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


 Volume 3, Number 34  September 19, 2005     The weekly online supplement to DanceView magazine

In Brief

Bebe Miller
Dance Place 25th Anniversary
Bosma Dance
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Moving On

“In company”, “L’Après-midi d’un Faune”, “El uno y medio”, “4:Freeze-Frame”
David Hughes Dance Company
Linbury Studio Theatre at Royal Opera House
London, England
September 15 & 16, 2005

by John Percival
copyright ©2005 by John Percival

David Hughes has been around as a dancer for more than twenty years. How well his newly formed little company will endure, we must wait and see; likewise how he will cope as a choreographer—a trade he is now practising for the first time. He owes his career to a remarkable woman, Nadine Senior, a teacher in Leeds, the Yorkshire city where he grew up.  She set out to give all pupils at Harehills School there experience of dance, and Hughes was one of a group who were so inspired that they went on to form their own Images Dance Company. Thereafter he joined several other companies including London Contemporary and Rambert and those of Janet Smith and Siobhan Davies, plus many guest engagements and teaching assignments.

An important development was creating a one-man dance show (toured nationally) for which he commissioned new solos for himself from four established choreographers—Robert Cohan, Christopher Bruce, Siobhan Davies and Wayne McGregor—with whom he had previously worked. Earlier this year he put together a second one-man show, performed it around Scotland, and has now recruited three other dancers to join him in this new David Hughes Dance Company, launched at (and with help from) Edinburgh Dance Base as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The new members comprise two women with experience as diverse as his own (Kally Lloyd-Jones and Rachel Morrow—the latter named as assistant director) and a young man, Alan Lambie, not long graduated.
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Alternative Spaces

"ignored in my heaven"
Glen Rumsey Dance Project

Location One
New York, NY
September 16, 2005

Bach Trilogy
New Chamber Ballet
City Center Studios
New York, NY
September 17, 2005

by Leigh Witchel
copyright ©2005 by Leigh Witchel

Location, location, location.  It's as important in dance as in real estate.  Renting a conventional theater can be more than an independent dance company can afford; rent the wrong one and people won’t even go.  Dance in alternative spaces, such as studios and galleries, is a way of life in New York.

Claire Montgomery, the founder of Location One, is an angel for enthusiastically supporting new work like Glen Rumsey’s “ignored in my heaven”, but there’s no denying Location One, which functions mainly as a gallery, is a difficult space for dance.  It's crowded and uncomfortable with cramped folding chairs and bleachers.  Two poles stand sentinel in the front, blocking what portion of your view the head of the person in front of you hasn't already obscured.  Plastic sheets like overgrown shower curtains were hung from the poles as scenery, forcing the audience to shrink away or duck through them to get to their seats.  The atmosphere—ntimate, close and shrouded—was like a jamboree at a sex club.
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Looking Back

Eleanor King Centennial Concert
Todd Studio Theater, Goucher College
Baltimore, Maryland
September 17, 2005

by George Jackson
copyright ©2005 by George Jackson

Not just in ballet but also in modern dance there are now people looking back over their shoulders at what was performed in the past. Count them and compare with those producing new work, and the number isn't vast. Having just passed through the year 2004 with its Ashton and Balanchine centennials and the rebirth of the Graham company, plus this last summer's Bournonville bicentennial, one might imagine that historic choreography was available as a constant resource for emerging dance makers and as a reference for viewers interested in knowing where we are, where we have come from and where we may be going in the art of dance. Not so, at all. The centennials of the first moderns and most of Diaghilev's choreographers have passed practically unnoticed. 2005 is also the centennial year for Lander and Lifar. The former was tossed a token in his hometown of Copenhagen and the latter has so far been ignored in Paris, his adopted home and Lander's too for a time. That's sad because anniversaries have their uses, but what we are really missing is the chance to experience dance that is other than of the moment. I want to see how and for what reasons my non-contemporaries were moved to express themselves as dancers. That freedom is one I don't get the chance to enjoy often. This weekend in outlying Baltimore, there was the opportunity.
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Into the Pool

Noemie LaFrance
McCareen Pool
Brooklyn, New York
September 15, 2005

by Tom Phillips
copyright ©2005 by Tom Phillips

“Public Works” used to refer to huge construction and reclamation projects for the welfare and enjoyment of the masses, back in the days when America was investing in that sort of thing. Today it’s more likely to refer to public works of art. But now, in New York, choreographer Noemie LaFrance is making an audacious bid to combine the two, with a work of art that is also a reclamation project for a lost public facility.

The site is a giant and grandiose public swimming pool in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, built by the WPA during the Depression, a pool that could hold nearly seven thousand swimmers on a summer day. Since 1983 the McCarren Park Pool has been dry, fenced off from the neighborhood and left to decay. But last week, for the first time in a generation, it was again full of people, full of life.  
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Dancing with Props

Lily Cai - Chinese Dance Company
Terrace Theater, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC,
September 16, 2005

by George Jackson
copyright ©2005 by George Jackson

How can one not succumb to Lily Cai, who comes out in the middle of her girls' final number to wheedle the audience with a blend of chutzpah and charm? The moment the lights had gone down and the curtains opened for the first of Cai's three works, "Bamboo Girls", it was apparent that this company's production values were top notch. Illumination (by Matthew Antaky) varied the stage space from its atmosphere-heavy upper reaches down to the floor which it splattered with pattern. On the hats worn by the "feminine beauties" of the opener, the lighting seemed to make the broad, fringed brims spin. Costuming, although not elaborate from the neck down, was exquisitely tailored to reveal the all-female cast's contours.    

Prior to Mme. Cai's pep talk there'd been grumbling in the audience that the intermissions were longer than the acts, but that quelled as the closer,"Silk Cascade", went on and on. Actually, Cai is expert in making short, pungent dance statements and even the extended finale was composed of smaller sections. All the choreography involved moving objects in addition to human bodies. In "Girls" it was the rotating hats, in "Candelas" each dancer carried two candles that flickered, and "Silk" turned out to be the ultimate ribbon dance. Cai limited use of the body with a miniaturist's skill and even the few broad strokes she sanctioned were strictly controlled.
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The Summer Issue of DanceView is OUT!
(our subscription link is once again functional, so it's easy to subscribe on line)


ABT's Spring Season, reviewed by Mary Cargill

"On Frederick Ashton's Brand of Classicism," by Michael Popkin

NYCB's Spring Season, reviewed by Tom Phillips

Miami City Ballet's spring season, reviewed by Carol Pardo

National Ballet of Canada's 2005-2006 season, reviewed by Denise Sum

Reports from London (Jane Simpson), New York (Gay Morris) and San Francisco (Rita Felciano)

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last updated on September 19, 2005