the danceview times
writers on dancing


 Volume 1, Number 8  November 17, 2003            An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Dancing in Puddles

Howard Gilman Opera House
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn, New York
November 13, 2003

By Meital Waibsnaider
Copyright ©2003 by Meital Waibsnaider

Like all good storms, Rain began in stillness and calm. Sturdy ropes hung from the ceiling in a crescent shape that spanned the circumference of the stage, but remained open along the front, stopping short of closing in a full circle. Careful not to disturb the ropes, which swung impressively when provoked, Rosas, the Brussels-based ten-member troupe consisting of three men and seven women, quietly entered and engulfed the space.

Within the first moments, Keersmaeker planted the seeds for the seventy-minute piece. I think in this one evening we may have witnessed every combination of ten dancers imaginable. But watching Rain unfold was more than a thirst-quenching treat.
read review

Letter from New York

Mindy Aloff's Letter from New York will return in two weeks. If you've missed an earlier Letter, you can catch up:

past Letters from New York

Troupe Movements

4th Annual DanceEuropa
Tel-Aviv, Israel
October 9 - November 2, 2003

by Gail Golod
copyright © 2003 by Gail Golod

November 10, 2003

Last Sunday marked the close of the fourth annual DancEuropa in Tel-Aviv. The festival featured 14 performances by five visiting European companies—from France, Austria, Holland, and Finland. In the attractive bilingual (Hebrew-English) souvenir program, the head of The European Commission Delegation in Israel states that: “DancEuropa is an initiative of the Suzanne Dellal Center and the representatives of the European Union in Israel to expose Israeli audiences to the richness and diversity of contemporary European dance…as part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen cultural ties between Israel and the European Union.” Additional sponsors were the Tel-Aviv Opera, the municipality of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
read review


La Bayadère
Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
London, U.K.
21 October 2003

La Bayadère
Mariinsky Ballet
Detroit Opera House
Detroit, Michigan
2 November 2003

By Leigh Witchel
copyright © 2003, Leigh Witchel

It’s been a busy year for La Bayadère. The Royal Ballet opened its season in London with Natalia Makarova’s Soviet influenced version, but with the final act restored. Londoners got to compare it with the Mariinsky’s (called the Kirov on tour for familiarity’s sake) historically reconstructed version earlier this year (see the print edition of Dance View, Autumn ’03 for a report by Jane Simpson). New York has already seen this restored production, but on the Mariinsky’s current tour to other parts of the United States, including the Detroit Opera house, they are bringing the previous Soviet version of the ballet that omits the destruction of the temple.

Even with her restoration of the final act, Makarova’s production resembles the Soviet version of the ballet; it’s what she knew and brought with her to the west, and Mariinsky ballerinas could be seen in both versions. The Royal Ballet imported Daria Pavlenko as Nikiya for few performances in October, and at the Michigan Opera House she was scheduled to perform on the same night as scheduled in London in what was a remarkable act of bilocation, wishful thinking, or the usual cavalier attitude of the Mariinsky management towards reporting casting. A performance allotted to Pavlenko ended up being danced by Diana Vishneva, with Igor Zelensky also listed as her partner. Of course, it wasn’t Igor Zelensky dancing; that would have been too simple and unconfusing. Andrian Fadeyev danced Solor unannounced and uncredited.
read review

[republished from last week's Midweek Update]

Staging Martha Graham's Celebration

An Interview with Yuriko

By Mindy Aloff
Copyright © 2003 by Mindy Aloff

Among Barbara Morgan’s very greatest images of the Martha Graham Dance Company are the handful of her ensemble, rocketing in synch, from Celebration (given its première in 1934, photographed sometime between 1936 and 1941). Graham, herself, is nowhere to be seen; she never performed in the dance. Some of those who did, though, have recorded their experiences, which might lead one to think that the dance consisted of jumping from beginning to end. (Various estimates put the number of jumps in it at around 150.) “It was sensational because we jumped the whole time,” May O’Donnell told critic Tobi Tobias in 1981. In Robert Tracy’s Goddess: Martha Graham’s Dancers Remember, Pearl Lang recalls that “the technique is very difficult. They used to teach the difficult jumps from Celebration in class.” Jane Dudley, also interviewed by Tracy, remembered: “When I was asked to join Martha’s company, I had to learn Martha’s dance Celebration, which nearly killed me. The fact is, enthusiastic as I was, and with as well-endowed a body [as] I had, I wasn’t prepared for the stamina a dancer needed for Celebration.” An especially vivid account is Bonnie Bird’s, in her memoir Bird’s Eye View: Dancing with Martha Graham and on Broadway:

“In 1933 Martha choreographed Celebration, a marvelously energetic dance suggestive of atoms and molecules rebounding to and fro, being propelled in space. We ran backward with tiny steps on half-toe, knees straight, similar to bourrées, which created a feeling of vibratory momentum. I jumped in the center of the group until my legs ached. Others split off like frecrackers spewing out in different directions. The dance was impersonal, yet exciting, and we all loved it. The fact that we danced Celebration with impassive faces was puzzling to people in the audience. Martha had expunged smiling long before this.”
read article

Underdeveloped Pursuit of Happiness

"Pursuit of Happiness—Evening of Dance, Words, and Live Music"
Nancy Havlik Dance Performance Group
Jack Guidone Theater
Joy of Motion Dance Center
Washington, DC
November 15, 2003

Tehreema Mitha
copyright © 2003 Tehreema Mitha

The evening started with a “Monologue” on the cello played by Jodi Beder, a principal cellist of Princeton Symphony Orchestra. The piece was created by composer Minako Tanahashi Tokuyama and we were told that it blended her oriental background and western sensibilities and was based on the extreme emotional pitches of kabuki theater. To my mind this was not the piece to start with. It had far too many short bits, in which you barely got into the mood, and which is not what one associates with the oriental way of preparing an audience. A little passage would end just when you started to really listen, and then the cellist would stop and turn the page.
read review


November 21, 2003


Riedel Dance Theater
Joyce SoHo
New York, NY
November 20, 2003

by Mary Cargill
copyright © 2003 by Mary  Cargill

Jonathan Riedel’s The Unsightful Nanny, based on Edward Gorey’s work and performed as part of last years Limón season at the Joyce, was one of the most unusual and mordantly funny works seen in sometime. So the news that Riedel had formed a company formed mainly from Limón dancers to present his own works, including a new Gorey piece, was exciting news. His company (making its Joyce debut) is performing at the Joyce Soho from November 20th through the 23rd.
read review

Dancing that Breathes

Suzanne Farrell Ballet
[Presented by Cal Performances]
Zellerbach Hall
Berkely, California
November 14, 2003

By Rita Felciano
copyright © 2003 by Rita Felcian

Not having lived through the Golden Age of New York City Ballet, the moans and groans about paradise lost have always evoked more sympathy than understanding. Maybe we do live in an Iron Age, but if you have only seen Violette and Maria and Patty and Melissa and Merrill dance on tape on a very small screen, it’s difficult to assess what exactly you have missed. But now the Golden Girl of the New York City Ballet, Suzanne Farrell, has opened the door for a glimpse into what may have been, after all, a garden of earthly delights.

Despite some technical insecurities—a balance missed here, a flubbed entry there— and repertoire that could have been more rewarding, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet company presented extraordinary evidence of what can be done with vision, discipline and support. Considering the fact, that the ensemble is but a bare four years old, works together for part of the year only, and employs dancers from all over, the company’s cohesion, the quality of their dancing and their understanding of style is all the more remarkable. Farrell was a great dancer, she just might become a great artistic director. The first American woman to do so.
read review

Tricky Terrain

Moon Water
Cloud Gate Theater
Zellerbach Hall,
, California
November 1, 2003

By Ann Murphy
Copyright ©2003 by Ann Murphy

Two weeks ago, the 30-year-old Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Tawain presented a 90 minute movement composition called Moon Water, (1998) by company director Lin Hwai-min, set to Bach's solo cello work, and based on an otherworldly vocabulary of coiling, squatting, undulating movement. In style it crosses Butoh and Graham, tai chi and Chinese folk dance, ballet and Chi Kung, and had about it the earnest, often beautiful experimentalism that choreographers from China have been producing for a few decades. It was terrain the 20 supple performers crossed with ghostly agility and an extreme mastery of the flesh that was reminiscent of the control achieved by Chinese acrobats.
read review


Roseanne Spradlin
The Kitchen
New York, NY
November 8, 2003

By Susan Reiter
copyright © 2003 by Susan Reiter

For those who might squirm a bit when a choreographic moment puts a dancer's crotch more or less in our face (and perhaps wonder whether the dancer feels awkward in that position), Roseann Spradlin's Under/world tells us to get over it, quickly. Just about every inch of her three dancers' anatomy is in our face.
read review

Kung Fu Kitsch

Shaolin Warriors
[presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society]
Lisner Auditorium
Washington, D.C.
November 15, 2003

By Lisa Traiger
copyright © 2003 by Lisa Traiger

Cultural continuity may be why the Shaolin monks say they tour, sharing their spectacularly fearless, breathe catching kung fu techniques with Western audiences. The show they put on—and it definitely is a show—is two hours of tumbling tricks and hand-to-hand and armed weapons combat. Whips, axes, broadswords, spears, daggers, and even fans provide thrills and chills. Ever see a man mince bok choy on his stomach? How about a threesome who crack metal bars and wooden sticks in two on their foreheads? Or a man cracking two-handed double whips at the speed of sound? How about the guy who reclines on a bed of swords, a bed of nails above him and a cement block atop that. Then comes the sledgehammer down to crack that block in two. Talk about cringe inducing, spine tingling kinesthesia. All together now, let out a deep breathe.
read review

A Tasteless Beauty

Sleeping Beauty
Saba Dance Theatre
(presented by French Institute Alliance Francaise)
Florence Gould Hall
New York, NY
November 15, 2003

By Susan Reiter
copyright © 2003 by Susan Reiter

What are all these children making of all this? I found myself wondering as this stupefyingly tasteless and amateurish vanity project unfolded in front of what was largely a family audience. The Alliance Francaise's dance offerings are sporadic, and in the past have featured some respected and adventurous contemporary French troupes. What led them to present the Saba Dance Theatre—named for its artistic director/choreographer/costume designer, the single-named (like Cher, with whom he shares a penchant for extravagant, tasteless get-ups) Saba, is a mystery.
read review





Sister Sites:
Ballet Alert! Online
Ballet Talk
Ballet Blogs

Back Issues
About Us
Contact Us


This weeks' articles


Mindy  Aloff's Letter from New York

The Balanchine Celebration
New York City Ballet:
A Veteran and a Raw Recruit
by Mindy Aloff

Heart and Soul
by Mary Cargill

Kid Stuff
Cas Public's If You Go Down To the Woods Today
by Susan Reiter

San Francisco Ballet:
New Wheeldon (Rush)
by Rita Felciano

New Tomasson (7 For Eight)
by Paul Parish

Possokhov's New Firebird for OBT
by Rita Felciano

Moscow Festival Ballet and Scott Wells
by Paul Parish

Hamburg Ballet's Nijinsky:
Nijinsky—Lost in the Chaos
by Clare Croft

NijinskyMadness and Metaphor
by Alexandra Tomalonis

Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes
by George Jackson

Batsheva: Breaking Down Walls
by Lisa Traiger

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
by Clare Croft

Choreographers Showcase
by Tehreema Mitha

Zoltan Nagy
by George Jackson






Mindy Aloff
Dale Brauner
Mary Cargill
Clare Croft
Nancy Dalva
Rita Felciano
Lynn Garafola
Marc Haegeman
George Jackson
Gia Kourlas
Sali Ann Kriegsman
Jean Battey Lewis
Alexander Meinertz
Tehreema Mitha
Gay Morris
Ann Murphy
Paul Parish
Susan Reiter
Jane Simpson
Alexandra Tomalonis(Editor)
Lisa Traiger
Meital Waibsnaider

Leigh Witchel


The Autumn DanceView is out:

New York City Ballet's Spring 2003 season reviewed by Gia Kourlas

An interview with the Kirov Ballet's Daria Pavlenko by Marc Haegeman

Reviews of San Francisco Ballet (by Rita Felciano) and Paris Opera Ballet (by Carol Pardo)

The ballet tradition at the Metropolitan Opera (by Elaine Machleder)

Reports from London (Jane Simpson) and the Bay Area (Rita Felciano).

DanceView is available by subscription ONLY. Don't miss it. It's a good read.  Black and white, 48 pages, no ads. Subscribe today!

DanceView is published quarterly (January, April, July and October) in Washington, D.C. Address all correspondence to:

P.O. Box 34435
Washington, D.C. 20043


Copyright ©2003 by DanceView
last updated on November 17, 2003 -->