the danceview times
Volume 2, Number 5 February 2, 2004 An online supplement to DanceView magazine
Letter from New York
2 February 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by
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The Show Goes On
Variations/Scotch Symphony/Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2
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.
Bare Bones Bournonville
The Principals and Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet
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.
Dancers of Character
Rainbow Round My Shoulder,
and The Winter In Lisbon
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.
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.
reprinted from last week's midweek edition
Fabulous Dancers, Mediocre New Works
Night Creatures, Juba and
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.
Big Time Dance Kicks In
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.
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).
A Very Personal Vision
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
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.
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.
© 2004 by DanceView