Fresh. Unprocessed. Dance.
In honor of the new year, DancePulp and Classtivity are partnering to giveaway The Classtivity Passport to one loyal DancePulp follower!
The Classtivity Passport is a 30-day, 10-class discovery pass to try some of the best classes at 20 different venues in NYC. This means that those new year’s resolutions you have to take more class are about to get a little easier to conquer. And Classtivity covers all types of classes on the passport, making it easy for you to add something completely fresh to your dance and fitness repertoire. You can try Martial Arts, or pole dancing. You could try a Bollywood style fitness class. Then in the same day you could head to the Gallim Dance Studios for dance or yoga. It’s all on the same card. And if you win, it’s going to be free.
So: Here’s how you enter our drawing.
We want to hear about one specific memory you have from a class you took this year.
Maybe you had an AHA! moment when a dance teacher used perfect imagery to help you balance better. Maybe you were in a zumba class and you realized your life calling. Maybe during pottery you worked out your five-year plan. Or maybe it wasn’t a formal class, but you tried something out-of-the-ordinary and smiled the rest of the day because of it.
Dance like any language is alive and morphing. We continue to add ideas and flair; to create new dialects altogether. Even so, we seem to embody many nuances of those who came first.
Here are three iconic dancers and one choreographer who have set the stage for much of what you see today. The links below will show each of their distinctive influences, threading from one era into the next. So when you find yourself in that blissful place, trying on a dance that fits just so, perhaps you’ll think of those who sewed the seams.
Dancers struggle to make their New York rents.
They also struggle to make their $18.00 fee for dance class, and often skip class because they can’t afford it.
These two conditions combined to create quite the conundrum for Dance New Amsterdam, one dance studio in Manhattan committed to keeping prices low for dancers, but accumulating massive rent debt because of it. If, as suggested by local government, dance studios take a “more entrepreneurial” approach then what follows are higher class prices, lower teacher payments, higher studio costs, higher ticket prices and ultimately loss of the original goal: to train and nurture artists. For sustainability, a studio requires a combination of revenue from the services they offer and strong fiscal support from the community. Even an organization that seems to be thriving may be in danger of losing its home…
Outsiders of the dance world often marvel at the discipline, commitment and sheer tenacity of those trying to be professionals in the business.
Dancers however, never think twice about what it takes to make it. Raised on the mantra “no pain, no gain,” they often thrive under high pressure and high expectations. To them, all this effort is common sense. If you really want it, you are singularly-focused on the pursuit of a career in dance. If you lack the passion, you quit early. It is simple.
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.
In 2008, American Ballet Theater star, Ángel Corella , stepped beyond the role of dancer and added Artistic Director to his resume. Now four years later, Barcelona Ballet (formerly Corella Ballet) will gain Corella’s full-time devotion when he retires from his principal role at ABT at the end of this season.
In its second visit to New York City Center, the newly renamed company looked to merge the worlds of classical ballet and traditional Spanish dance in the world premiere of Pálpito (Spanish for “hunch”). A lengthy program note tells us of “a main character who is trying to free himself from the strings that have bound him to his former role of a dancer,” naturally played by Corella who will say goodbye to American Ballet Theatre this June. But before the ballet begins, I can’t help but to worry how the dramatically written synopsis will unfurl onstage.
In the world of film, slow motion is a no-brainer for building tension. Where slowing footage with a mouse click is simple, real people performing slow motion rarely reads as realistic and is difficult to sustain. These considerations do not strike fear but rather interest for choreographers Jiří Kylián and Michael Shumacher. In their 2008 collaboration, Last Touch First, they tackle slow motion as a tool for heightened experience and they push it to the limit. Last Touch First is a strikingly self-aware work. It acknowledges that its unique effect is only realized in the medium of live dance. When I first met the piece at the Joyce last week, I was wary of a boredom factor. When the lights went out on it, I noticed that this factor never arose.
Set in a dusky Victorian sitting room, Last Touch First is as much about ornate visual design as movement concepts. Two women are seated in the parlor, away from each other. One is reading, one staring ahead. Two men converse on a seat near the window. Another woman is standing, preparing a dinner table. The scene opens right at the moment that a third male comes through the front door to greet them all. It takes a full minute for his first step. I marvel as each character’s face changes as if in a frame-by-frame. I switch my focus to the standing woman pulling the tablecloth closer to her. As I fixate on her hands, I expect a flinch that is the giveaway of her effort but her measured progression is unflawed. Meanwhile, I have missed the two gentlemen now passing cards in the windowsill and now, the woman in the corner has picked up a wine bottle and glass from the side table. Even in slow motion, things can slip by. Kylian and Schumacher are training me not only to be patient, but perceptive. They have put me in such suspense that I am keenly aware of my own pulse.
Sylvie Guillem presents something of a conundrum for dance criticism. Typically, it’s possible to separate the dancer from the dance — to distinguish the merits of the choreography itself, from how the dancer executes it and brings it to life.
The 47-year-old Guillem has performed so many roles and styles over her long career that this would seem to be an easy task. And yet, watching her inhabit tailor-made works in “6000 Miles Away,” it was hard to imagine anyone else performing them — for she is one of those rare artists whose instrument alone expands the boundaries of what dance can express.
In the program recently staged by The Joyce at Lincoln Center, Sylvie’s instrument was in the hands of William Forsythe and Mats Ek, from whom the ballerina commissioned two original works to flank an excerpt from Jiří Kylián’s explosive “27’52”.”
For both Forsythe and Ek, classical ballet provides as much a foundation as a subject for artistic commentary. That is about where the similarities between the two choreographers end, however. Whereas Forsythe’s steely “Rearray” puts Guillem’s exceptional technique under a microscope, Ek gives it a back seat in “Bye” — a work that, best it can, portrays Sylvie as a normal human being.
A projected wall of leaves ripples in the wind on stage and I can already sense the visual mastery at work in zoe | juniper’s New York Premiere of A Crack in Everything at New York Live Arts. The house lights dim and we are welcomed to a peculiar new realm, where dancers in patches of gold perform behind a giant glass wall on the front of the stage. Zoe Scofield’s powerful movement vocabulary owns the stage behind the protective layer in front of us. It’s an interesting new angle to see the fourth wall constructed physically. As the show continues, it becomes increasingly clear that the audience’s perspective will remain in constant flux and rarely visit the comfort zone.
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.