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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.

New York City Ballet, "Polyphonia" / Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon / Photo: © Paul Kolnik New York City Ballet / photo © Paul Kolnik

REVIEW: Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, Program 5

The last curtain of the 2011 Fall For Dance Festival opened on four live musicians and a three platform stage suggesting only one thing: tap. Leading Zoe Ellliot and Kyle Wilder in an upbeat, non-stop sound fest, Maurice Chestnut showcases his exuberance for the form. Immediately it is evident that Chestnut’s tapping is not meant to be secondary, but rather fully integrated into the band as another musician. It is so successful in this instance that I wonder why every band is not considering hiring a tapper to stand beside the drummer. The mood of “Floating” is very much like a casual jam session amongst good friends…

Royal Ballet Flanders, "The Return of Ulysses" / Choreographer: Christian Spuck / Photo: © Johan Persson Royal Ballet Flanders, "The Return of Ulysses" / Choreographer: Christian Spuck / Photo: © Johan Persson

REVIEW: Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, Program 4

International perspective keeps us healthy. Last night, in Program 4 of Fall For Dance at New York City Center, all four companies travelled from abroad to perform. The color, energy, and philosophies they brought along with them imbued the Festival with a new flair. If you wanted something different, this was the night to come.

Chunky Move in "Connected" / Photo © Jeff Busby Chunky Move in "Connected" / Photo © Jeff Busby

REVIEW: Chunky Move at The Joyce Theater

Chunky Move’s “Connected,” which opened this evening at the Joyce Theater, is technically about five security guards and a stolen work of art.

But wait, it takes a second to get there.

What we see when we enter the Joyce house is an industrial and yet finely structured sculpture by kinetic sculpture artist Reuben Margolin. Margolin’s creation fills the stage. Its foundation is a wheel, mounted to a metal base, connected to hundreds of fine translucent strings that are threaded through a grid near to the ceiling and finally cascade making a perfect square of lines in the upstage right corner. It is immediately intriguing, even without Chunky’s movers.

The Australian Ballet, 'Gemini' The Australian Ballet, "Gemini" / Choreographer: Glen Tetley / Photo: Lynette Wills & Robert Curran, ©Branco Gaica

REVIEW: Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center: Program 3

When the Australian Ballet first took the stage in banana yellow unitards, I was thrown off by the choice. However, when Gemini is put in the context of 1973, the year Glen Tetley first created it for the company, it starts to make a whole lot more sense. The piece is a mix of classical and contemporary ballet movement, set to the highly dramatic Symphony No.3 from Hans Werner Henze. There is no question of the athleticism of the two men and two women on stage. They move with force and confidence, flaunting stamina and flexibility. The choreography hovers between intimately human at times and distant and inanimate in the next second. There are many disconnected thoughts; I feel as if in a conversation full of non sequiters.