writers on dancing

Volume 4, Number 24 - June 19, 2006

this week's reviews

Kirov Ballet's Forsythe program
by George Jackson

Kirov Ballet's "Giselle"
by Alexandra Tomalonis

NYCB's New Elo
by Michael Popkin

NYCB's Vienna program
by Susan Reiter

ABT's "Giselle" (Vishneva and Malakhov)
by Lisa Rinehart

Washington Ballet's 7x7
by Lisa Traiger

Ed Tyler at the Kennedy Center
by George Jackson

Letters and Commentary

San Francisco Letter No. 10
Mark Foehringer, Leyya Tawil’s Dance Elixir, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
by Rita Felciano

The Peripatetic New Yorker
Lisa Kraus's "The Partita Project"
by Nancy Dalva

Bulletin from Berlin 1
by George Jackson

Bulletin from Berlin 2
by George Jackson

did you miss any of these?

Ratmansky's Diamond
by Susan Reiter

Two Birthday Offerings
by John Percival

by Christopher Correa

ABT's "Cinderella"
by Susan Reiter

what we're reading

Lynette Halewood on the Royal Ballet's 75th anniversary gala on

Deborah Jowitt on ABT's "Cinderella" for the Village Voice

Thomas de Frantz on the legacy of the late Katherine Dunham, also in the Village Voice

Jackson competition: the kick off. In the Clarion.

Lewis Segal on the rise of "Jewels" in the L.A. Times






Kirov Ballet at the Kennedy Center
The Works

by George Jackson

Living backstage, as dancers do much of the time, means adapting to an alternate universe. Sunlight is in short supply and it is shadow that permeates the near and distant spaces. The ambient sound may be that of silence — unless a pulse of music or stray noise breaks the quiet. Posted signs are ambiguous, and objects that might be symbols stand like discarded scenery — out of context and emptied of meaning. People appear unexpectedly. Some seem purposefully busy while others wander at their own pace. They switch roles, randomly or sometimes regularly. Wondering who they really are is futile. READ MORE

Style Points
by Alexandra Tomalonis

There were moments this weekend when the Kirov’s corps de ballet danced with such sweet, sonorous uniformity — arms joined in a heartless meandering line to point Hans (Hilarion to the rest of the world) to his doom, bodies as alike as sisters and as individual as only beautifully trained dancers can be — that all seemed right with the world. It wasn't perfect. The company’s production of “Giselle” looks musty and under directed; mime speeches we don’t need are there in full while those we do need are cut or muffled, some of the costumes are gorgeous while others are way past their prime, and, most important, the second act is danced like an abstract ballet, totally devoid of drama. But at its best the corps breathes life into this old, Romantic ballet. During the curtain calls Thursday night, Daria Pavlenko and Igor Kolb, who had danced Giselle and Albrecht, each went to a corner of the stage, turned, and bowed to the corps, and the tribute was indeed well-deserved. READ MORE

New York City Ballet's Spring Season
Jorma Elo's Sharp New Work

by Michael Popkin

New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project concluded Friday night with the premiere of a new ballet by Jorma Elo called “Slice to Sharp.”  At times heavy-handed in its appeal to the audience, the ballet is set to violin music of the 17th century composers Heinrich Ignaz Franz van Biber and Antonio Vivaldi and improbably combines boldly athletic dancing with a modern European dance idiom derived from the Jiri Kylian/Mats Ek school. It was a great success with the audience and continued the trend of this Spring in which NYCB’s Diamond Project of new choreography, pretentious and disappointing in prior seasons, has come of age or at least reached adolescence. READ MORE

Vienna Dreams
by Susan Reiter

When “Vienna Waltzes” had its premiere in June 1977, it was the finale of an “All-Viennese” Balanchine program that included “Divertimento No. 15” and “Episodes.” Nearly 30 years later, this same program (now dubbed “all-Austrian”) was again on the schedule, and it’s certainly a strong, richly satisfying one. The three ballets may be linked by the geography of their composers’ nationalities, but they provide a deft sampling of the amazing variety and profundity of the Balanchine oeuvre. Refined and crystalline, knotty and questioning, nostalgic and theatrical — these three ballets cover so much ground, and they made for the kind of complete, engrossing, elevated evening of ballet that one rarely experiences at the New York State Theater these days. READ MORE

ABT's Spring Season
A Rare Flower

by Lisa Rinehart

American Ballet Theater's "Giselle" is like that homely old vase in the back of the cupboard: serviceable and stolid on its own, but, filled with an artful clutch of wildflowers, capable of surprising grace. The transformative bouquet in this instance is the divine Diana Vishneva. Her physical delicacy and rock solid technique satisfy obvious prerequisites for this waif-of-steel role, but it's her mastery of old-world stylization infused with a heartbreaking realism that will anoint her as one of the greats. She is, as the expression goes, the real thing. READ MORE

Ballet is Woman, Take 2
by Lisa Traiger

"Ballet is woman," Balanchine so famously said. Why, then, do so few women make ballets? Our 20th and 21st century choreographic rosters of ballet companies are filled with first names like George, Fred, Jerry, William, Kevin, Trey. Where are all the women? And what kinds of ballets would they make? Could they make? Should they make? The Washington Ballet's artistic director Septime Webre felt similarly and this spring for the company's in-studio program, Webre selected a cadre of female dancemakers — some from the ballet world, others representing modern and contemporary dance — to create seven works over a dizzying three-week period. READ MORE

Elite Designs for Democratic Dances
by George Jackson

Ed Tyler’s eye for coloring and configuring the stage space was in evidence! The designs of both dances he presented on this program had impact. Memorable in the first work, “Expose”, was blue — a medium-light blue. The big circle painted on the set’s backdrop was that hue and so was a component in the dancers’ patterned blouses, worn atop black pants and bare feet. Four slat blinds separated the cast of four women from the public. Although the blinds were opened slowly and deliberately at the start, they turned out not to be a serious barrier to seeing even when one and then two of them were shut again during the course of the dance — just for the heck of it, or so it seemed. I doubt that Tyler intended this hide-and-expose business as a comment on an iconic piece of Paul Taylor choreography, the partial-view “Private Domain”. READ MORE


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