DanceView Times, Washington, D.C. edition
Volume 1, Number 2 An online supplement to DanceView magazine
program were 8 solos (one a doubled solo). Sometimes I've wondered whether
the dance solo is really choreography. Is it truly a work of art the way
even a duo can be? Solos certainly need not lack form. Yet it's not the
objective sequences of these dances—their patterns, their structures—that
are foremost in the audience's perception. Or in memory. When thinking
of the great solos, it is impossible to ignore or forget them as manifestations
of emotion, or will power, or character or enigma that the dancer and/or
maker generates. Pavlova's Fokine swan was about sadness, Wigman's witch
about meanness, Rudy Perez's Countdown about solitude. Because
there's no one else on stage to limit expression, or respond to it, the
solo doesn't provide the audience with built-in navigating tools. One
reacts to the solo's totality as if dance plus dancer equals one entity,
a being larger than life. Several of the Washington women didn't disappoint
in that respect, and the program as a whole showed diverse ways of achieving
It's impossible to deny Carla Perlo her due; she deserves applause and support for her visionary ideals that have over the past two-plus decades shaped the Washington, D.C. dance community. By sheer force of will in the face of increasingly parsimonious funding cuts and ever-rising production costs, Perlo has nurtured the nation's capital's most prolific dance presenter, Dance Place, which opened its 23rd season on Sept. 20 and 21. Presenting 48 weeks of performance each year, Dance Place remains the hub of the D.C. dance community, offering modern, African, percussive, non-Western dance and performance art week in, week out. But to kick off the season, Perlo looked to her peers: Uncommon women who have made dance their lives and made Washington the home in which they live and dance.
By Ourselves," as Perlo named the opener, refers to the solo nature
of the programs, to the sense of shared space and shared paths these women
have trod, and to, what Perlo finds is a vernacular pun. "These are
really together women," she notes, with admiration for the 15 colleagues
who participated over two evenings. Sunday's program, choreographed by
and for a cadre of strong, beautiful women who continue to dance, teach,
perform, produce and advocate for the next generation well into what we
Americans ungracefully call middle age, show little diminishment in body,
and only growth in spirit and presence on stage. Not one of the performers
on Sunday's program was on the near side of 40, and some have unselfconsciously
stretched the prescribed bounds of dance performance well into their 50s
Nijinsky!" declares Jeremy Davidson in the opening moments of playwright
Norman Allen's sketch of the great dancer and even greater choreographer.
It's wishful and wistful thinking, to say the—least. Nijinsky, legendary
for his boundless leaps, his tradition-defying choreography and his brief
but historic career—just nine years—truncated by mental illness,
was an artist and a personality of unrepeatable world-renowned. But Allen's
90-minute, intermissionless one-man show is more gloss on the star than
either a biography or even psychological or artistic portrait. "Nijinsky's
Last Dance," which received a Helen Hayes Washington Theater Award
for outstanding new play four years ago, was revived by Arlington, Va.'s
Signature Theater for the Kennedy Center's fall Prelude Festival, a fortnight
sampling of performing arts from blue-grass to zydeco, ballet to "The
Wizard of Oz," meant to entice audiences to Washington's largest
and most prolific performing arts center.
The Ballet Boyz
so far: The Ballet Boyz are William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, who left
the Royal Ballet in 1999 to join Tetsuya Kumakawa's K-Ballet in Japan.
Disillusionment set in after a couple of years, and they returned to London
to set up their own company. It's official name is George Piper Dances
(George and Piper being their middle names), but most people still talk
about 'the Ballet Boyz', which was the title of a series of television
films they made about their last season with the Royal Ballet and their
time in Japan. One of their trademarks is that they've continued to use
video film of themselves— rehearsals, cities they've played in and
so on as linkage for their programmes—this can be a bit blokey/jokey
but they're getting better at it. The Kiev-trained Oxana Panchenko has
danced with GPD almost from the beginning, and for the current tour they've
increased the company to five for the first time.
Letter from the Editor:
Welcome to the first edition of danceviewdc, an online newspaper covering dance events in the Nation's capital and as many of the surrounding regions as we can get to.
Our interest is simple: we're a group of writers who want to provide the dance coverage that many newspapers can't. Their limitations are mostl ones of space; ours will be of time. We can't promise comprehensive coverage; all of us have other commitments. But we'll cover as much as we can, both Washington-based companies and visitors.
To presenters and companies: please send us your calendar listings to firstname.lastname@example.org. To Washington's dance fans, please read us and tell your friends!—Alexandra Tomalonis
Interzone, by Washington-based choreographer Vladimir Angelov, whose works have been danced by the San Francisco and Kirov Ballets, as well as many other companies, received its premiere on Ballet Internationale's first program of the season.
Writing in the Indianapolis Star (September 27, 2003), Whitney Smith wrote: "The world premiere of "Interzone," by Bulgarian-American choreographer Vladimir Angelov, led Ballet Internationale in something of a new direction. Strongly grounded in Russian-style classical ballet, the company took a calculated risk with an edgy piece that bucked tradition." Smith concluded by saying: "Stylistically, "Interzone" made passing reference to ballet conventions, including women who move on and off point, yet the piece also embraced moves reminiscent of music videos. The company seemed to welcome the change. Even when they played clans at odds, they danced in solidarity."—A.T.
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