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 Volume 3, Number 44  November 28, 2005     The weekly online supplement to DanceView magazine

Mad About the Boy

The Outsider Chronicles:
A Dance-Theater Journey into the World of the Gender Outsider
Sean Dorsey
ODC Theater, San Francisco
November `7-18, 2005

by Paul Parish
copyright ©2005 by Paul Parish

Ovid said his project was to "bring back old things in a new way" (referre idem aliter)—i.e., to mask the old values in new appearances, and gain a kind of delighted shock of recognition when you recognized some familiar virtue in some outlandish unheard-of hero. He'd himself been exiled from Rome into the deepest sticks and was busy unsettling the new Augustan pieties by smuggling in the REAL good-old family values.

I mention this since many of the artists who mean the most to me these days are doing something similar—the Coen brothers, Mark Morris, Lynda Barry, the team who made Six Feet Under. All are finding, often through complex plays of tone, ways of revealing some "high" virtue in some "low" context. And right now, I can't remember the last time I saw so much tenderness, romanticism, delicacy of feeling, tentative grace, truth of gesture, human longings for loyalty, affection, and abiding relationship surrounded by such claims to be shocking, bold, futurist, subversive as were in evidence last Friday night at Sean Dorsey's show in San Francisco.
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A Likeness

Joyce Soho
New York City
November 20, 2005

by Nancy Dalva
copyright ©2005 by Nancy Dalva

Collaboration, co-operation, intuitive responsiveness, a modest and direct presentation of the self—these are but some of the personal virtues espoused by Terry Creach in his work. The dance values all have to do with the basics, those blessed basics: as the choreographers states it, "weight, strength, timing and momentum unique to the moving male body." Indeed, Creach/Company began as the all-guy company called Creach/Koester, in 1983, when it was easy to ascribe social motivation to the work.  But while it has remained  a company of all men, the intrinsic politics of that format seem incidental, at this point, to the aesthetics. In other words, Creach/Company is, and Creach himself probably always was, about the movement.
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Digging for Fun
Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company
Peacock Theatre, London
November 24 & 25, 2005
by John Percival
copyright ©2005 by John Percival

It was only with hindsight that a comparison occurred to me which would put Jasmin Vardimon’s “Park” into context. "Park" all takes place in the public open space of the title; it brings a collection of disparate characters into varied confrontations; it is set to a potpourri of popular music and songs; and the action mingles speech and singing with movement incorporating natural acting, acrobatics, comic or dramatic exaggeration and straight dancing. Sound familiar? Not so long ago commentators would surely have evoked the name of Pina Bausch as Vardimon’s inspiration, but today that hasn’t happened. Now that I’ve thought of it, however, let me say that of course this isn’t up there at Bausch’s level, yet I can add that there’s no reason to write it off as hopelessly inferior, as would have been the case with earlier choreographers who, doubtless more consciously, emulated the genius of Wupperthal.
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Bill T. Jones: Raising the Curtain
with Provocative Results

"As I Was Saying"
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Eisenhower Theatre, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC
Thursday, November 17; Saturday, November 19, 2005

by Lisa Traiger
copyright 2005 Lisa Traiger

In "As I Was Saying …" Bill T. Jones picks up where he left off with his 1999-2000 "The Breathing Show." Sort of. For while Jones's artistic project over his nearly quarter century career has been as a dancemaking provocateur challenging audiences, get them to shift in their seats and hash out highly incendiary issues over intermission wine coolers, Jones is also somewhat of a traditionalist—a formalist as he has famously called himself on the heels of his 1994 "victim art" controversy at the pen of dance critic Arlene Croce.

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Club America
Jazz Tap Ensemble
The Joyce Theater
New York, NY
November 22-27

by Lisa Rinehart
copyright ©2005 by Lisa Rinehart

What's old is new again. It's late, late night, the lights are low and the sax's first mournful wail takes us to Club America where blowzy women spill from cocktail dresses, men with slicked back hair lounge in wrinkle-free jackets, everybody smokes and the height of urbane chic is to go out for some hot dancing and cool jazz. At least, given the elegance and subtlety of the Jazz Tap Ensemble's program at the Joyce, that's the world conjured up by the group's seasoned jazz quartet, its four gifted tap dancers, a director/choreographer with a refined sense of pace and a guest jazz singer who floats atop everyone else's energy wave. In short, it's intimate, live performance intended to pull us forward in our seats, and indeed, with these performers one doesn't want to miss a second.
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The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
Eisenhower Theater
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing arts
Washington, D.C.
Novemmber 22, 2005

by Alexandra Tomalonis
copyright ©2005 by Alexandra Tomalonis

Dead at fifteen! — loved, lovely, happy, gay,
Leaving the ball; long, long to make us weep.
Dead! From her frenzied mother torn away
By Death’s cold clutch; e’en in her ball array,
And in a coffin put to sleep.—Victor Hugo*

These lines (along with a passage in Henreich Heine’s “De l’Allemagne” about the legend of the Wilis) inspired Théophile Gautier to imagine “Giselle.” The first act would be about a young girl who danced so fiercely at a ball that, at the end, Death claims her. The management of the Paris Opera thought this too insubstantial a book for a ballet in 1841, and Giselle had to find another path to Wilidom, but the poetic image of a young girl about whom Hugo  could write, “Dancing caused her death: with eager, boundless love/Balls—dazzling balls—filled her with ecstasies,” would be perfect for a ballet a century later. All in good time. Balanchine’s “La Valse,” set to Maurice Ravel’s “Valse nobles et sentimentales,” centers on just such a girl and just such a meeting, and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet brought the ballet to life last week.
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City Ballet Opens Winter Season
An American Music Celebration: Fearful Symmetries,” “In a Landscape,” “N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz”
New York City Ballet Opening Night Gala
New York State Theater
New York, NY
November 22, 2005
by Susan Reiter
copyright ©2005 by Susan Reiter

Three days later, the snowflakes would fall and the sled would sail through the air, but first New York City Ballet presented a bracing opening-night program that was as far from “The Nutcracker”’s sugary fantasy as is possible. There were no tutus, no allusions to the 19th century—and also no Balanchine. (There were also, thankfully, no speeches.) Under the rubric of “An American Music Celebration,” the company offered works by Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins, as well as a riveting, impressive premiere by principal dancer Albert Evans.
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Trial by Jury
Fresh Tracks
New Works by Rachel Bernsen, Chase Granoff/Jon Moniaci, Isabel Lewis/The Labor Union, Jessica Morgan, Paule Turner/Court, John Wyszniewski
Dance Theater Workshop
New York, NY
November 25. 2005

by Tom Phillips
copyright ©2005 by Tom Phillips

Ever since its founding 40 years ago, Dance Theater Workshop has been presenting an annual showcase of new choreographers.  This year, a jury of eight arts professionals auditioned some 60 artists to come up with a program of six new works.  The results indicate either (A.) young choreographic talent is in short supply, or (B.) Dance Theater Workshop’s aesthetic is getting old. My hunch is that the answer is (B.) based on the recurring sense during this evening that we’ve been here and seen this done better some time ago. Not everything was painful to watch, and the evening’s finale was by far its most inviting piece. But up to then, it was mostly reruns.    
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No Connotations

Batsheva Dance Company
James and Martha Duffy Performance Space at the Mark Morris Dance Center
Brooklyn, NY
Presented by Brooklyn Academy of Music's 2005 Next Wave Festival
November 16, 2005

by Susan Reiter
copyright ©2005 by Susan Reiter

They frequently sit amongst the audience; they are not the beneficiaries of any special theatrical lighting effects; and for a while they stroll around looking intently into the audience's faces and reaching out for the occasional dignified handshake. But however intimate the setting, with no footlights for them to reach across, these nine distinctly non-glamorous dancers remain special, otherworldly beings. There is nothing about Ohad Naharin's hour-long "Mamootot" that suggests they are everyday pedestrian folks like the rest of us. Their fierce concentration and primal alertness endow them with a heightened sense of timing that has them constantly surprising us mere mortals with their sudden risings from their seats.
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Telling Tales
Oakland Ballet
Calvin Simmons Theater
Oakland, California
November 28, 2005

by Rita Felciano
copyright ©2005 by Rita Felciano

Oakland Ballet’s rebirth in October, at the age of forty, presented a company invigorated by a fresh crop of dancers in a program that embraced both the company’s history (Eugene Loring, Bronislava Nijinska) and a stab at things to come (Michael Lowe, Donald McKayle). More than anything, Artistic Director Karen Brown appears determined to reach out to new audiences, to make going to the ballet an inviting affair for a much broader cross section of people than has traditionally been the case.

With Scott Rink’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, Ronn Guidi’s “Peter and the Wolf” and “A Short Solo,” one of Dudley Brooks’ puppet ballets, the second program’s moniker as designed for the “whole family” rang true. Thankfully, none of the works were “kiddy-friendly,” in the sense of being dumbed down. They offered, instead, well chosen examples of story-telling in ballet on a more modest scale than the big full-length ones audiences seem to crave.
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Mindy Aloff
Dale Brauner
Mary Cargill
Nancy Dalva
Rita Felciano
Marc Haegeman
George Jackson
Eva Kistrup
Alan M. Kriegsman
Sali Ann Kriegsman
Alexander Meinertz
Gay Morris
Ann Murphy
Paul Parish
John Percival
Tom Phillips
Naima Prevots
Susan Reiter
Lisa Rinehart
Charlotte Shoemaker
Jane Simpson
Alexandra Tomalonis (Editor)
Lisa Traiger
Kathrine Sorley Walker
Leigh Witchel
David Vaughan


The Autumn Issue of DanceView is OUT!
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Review of the Bolshoi Ballet's Met Season by Mary Cargill.

Robert Greskovic reviews several new DVD releases.

A chapter from Alexander Meinertz's forthcoming biography of Vera Volkova (dealing with Volkova at Sadler's Wells during the War)

Interviews with Sonja Rodriquez and Heather Ogden (National Ballet of Canada), by Denise Sum

Paul Taylor at the Guggenheim, by Nancy Dalva

Reports from London (Jane Simpson) and San Francisco (Rita Fellciano).

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last updated on November 28, 2005