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Ailey News

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...]

Going Strong

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company / Florence Gould Hall, NYC / November 14-18, 2012 I hadn’t written about—or, for that matter, even seen—Lar Lubovitch’s choreography for a good many years.  Attempting to remedy that, I trekked over to the East Side—in Manhattan, hardly the hotbed of dancing—to Florence Gould Hall, where his popular troupe was opening a five-day run.  To my shame, I discovered that since I’d last seen his work, Lubovitch had been expanding his range way beyond the insistent fluid grace and communal rapport—“join hands and dance” … [Read more...]


Valda Setterfield Photo:  Andrew Eccles “At what point in the day does Valda become ‘Valda?’” asked my dance writing colleague as we shared a cab to the theater for a program we were both slated to review.  “Is it,” she continued, “when she puts on her aquamarine earrings?”  We were coming from a party enhanced by many guests from the dance world.  The fabulous blue-green earrings were sternly rectangular and amazingly large.  You looked at them and they lured your imagination to deep-sea depths promising all sorts of watery magic. The … [Read more...]


American Ballet Theatre / City Center, NYC / October 16-20, 2012 American Ballet Theatre, financially afflicted like many a dance company in these stringent days, gave a Fall “season” consisting of just one “week”—October 16-20.  Did the brevity of the run ensure the excellence of the repertory?   Presented at the City Center, it consisted of seven ballets or stand-alone excerpts, none of which was filler or “novelty.”   Most were safe (and worthy) favorites—Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, for instance; Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading; Twyla … [Read more...]

Making It New

New York City Ballet:  Premiere of Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit / David H. Koch Theater. NYC / October 5, 2012 Old-time followers of the New York City Ballet used to yearn for “another Balanchine”; today’s fans are more realistic.  They count themselves lucky to discover “another Christopher Wheeldon”—an astute practitioner of the classical craft even if he doesn’t regularly fire the imagination.  At 25, Justin Peck, a member of City Ballet’s corps, stands out in the crowd of aspirants to that status and has already achieved far more.  … [Read more...]

Preview from Seattle

Works & Process:  Pacific Northwest Ballet / Guggenheim Museum, NYC / September 9 & 10, 2012 The dance programs in the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series, each a 90-minute presentation that shunts between dancing and talking, are viewed, live, two or three times, in the museum’s tiny theater, and telecast simultaneously from sea to shining sea.  Most often, these lecture-dems serve as preludes to a run in New York; in harsher words the company that’s featured is shilling for its upcoming shows.  The tough practicality of … [Read more...]

Glimpses #11: Jean Renoir

I have too many things to do; in New York—my home town, thank the fates—the situation is self-perpetuating if, as so often occurs, your interest lies in the arts.  Yesterday I allowed myself to fit in—in broad daylight!—not just one but two movies, being shown back to back in our town’s inexhaustible revival house Film Forum.  Both were created by Jean Renoir (my second favorite, after Ozu), the guy who doesn’t kid himself about human nature yet is one of the most humane movie makers who ever lived.  First up was La Règle du jeu (The Rules of … [Read more...]

Baryshnikov’s Choice

In Paris / Gerald W. Lynch Theater, NYC / August 1-5, 2012 In Paris:  It’s the quietest production imaginable, built—by Dmitry Krymov—through words (in Russian, French, and English), grainy black and white projected images (most often of words), haunting song, and a flying rig.   It dramatizes a short story by the Russian writer Ivan Bunin.  It sold out for five days in New York, at the intimate Gerald W. Lynch Theater, and is about to embark on an extended tour. It tells the story of an aging exiled White Russian army general living a … [Read more...]

Glimpses #10: “Bayadère,” the movie

Just when I thought I needed to go to France to see the Paris Opera Ballet in a worthy repertory beyond Giselle, the invaluable Emerging Pictures screened the company’s production of La Bayadère, in Rudolf Nureyev’s final version of the 1877 ballet by Marius Petipa.  (New Yorkers are more familiar with the Natalia Makarova treatment presented by American Ballet Theatre.)  The dancing, led by Aurélie Dupont, Josua Hoffalt, and Ludmila Pagliero—and a female corps de ballet that constitutes a star in itself—illustrated a notion of classical … [Read more...]

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