Archive for the ‘The Torn Tutu’ Category

The Solo Dance Act: Nederlands Dance Theater 2

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Perhaps we are returning to the era of dance as a solo act. That’s what I was thinking while watching the 16-member Nederlands Dans Theater 2. In three of the four works presented at the Joyce Theater on February 7, the ensemble dances devolved into a series of solos. This trend occurred for no apparent reason. Insiders know, however, that it’s a lot easier to make solos than group choreography

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Justin Peck’s New Graffiti Ballet

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Peck’s Heatscape video promo doesn’t express bohemian culture as much as it reveals the corporatization of culture, marketed to young people in spaces owned by real estate titans. Let’s hope Peck’s actual ballet doesn’t fumble so drastically into contested urban spaces, where art and big business are meeting. Let’s hope Heatscape is just a hot dance.

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A 25th Anniversary Tour for Wim Vandekeybus

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

In the 1980s, Punk Rock, Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” and Mike Tyson’s boxing championships made the ear-splitting, the nocturnal, and the hard-hitting de rigueur. Contemporary dance followed, becoming faster, more brazen and muscular. When the Belgian Wim Vandekeybus arrived on the scene with his first work, “What the Body Does Not Remember” (1987), New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff began her review with these six slamming words: “Tough, brutal, playful, ironic and terrific.” And so it was with great anticipation that I attended, at Madrid’s Teatros de Canal on November 23, the reprisal of the dance, which is making a two-year world tour in celebration of its 25th anniversary.

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The Mesmerizing Underworld of Rocío Molina

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Splash. From atop a cantering horse, the avant-garde flamenco artist Rocío Molina plunges into a dark river. This opening film sequence that precedes the live dance work Bosque Ardora (Ardor in the Woods) was seen November 7 at Teatros del Canal, the host of the 2014 Madrid International Dance Festival. Molina’s descent into a dark river is symbolic of her descent into the underworld of the psyche. There, the thirty-year-old choreographer embodies female archetypes: the goddess (Artemis of the hunt), the vixen (in which she wears a fox mask), and the modern day victim (who is physically punished by high-heel stilettos). Molina never settles too long into one vision, and thus never becomes trapped by female, cultural stereotypes. Molina outfoxes preconceptions: she is a petite, brown-haired beauty; she performs like a chameleon giantess.

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The Beauty of Nature (Trained and Untrained): A Schumacher Ballet Film

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Helene Davis, of Helene Davis PR, was good enough to send this short film, featuring Ashley Laracey and Harrison Coll in an excerpt from Dear and Blackbirds by Troy Schumacher. The excerpt appears to be shot in Colorado, or thereabouts… Ah, mountains, prairie and dark cumulous clouds. The statuesque dancers’ serious yet delicate interchanges mysteriously harmonize with the monumental landscape.

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Ballet Goes to Broadway, Again

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

The blogosphere is alive with news about the current forays of New York City ballet principal dancers Robert Fairchild, Megan Fairchild, and Tyler Peck into Broadway.

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Dance as a Luxury Product: the Post 9/11 Environment

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

The Slovak National Dance Congress 2014 recently asked me to speak about the state of New York City dance. Since I’ve been living in New York City on and off since 1979, I felt up to the task. In the following slides (which have been converted into a movie), I tease out the changes that have occurred for New York City concert dancers following 9/11. What I found most striking (and dismaying) in my research was that the U.S. capital of Terpsichore is increasingly recognizing dancers and dance organizations not as the obvious—as artists and art groups—but as brands for luxury consumption.

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Earplugs and Undergarments: Lyon Opera Ballet at BAM

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

When BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House ushers hand out earplugs to audience members before the start of a show, it’s a warning that what’s to come will not be a soothing experience. Such was the case with ni fleurs, ni ford-mustang (neither flowers, nor Ford Mustang), choreographed by fashion designer and conceptual artist Christian Rizzo and performed by seven members of the Lyon Opera Ballet (May 7-9). The hour-long work began with a recording of Gerome Nox’s industrial sound scape, which felt like being inside of a very old and very large washing machine on spin cycle. Ear plugs are wonderful things.

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LeeSaar’s Dancing Tongues

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Toward the end of LeeSaar’s Princess Crocodile, seven bare legged female dancers line up, open their red-painted mouths, and— like it’s the most mundane thing in the world—wildly wag their tongues at the audience. This culminating act lasts a good minute. It felt oddly fitting, and it became the theatrical highlight of the newest work by the husband-wife team Saar Harari and Lee Sher, seen April 10 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Howard Gilman Performance Space.

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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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