Thanks to a CNN morning briefing, I am listening to this #confinement_orchestra playing Ravel’s Bolero. It is as enspiriting as ever. perhaps a bit more uplifting in the current circumstances:
Arts organizations everywhere are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis it brings into our lives. Lincoln Center responded with much needed programming for kids at Lincoln Center At Home. They are also showing a Hip Hop Dance Workshop and many other enticements and delights.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem, a troupe that always did lift my spirits, is offering a Ballet Barre class today on Instagram:
So much more of this kind of endeavor to stay #AloneTogether is out there for us to stay active and engaged, connected and happier. Cheers!
And in today’s in-box, April 10th, from one of the actors whose performances always pleased:
My intro to the NYCB Working Rehearsal included a docent telling us that one of the things she enjoyed about watching the dancers rehearse was that they reveal their personalities in the banter on the stage. In thinking about this, I realized that what I like to see on stage is a persona, not a personality.
In this case, I witnessed, among other things, Robert Fairchild‘s easy charm (and of course those matinée idol looks I have often mentioned before) which has landed him on Broadway in the past. (And also in Paris and London where An American In Paris had its try-outs, as it were, pre-Palace Theatre in New York.) Fairchild is funny and always
very polite, which belies his perfectionism. He is completely professional and engaged in his dancing. His patter with Sterling Hyltin while waiting for the violinist, Arturo Delmoni was an agreeable look at his more private side, but what I expect to see in his penultimate performance as a Principal Dancer for NYCB at the Saturday matinée tomorrow is his absorption into the role in Duo Concertante. In other words, I will be mesmerized by the persona he projects, not the witty personality he clearly possesses. (Note, he reprises this role at the Sunday matinée.)
Not so hasty. We’re still here.
Rumors that the Big Apple Circus had folded its tent for good appear to have been premature.
It may be that the demise of the multi-tent Barnum + Bailey makes this a winning holiday destination, and the only circus in town.
The Big Apple’s one ring approach was always a more kid-friendly way to present the events on this kind of stage anyway. Who can keep up with all the action in three rings?
On Thursday, The Big Apple was setting up for a late October opening at L.C. Its wagon were in the familiar place by Damrosch Park.
Note to the storekeeper
The poster in the window says “Love Always Wins” and the posterboard is covered in post-its meant to prove this point.
The question I want to pose is have you considered how dire the ending is for Romeo and for Juliet, for instance? They are not the only star-crossed lovers in history– or in theater, but they set the tone for all those who have been failed by your all-encompassing motto.
“Love Sometimes Wins” might be a more apt if less emphatic statement. Given the realities in many romances, the equivocal is a better way of expressing the hope that love carries and sometimes delivers.
While on the subject of romance, I want to submit my favorite type of commentary– the list. In this case, it is a list of films in which women are powerful and empowered. Some of them are romantic in the traditional sense. Some take a right or left turn around the central proposition. Other lists I have shared include those in which ballets are interconnected, and have been meant as a year-end salute.
Here’s today’s list:
A League Of Their Own, sports and girls!
Thelma and Louise, girls in cars Bull Durham, a girl–well, a woman and some ball players Moonstruck, a love affair with two brothers and a woman, a full moon, etc etc etc Alice, a woman on the edge of dementia Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, a woman finds herself
The New York City Ballet ends its winter season at Lincoln Center this weekend with what for us is a highlight. The program of Richard Rodgers inspired ballets by three disparate but compatible choreographers.
It is hard to pick a favorite from among the three, but Carousel (A Dance)gets the nod for the rearity of its performance. Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet retells the cental romance from the 1945 musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Carousel (A Dance), created in 2002, is set to “The Carousel Waltz” and “If I Loved You.”
Peter Martins’ Thou Swell and Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue on the other hand has given us the pleasure of frequent sightings. Both pieces make the most of a theatrical setting, with the Martins’ ballet using a ballroom for its home, and mingling that dance style in with ballet dance. Martins also gives us singers to accompany the nightclub mood.
George Balanchine’s ballet is a crowd-pleasing vaudeville pastiche with a little tap in the mix.
Dancing in right behind the @nycballet at the David H. Koch Theater, from March 7 through the 26th, is the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance troupe. Paul Taylor is the one of the last of the third generation of modern dance choreographers and pioneers. Taylor, born in 1930, was an original Martha Graham dancer. The New York season is an opportunity to catch up with the new works Taylor has created for his dancers, and for his audience, and to see the beloved ones of the repertory. For several years now, Taylor has incorporated the works of other dance masters in the repertoire.
The premieres this 2017 season include Taylor’s Ports of Call, and The Open Door as well as Lila York’s Continum.
On March 19th, the company has added a special program honoring the modern dance past, with performances of works by Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and a Paul Taylor. The evening, which begins at 6pm, is called Icons, and features the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Graham’s Diversion of Angels from 1948 and Paul Taylor’s Promethean Fire from 2002, and presents guest artists from France’s Lyon Opera Ballet, Artistic Director Yorgos Loukos, in Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace from 1958.
Paul Taylor American Modern Dance is local, with headquarters in downtown NYC, and this year they are featuring an opportunity for fans to win a $500 Amazon gift card by sharing their New York love. For your chance to win in the We Live Here, Why Do You? contest, get an entry form and visit the company FB page.
Michelle Fleet and Robert Kleinendorst in “A Field of Grass” choreograhped by Paul Taylor, set to songs by Harry Nilsson with costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighing by Jennifer Tipton. First performed in 1993. Photo by Paul B. Goode
It’s spring– at least it is a Paul Taylor Dance Company spring. The weather outside the David H. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center, where the season lasts from March 11th through 30th, may still be iffy, but you can count on the warmth and good humor of PTDC to welcome you once inside.
Poster for “Airs” by Paul B. Goode.
Paul Taylor’s vision is often edgy and a bit cockeyed, but it is always intelligent and interesting. For Paul Taylor, dance is social commentary or sometimes just social observation. He is often caustic, sometimes pointedly so, sometimes more genially. Paul Taylor sets the ordinary askew in his little jewels of invention. His sharp insight into the human condition was well on display in the weekend programs we saw.
“Gossamer Gallants” took a place as a favorite when it first presented in 2011. This weekend, it had competition from a new work, that is new to me, “A Field of Grass,” first performed in 1993. In the interests of transparency, it is important to reveal that this reviewer has many favorites in the PTDC repertoire– from “Company B” to the transcendent “Aureole,” and on and on. “A Field of Grass” just happens to be a proximate fave.
Photo by Tom Caravaglia.
Leading a hippie circle– yes it is that kind of grass– that includes the outstanding Michelle Fleet, Robert Kleinendorst goes from joy to a little bit of a bummer and back again in “A Field of Grass.” The lively songs of Harry Nilsson accompany the ensemble, which on this occasion also included the splendid Aileen Roehl, Sean Mahoney, Francisco Graciano, Heather McGinley and Christina Lynch Markham.
Photo by Paul B. Goode
For “Sunset,” set to Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Elegy for Strings, the mood is appropriately more elegiac. The cast puts aside its bell bottoms (designed by santo Loquasto for “A Field of Grass”) and trades them in for shirtwaists and crisp khakis (set and costumes designed by Alex Katz.) Both dances are more balletic than we’ve come to expect from Paul Taylor, and very beautiful to watch. In “Sunset,” the men’s movements have a Gene Kelly quality.
Photo by Paul B. Goode
“Airs,” a classic out of the PTDC repertoire first performed in 1978, is danced to Handel. It’s formality is belied by the the short gowns and leotards worn by the men and their bare chests (costumes by Gene Moore.) On the same bill, “Dust,” set to Francis Poulenc’s Concert Champetre, is amusing and lively, but the pièce de résistance on this day’s program is “Piazzolla Caldera” (1997).
“Piazzolla Caldera” breaks down the tango. There is the tango for one, a solo that seems impossibly sad in the context of this very sexy dance. A same sex tango relies heavily on horseplay and a tango a trois plays up the aggression that is also germaine to the genre.The music is by Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshaky with costumes by Santo Loquasto.
Going forward into the searon, you can see “Gossamer Gallants” on March 22nd at 8pm with “Sunset” and on March 29th at 2pm with other works. “Piazzolla Caldera” reappears on March 21st at 8pm, and with “Dust” on March 30th at 6pm. “A Field of Grass” is on the program on March 26th at 6pm. and “Airs” repeats on the March 29th performance at 8pm.