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Life Lessons

Mark Morris Dance Group

Mark Morris Dance Group / James and Martha Duffy Performance Space, Mark Morris Dance Center, Brooklyn, NY / April 3-14, 2013 Jenn and Spencer, being given its world premiere on the opening night of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s run at the company’s studio/theater in Brooklyn, refers to two of the company’s splendid dancers, Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez.  The duet named for and performed by them illustrates the magic a pair of dancers may be capable of and an extraordinary exploration of the duet form. Mark Morris Dance Group’s Jenn … [Read more...]

Folk Tales

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Paul Taylor Dance Company / David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / March 5 – 24, 2013 Paul Taylor, having boxed in the stage of Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater so it won’t look outlandishly large for a modern-dance group—it was built, first and foremost, for the New York City Ballet—has added two new works to the repertory of his company, which is in residence through March 24.  As usual when Taylor comes on stage at the end of the program to take a slightly abashed bow—he has never forgotten the boy he once was—his gala clothes … [Read more...]

Ballet’s Sweetheart

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Pacific Northwest Ballet / City Center, NYC / February 13-16, 2013 The Pacific Northwest Ballet, whose home is in Seattle, has just made a rare visit to New York.  It offered two programs, one an acid-test rep of three top-of-the-line Balanchine classics; the other, Jean-Christophe Maillot’s take on Romeo and Juliet, to that Prokofiev score  ballet fans hear far too often.  Evolved by Francia Russell and her husband, Kent Stowell, in the course of the 1970s, the company is one of several groups whose roots lie in Balanchine territory.  Peter … [Read more...]

Youth’s Sweet Dream

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New York City Ballet:  Justin Peck’s new work, Paz de la Jolla / David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / January  31, February 2, 6, and 8, 2013 Justin Peck, choreographer of Paz de la Jolla for New York City Ballet Photo:  Paul Kolnik Justin Peck, a 25-year-old member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet, seems to have lots of useful ideas and moods in his unstoppably busy brain.  His latest work for the company is Paz de la Jolla (the peacefulness of La Jolla) and set to a similarly evocative score along the same lines by … [Read more...]

Bliss!

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New York City Ballet / David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / January 15 – February 24, 2013 The New York City Ballet’s two-week festival (January 15-27, 2013) of Balanchine’s choreography to music by Tschaikovsky came with a guarantee:  no duds, no Eurotrash or other Terpsichorean fads, no feeble imitations of the greats.  How wonderful it was to head for Lincoln Center night after night, knowing one was about to encounter dance that was sublime, to music by an ideal partner.  George Balanchine (1904 - 1983) Photo:  Tanaquil … [Read more...]

Tschaikovsky, a Balanchine Muse

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New York City Ballet / David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / January 15 – February 24, 2013 The New York City Ballet opened its six-week Winter Season at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater with George Balanchine’s Serenade, created in 1935 and set to Tschaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.  It was the first ballet the choreographer made in America.  (In the two weeks immediately following, the company’s repertory is devoted—with a single exception, a new work by Peter Martins—to this extensive and often felicitous pairing of … [Read more...]

On Soledad Barrio

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Soledad Barrio, one of the greatest dancers of our time, in any genre—hers is flamenco—is giving class.  The venue is a modest studio over a ground-floor church on West 86th Street.  The dancing arena must boast a very resilient floor in addition to its three chandeliers, the only hint of “décor” in sight. Soledad Barrio, onstage Instead of one of the long, gaudy ruffled gowns Barrio wears for her existence onstage—which has ignited the imagination of admirers worldwide—she wears a black t-shirt and black trousers flared at the ankles.  Her … [Read more...]

Diaghilev Smiles

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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo / Joyce Theater, NYC / December 18, 2012 - January 5, 2013 The trouble with the Trocks—Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the men-only troupe that parodies classical ballet—is that their dancing gets better and better.  None of the dancers is qualified for a place in the higher echelons of the profession, but their technique continues to advance.  Placement, the backbone of ballet, is given reverent attention, although the performers clearly need to have had more rigorous training when they were … [Read more...]

Ailey News

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater / City Center, NYC / November 28 – December 30, 2012 I went to an Ailey matinee and the space was filled with children, onstage and off.  The dance-trained kids were inserted into Revelations where the choreography had no need of them, yet they seemed beautifully schooled, spines marvelously erect yet flexible, without a glimmer of ersatz showbiz in them, and, like the New York City Ballet’s wunderkinder, utterly at home being ogled by a huge audience—from classmates and loved ones to hordes of strangers.  … [Read more...]

Glimpses #12: Tabula Rasa

My four grandchildren having aged out of childhood, I invited a dear friend’s marvelous granddaughter—let’s call her Sarah—to my annual viewing of Balanchine’s Nutcracker, as rendered, 58 years after its creation, by the first company to dance it, the New York City Ballet.  There’s little more wonderful than being an old hand at something and sharing it with a person for whom it’s entirely new—and enticing.  Sarah is one of those marvelous creatures on whom, as they say, nothing is lost. Sarah’s mother had kindly briefed this bright and … [Read more...]

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