writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, New York edition

      Volume 2,  Number 7     February 16 , 2004           An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Letter from New York

16 February 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by Mindy Aloff

These days, it seems as if nearly everyone in the arts is looking for “edge,” as if creativity were no more than what academicians call “transgressive impulses.” We take it for granted now that the lingo for creative energy is often associated with crime, blades, aggression, wounds—sensational elements. One reason may be that audiences for the arts are so benumbed by the welter of images they encounter daily that, in order for most people to feel anything in the theater, they have to be hit over the head or skewered. In other words, people won’t recognize what constitutes edge unless they see a literal representation of its results, about to spill or actually spilling out of some orifice or entry hole. In dance, of course, what gets lost in this equation between creativity and literally sensational imagery is dancing: the edge becomes all, as in a nightmare where one is walking through a city that has no sidewalks, only curbs—which is why a number of choreographers over the past two decades have been acclaimed for works that have no formal shape, no theatrical expertise, and, all too often, no dance vocabulary. As long as the imagery pulls the right trigger, nobody cares about what else might be missing. The distortion works backwards, too. George Balanchine’s Apollon Musagète was much edgier than Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’Après-midi d’un faune in the relationships it presented between men and women and in its pervasive, analytical reconsideration of the rules and regulations that guided the classical syllabus taught at the Imperial School of St. Petersburg, where both Balanchine and Nijinsky studied. In the astoundingly revealing 1990 Juilliard production of Faune that notator Ann Hutchinson Guest worked on with Jill Beck from Nijinsky’s own notations of what he intended his choreography to be, the Chief Nymph exhibits a modesty of person, and a range of human feeling, that are completely absent from Balanchine’s god and muses. Nijinsky’s characters are recognizable Edwardians transposed; Balanchine’s are of another species entirely. Yet, owing to Nijinsky’s literal staging of the faun’s orgasm, it is Faune that is remembered as the more revolutionary work.

It’s a pyrrhic effort to fight City Hall on matters going back nearly a century; however, I will say that if you want to see true edge in action, in DANCE ACTION, look out for performances by the 23 year-old prodigy of Argentinian tango, Pablo Pugliese—a native of Argentina and the son of the distinguished milongueros Esther and Mingo Pugliese.
read Letter

read past Letters from New York

Swanilda's World

New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
New York, NY
February 14, 2004

by Mary Cargill
copyright 2004 by Mary Cargill

published 16 February 2004

If ever a dancer lived up to her name, it is New York City Ballet’s new soloist, Megan Fairchild—although, based on the audience reaction to her New York debut in Coppélia, she might as well be named Sara Lee, since it seems no one doesn’t like her. The role of Swanilda, with its precise and elegant footwork, its classical clarity, and its sunny atmosphere, suits her many talents perfectly. She did dance it last summer in Saratoga on very short notice, but this was, I think, her first scheduled performance. There was no sign of nerves, other than a brief tumble in the third act, from which she recovered with aplomb.
read review

A Disappointing Encore

Music and lyrics by Cole Porter; book by Abe Burrows
City Center Encores!
City Center
New York, NY
February 12, 2004

by Susan Reiter
copyright 2004 by Susan Reiter
published 16 February 2004

When Can-Can opened on Broadway in 1953, most of the attention and praise went to Gwen Verdon, in her first substantial Broadway role. Playing a laundress-by-day, can-can dancer by night named Claudine, she was the show's second female lead, with top billing going to a French actress named Lilo. But reviews suggest that Michael Kidd's choreography (for three substantial dance numbers) and Verdon's dancing were its most memorable and bankable assets. "She is the dance discovery of the season," proclaimed Walter Kerr, while another reviewer noted that "the crowd's increasing delight with Miss Verdon was exciting to feel."
read review

What's On This Week?

Balanchine 100th Birthday Events:

February 18-22 (Opened in November)
New York City Ballet
The company's Balanchine Centennial Celebration continues with the first of two weeks of Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty. However,
George Balanchine is represented in the ballet by his wonderfully inventive rendition of the Garland Dance, which received its premiere in 1981 during the Tschaikovsky Festival. The rest of the ballet was done by Martins after Marius Petipa. 2/18 at 8pm, 2/19 at 8pm, 2/20 at 8pm, 2/21 at 2pm, 2/21 at 8pm, 2/22 at 3pm.
New York State Theater Lincoln Center 66th Street and Broadway 212-

February 18-22 and April 27-June 27 (opened January 6)
The Balanchine Centennial Exhibition at New York City Ballet
George Balanchine's career is covered in a photography exhibit curated
by company veteran Edward Bigelow.
New York State Theater Lincoln Center 66th Street and Broadway 212-

February 17-March 7 (Opened December 6)
A Celebration of George Balanchine:
Selected Television Work

George Balanchine took full advantage of the advent of television, and many of his greatest works - and performances of his dancers - have been captured on video. In this 100th-year anniversary of the great choreographer's birthday, The Museum of Television & Radio presents a series of showings of some incredible footage. The seven installment, shown from 2/17-22, is called, Dance in America: Choreography by
Balanchine, Pts. 1 & 2. It features Tzigane (Farrell, Martins), The Four Temperaments (Cook, Ashley, Duell, Lüders, Neary, et al.), excerpts from Jewels (Ashley, McBride, Weiss, Farrell, Martins, et al.), and Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Mazzo, von Aroldingen, Cook, Martins). (1977; 130 minutes).
Screening Times: Tuesdays to Sunday at 12:30 pm Evening Screenings:
Thursdays at 6pm The Museum of Television & Radio 25 West
52 Street 212-621-6800

February 17-April 24 (Opened December 10)
The Enduring Legacy of George Balanchine
A multi-media exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth
of George Balanchine. It features photographs, designs, manuscript music and correspondence, costumes, set pieces, and models, along with showings of videotaped performances and rehearsals. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery 40 Lincoln Center Plaza 212-870-1630

Ballet and Dance Events:

February 16
Movement Research at the Judson Church

This week's forum for experimentation and works-in-progress features a
performance by Levi Gonzalez and Ksenia Vidyaykina. At 8pm
55 Washington Square South at Thompson Street

February 17
Dance Conversations

Sara Juli, Molly Rabinowitz, Karinne Keithley and Luke Miller take
part in this dance-and-discussion series, presented by Neta Pulvermacher. At 7pm.
Flea Theater
41 White Street between Broadway and Church Street

February 17-22
Sydney Dance Company

The run features the New York premiere of Graeme Murphy's evening-length Ellipse, a suite of dances inspired by the music of the young Australian composer Matthew Hindson. 2/17-20 at 8pm, 2/21 at 2pm and 8pm, 2/22 at 2pm.
The Joyce Theater 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. 212-242-0880 www.joyce.

February 18-19
Susan Rethors
Choreographer Susan Rethorst returns to Dance Theater Workshop for the
first time since 1987 with a new work, titled oh oh oh.
Dance Theater Workshop
219 West 19th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues

February 18-21
Gina Gibney Dance

Thrown, an exploration of disruption, gets its premiere. The program
also includes an excerpt from Time Remaining. At 8pm.
The Duke on 42nd Street
229 West 42nd Street

February 19-22
Shannon Hummel/CORA

Half Empty , a program of new works, features Shannon Hummel/CORA's
first evening-length work, Stay, a look at our perceptions of safety, loss and regret. There's also a first peak of an excerpt from their work-in-progress.
Joyce Soho
155 Mercer Street between Houston and Prince Streets

February 19-22
Pam Tanowitz Danc
Tanowitz premieres Love Storyless, a hybrid of ballet and modern dance
with live music performed by Molly Morkoski. At 8:30pm.
St. Mark's Church in the Bowery
Second Avenue at 10th Street

February 19-22
Barry Goldhube
Performances of A Man's Ego Gets So Big, He Explodes! 2/19-21 at 7:30
pm, 2/22 at 5pm.
Performance Space 122
150 First Avenue at Ninth Street

February 19-March 6 (Opened January 15)
Wow Moves Dance Fest
The festival closes with three weeks of Slain, a multidisciplinary dance piece which explores female orgasm, hysteria, and being slain in the spirit. Dora Arreola choreographs and Andrea Assaf and Arreola co-direct this new work, conceived and created by Parker Pracjek. At 8 pm.
Wow Cafe Theater
59-61 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue
4th Floor

February 20
New York City Ballet - Ballet Insight
The Sleeping Beauty
A company ballerina talks about taking the title role. At 6:45 pm.
New York State Theater Lincoln Center 66th Street and Broadway 212-

February 20 and 21
Peggy Piacenza

Piacenza's For Whom Am I is performed, with an original score by Fred
Frith and painted animation by Kristin Varner.
At 7pm.
Dance Theater Workshop
219 West 19th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues

February 21
Peru Negro

At 8pm.
Town Hall
123 West 43rd Street

February 20-22
Hamburg Ballet

Artistic Director/choreographer John Neumeier - a noted collector of
Vaslav Nijinsky memorablia, explores the inner and outer world of the great dancer and choreographer. 2/20-21 at 8pm, 2/22 at 2pm.
City Center
West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues

February 20-22
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

The company, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, performs a
program that includes the New Jersey premiere of Reading, Mercy and The Artificial Nigger, based on a story by Flannery O'Connor, The Phantom Project: Power/Full, and Another Another History of Collage.
Victoria Theater
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
36 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey

February 20-22
Amalgamated Performance Group.
At 8pm.
Williamsburg Art Nexus
205 North Seventh St, Broklyn

February 22-23

American Ballet Theatre dancers perform excerpts from the revival of the comic ballet, Coppelia. The production is staged by ballet legend Frederic Franklin. At 8pm.
Guggenheim Museum
5th Avenue at 89th Street

— 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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