Archive for the ‘The Torn Tutu’ Category

A 25th Anniversary Tour for Wim Vandekeybus

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.

Read the rest of this article »

The Mesmerizing Underworld of Rocío Molina

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.

Read the rest of this article »

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

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Ballet Goes to Broadway, Again

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.

Read the rest of this article »

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

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Earplugs and Undergarments: Lyon Opera Ballet at BAM

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.

Read the rest of this article »

LeeSaar’s Dancing Tongues

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.

Read the rest of this article »

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

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.

Read the rest of this article »

A Modern Man: Israel Galvan in “La Curva”

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Dark Days: Jeanette Stoner and Dancers

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.

Read the rest of this article »