Posted in ballet, dance, dance making, favorites, modern American dance, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

Partiality

RedShoesPage_facing_218_of_Andersen's_fairy_tales_(Robinson)
By Robinson, W. Heath (William Heath), 1872-1944 (illustrator) – Copy at New York Public Library, scanned by nicole deyo, obtained from http://www.archive.org/details/hansandersensfai00andeCrop, little or no corrections, needs it., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16274672

Playing favorites gets a bad rep. In fact, it’s a parental rule that moms love all their children equally. Every mother knows that this is hooey; there is always one who stands a little closer to the heart.

My connection to New York City Ballet (@nycballet) goes back many years to the company’s residency at City Center. Over the half-century plus that I have been partial to NYCB, I have had many favorite dancers.

Among the current crop of primas, Sara Mearns is a stand-out favorite. This in no way diminishes the rest of the NYCB troupe who all delight and dazzle. I often find myself loving best the one who is near, as Ado Annie might; I like the NYCballet.

Nonetheless, on my Mearns watch, I find myself fortunate enough to have tickets for one of her performances of the new Bourne (music by Bernard Hermann) ballet, The Red Shoes at City Center starting October 26th. (This time, we will not be sitting in that very last row from which I saw so many of Balanchine’s dancers dance his dances long ago.)

Matthew Bourne has come out of his career catnap to produce his first dance in four years. The Red Shoes, based on the movie that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, is the ultimate dancers’ story. It is also a caveat against overreaching. I can’t wait to see La Mearns in the title role of Victoria Page.

In March, as has been mentioned in these pages, Sara Mearns channels Isadora Duncan for the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance company. There’s something else to look forward to seeing.


George Balanchine, like Paul Taylor, was a catholic balletmaker, finding the arcane in the ordinary. An “All Balanchine” program at NYCB can range over a wide field, landing here in an utterly classical mode, there in the folkloric.

The one we just witnessed included La Valse, in which Sara Mearns was seduced by death (Amar Ramasar, another beloved NYCB Principal) while her original partner, Tyler Angle, is dejected and dismayed.

Robert Fairchild, in his penultimate performance with NYCB, danced Duo Concertant with Sterling Hyltin. The dance is one of Balanchine’s so-called black and white ballets, set to music for piano and violin written by his friend Igor Stravinsky. It is a sad and luxurious work.

Two of the pieces on the program blended classical with the quotidienne. Square Dance is elegant, and forthright, a very striking and simple ballet, with a hint of the folk dance of its title. Cortege Hongrois, on the other hand, is elaborate. It uses a populist vernacular, blending the czardas with processionals.


La Valse and Duo Concertant are over for now, as is of course the opportunity to catch Robert Fairchild as a New York City Ballet Principal Dancer.

You will be able to catch Cortege Hongrois again on a program this winter. Square Dance will be on another one as well.


New and upcoming favorites in the NYCBallet Company appear with each new season. Peter Walker and Lauren Lovette are dancer-choreographers who are classically trained with next gen sensibilities. We are the witnesses to a company that is full of life, and movement, and is always moving forward. Lucky us.


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Posted in dance, dance making, modern dance meets ballet, New York City Ballet

Fire and passion

The passion in the Tango exucdes a sexual energy fuelled by an undercurrent of violence. That is inherent to the dance, and as interpreted by Alexei Ratmasky in “Odessa” (part of the @nycballet repertory) the culturally condoned thuggishness has a distinct and distinguishing beauty.

The slaps exchanged, the hair dragged in Ratmansky’s ballet is par for the Tango’s course. The preening posture of the men in the dance and the domestic disturbances on stage in no way undermines the elegance of the piece.

Costumed by Keso Dekker, the male dancers exhibit a kind of gangster chic, while the women bear an haute peasant look.  Leonid Desyatnikov;s score evokes a Russian moment in which the underworld is exotic.

Justin Peck, NYCB principal and Choreographer in Residence, exhibits the youthful exuberance appropriate to his generation. This exuberance is brilliantly on display in “The Times Are Racing.”

Am I reading a political statement into the piece? Do the dancers wear T-shirts that say
DEFY, SHOUT, PROTEST, ACT? The music by Dan Deacon, not familiar to my years, is energizing. Standing out among the 20 brilliant dancers is Indiana Woodward, but the entire cast are wonderful.

 

Posted in modern dance meets ballet, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Sara Mearns

Meant to be

308px-Isadora_Duncan_(grayscale)
By Arnold Genthe (1869–1942) – Library of Congresshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Isadora_duncan.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=443628

Any true fan can see the possibility, but it took Paul Taylor and Lori Bellilove to realize it.

Sara Mearns, the New York City Ballet prima, and a favorite dancer of mine, will embody Isadora Duncan in the PTAMD spring season this coming March at Lincoln Center.  Her performance as Isadora Duncan had a sold out run in June at the Joyce.

What Taylor has envisioned is a reconstruction of works that Isadora Duncan performed, with the choreography reimagined by  by The Isadora Duncan Dance Company Artistic Director, Lori Bellilove. The program will be performed  during the 2018 Season of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance.

Duncan is being celebrated for her role as a pioneer of modern dance, a mission Taylor has taken very much to heart. Her influence was vast, with ballet makers like Sergei Diaghilev saying she was a “kindred spirit,” and artists across various disciplines seeing her as a visionary. John Dos Passos wrote that “Art was whatever Isadora d

Ms. Mearns is tall, elegant, and as befits a ballerina, graceful. More than all of that she is a skilled actress.She has always taken on roles, acting out the impulses of her art. Her role in the Peter Martins ballet-meets-modern Barber Violin Concerto may have been preparation. Or perhaps she needed no prior reference– just her natural talents– to become Isadora.

For more information on PTAMD, please visit their site. Tickets for the 2018 season are not yet available.

 

Posted in dance, modern American dance, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

The magic that is a Paul Taylor Dance

 

Each year, Paul Taylor brings us two new works he has created. Now, with his newish company mandate that Paul Taylor American Modern Dance celebrate and archive the modern dance medium, his company also dances new works by contemporary choreographers and also presents and preserves pieces from the historical repertory.

Paul Taylor’s The Word is a piece we have only caught once before. On the penultimate matinee of this season, it was presented along with Book of Beasts, as well as the elegant and dancerly Cascade, a work that Taylor created in 1999.

Book of Beasts (1971) is full of fantastical creatures. It is scored in 9 parts, to the music of Schubert, Weber, Saint-Saëns, Beethoven, Mozart, as well as Boccherini, Falla and Tchikovsky, all played with zest on a pedal harpsichord (recorded by E. Power Biggs.) John Rawlings raucous costumes conspire the Taylor’s mood of happy-go-lucky menace in this piece. The Word shares this mood of cheerful malevolence.

Do I look for too much meaning in the amusing patterns of the dance? Perhaps, but this is what I find: In The Word, there appears to be some zealotry with a bracing chaser in the form of a woman, who may or may not be Eve. The religious scholars are not in a garden like Eden, but they worship and genuflect.

On the matinee on Sunday, March 25th, is Taylor’s Brandenburgs, a dance that adds depth to the Bach score it inhabit. It will also feature the delicious Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) and his new The Open Door.

 

Posted in dance, dance making, Lincoln Center, modern American dance, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

There will be dancing…

2.Images 1
Paul Taylor dancers by Paul B, Goode

@nycballet

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.

Enter @PaulTaylorDanceCompany

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.

Promethean_rep1-300x168
Promethan Fire Photo by Paul B. Goode

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.

Posted in avant garde, ballet, balletic, interdisciplanary art works, modern American dance, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet

On the cutting edge

BodyStories - HOME Photos by Jaqlin Medlock
BodyStories – HOME Photos by Jaqlin Medlock

“Newness” is how art rolls. New ideas, new constructs, new combination of steps give audiences something to think about and admire. New is the very definition of avant-garde, and as there is a new modern each era, we are now presented with newer works of the avant-garde.

In the case of Satellite Collective, interdisciplinary artists, performing this weekend, June 10th through 12th, at the 92Y’s Buttenwieser Hall, a vibrant group of young and emerging artists from the NYCB, Alvin Ailey, Julliard and the indie music and video scenes present four original works of contemporary ballet, dance, short film and live original music.

filename: “SATELLITECOLLECTIVEa” photo credit: Lora Robertson Marika Anderson and Lauren King, New York City Ballet, “Weimar” styling and concept by Lora Robertson, Kevin Draper, Marika Anderson, Lauren King
filename: “SATELLITECOLLECTIVEa” photo credit: Lora Robertson Marika Anderson and Lauren King, New York City Ballet, “Weimar” styling and concept by Lora Robertson, Kevin Draper, Marika Anderson, Lauren King

Their dynamic new works premiere as part of 92Y’s Dig Dance: Weekend Series. Satellite Collective’s new season offers a new paradigm of collaboration. The program includes
post-classical music by two composers, ballet and modern dance works by two choreographers, a new short film featuring two ballerinas, and a spoken work with two poets.

An established name in American dance, Pascal Rioult offers some of his finest dances when RIOULT Dance NY, a company with a classic sensibility and modern technique, returns to The Joyce Theater from June 21-26, 2016 for eight performances featuring World and New York City premieres. Kathleen Turner joins RIOULT Dance NY as narrator for the June 21st, 23rd and 25th (eve) performances.

Chris Haines-Photo by Erin Baiano, RIOULT DanceNY
Chris Haines-Photo by Erin Baiano, RIOULT DanceNY

The World premiere of Cassandra’s Curse,set to live music, headlines the Women on the Edge program. Women on the Edge examines the role, and strength, of women in times of conflict. The second program is distinguished by the New York City premiere of Polymorphous, a piece exploring the subjectivity of perception through movement and technology.

More collaboration is in store for us with HOME, presented by  BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance and Bryn Cohn + Artists (BC+A) at Gibney Dance Center NYC, from June 16th through 18th. HOME draws upon both the ritualistic and traditional to illuminate
the concept of home through the interpersonal, the environmental, and the shared
understanding.

Posted in dance, Larry Keigwin premiere, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

Welcoming the newest dance to the family

A new Paul Taylor American Modern Dance season also means a new dance or two or, this year, four. Two are the creation of Paul Taylor , bringing his oeuvre to 144, and two are by choreographers he has commissioned. These collaborations in keeping modern dance vibrant are part of the PTAMD mandate.

Promethan Fire also on the Gala rep. Photo by Paul B. Goode
Promethan Fire also on the Gala rep. Photo by Paul B. Goode

Paul Taylor Dance Company sprung into its New York season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on March 15th. It will stay through the April 3rd matinee. During this season, also in keeping with the mandate to hono, celebrate and preserve modern dance, PTAMD is presenting Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels and Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will perform McKayle’s 20th Century masterpiece.

At the Gala last evening, Paul Taylor’s 143rd dance, Sullivaniana got its first New York showing. The guest choreographers in the Taylor Company Commissions initiative for the season are Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkin. Keigwin’s work Rush Hour received its world premiere last night, also danced by PTDC. The dancing was accompanied by live music from the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Donald York’s baton in the Keigwin piece and Sullivaniana was conducted by Tong Chen.

Sullivaniana, by the way, was danced to Sir Arthur Sullivan’s overtures from Iolanthe, Pirates of Penzance and Patience.  With the ladies costumed as music hall dancers in high heels and colorful frocks, and the gents attired in equally colorful window-pane suits appropriate to the mid to late 1800’s by Santo Loquasto who also designed a set to look like a music hall stage for the piece, Sullivaniana is alive with duets. At one point, Taylor brings all ten of the cast together under Sullivan’s “Hail hail, the gang’s all here;” at another they miss each other entirely as they pass on the stage. As is usual in a Taylor work, there is plenty of wit in Sullivaniana.

While the Sullivaniana cast are clad in vaudevillian trappings, those in Rush Hour wear haute workout gear (by Fritz Masten) and run about barefoot. The 16 dancers occupying the space, often act in pairs, mimicking each other’s moves.  Rush Hour is a mixture of austere and lively, with music composed for the Keigwin piece by Adam Crystal that alternates speedy passages with leisurely ones; it’s as if once the action is slowed down, it refires again. Our only other experience of Larry Keigwin was in a Fall For Dance program years ago; a couple of more viewings of Rush Hour should help solidify impressions.

For more information on the spring season of Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, please visit the LC website.