Posted in 2001, academia, ambition, arts and events, award winning, ballet, balletic, boys, boys and girls, dance, dance making, dancing, Ellen Robbins, girls, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, lessons, music, narration, new work, performance works, teens, young cast, youth

Ah, youth

Photo © Lina Dahbou

Is it true that youth is wasted on the young? Perhaps not, at least this group of youngsters is making the most of their time and talents. And yes, I am a little jealous.

There is a good deal to be said for getting an early start. Youth is lithe and agile. It is a great season for dancing, Movement can be the lingua franca for the young; it is their body language as it were.

Ellen Robbins’ Dances By Very Young Choreographers at Live Arts, on January 26th and 27th, will be showcasing works by children as young as 8. The dance-makers, ranging in age from 8 to 18, study modern dance and choreography with Ms. Robbins.

The program ranges across the many styles of dance performance, from the humorous, narrative, to the lyrical. The music selections, chosen by the choreographers, include folk, jazz, classical, contemporary.

Ellen Robbins has been teaching dance sine 1966 and has received honors for her work with children. She has taught dance education at Sarah Lawrence and been on the faculties of Bennington College, the 92nd Street Y, and other distinguished institutions. In 2001, Dances By Very Young Choreographers was on the program at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

After the matinee on January 26th, there will be an evening concert by the Alumni of Dances by Very Young Choreographers, which presents work by dancers who studied with Robbins from 1982 to 2016.  

Posted in artist, boys and girls, Hilla von Rebay, Louise Bauer, mordern art, risque, Rudolf Bauer, Solomon Guggenheim, the Guggenheim Museum of Art

Who was Rudolf Bauer? and "Boys and Girls"

Why would a prolific modernist painter suddenly stop making art?

“Bauer,” Lauren Gunderson’s drama at 59E59 Theaters through October 12th, is based on a true art mystery: what made Rudolph Bauer  (Howard Sherman,) the leading modernist of his generation, quit? He abandoned his legacy to Kandinsky, who is better known today as a master of modern art.

Did Hilla Rebay (Stacy Ross,) once the love of Bauer’s life, betray him when she made him sign over all his work and his future artworks to Solomon  Guggenheim?

Howard Sherman and Stacy Ross in Lauren Gunderson’s “Bauer” at 59E59
Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The play begins thirteen years after Bauer began his self-imposed exile in New Jersey. His wife, Louise (Susi Damiliano) has engineered a meeting between the former lovers who have not spoken in all those years.Modern art was in defiance to the Nazis, who abhorred it. Bauer seemed to like to defy. Guggenheim was his patron, who not only rescued him from the Nazis but also gave him a house, a Dusenberg, and a stipend, none of which satisfied Bauer.

It seems like  there should be drama in the anticipation of this meeting. Will they resolve their difference? Can Bauer return to his easel and create new masterworks? Despite decent performances, it’s hard to get engaged in Bauer’s ruined career or his motives.

As Louise, Susi Damiliano gives a resilient performance. Howard Sherman is convincing as the stubborn and perhaps broken artist. However, as the story unwinds,  it barely keeps our interest.

 Rudolf Bauer (Howard Sherman) welcomes Hilla von Rebay (Stacy Ross)
as his wife Louise (Susi Damiliano) stands by  in Lauren Gunderson’s “Bauer” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

“Bauer,” originally produced at the San Francisco Plyhouse, is mostly talk, although the staging attempts to enliven. There are some nice projections (design by Micah J. Stieglitz, with scenic design by Ewa Muszynska), showing the artist’s work and setting recollections.

The Weinstein Galleries are showing of Bauer’s art to coincide with the New York production of the play. Sotheby’s is auctioning off works by Bauer from September 22nd to October 10th.

Also at 59E59 Theaters: “Boys and Girls,” written and directed by Dylan Coburn Gray, is part of Origin’s 1st Irish 2014. Confessedly, it was the promise of the risqué that brought me to the theater, and the failure to fulfill it that had us take an early departure, not awaiting the climax as it were.

“Boys and Girls” is billed as being “naughty” — if having  a young and pretty girl utter the dreaded “c” word can be considered ribald, then “Boys and Girls” is that.

Seán Doyle, Maeve O’Mahony, Claire O’Reilly, and Ronan Carey Seán Doyle in “Boys and Girls”written and directed by
Dylan Coburn Gray, part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The format of the play is a series of monologues in which the eponymous quartet take turns telling their love stories. Sweet young foul-mouthed things they are, too.

For more information on “Bauer” and “Boys and Girls,” please visit 59e59.org

.

Posted in Amanda Green, based on a film, boys and girls, Bring It On The Musical, cheerleaders, Jeff Whitty, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being"… A Cheerleader

Cheerleading is not a philosophical endeavor. We get that. But it should have plenty of verve.

“Bring It On, The Musical,” at the St. James Theatre for a limited run through October 7th, wants to make absolutely clear that it is a physically demanding activity.



The cast of “Bring It On” (C) Photo by Joan Marcus

In fact, Campbell (Taylor Louderman) narrates the facts of her life as she becomes the captain of the Truman pep-squad, introducing the predictable power points that describe this spirited pursuit and the dedication with which she pursues it. Complications follow when Campbell is transferred to Jackson High in a stroke of redistricting. At Jackson, Campbell meets Danielle (Adrienne Warren) the leader of a dance crew.Will she triumph and find her “One Perfect Moment?” 

Taylor Louderman, Neil Haskell, Kate Rockwell, and Janet Krupin (c) Photo by Joan Marcus 

The songs (by the usually brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In The Heights” was terrific)  who teams up with Amanda Green on lyrics and Tom Kitt for the music) narrate a dull recitation of the lives of girls determined to win a state championship in rallying. Jeff Whitty has created a libretto based on the 2000 movie written by Jessica Bendinger to take “Bring It On” to the stage.

Adrienne Warren and cast. Photo (c) Joan Marcus 

Once there, even with propulsive rally-squad moves and togh hip-hop inflected dancing (choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, who also directs), “Bring It On” dies a thousand deaths. Stereotypes abound: the black girls (and guys) are cool, the white girls vapid. Campbell’s boyfriend Steve (Neil Haskell) is pretty effectively channelling his inner Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd from “Cheers.”  Despite the paucity of interesting characters, Adrienne Warren as the head of the Jackson dancers,  and Ryann Redmond as the fat girl, Bridget, are both quite charming.

Gasps of admiration at girls tossed into the air and landing gracefully quickly dissipate in the general dumbing down. Unfortunately dumbing down seems to have risen to a competitive sport in this musical. Aiming squarely for the lowest common denominator, “Bring It On” hits its target.

For more information about “Bring It On, The Musical,” visit  http://www.bringitonmusical.com/

Posted in Abi Morgan, accidents and miracles, boys and girls, friendship, love story, loyalty

Pop goes "Tiny Dynamite"


Photo © Carol Rosegg around the circle: Christian Conn as Lucien, Olivia Horton as Madeleine, Blake DeLong as Anthony in “Tiny Dynamite” at 59E59 Theaters.

Not all explosions are convulsive.

For instance, there is nothing cataclysmic in Abi Morgan’s “Tiny Dynamite,” which is enjoying its New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters through July 1st. There are some power surges and lightning strikes in “Tiny Dynamite,” but it’s a tiny story of loyalty, loss, love and friendship.


Photo © Carol Rosegg around the circle: Olivia Horton as Madeleine, Blake DeLong as Anthony and Christian Conn as Lucien, in “Tiny Dynamite” at 59E59 Theaters.

Lucien (Christian Conn) is a cautious man. His best friend from childhood, Anthony (Blake DeLong) lives an untamed existence. Once a year, Lucien brings Anthony to a cabin by the lake for a summer vacation. This idyl inevitably stirs memories of a woman they both loved. Madeleine (Olivia Horton) enlivens and complicates their relationship.

While the acting rivets the attention, this slight story lacks the intensity to explode in the imagination as a full-blown adventure. It diverts with anecdotes of catastrophes and fatality, without drawing a complete picture of either miracle or just happenstance. As Anthony puts it “if there’s no cause, I’d say that it was a freak fucking accident.”

Visit www.59e59.org to get a schedule of performance. To find out more about the presenter, the Origin Theatre Company, please visit www.origintheatre.org.