writers on dancing

Volume 4, Number 13 - April 3, 2006

more current articles


CityDance Ensemble / Manassas Dance Company / Barbara Weisberger - George Jackson

Nilas Martins Dance Company - Michael Popkin

Tere O'Connor - Susan Reiter

Eiko and Koma - Lisa Traiger

American Ballet Theater Studio Company and Armitage Gone! - Dale Brauner

Cunningham - Naima Prevots

did you miss these?

Paris Opera Ballet - Marc Haegeman

Paul Taylor - Leigh Witchel

Royal Danish Ballet - Eva Kistrup

San Francisco Ballet - Paul Parish

what we're reading

Leigh Witchel on Ballet Builders

Article19 on Value Versus Cost

Lewis Siegel on Hard Truths on Ballet in the Southland (the troubles of Ballet Pacifica)

Clement Crisp on Spartacus

Lynette Halewood on the Richard Alston Dance Company (London)

Brave Bodies - Deborah Jowitt on Alain Buffard


New, Old and New Again
by John Percival

There’s a widespread belief that companies must do new work for the sake of their dancers and their audiences. I’m not fully convinced. Take the Royal Ballet, for instance. They’ve just announced their plans for next season, 2006-7, and there are to be four creations. How many people who want classical ballets by RB-trained, NY-based Christopher Wheeldon and by company member Alastair Marriott will look forward equally to work by modernist Wayne McGregor, or vice versa? And do we need a new “Seven Deadly Sins” by Will Tuckett? Whereas there are only two Ashton ballets all season: “Rhapsody” and “Symphonic Variations” —respectively three and six performances! The biggest single improvement in dance standards at Covent Garden lately came in the season when the company was stimulated with lots of Ashton revivals; and audiences too enjoy heritage works or other revivals (which will be new to many of them anyway). read more

A Reluctant Star. Sort of....
by Lisa Rinehart

Tero Saarinen has kivekset (that's Finnish for hutzpah—in a manner of speaking.) Fortunately, he also has talent and the smarts to choose gifted collaborators. Already recognized internationally as a powerful performer (although I'm afraid he's allowed himself to be described in the program as "one of the most brilliant dancers of his generation"), Saarinen brings to New York a tasting platter of his own choreography. Trained initially as a ballet dancer with the Finnish National Ballet, then traveling to Japan to study martial arts and Butoh, Saarinen abandons balletic elegance in a fury of bent elbows, wide spread fingers and intentionally awkward jumps and landings. The vocabulary is fresh, if not expansive, and is greatly enhanced by the inventiveness of Finnish lighting designer, Mikki Kunttu. In fact, using churning skyscapes, dramatic shadow play, and even strobe lighting, Kunttu lifts Saarinen's dances out of a certain intellectual despair and makes them art. read more

Letter from San Francisco Number 5
by Rita Felciano

Having seen William Forsythe’s “Artifact” in Frankfurt several years ago, I must confess to a degree of discomfort at the idea of an “Artifact Suite.” The 1984 four act piece had explored the possibilities of languages—ballet’s and verbal, life’s and the theater’s—and what and how they communicate. The original “Artifact” had bombarded its audiences with contradictory impulses, leaving one exhausted, puzzled and—in my case—thoroughly exhilarated by the sheer audacity of its sweep. In the current version, the discussion about semantics is largely absent. Gone also are  the three actors—a garrulously aggressive queen figure,  a dry academician with a megaphone and the silent Beckett-like character, the object of their attention, who lived half in and half out of the earth. The latter, however, seems to have been transmogrified into a “Single Female Figure” (Elana Altman). While the loss of most of “Artifact’s” admittedly somewhat arcane intellectual properties may be regrettable, Forsythe gained a practical show piece that is guaranteed to wow audiences for years to come. Anarchy is out, but there is something to be said for order. read more

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