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Archives for 2011

Ave Atque Vale

Merce Cunningham Dance Company / BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn, NY / December 7-10, 2011 In addition to showing us wonders we'd never even dreamed of, Merce Cunningham (1919-2009), that inscrutable genius of modern dance, taught us a tough, valuable lesson: Dance is not forever. Its very evanescence increases its intensity at the moment of performance. It may register profoundly with the spectator but it inevitably disappears. Cunningham knew this and he made his plans. Members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company Photo: … [Read more...]

Veiled in Darkness

Angel Reapers, by Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry / Joyce Theater, NYC / November 29 - December 11, 2011 The oddest thing about Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry's Angel Reapers is that it has no plot. This despite the fact that Uhry is a widely respected American playwright, as his Pulitzer, Oscar, and Tony awards attest. Clarke herself, a founding member of the tremendously popular Pilobolus, is widely known for haunting dance-theater pieces, in which her vivid imagination and penchant for the perverse reveal the world's underside. A MacArthur … [Read more...]

By George!

New York City Ballet: The Nutcracker / David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / November 25 - December 31, 2010 God Is in the Details: George Balanchine, creator of the New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker, coaching the smallest of the toy soldiers at a dress rehearsal Courtesy of the New York City Ballet archives With its premiere in 1954, George Balanchine's version of The Nutcracker, choreographed for the New York City Ballet and set, of course, to Tchaikovsky's eloquent score, inaugurated a craze for the Christmastide ballet … [Read more...]

The Other Face of ABT

American Ballet Theatre / City Center, NYC / November 8-13, 2011 This season's gala-event costumes for women of a certain income emphasize cascading ruffles in weak-willed pastels or glowing jewel tones. The men continue to sport black-tie mufti with almost no rakish variation on the theme. Expense is evident, as is the eternal question of hoi polloi concerning the gowns with obviously crushable skirts, How does she sit down in it? Despite the War: American Ballet Theatre's Luciana Paris in Paul Taylor's Company B Photo: Gene … [Read more...]

Promises, promises

Duŝan Týnek Dance Theatre / Tribeca PAC, NYC / October 27-29; November 3-5, 2011 Duŝan Týnek Dance Theatre Photo: Julieta Cervantes Seeing the Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre, recently at Tribeca PAC, in the second of the two programs it offered, made me wonder why the standing of its marvelous choreographer hasn't graduated from "promising" to top-of-the-line. If he were working for a big institutionalized company like ABT or New York City Ballet, he might blow contenders like Brian Reeder and even Benjamin Millepied off the … [Read more...]

More So Than Ever

Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion / Danspace Project, NYC / November 3-5, 2011 Shadowplay: Jonathan Burrows (l.) and Matteo Fargion (r.) in their Both Sitting Duet Photo: Herman Sirgeloos When the presumably odd couple Jonathan Burrows (dancer and choreographer) and Matteo Fargion (musician and composer) played the Kitchen back in 2004 in their Both Sitting Duet I titled my review (lots of description, some analysis, intimations of enchantment) "Less Is More." Seven years later, they're back in New York for three performances at … [Read more...]

Starting Over

Morphoses / Joyce Theater, NYC / October 25-30, 2011 Remember Morphoses, the ambitious start-up company Christopher Wheeldon cavalierly abandoned after just three years in 2010, leaving the troupe's co-founder, Lourdes Lopez, to pick up the pieces? Last night, at the Joyce, it concluded the six-day run of its rebirth. If Bacchae, an hour-long piece by the Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti that constituted its sole offering, is any indication, we may have witnessed a second round of death throes. Scattershot: Frances Chiaverini in … [Read more...]

Tasting Menu

Fall for Dance / City Center, NYC / October 27 - November 6, 2011 The price of just about everything is escalating--food, college, shoes, diamonds, you name it. Yet one thing in New York has kept to its bargain rate. Tickets to the annual Fall for Dance festival at the newly refurbished City Center are still just $10 each. From October 27 through November 6 this year the Festival has offered two performances each of five different shows, each of them contrasting four soloists or groups of very different stylistic persuasions. Dance veterans … [Read more...]


Necessary Weather / Baryshnikov Art Center: Jerome Robbins Theater, NYC / October 27-29, 2011 Light--silent and impalpable--is almost essential to theatrical dance. Jennifer Tipton has been its master for over four decades, creating atmospheric marvels for drama and opera as well. In 1994 she dared to ask herself, What if light were not just a significant accompanying element but a star player in the show? The answer became Necessary Weather, in which she collaborated with two distinguished postmodern dancers, Dana Reitz and Sara Rudner, for … [Read more...]

After You’re Gone

The Forsythe Company / BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn, NY / October 26 - 29, 2011 I've always shared George Balanchine's idea that a dance should speak for itself. William Forsythe certainly doesn't. At BAM last night The Forsythe Company, based in Germany, opened a four-day run of his enigmatically titled work I don't believe in outer space, created in 2008. Vigorously applauded by a largely pre-middle age audience, it would have remained as impenetrable to me as its title, had I not read the reviews and previews from its earlier … [Read more...]

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