writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, New York edition

Volume 1, Number 6  November 3, 2003            An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Letter from New York

3 November 2003.
Copyright © 2003 by Mindy Aloff

Jinx Falkenburg, one of the pioneers of live talk on television, estimated that, during the 1940s and ‘50s—when she was producing two radio shows and a live t.v. show daily, five days a week, with her husband, Tex McCrary—she conducted over 16,000 interviews. Many of them were with political figures, such as Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon. Some were with intellectuals, such as Albert Einstein. And thousands were with entertainers, among them, Fred Astaire, whom Jinx interviewed while dancing with him. Among the youngsters on the production crew for these programs were William Safire and Barbara Walters, who closely studied Jinx’s interviewing style and went on to incorporate it into her own way of approaching subjects on camera.

Journalist; cover girl; movie starlet (she played a bit part in the Gene Kelly-Stanley Donen movie Cover Girl, whose script was based on her own career); champion swimmer, tennis player, and golfer—Jinx only danced for pleasure. She was never formally trained. However, her lanky frame (5’9” or so), intense athletic discipline, perfect posture, and lush, high-boned beauty gave her the look of a dancer. Had her life taken a different turn, she might well have been a great one. Two weeks before her death, on August 27th of this year, she excavated several publicity photos taken of her on the set of Tahiti Nights, a hapless movie from 1945. One shows her in a vivid leap, somewhere between a saut de chat and a grand jeté; another shows her poised in sous-sus on high, 7/8th point, her legs pulled up like the stems of martini glasses—each producing one smoothly continuous line that might have been drawn by Al Hirschfeld.
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Catch up on past Letters you may have missed.

ABT City Center Season

Week Two

Dorian—Not Quite Wilde Enough

Contamporary Works Program
American Ballet Theatre
City Center
New York, NY
October 30, 2003

by Gia Kourlas
copyright © 2003 by Gia Kourlas

If nothing else, American Ballet Theatre’s fall season proves that when critics declare that William Forsythe is the antichrist of ballet, they really mean Jiri Kylian. It’s always better to try something and fail, as Forsythe is apt to do. Kylian, however, invents serviceable dances that include the same basic traits: Mickey Mousing the music note for note; the addition of props, however incongruous; Martha Graham contractions; and meaningless gesture as a way to jazz up classical vocabulary. I’m not sure when covering the eyes with the fingertips became accepted as a part of the ballet idiom, but judging by Kylian (and that of his adoring imitators, Nacho Duato and Stanton Welch) it is as crucial as the arabesque.
read review

Settling in to the Master Works
[reprinted from the midweek Extra]

Master Works Program
American Ballet Theatre
City Center, NYC
October 26 evening, 2003

by  Eric Taub
copyright ©2003 by Eric Taub

On paper, ABT's Master Works program sounds fantastic, given the choreographic masters represented: Sir Frederick Ashton, Martha Graham, Antony Tudor and Marius Petipa. Not too shabby, as they say. It is a bit odd, however, that the company looked more at home in Graham's Diversion of Angels than the three "real" ballets. Not that the dancers looked particularly ill at ease in the other works, but rather that, while one might reasonably expect that a ballet company must find its own path with a modern dance work, particularly such good, old-fashioned idiosyncratic modern dance as Graham's, the same can't really be said for works by ballet choreographers, even ones as diverse as these, and here, although the ABT dancers usually gave clear and strong renditions of the overall choreography, they were less consistent in presenting the unique, subtle perfume of each of these distinctive and truly masterful works—not that ABT, and Kevin McKenzie, shouldn't be commended for trying.
read review

"I Am, and Will Always Be, a Hoofer"

Career Transition for Dancers' Ninth Annual Gala
City Center
New York, NY
October 27, 2003

By Susan Reiter
Copyright © 2003 by Susan Reiter

Coherence is not usually a term one associates with gala evenings, with their hodge-podge of specialty acts and their dominance by star turns. But this year's Career Transition for Dancers annual gala took the theme of paying tribute to dance in Hollywood films and stuck to it in a smooth-running, intelligently organized program that covered all the bases—without showing a single film clip.

The clever premise was to introduce each program segment with a Hollywood veteran (or two), whose career had a connection to the ensuing number . This worked very well when, for instance, Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris—the Riff and Bernardo of the 1961 West Side Story film—came out to reminisce about the making of the film, leading into an excerpt of from New York City Ballet's dynamic West Side Story Suite.
read review

Emotional Highs

Joyce Theater
New York, NY
October 26, 2003

By Susan Reiter
Copyright © 2003 by Susan Reiter

The underlying sense of impassioned spirituality that underlies Ronald K. Brown's work tends to evoke a powerful response in audiences, but it can also be problematic. He creates dances that allude to a higher purpose, using a blend of African-inspired movement and club-dancing sensuality, and they make a strong impact on an emotional level. His Grace (1999) for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater tends to leave audiences ecstatic, but while it a rich display of luscious movement, it creates what amounts to a cheap high, greatly buoyed by some luscious music.

The latest program his company brought to the Joyce offered a great deal of wonderful dancing, earnestly presented and propelled by noble or spiritual intentions. But it revealed the weaknesses of Brown's choreography, which assembles some blazing and thrilling passages of movement but doesn't always have a structure or coherent plan behind it.
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What's On This Week

November 3
Movement Research at the Judson Church
This week's forum for experimentation and works-in-progress features the work of Ursula Eagly and Eleanor Dubinsky, Les Freres Corbusier,   David Neumann ad Sigal Bergman.
55 Washington Square South

November 3-9
Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001

This exhibit, which opened on October 10 and runs through January 25, 2004, features a performance called Trisha Brown Live on Broadway. The Trisha Brown Dance Company performs Spiral, Group Primary Accumulation, Accumulation, "Brooms" from Astral Converted, Spanish Dance, and Floor of the Forest.
6:30 to 8:00
New Museum of Contemporary Art
583 Broadway
(between Houston and Prince Streets)
New York, NY 10012

November 4-9
George Piper Dances

The "Ballet Boyz" Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt bring their renegade group to New York. The former Royal Ballet dancers combine short modern ballets, video and film, and cheeky irreverence to create an eclectic program. The gifted dancers, most of whom have formerly danced with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, take part in the New York premieres of Mesmerics by New York City Ballet Resident Choreographer Chrisopher Wheeldon, Torsion by Russell Maliphant and Steptext by William Forsythe.
175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St.

November 4 and 11
Fresh Track
DTW's longest running signature series of new dance and performance features works by emerging choreographers and performance artists. Work by Linas Phillips and John Wyszniewski, Pascale Wettstein, Melinda Ring, Renee Archibald and Daryl Owens, Ivy Baldwin, Anne Gadwa are showcased.
Dance Theater Workshop
219 W 19th St.

November 6-8

Three chorographers present their works: Nia Love - Remembrances of the Castles: Cyle of Circles I; Ori Flomin - command/shift/delete; Osmany Tellez - Descending Matter (Illusion course).
Dance Theater Workshop
219 W 19th St.

November 4-9 (opened October 22)
American Ballet Theatre

In the third and final week of ABT's fall season, Amanda McKerrow makes her debut as Hagar in Antony Tudor's Pillar of Fire, a second cast led by Stella Abrera in Frederick Ashton's Symphonic Variations, and Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky make their debut in Raymonda Grand Pas Classique. In addition, Gillian Murphy and Gennadi Saveliev debut in the pas de deux from Flames of Paris, after the original by Vasily Vainonen.
City Center
55th St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves.

November 4-November 30 (opened October 30)
Noche Flamenca
One of Spain's most successful flamenco companies performs for five weeks. Soledad Barrio, winner of a Bessie Award in 2001,
Lucille Lortel Theatre
121 Christopher Street

November 5-8
Ice Theatre of New York

This artistic ice dance ensemble performs choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, David Liu, Elisa Monte, Carlos Orta, Joanna Mendl Shaw and Doug Webster and special guest artists. The gala on November 5 brings Olympic Gold Medalist Oksana Baiul, two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist Lu Chen, Italian Champion Silvia Fontana, Olympian David Liu, Georgian Champion Vakhtang Murvanidze and World Professional Champions Elena Leonova & Andrei Khvalko to the ice. The November 8 guest artists are Fontana, Leonova & Khvalko, Murvanidze and Katherine Healy.
Chelsea Piers, Sky Rink
Pier 61 23rd Street at Hudson River

November 6-8 (Thu-Sat) & 13-15 (Thu-Sat) 8pm $20
RoseAnne Spradlin Dance: Rearrangement, under/world
Post-performance discussion: November 13 (Thu)
Concept and Choreography: RoseAnne Spradlin
Dancers: Walter Dundervill, Athena Malloy, Tasha Taylor
Music: Gavin Bryars, Kenneth Atchley
Fetishism, ménages à trois, and autoeroticism-RoseAnne Spradlin continues to overtly explore sexuality and body politics with the premiere of Rearrangement and the restaging of her 2002 trio under/world.
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
212-255-5793 ext. 11

November 6
Dance on Camera

Dance historian and writer (and Dance View contributor) Mindy Aloff hosts "Ballet on the Big Screen: Lecture and Film Clips," presented by Brooklyn Public Library and Dance Films Association. Aloff will present a history of dance on film with clips from classics such as The Red Shoes and An American in Paris, to the recent Billy Elliott and Chicago. Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library Eastern Parkway at Flatbush Avenue Park Slope, Brooklyn 718-230-2100

November 7-8
A triple bill including Johannes Weiland, Larry Keigwin and Bridgman/Packer.
Kaatsbaan International Dance Center
Tivoli, New York

November 7-9
Mark Morris Dance Group

Mark Morris' company performs his witty, musical and fearless dances to live music.
New Jersey Performing Arts
Newark, New Jersey

November 7
Martha Graham Dance Company

The famed company is back in action again and performs Grahams indeliable works.
The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College

November 8-9
Alyce Finwal
The choreographer performs in Dance Council Movement Theater.
Merce Cunningham Dance Studio
55 Bethune St
212-691-9751 ext. 30

Through November 23
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.

— Dale Brauner



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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 November 3, 2003 -->