Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

Fall for Dance, Indoors and Out

September 28, 2013

It’s hard to give focus to ensemble work.  City Center’s annual Fall for Dance series generally showcases newer work, but In the first two programs—one outdoors, one in—an older work showed us how it’s done. Indoors, it was the duets that focused our attention.

On Wednesday, September 25, in the first indoor program (repeated on the 26th), the duets—ballet and tango—were book-ended by two companies presenting very different modern-dance ensemble works—one, ballet-inflected, to ragtime; the other, old-fashioned, literal-minded romanticism.

Boys Playing Music_Luca Della Robbia_FlorenceLuca Della Robbia, Boys Playing Music

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Fashion Trumps Dance: NYC Ballet Fall Gala

September 22, 2013

There were two choreographers represented at New York City Ballet’s Fall Gala Thursday night: Justin Peck and George Balanchine. The rest was all smoke and mirrors—and fashion.

The intermissionless, hour-and-three-quarters program consisted of three premieres, by Peck, Benjamin Millepied and Angelin Preljocaj, followed by the last two sections of Balanchine’s Western Symphony, which premiered in 1954 and still has more to offer than the Preljocaj or Millepied. Only one of the premieres, the Preljocaj, will be seen again this season. Would that it were the Peck instead!l

Pas-de-QuatrePas-de-Quatre: Carlotta Grisi, Marie Taglioni, Lucile Grahn, Fanny Cerito

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Ai Weiwei, Stasiland and the Persistence of the Police State

September 6, 2012

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the story of a world-famous artist who provoked the Chinese police state and, so far, seems to be getting away with it—if you don’t count being slugged by a Sichuan policeman in 2009 and almost dying of a subdural hematoma, being arrested in 2011 and held for 81 days and, now, being forbidden to leave the country and liable for a fine of almost $2 million for alleged tax evasion. His provocation: leading an effort to document and publicize the deaths of more than 5,000 schoolchildren, buried or crushed when their poorly constructed schools collapsed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. And, on top of that, first demanding an investigation of the Sichuan police slugging and then suing. Plus photographing, filming and tweeting everything that happened to him along the way.

We see him, strong and confident, at his huge Beijing studio / residence, overseeing the production of his work, organizing the investigation of the student deaths. We see heartbreaking photographs of fields of small backpacks, dirty, torn open, their contents spilling out—all that’s left of the children who wore them to school that day. Read on

NYCB Opening-Night Gala

December 14, 2008

Deep into “Nutcracker” month, I’m looking back at the New York City Ballet opening-night gala, which was held on Tuesday night, November 25 in what used to be the New York State Theater but which, as of opening night, has been renamed the David H. Koch Theater. More on that later.

First, the good news: although it was indeed a gala evening, it was still possible to get a 4th-ring seat for $15, provided you spent $20 to join the 4th Ring Society, which entitles you to $15 seats throughout the winter and spring seasons (the only exception, I think, is the retirement performance of a famous and well-loved dancer, which  guarantees a sold-out house—e.g., in the last two years, Peter Boal, Nikolai Hubbe and Damien Woetzel). Read on…

NYC Fall for Dance II

September 28, 2008

The second Fall for Dance program I saw, last Thursday, prompted reflections on the differences between modern dance and ballet, and why, over the years, I’ve increasingly gravitated toward the latter. 

The ballet on the bill was The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Pithoprakta, “Action by Probabilities”, choreographed by Balanchine in 1968 for Farrell (his last great muse) and Arthur Mitchell. Set to spiky electronic music by Iannis Xenakis, the ballet had a short life—after Farrell left the company the following year, it was dropped from the repertory.  Read on

Fall for Dance in NYC

September 20, 2008

The Fall for Dance Festival at City Center in NYC is a grab-bag of 28 companies in 6 programs over 10 nights. Everybody’s in it, from ABT to The Lombard Twins, and, at $10 a seat, it’s always sold out. 

The audience is mostly young—sometimes too young. Thursday night, the Pichet Klunchun Dance Company was making a stunning entrance: Read on…