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 Volume 2, Number 5  February 2,  2004            An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Letter from New York

2 February 2004.

Copyright © 2004 by Mindy Aloff
published 26 January 2004

Computer problems have delayed this week's Letter from New York. The Letter will resume next week.

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The Show Goes On

Donizetti Variations/Scotch Symphony/Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
New York, NY
January 31, 2004

by Mary Cargill
copyright 2004 by Mary Cargill
published 2 February 2004

It seems as if the programs for this season’s Balanchine Festival should come with a medical update. This week yet more injuries and illnesses resulted in an unexpected guest, Caroline Cavallo, from the Royal Danish Ballet, who danced the injured Jennie Somogyi’s Swan Lakes and the flu-bound Miranda Weese’s Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 on very short notice. Cavallo had danced both roles (Peter Martins’ Swan Lake was made for the Danish company) and her invitation was a more farsighted choice that the “shove an unprepared corps girl on” scenario we too often see.
read review

Bare Bones Bournonville

The Principals and Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet
Prudential Hall
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Newark, New Jersey
January 29, 2004

by Nancy Dalva
copyright 2004 by Nancy Dalva
published 2 February 2004

Denmark has long been dispatching chamber troupes as dancing ambassadors. Peter Bo Bendixen is the artistic director of the company that came to Newark. For the most part, they presented excerpts from the full length ballets of nineteenth century Danish master August Bournonville–pas de trois, pas de deux, and divertissements—in no particular order, on a bare stage, and without sets. Thus, the Bournonville is merely of academic interest: what the steps are, how the dancers do them, and the like; or merely of insider interest: how X looks substituting for Y, how B looks compared to C, how D is being featured instead of E, and so forth.
read review

Dancers of Character

Bounty Verses, Rainbow Round My Shoulder, and The Winter In Lisbon
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Presented by Washington Performing Arts Society
Opera House
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, D.C.
January 27, 2004

by Tehreema Mitha
copyright © 2004 by Tehreema Mitha
published 2 February 2004

The second program Alvin Ailey Dance Theater presented this week at The Kennedy Center was well chosen. It gave the audience works from three different choreographers that showcased the best of the Ailey dancers talents' while presenting three different moods and approaches.

Bounty Verses was a Washington premiere, choreographed for The Ailey Company by former AAADT member Dwight Rhoden. With thirteen dancers on stage the energy was pulsating. While we are told that this dance “addresses the non-stop pace and complexity of modern life,” no story line was apparent, but certainly the way that the steps and movements are co-joined is complexity in itself. The choreography was fast-paced, joints tightly fitted into each other, the classical sometimes inseparable from the modern movements, the extensions flowing into jazz hip movements. Likewise, the music was a mosaic of classical pieces mixed with jazz and rock.
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reprinted from last week's midweek edition

Fabulous Dancers, Mediocre New Works

Night Creatures, Juba and Heart Song
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Presented by Washington Performing Arts Society
Opera House
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, D.C.
January 27, 2004

Clare Croft
copyright © 2004 by Clare Croft
published 28 January 2004

Why can’t anyone make a good piece on this company? In the last few years, only Ron Brown has choreographed a work (Grace) equal to the Ailey dancers’ abilities. The company’s opening night at the Kennedy Center, which featured Washington premieres of Robert Battle’s Juba and Alonzo King’s Heart Song both created in 2003, proved that the trend of mediocre choreography for fabulous dancers continues.
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Big Time Dance Kicks In

Limón Company
Cowell Theater
San Francisco Ballet Opening Gala
War Memorial Opera House
Dance Theatre of Harlem

U.C. Berkeley
San Francisco/Berkeley, California
January 2004

by Paul Parish
Copyright ©2004 by Paul Parish
published 2  February 2004

After a long hiatus, big-time dance kicked back in this week in the Bay Area. Dance Theater of Harlem opened a week's worth of performances on the U.C. campus in Berkeley;, San Francisco Ballet opened its winter season at the Opera House with a gala that spilled over into City Hall across the street; and the Limón Company danced nobly, to a very appreciative audience, in a one-night stand at the Cowell Theater, and set a standard of dance intelligence nobody else met all week.

Nothing else all week, except Concerto Barocco (of which more below) matched the dignity, passion, formal beauty, and rhythmic acuity of Limón 's The Unsung, which I had never seen before and found completely thrilling. The ballet is a paean in honor of the great warrior chiefs Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Metacomet, Tecumseh, Red Eagle, Black Hawk, Osceola, and Pontiac, danced in silence by six men who have each a variation interrupted by appearances of the corps, (I recognized many of the shapes Michael Smuin used in his Song for Dead Warriors, which of course he must have taken from Limón).
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A Very Personal Vision

Joyce Theater
New York, NY
January 27 & January 31

by Susan Reiter
copyright © 2004 by Susan Reiter

One enters a very specific world when viewing the choreography of Jacqulyn Buglisi and Donlin Foreman, who as artistic directors contribute equally to the repertory of the ten-year-old Buglisi/Foreman Dance. It is a world that is passionately committed to the full-bodied, emotionally propelled technique and esthetic of Martha Graham, in whose company both were principal dancers for many years. It is marked by what could be considered "old-fashioned" values within today's dance scene—frequent use of nineteenth-century music (often performed live), dances inspired by literary sources and humanistic concerns. This kind of open-hearted, deeply expressive work is certainly not trendy, but the company happily and proudly inhabits its own realm, set apart from whatever constitutes the cutting-edge of the moment.
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Dresden Modern

Palucca School Dresden
Bancroft Studio
UC Berkeley
January 28, 2004

by Rita Felciano
Copyright ©2004 by Rita Felciano

On a Bay Area stop over during their California tour, the eight members of the graduating class of the seventy-eight year old Palucca School of Dresden brought a program that both intrigued and disappointed.

Gret Palucca (1902-1993), an early student of Mary Wigman’s, was known for a light and mirthful performing style and for being a strong proponent of dance as pure movement. She was a strong technician—her jumps were legendary--and also a survivor. Her school made it through the Nazi and the Soviet eras.

These dancers were excellently trained; their fluidity and sense of physical abandon belying the rigorous training that makes possible the appearance of natural ease. Large scale, with clean attacks and an appetite for space, they also danced delicately and communicated a nuanced expressiveness whether in a comic, dramatic or lyrical mode.
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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).

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