Enter your email to receive notifications of new posts.

Join 95 other subscribers

Search

Blog

Faces from Gardenia | Photo Luk Moonsaert Faces from Gardenia | Photo Luk Moonsaert

Montclair State University’s Peak Performances

Many loyal dance-goers often focus their attention on performances within Manhattan and Brooklyn. But Montclair State University’s unique series Peak Performances gives us more than one reason to consider a short bus or train ride to Jersey.

This past weekend, I traveled to the Alexander Kasser Theater to see the US Premiere of Gardenia, a collaboration between Alain Platel, the artistic director of Les Ballets C de la B, theater director Frank van Laecke–both influenced by renowned Belgian playwright Vanessa Van Durme. Gardenia is more abstract theater piece than dance. But a close look reveals that movement is certainly at the core of this tale of transgender performers and their closing cabaret club. Platel’s trained eye for space, gesture and physicality brings a richness to a story that would be quite difficult to convey only in dialogue.

Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin's "Hora" | Photo Gadi Dagon Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin's "Hora" | Photo Gadi Dagon

REVIEW: Batsheva Dance Company’s “Hora” at BAM

It is tempting to be led headfirst into the implied meanings of a work entitled Hora.

But from the instant lights rise on an arresting neon green backdrop, I am thrown from any image of ancient circle dances I had conjured from the title. The voluminous space of the Howard Gilman Opera House at BAM is cut low by the dense color and a wooden bench spanning the back wall. The Batsheva Dance Company seems transported to a space altogther other-worldly. With deadpan but deadly focused faces, the dancers slowly walk forward in a straight line. When the army of eleven retreats again to the bench, short spurts of solos begin. We indulge in very “gaga” postures, walks, quirks and balances that are signature of the company. But before long they are all dancing in a flurry of unrelated chaos.

We cannot possibly watch them all. Just when the action seems overwhelming, choreographer Ohad Naharin gathers it in stillness.

Sidra Bell Dance New York in "STELLA" Sidra Bell Dance New York in "STELLA"

PREVIEW: Sidra Bell Dance New York at Baruch Performing Arts Center

Sidra Bell Dance New York is thick in preparation for the opening of their New York Season next week at Baruch Performing Arts Center. The season’s works together are entitled, Duel, consisting of two evening length works to be presented for two consecutive weeks between March 22 and April 1.
When I visited the company’s New York Live Arts rehearsal, there was a clear collaborative atmosphere as the dancers fiddled with costumes and discussed them with Bell and costume designer Erin Schultz. Collaboration plays a role in Bell’s work from start to finish with both dancers and designers. “I enjoy creating worlds onstage. The lighting, the costuming, all play in from the beginning of the process,” Bell explained.

Wendy Whelan in Labyrinth Within directed by Pontus Lidberg Wendy Whelan in Labyrinth Within directed by Pontus Lidberg

Pontus Lidberg’s Labyrinth Within at Baryshnikov Arts Center

Swedish choreographer and dancer Pontus Lindberg’s Labyrinth Within is a series of pas de deux on film that explores the lines between reality and perception. The majority of the 28 minute film, with a score created by David Lang (and recorded in 2009 by The Symphony Orchestra of Sweden’s Norrlands Operan) takes place in Giovanni Bucchieri and Wendy Whelan’s apartment. The two main characters are in the later years of a now stale marriage.

Camille Brown in "Evolution of A Secured Feminine" | Photo Credit Christopher Duggan Camille Brown in "Evolution of A Secured Feminine" | Photo Credit Christopher Duggan

REVIEW: Camille A. Brown and Dancers at The Joyce Theater

When you spend the evening with Camille A. Brown, you leave feeling that you are one of her closest friends.

The effect boggles me. Brown’s compositions seduce you into their center, as if you stumbled into the middle of a complex family history or an intimate conversation you were not fully prepared for. Brown is an honest mover, who carries in her dancing body her own journey, which means she bears all. She hides no idiosyncrasies, but rather delves into her uniqueness to find its source. She cultivates in her dancers truer versions of themselves so that even as they do her movement, they are set apart. Placed in an environment of socially conscious choreography that often allows performers freedom of theatricality, Brown’s combination of concept and execution is striking.

David Dorfman's "Prophets of Funk" | Photo Credit Christopher Duggan David Dorfman's "Prophets of Funk" | Photo Credit Christopher Duggan

REVIEW: David Dorfman’s “Prophets of Funk” at the Joyce Theater

When “Prophets of Funk” opens at the Joyce Theater, Dorfman himself is the torch-bearer: the first mover we see. At first we are distracted by glitzy bell bottoms, afro-wigs and fringed vests, swept up in familiar sequences of ponies, grapevines, and snappy step-touch footwork. As if at a party suspended in time, we tap our foot to the familiar tunes and smile at the performers dancing together. It’s not all laymen’s steps– moments of line dancing are fluidly integrated with smooth turns, drops, and balances à la modern dance. Dorfman’s choreography calls for technique, theatricality, rhythm and charm. Video footage of the band is projected on the back screen and Sly himself is present (played by Raja Kelly). He has everyone in the palm of his hand.

Blueprint Summer Intensive| Graphic Courtesy Peridance Capezio Center Blueprint Summer Intensive| Graphic Courtesy Peridance Capezio Center

BLUEPRINT Summer Intensive at Peridance Capezio Center

Peridance Capezio Center in NYC has some exciting news for young dancers looking for a change of pace in the world of Summer Dance Intensives.

BLUEPRINT, a brand-new, two-week contemporary ballet intensive program in New York City, is set to take place August 20-September 1 2012. Auditions for this exciting opportunity have already begun and will continue internationally throughout the winter and spring. In collaboration with dance icon and founder of DancePulp Drew Jacoby, Peridance has brought together an irresistible faculty for professional dance hopefuls ages 16-22.

Photo Charlie Winter Photo Charlie Winter

The Playground at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center

What dancer can turn down a five dollar class?

$5.00 seems like an incredible deal for an hour and a half of dance technique — but that’s not all Greg Dolbashian (The DASH Ensemble) and Loni Landon (Loni Landon Projects) offered at The Playground, their three week workshop series hosted at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center. From November 28 to December 16, Dolbashian and Landon recruited some of the hottest up-and-coming contemporary dance artists (one each day) to teach in their individual style, and to explore repertory from their current projects. This means that dancers were not only students at The Playground, but in fact a professional working canvas for new pieces in the beginning phases.

"Ascension" Photo Credit Tom Caravaglia "Ascension" Photo Credit Tom Caravaglia

Dancers As Action Heroes

When audiences enter the Park Avenue Armory for STREB: Kiss The Air, they will see a stadium of hardware and obstacles, complete with a pool, zip lines, a rotating 20-foot ladder, and a scaffold tower with three diving platforms. This is the STREB Extreme Action Company’s playground, where dancers fall, crawl, climb, and fly.