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Last Touch First | Photo Robert Benschop Last Touch First | Photo Robert Benschop

REVIEW: Jiří Kylián and Michael Schumacher’s “Last Touch First” at the Joyce Theater

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…


Sylvie Guillem in "Bye" | Photo Bill Cooper Sylvie Guillem in "Bye" | Photo Bill Cooper

REVIEW: Sylvie Guillem’s “6000 Miles Away” at Lincoln Center

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.

VIDEO: Sidra Bell

The Creative Approach Season 3: Episode 4 | 5:17 Choreographer, dancer, teacher, and director Sidra Bell discusses her perspective on the artistry of dance and her creative approach to it. She also speaks about the advice she would give to her younger self. See our other Sidra Bell video (Intellect…


VIDEO: Sidra Bell

Intellect and Physicality Season 3: Episode 3 | 6:35 For Sidra Bell, all roads led to dance. But the path was anything but direct. From a journey that began at the age of eight at the Dance Theater of Harlem and included an unlikely, yet critical diversion at Yale University,…


Cedar Lake's 360 Installation | photo: Darrell Wood Cedar Lake's 360º Installation | photo: Darrell Wood

REVIEW: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Intensive Students Perform 360º Installation

Last night, students of the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet summer 2011 Intensive Program,  performed in an interactive installation piece entitled 360º at Cedar Lake’s homebase in NYC. Drew Jacoby and I joined the audience, circling the action rather than in rows of neat seats. In the current performance trend of audience…


REVIEW: Week Two Gotham Dance Festival

Tuesday night, Kate Weare Company took the Joyce stage in the continuation of Gotham Dance Festival. Weare showed two works: “Lean-to” a popular piece from 2009, and a world premiere of the mystical and lush “Garden,” Weare’s newest creation. After this, my first encounter with the company, I am smitten.

“Lean-to” is as on edge as it gets. The curtain rises to reveal a starkly white, sail-like structure by Kurt Perschke as a power trio (dancers Adrian Clark, Douglas Gillespie and the unforgettable Leslie Kraus) surely and slowly initiate an interaction which cannot be distinguished as battle or alliance.

REVIEW: Week One Gotham Dance Festival

This week, I’ve been spending my evenings at the Joyce Theater for the jam packed Gotham Dance Festival, compiled by Ken Maldonado of Gotham Arts Exchange. This summer, Gotham Dance Festival offers up ten choreographers, showing world premieres as well as past repertoire. After a few days of reflection and gathering various reviews of performances, my own reactions to Brian Brooks Moving Company and Monica Bill Barnes and Company are still resonating. I’m left chewing on two remaining themes: repetition and character environment.

Livestream, Donald Byrd at Guggenheim’s Works & Process

We recently did an interview in Seattle with Spectrum Dance Theater’s Artistic Director and choreographer Donald Byrd (coming in Season 2). He had a lot of interesting things to say (see excerpt video below the fold). Tonight his company is performing and he’s talking with Works & Process for their sold out show. Recently Works and Process has begun livestreaming their sold out shows online via Ustream. We were able to catch their last one with Pacific Northwest Ballet and enjoyed it. We hope they continue this!

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