Archive for the ‘The Torn Tutu’ Category

Women as Forces of Nature in Balanchine’s Kammermusik No. 2

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

George Balanchine is famously credited with saying that “ballet is woman.” This idea is boldly apparent in his Kammermusik No. 2, which premiered on New York City Ballet in January 1978, and more recently was performed by the company as part of their 2014 winter season.

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A Modern Man: Israel Galvan in “La Curva”

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

In “La Curva” (The Curve, 2011), seen March 16 at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, Galván transforms flamenco dancing’s noble male image. The experience is like watching a painter create a cubist portrait. Except in this case what Galván presents is not a fractured face, but a full-blooded person, with his androgynous, grotesque, buffoonish, and madman characteristics, as well as his regal, virile side.

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Dark Days: Jeanette Stoner and Dancers

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Like many choreographers who have persevered, Stoner has bore witness to many dance movements: the high drama of Martha Graham, the abstract formalism of Alwin Nikolais, the anti-virtuosity of Yvonne Rainer, the minimalism of Lucinda Childs, the fusion dancing of Twyla Tharp, and the formalism of Balanchine and Cunningham. Stoner’s work incorporates aspects of each of these 20th century U.S. dance movements, but she isn’t a direct descendent of any them. Perhaps it’s because her work never entered the mainstream dance world. There is something to be said for being on the outside of the concert dance machine, which grinds many a choreographer up. In “Distant Past, Ancient Memories,” Stoner seems to be dancing through part of her history, with the wisdom of one who has made many dances, and with a need to choreograph with a broader brush.

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Formalism in U.S. Dance

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

We are living in the age of the male choreographer, again. Seventeenth and 18th century ballet masters were traditionally male and the acknowledged great names in ballet—Petipa, Fokine, Massine, Balanchine, Ashton, Tudor, MacMillan, Cranko, and now Ratmansky—are all men. Modern dance, on the hand, was until recently the domain of the female choreographer. (Think Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham.) Yet modern dance, which is now called contemporary dance, no longer boasts as many strong female choreographers as it did in its heyday (1910 to 1960). What happened to the predominance of powerful, highly visible female choreographers?

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Small Town Dance

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

I’ve been living in a small town in north central Spain since June. For someone who writes dance criticism and loves taking dance classes, this sounds like a near death situation. But I’ve embraced provincial life, at least European provincial life. Salamanca may be two hours from Madrid and it does not have a professional dance company, but it has Espacio de Danza, a studio just outside the city center—which is the site of the third oldest university in Europe (founded 1218).

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Dancing in the Dark with Bárbara Fritsche

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Developing a proficiency in a dance form has its perks, especially if you travel. Then a dance studio, in any foreign city or town, can become your temporary home. Inside the studio’s four walls, you’re no longer a tourist. It doesn’t matter if you understand the language spoken by the teacher. Dance is overwhelmingly taught by copying what is demonstrated. A good set of eyes and a willing smile are crucial.

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Salon Style Dance: Miro Magliore’s Chamber Ballet

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Small is beautiful. That has been Miro Magliore’s approach to dance making since he created the New Chamber Ballet in 2004. On September 6 and 7, at New York City Center’s Studio Five, Magliore presented five short ballets. His selection of a salon-size cast—five female dancers and two musicians—and his decision to annually present his two-night seasons in a bare bones studio are not just practical responses to the dire state of U.S. arts funding. They express his aesthetic vision. Magliore’s ballets cleave to modesty.

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Bob Fosse’s Lasting Legacy?

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

To many, Bob Fosse’s style, with its pelvic thrust, razzle-dazzle hands, and slumped over set of shoulders, is immediately recognizable. Fosse championed the vaudevillian delinquent, the burlesque maven, the professional huckster. He bucked the post World War II musical theater tradition of happy boys and girls and their dancing feet. Yet despite Fosse’s unquestionable influence on musical theater dance, his most important contribution may be his film work.

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The Hip-Hop Charleston

Friday, June 21st, 2013

“Shucks!” Clark grunted. “Do you good to step out. You don’t have to dance—just get out there on the floor and shake.”—Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)

Three years after F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this dialogue, he immortalized America’s obsession with free spirit-ness in his novela the The Great Gatsby. Though Fitzgerald made no specific mention of the ultimate free-spirited dance–The Charleston–it was this improvisational-infused trot that became synonymous with the “Roaring Twenties.”

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A Spotlit Standout: Camille A. Brown’s “Real Cool”

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

The Joyce Theatre program Working Women (Jan 30-Feb 3) offered an eclectic sampler of works by eight female choreographers. Like a four-course meal, the evening tendered various flavors of dance. The winning course turned out to be Camille A. Brown’s self-choreographed solo The Real Cool. Performed after intermission, this piece brilliantly combined the bitter, the sour, and the sweet.

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