the danceview times
writers on dancing
Ballet and dance reviews from New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.


 Volume 2, Number 4  January 26,  2004            An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Dance in America: Paul  Taylor Bolshoi Ballet's The Bright Stream In Memoriam: Nina Fichter Mindy Aloff's Letter from New York
James Sewell Ballet Washington Ballet's Balanchine Evening Jo Kreiter: Good Intentions NYCB: Double Trouble
Royal Danish Ballet's La Sylphide Black Explosion Yes Dance Is NYCB: An Evening's Debuts
Bournonville's Next Steps Subscribe to DanceView! Alvin Ailey in D.C.

Letter from New York

26 January 2004.

Copyright © 2004 by Mindy Aloff
published 26 January 2004

Last Wednesday, at the Museum of Television & Radio—which is celebrating Balanchine’s centenary birth year with programs that showcase the spectacular array of his televised works in the museum’s library—it was stunningly obvious that what made his dancers look different from any others during his lifetime was the way they phrased the choreography, and the way the guidelines for phrasing were built into that choreography, too. They danced as if they were speaking, with strong accents and half accents, and pauses, and energy rising (that is, with attack) or falling (that is, with cadences). Their dancing had the texture of witty conversation, and what they were dancing gave them something substantial to say. Inevitably, this physical commentary addressed the music. Regardless of how many people were on stage, the overarching engagement between dance and music in a Balanchine ballet lent even a solo the intimate give-and-take of a whispered exchange. The choreography had themes (subjects) and variations (predicates), and its hair-trigger velocities, continuously modulated like gears being shifted in a sports car, conveyed the visceral sense that, in every sentence, the dancing was, from initial cap to period, all verb.
read letter

read past Letters from New York


Yes Dance Is

by Ann Murphy
Copyright © 2004 by Ann Murphy
published 26 January 2004

Four hundred years ago a bunch of Puritans condemned dance as the work of the devil. Since then, Americans have not only worked dance back into their lives but made the US an international leader in the art. You would think that no one would still need to ask what dance is.

But apparently they do, because this coming weekend marks the first annual Dance Is festival at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley, with each of its three days defining dance through a particular category—Friday, dance is movement, Saturday, dance is story, and Sunday, dance is social change. Twenty-five different companies or performers are on the bill, and run the gamut from a high school student who began dancing three months ago on a dare, to veteran dancemakers with dozens of dances to their names.
read article

In Memoriam
Nina Fichter

by Paul Parish
Copyright © 2004 by Paul Parish
published 26 January 2004

Sunday of the Martin Luther King weekend supplied a fitting afternoon for the marathon memorial service—four and a half hours long—dedicated to Nina Fichter, star dancer-choreographer-co-director of San Francisco's Dance Brigade. It is the first holiday to enter the calendar as a result of 60's political idealism, that coalition of civil rights, feminist, socialist, anti-war, national-liberation causes that came to be called the Movement—to which Fichter devoted all her energies, fighting, driving her much-injured body all the way, with an awesome commitment to her vision. She was an early member of the important 70's feminist collective, the Wallflower Order, and she had a lot to do with the conflict that tore that group apart. With Krissy Keefer she co-founded its West Coast successor, the Dance Brigade.
read article

Acts of Ardor:
Two Dances of Paul Taylor

By Dale Brauner
copyright © 2004 by Dale Brauner
published 26 January 2004

Dance in America presents “Acts of Ardor: Two Dances by Paul Taylor,” on Wednesday, January 28 as part of Great Performances on PBS (check local listings) as its first performance presentation. This is a return byTaylor to Dance in America, which has broadcast some of his most celebrated works in Aureole, Esplanade, 3 Epitaphs, Arden Court, The Rite of Spring (The Rehearsal), Roses, Last Look, Speaking in Tongues, Company B, Funny Papers and A field of Grass.
read review

Replated from last week's midweek edition:

Royal Danish Ballet in D.C.

La Sylphide Restored

La Sylphide/Etudes
The Royal Danish Ballet
Opera House
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC
Saturday and Sunday, January 17-18, 2004

by Alexandra Tomalonis
copyright © 2004 by Alexandra  Tomalonis
published 21 January 2004

When the curtain rose Saturday afternoon on the Royal Danish Ballet’s new production of La Sylphide it rose on a miracle. After four days of a Napoli that, one tried to tell oneself, might be the best that could be expected after the many changes the company has undergone in the past decade, the minute Gudrun Bojesen extended her long, beautiful foot and began to dance, time stopped. What we saw last weekend was, with allowances for changes in cast and designs, what we saw 11-and-a-half years ago when the company last danced La Sylphide at the Kennedy Center. The musicality was there, the poetry was there, the drama, the pacing, the beautiful soft, clear, modest dancing.
read review

Bournonville's Next Steps

by Alexandra Tomalonis
copyright © 2004 by Alexandra  Tomalonis
published 21 January 2004

In June of 2005, the Royal Danish Ballet will celebrate Bournonville’s 200th birthday with a third Festival, at which it will present the surviving ballets. It will be a festive time, but also a sober one. This may be the last chance to make the case for Bournonville. There are no credible opportunities for another Festival for years to come. Will the Danish audience, and the Danish dancers, want to keep him around for another century?
read article

Other reviews of the RDB:

Napoli opening night

Napoli other casts





Bringing Back the Banned

The Bright Stream
Bolshoi Ballet
Palais Garnier
Paris, France
January 2004

By Alexander Meinertz
Copyright © 2003 Alexander Meinertz
published 26 January 2004

The new director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky, has performed the unlikely feat of bringing successfully back to life a Shostakovich ballet banned by Stalin and denigrated by no less a figure than Agrippina Vaganova. The Bright Stream was given its European premiere in Paris last week in connection with the ensemble's season at the Palais Garnier.
read review

Double Trouble

Double Feature
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
New York, NY
January 23, 2004

by Mary Cargill
copyright 2004 by Mary Cargill
published 26 January 2004

In 1999 Susan Stroman, currently the toast of Broadway, choreographed a minor bauble for the New York City Ballet called “Blossom Got Kissed”. It was an inconsequentially charming piece about a ballet dancer who learns to jive and finds romance, clearly told and enjoyable. As an homage to Balanchine, Stroman was asked to choreograph a full-length work, which might as well have been called “Blossom Got Mugged.”
read review

An Evening's Debuts

Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2/Harlequinade
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
New York, NY
January 20, 2004

by Mary Cargill
copyright 2004 by Mary Cargill
published 24 January 2004

Jennie Somogyi made her eagerly awaited debut as the lead ballerina in Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2; she has previously danced gloriously in the second lead. This ballet, so full of the spirit of Petipa, needs a phenomenally accomplished dancer, which of course Somogyi is, as well as an instinctive ballerina, who can make the steps sing her own song. Somogyi does have the rare ability to speak with her body, without imposing a false drama, and it was an extraordinary debut.

The opening cadenza, where the ballerina (who might as well be called Aurora) dances a fast and difficult solo, recalls the beautiful princess at her birthday party, and Somogyi did have the youthful grandeur and grace notes (if not always impeccably secure turns) to bring the role alive with all its youthful joy.
read review

The Washington Ballet Celebrates Balanchine

The Four Temperaments, Sonatine, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Washington Ballet
Eisenhower Theater
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
January 22-25, 2004
(January 22, 2004)

By Alexandra Tomalonis
Copyright 2004 by Alexandra Tomalonis
published 26 January 2004

The Washington Ballet has performed Balanchine works since it was born back in 1976; often in its early days, there was a Balanchine ballet on every program. So this all-Balanchine evening, programmed by Artistic Director Septime Webre to honor the great choreographer on his 100th birthday, is very much a part of the company’s tradition, not a one-time gesture. And the company did the ballets proud..
read review

Good Intentions

The Grim Arithmetic of Water
Jo Kreiter/Flyaway Productions
Cowell Theater
January 23

by Rita Felciano
Copyright ©2004 by Rita Felciano
published 26 January 2004

Jo Kreiter is fixated on steel. The fascination with metal has lead her to dance on scaffolds, fire escapes, industrial cranes and a variety of contraptions she had built for herself and her mostly female Flyaway Productions ensemble. The contrast between the fluidity of the human body and the hardness of the inflexible material creates a tension that may account for part of Kreiter’s ongoing partnering with metal. But from a practical point of view, it allows her to defy gravity—or at least create the illusion—with airborne choreography that often embodies a kind of yearning for a world that is more just than the one we live in.
read review

A  Vivid, Musical Talent

James Sewell Ballet
Joyce Theater
New York, NY
January 20, 2004

by Susan Reiter
copyright © 2004 by Susan Reiter
published 26 January 2004

The lasting impression I carried away from my initial look at James Sewell's choreography—his troupe's first New York appearance in 2001—was that it is refreshingly unaffected and musically astute. Having missed the company's one-performance stop in Brooklyn last spring, the James Sewell Ballet's first week-long local run was a welcome chance to further investigate what he has been up to since relocating to Minneapolis in 1993.

Sewell was a prominent member of Eliot Feld's company during the 1980s, particularly at the time Feld frequently turned to Steve Reich scores and began creating works that were more gymnastic and impudently playful. Sewell, an elfin, effervescent dancer with a natural and communicative stage presence who had studied at the School of American Ballet, was often featured in Feld's increasingly quirky romps.
read review

Where's the Soul?

Black Expressions
Jan. 23, 2004, Lincoln Theatre, Washington, DC
Mason/Rhynes Productions, Inc. and Lincoln Theatre
Choreography by: Jennifer Archibald, Christal Brown, Shani Collins, Sandra Holloway, Gesel Mason, Boris Willis

by Lisa Traiger
copyright © 2004 by Lisa Traiger
published 26 January 2004

I had a values clash Friday night. As I sat there in row Z of the Lincoln Theatre waiting for the programs (which didn't arrive until midway into the evening's second piece), waiting the show to begin (15 minutes late with more latecomers filtering in well after that), looking around at the gathering crowd (an insider's audience of friends and friends-of-friends), I silently congratulated the producers of this venture for drawing a youthful and well-heeled crowd downtown to a theater not known for its dance offerings on a frigid January night.
read review


Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site search Web search



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
Alison Garcia
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 © 2004 by DanceView
last updated on January 26, 2004 -->