in the year, conductor Gustav Dudamel’s first galloping ride conducting the piece with the L.A. Philharmonic. As well, impassioned performances of the standout Stravinsky-Balanchine collaboration “Agon” … [Read more...]

Alvin Ailey in Costa Mesa/ 2012 North American Tour

photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

[The Los Angeles Times originally ran this review.] Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, touring for the first time under new artistic director Robert Battle, delivered a heady, reverberating concoction of pieces -- including the company premiere of Paul Taylor’s Baroque pure-dance classic “Arden Court” (1981) and the California premiere of hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris’ “Home” (2011) -- on the first of three distinct repertory programs playing through Sunday at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts. A variety of movement … [Read more...]

My Lunch with a Billion-Dollar Tour Director

jamie king

[This article originally ran in the LA Times.] In a dark booth at the Polo Lounge, just down the street from his Beverly Hills home, tour director extraordinaire Jamie King struggles to recall the day he hung up his dance shoes for good. Though his management badly wants this interview to stay on the topic of his current feats as the director-writer of the Cirque du Soleil/Michael Jackson tribute world tour, "The Immortal" (Tuesday and Wednesday at the Honda Center and Friday through Jan. 29 at Staples Center), as well as his stint directing … [Read more...]

Bring it On!

Professional cheerleaders featured in the cast of "Bring it On"

[This piece first ran in the Los Angeles Times.] At the pre-show warm-up for "Bring It On: The Musical," performers in their 20s are stretching and assuming yoga postures, others are jumping rope or jogging softly in place. It's what you might expect from any cast of a musical. Then suddenly, downstage right, there's a complicated, unfamiliar moving shape that turns out to be a man flat on his back, doing fast, full push-ups into the air with a tiny young woman standing straight on his hands. A similar surprising amalgam of styles is being … [Read more...]

Alvin Ailey on 24-City Tour

TheHunt photo by Paul Kolnik

How to institutionalize the extraordinary? There is a lesson to be learned from the amazing success and vitality of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, now in its 53rd year. Their current tour is packed with choreography to inspire and dancers to full-on worship. I reviewed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the Seattle Times. The next day, I had the privilege to interview 5 dancers, and artistic director designate Robert Battle, for the the Sunday LA Times: 'The Hunt' is on for Alvin Ailey Dance Theater There is a lot of foot rubbing … [Read more...]

Bruno Beltrão’s Grupo de Rua in “H3″

H3 - 04  C SCUMECK

[First published on Seattle Dances.] I have been waiting all fall for the Seattle debut of Bruno Beltrão’s company, Grupo de Rua. From what I read, I expected to see dark, volcanic Brazilian street dancers performing hip-hop without the accompanying loud, rapping pulse -- to thus feel time stilled and movement writ large. Though hip hop started up here in the US, I anticipated seeing it more vividly and expressively from these guys. Tough, daring freezes and suicides seemed like they’d be the perfect vernacular for the cruelly stratified, … [Read more...]

Bruno Beltrão’s Grupo de Rua

Bruno Beltrao | Grupo de Rua’s H3

At On the Boards, Fri - Sun Jan 28 - 31, 2010 @ 8pm. This ghostly, washed-out photo of Grupo de Rua, the contemporary Brazilian troupe run by Bruno Beltrão that's performing at On the Boards this weekend, is actually a good indicator of the luminous cinematic quality of H3, a 50-minute dance work for nine men. (Check Seattle Dances soon for a full review of the show.) Also, check out the link below to watch their crazy beautiful backward run formations. It's another sellout for On the Boards, but there may still be seats left for Sunday … [Read more...]

2009: Five Best Moments in Dance


In Seattle and otherwise... 1) "Esplanade" at the UW Meany Hall World Dance series. The dance that I saw as a young child that hooked me forever. It looked a little off-balance with a full-size woman in the jumping-over-bodies role (Lila York, for whom it was created, told me once that it indicated Paul Taylor's belief that the meek shall inherit). (photo by Lois Greenfield of Paul Taylor Dance Company, taken from 2) Hannah Wiley and the UW Chamber Dance Company put on another fantastic program -- this one themed around social … [Read more...]

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