writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, New York edition

Volume 1, Number 3   October 13 , 2003            An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Letter from New York

13 October 2003
By Mindy Aloff
Copyright ©2003 by Mindy Aloff

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet performed twice in the New York area this weekend. Much to my regret, work prevented me from attending the Sunday performance at Brooklyn College. It was a thrill and an honor, though, to be part of the audience for the all-Balanchine evening on Saturday at the New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts. A cherished honor, since the rich variety of dynamic texture, the stylistic refinement, and the musicality of the dancing in Divertimento No. 15 and in Apollo (presented in the original New York City Ballet staging, which includes the birth and childhood of the god, as well as Igor Stravinsky’s complete score) are now superb and may be peerless. Despite the fact that certain enchaînement may be textually questionable, the hearts of the ballets are intact. Even the costumes, credited to Holly Hynes—the current Director of Costumes for NYCB and the costume consultant for the George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins trusts, as well as the resident designer for the Farrell Ballet since the company’s inception in 1999—look as if they’ve been slightly rethought since I last saw them.
full article

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Cirque du MOMIX

The Joyce Theater
October 7-10, 2003
(MOMIX performed at The Joyce September 23-October 12, 2003)

By Meital Waibsnaider
Copyright ©2003 by

Moses Pendleton, Artistic Director of MOMIX, is no minimalist.  His 75-miniute long Passion, set to Peter Gabriel’s score for Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ, exploded in a video, music, costume and prop extravaganza. From behind a gauze-like screen that hung for the entire production, Pendleton’s acrobatic dancers performed twenty-one pieces, each corresponding to Gabriel’s expansive and mostly wordless songs. Constantly changing images on the ever-present screen made it torturous to decipher the dancers’ movements. We saw that they often wore sleek unitards, over-sized capes or diaphanous cloths, and sometimes went barely-clad, but most details were lost behind the dimly lit screen and varying projected images, designed by Pendleton himself.
full article

Remembering a Hoofer
An Interview with Donald O'Connor

By Mindy Aloff
Copyright ©2003 by

In 1979, Donald O’Connor visited Portland, Oregon, as the guest star in a lavish high-school production of The Music Man. It was my understanding at the time that he was beginning to ease his way back into stage performing after a hiatus of many years. As the dance critic for Fresh Weekly, the arts and entertainment section of Portland’s Willamette Week, I asked to interview him. I knew nothing whatsoever about his personal life then, and I know now only what I’ve read in the various obits that were published following his death last month, on September 27th. What I knew, partially, were his movies and his television work. I considered him then, and I still do, one of the finest all-around dancers ever to perform in front of a Hollywood camera. He had style, speed, lightness, elegance, rhythmic wit; he partnered his female co-stars with respect and charm; his line readings were understated and droll; and, unusual for many male Hollywood dancers apart from Fred Astaire, O’Connor learned to care about port de bras: during the 1940s and ‘50s, he visualized his entire dancing figure in the frame and paid attention to how his entire body would read on the screen. Gene Kelly, his collaborator and erstwhile nemesis, also cared about port de bras; however, despite Kelly’s many sterling qualities, he couldn’t surpass O’Connor in terms of allegro facility, offhanded elegance, or precision of stylistic detail in complex footwork. (For anyone who would like to check this evaluation, I’ve provided the O’Connor filmography that was published with the interview.)
full article

Hit and Miss

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Newart, New Jersey

October 11, 2003
Walt Whitman Hall
Brooklyn, New York
October 12, 2003

By Eric Taub
Copyright ©2003 by Eric Taub

What a difference a day makes! After seeing the Suzanne Farrell Ballet perform Saturday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, if someone had asked me: is Suzanne Farrell were truly the inspired coach and Keeper of the Balanchine Flame she's often been made out to be, my answer would have been, probably not. Her dancers' performances were, for the most part, conservative, flat and markedly free of the risk-taking which was ever a hallmark of Farrell's own style. What can you say about a performance of Divertimento No. 15 where the corps girls seemed more interesting than most of the soloists? True, Peter Boal danced the greatest Apollo I've ever seen, but he's, well, Peter Boal, and what else would one expect?
read review

What's On This Week

October 13, 16, 23, February 18 and 21
Stravinsky Triple Bill
Metropolitan Opera
A triple bill of works by Igor Stravinsky. Le Sacre du Printemps, with choreography by Doug Varone opens the program, followed by Le Rossignol, a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, choreographed by Frederick Ashton and danced by New York Cit Ballet's Damian Woetzel and American Ballet Theater's Julie Kent. Oedipus Rex rounds out the evening.
Metropolitan Opera House
Columbus Ave. and 64th St.
(212) 362-6000

October 13-18 (opened October 1)
Tere O’Connor Dance
O'Connor performs his new multimedia work, LAWN, which concerns itself with environmental issues and the poetics of dance.
Dance Theater Workshop, Bessie Schonberg Theater
219 W 19th St.

October 13 – 17 (opened October 10)
Tuscan Dance in Movement
Five Tuscan contemporary dance companies.
John Jay College Theater
899 Tenth Ave. between 58th and 59th Streets

October 16-18 (company benefit on October 14)
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Merce Cunningham celebrates the 50th anniversary season of his company with a program that includes the world premiere of Split Sides, a work set to original music by alternitive rock bands Radiohead and Sigur Rós, both playing live on opening night. Also on the program is the the New York premiere of Fluid Canvas.
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House
30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl. Fort Greene, Brooklyn

October 14-19
Akram Khan Company
A London favorite, Akram Khan offers his company's first full-evening work "Kaash," the Hindi word for "if." Khan blends contemporary dance and the Indian classical dance form Kathak to explore "Hindu Gods, black holes, Indian time cycles, tablas, creation and destruction."
Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St.

October 15-19
Ballet Nacional de Cuba
Former ballerina Alicia Alonso brings her well-schooled and spirited company for two programs: the full-length Don Quixote and a romantic repertory program of Antonio Gades' Blood Wedding, Alonso's staging (after Ivanov and Petipa) of Swan Lake, Azari Plisetski's Canto Vital set to Gustav Mahler, and a classical pas de deux.
City Center
55th St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves.

October 16-18
Kathleen Dyer's KDNY
Kathleen Dyer's female troup performs While at the Left Breast, Moerae, and Flowers on the Table by the Open Window" with live accompaniment by percussionist PJ Merola and soprano, Laura Pfortmiller. Performed by Teresa Chapman, Theresa Duhon, Brooke Fries, Heather Kemp, and Ashley Wells and featuring Kinneely Rose Azzopardi.
Joyce Soho
155 Mercer St. between Houston and Prince Sts.

October 16-19
Heather Harrington
Heather Harrington Dance Company will be performing a full evening length dance work based on Macbeth called Imitations of Drowning.
Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery
East 10th St. at Second Ave.

October 16
Noemie Lafrance
Noemie Lafrance's Bessie Award-winning Descent" is a homage to New York created since the terrorist attacks of September 11. It is performed over 12 floors of stairway with a score by Brooks Williams.
City Court Building Clock Tower
108 Leonard St. between Broadway and Lafayette St.

October 16
Merian Soto Dance and Performance
Award-winning choreographer Merian Soto presents excerpts from La Maquina del Tiempo, her latest work celebrating salsa through an eclectic mix of dance and music, and "Pelea de Gallos," an exploration of political, cultural, racial and gender tensions in contemporary Puerto Rico.
World Financial Center, Winter Garden
West St. between Liberty and Vesey Sts.

October 16, Gala Benefit Performance
October 17-19
More than 80 choreographers-dance companies and over 300 dancers will participate in a dance extravaganza.
2003 Dumbo Dance Festival
White Wave Performance and Rehearsal Space
25 Jay St. at John St., Dumbo, Brooklyn

October 16-19 (opened October 9)
Urban Ballet Theater
UBT Artistic Director Daniel Catanach shows off his company of classically trained dancers in Disillusioned, with guest artist Danny Tidwell, Trouble, and El Hambre/The Hunger, a duet for Carla Korbes and Amar Ramasar of the New York City Ballet.
Harry De Jur Playhouse - Abrons Arts Center
Henry Street Settlement
466 Grand St. at Pitt St.


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This weeks' articles


Mindy  Aloff's Letter from New York

The Balanchine Celebration
New York City Ballet:
A Veteran and a Raw Recruit
by Mindy Aloff

Heart and Soul
by Mary Cargill

Kid Stuff
Cas Public's If You Go Down To the Woods Today
by Susan Reiter

San Francisco Ballet:
New Wheeldon (Rush)
by Rita Felciano

New Tomasson (7 For Eight)
by Paul Parish

Possokhov's New Firebird for OBT
by Rita Felciano

Moscow Festival Ballet and Scott Wells
by Paul Parish

Hamburg Ballet's Nijinsky:
Nijinsky—Lost in the Chaos
by Clare Croft

NijinskyMadness and Metaphor
by Alexandra Tomalonis

Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes
by George Jackson

Batsheva: Breaking Down Walls
by Lisa Traiger

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
by Clare Croft

Choreographers Showcase
by Tehreema Mitha

Zoltan Nagy
by George Jackson






Mindy Aloff
Dale Brauner
Mary Cargill
Nancy Dalva
Gia Kourlas
Gay Morris
Susan Reiter
Alexandra Tomalonis(Editor)
Meital Waibsnaider
Leigh Witchel
David Vaughan


The Autumn DanceView is out:

New York City Ballet's Spring 2003 season reviewed by Gia Kourlas

An interview with the Kirov Ballet's Daria Pavlenko by Marc Haegeman

Reviews of San Francisco Ballet (by Rita Felciano) and Paris Opera Ballet (by Carol Pardo)

The ballet tradition at the Metropolitan Opera (by Elaine Machleder)

Reports from London (Jane Simpson) and the Bay Area (Rita Felciano).

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last updated on October 13, 2003 -->