Posted in ballet, New York City Ballet

The red and the black

Ballet, and I guess, all forms of dance, has always had the effect of transporting me.

In one piece on the program the other day at the New York City Ballet, Peter Martins’ choreography to Stravinsky’s propellant Jeu De Cartes took me away in a most pleasing riot of jumps and jetés. Diamonds, spades, hearts and clubs were displayed in spirited combinations; there were knaves and face-cards acting in harmony. The Queen and her cavalier dresses in kitschy abandon by costume designer Ian Falconer pranced happily to the stirring melody.

This was just the first of five transportive moments that afternoon. And one of the most original and electrifying was Peter Walker’s ten in seven. This is a dancework we had seen before, and were looking forward to with delight. It was even more splendid on a second watching. ten in seven, with a guitar-led band on an on-stage bandstand, and 5 coupled dancers is electrifying. That guitarist leading the band is Thomas Kitka, who also wrote the commissioned score.

Equally intoxicating is Alexei Ratmansky’s new Odessa. Ratmansky reponds to the eclectic styles in the score with fire. The costumes by Keso Dekker are splendid. In the dance, when passion meets brutality, I wanted to be the one to alert the police. In fact every aspect of Odessa, which premiered on May 4th, feels as if it is energized by Leonid Desyatnikov’s music, Sketches to Sunset from 2006.

Lauren Lovette’s For Clara left us with wanting more when last we saw it. This viewing was no different except that the lovely piece, set to music by Robert Schumann, was even more admirable.  Ms. Lovette has succumbed to romantic impulses with great subtlety, and in the most charming of ways.

New York City Ballet’s resident choreographers are always a talented and innovative bunch. When Christopher Wheeldon filled that role, he quickly became our favorite. Fashions come and go, but we still thrill to his works, like Carousel: A Dance, which we never see often enough. After the Rain is another such, and it gets better with repeated exposure. On this occassion, it was danced by Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour both of whom execute the piece with elegance and style.

Justin Peck, currently the Choreographer in Residence, got his first-ever all-Peck program recently. Two of the pieces, The Dreamers (a duet, danced by Sarah Mearns and Amar Ramasar on this occasion) and Everywhere You Go (for what looks like an entire company), both familiar, are welcome additions to the permanent repertoire. Peck has an interesting way of partnering male dancers, and lots of energy even in his sometimes dystopic moods. New Blood is an interesting new work, that will take a few viewings to absorb and analyze.

The dancers– from corps to principal–earn my unbridled admiration with ever step they take.

The spring season of NYC Ballet’s Here/Now Festival runs through May 21st and   finishing the season on May 28th with Ballanchine’s  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at their Lincoln Center home. Visit the website for information and tickets.

Posted in ballet, New York City Ballet

Zen fancies: Stay in the present

It sounds like there is some sort of Zen maxim in the name of the
New York City Ballet’s spring season. It features a festival entitled
“Here/Now.” It promotes a whooping 43 works by its extensive roster
of post-Balanchine choreographers. These include Christopher
Wheeldon, Alexis Ratmansky and young Justin Peck. Members of
the troupe, like Justin Peck, Lauren Lovette and Peter Walker, also
contribute dancepieces to the season’s repertory. We’ve witnessed
these imaginativre works each has created before this at there September
20, 2016 premieres and were very impressed.

The Spring programming begins on April 18th with a dash of Balanchine
and Robbins. Then it moves on to the Here/Now festivities and ends with
a touch of the perennial favorite, Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For more information, and to get tickets, please visit www.nycballet.com/

Posted in Daily Prompt

Live or canned?

via Daily Prompt: Record

1recordplayer
Record player

There is no evidence to the contrary, so I will state incontrovertibly that a live orchestra beats a record hands down. It may not always be practical to feature a band in your production when canned music is available. The recorded version is also inevitably easier on the budget. Some musicals tried using smaller groups and synthesizers for back-up a few years back; as I recall the union was none to happy. In truth, audiences probably also prefer the “full sound.”

I read somewhere that the New York City Ballet (@nycballet if you want to follow along on Twitter) has the luxury of an orchestra at rehearsals.  That’s nice.

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 family, family affair, holiday event, holiday fare, holiday show, theater lovers

Kid friendly

Exposing our children (or grandchildren) to theater and dance could really be a year-round endeavor. Nonetheless, many of us choose to show them the grand repertories of kid-friendly shows over the holidays.

NYCB is not alone in mounting a lavish Nutcracker from November through December, but it is a go-to for lots of parents. ABT has yet to release dates for its Nutcracker spectacle, another rousing destination for families. (Those of you in New Jersey can enjoy the American Repertory Ballet’s version.)

Another newer tradition for some people is Peter & The Wolf at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process series which kicks off in early December.Brad Lubman leads Ensemble Signal in Sergei Prokofiev’s score.  Renowned fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi narrates, directs, designs the set and costumes. Mizrahi’s special cast performs choreography by John Heginbotham, at which the familiar characters come to life in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Peter B. Lewis Theater for ten performances.

Other holiday specials are all around the town. One, at the Axis Theatre, is from the Grimm canon and starts on December 2nd. Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid written and directed by Randy Sharp is in its 15th year of production.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/87891224″>Axis Company (a Meet the Theatre film)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/tdf”>Theatre Development Fund (tdf)</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Children’s theater gets the year-long treatment at The New Victory Theater. For November in their New 42nd Street studios, the company hosts something called Paper Dreams for 2-5 year olds, and on the mainstage for an older crowd, a magic show, Jason Bishop: Straight Up Magic. New Victory productions will charm adults as much as they do  youngsters.

Symphony Space on the upper west side has a series called Just Kidding that offers all-year programming for the younger crowd. There are hootenanies and game shows, puppets, plays and all manner of story-telling for them to enjoy almost every week. For the holidays, they have Just Kidding: National Dance Institute: The Celebration Team! with 100 kids dancing on November 19th and  Puppetkabob: The Snowflake Man on December 17th among other programs. November 13th brings the LIVE Trivia show for the whole family, called the Big Family Quiz Thing.

Also check out the Theater at the 14th Y for children’s fare. This December, for a limited run, there’s Hanna and the Moonlit Dress, based on the beloved Israeli book Hanna’s Sabbath Dress by Itzhak Schweiger-Dmi’el and is adapted for the stage by Ronit Muszkatblit and Yoav Gal.

There’s so much holiday fare for you and your children but we share only a select few things here. 

Posted in dance

Attn: Dance Fans

Moscow Festival Ballet's Romeo and Juliet / Carmen
Moscow Festival Ballet’s
Romeo and Juliet / Carmen

Periapsis Music and Dance performed 6 collaborative pieces (1 musician, 1 dancer in each) in The Portrait Project in Dumbo on February 18th-19th.

You’ll find details at the Wright Wreport featuring VP.

Of course, you have already been alerted to anticipate Paul Taylor’s New York season, beginning March 16th (through April 3rd) at Lincoln Center. If you are a Taylor afficiando, you can revisit some of past year’s classics and see the new this season. If this is your first encounter, expect a spectacular array of dance pieces.

 

Catch Robert Fairchild as Jerry Mulligan (in An American in Paris) for the next 5 weeks or so, before he returns to NYCBallet for its spring season, beginning April 19th.

Meanwhile, over at the New York City Center, NYCB alum, Peter Boal brings his Pacific Northwest Ballet on February 24th for a short stay through the 27th. Represented in the two repertories are George Balanchine dances from across his long career, and works by
David Dawson, William Forsythe, and Crystal Pite, all danced to live music by the PNB Orchestra.

Also running from February 24th to 27th, New York Theatre Ballet at New York Live Art as part of the series Legends & Visionaries 2015, which includes an untitled World Premiere set to Philip Glass’ Piano Etudes choreographed by Steven Melendez and Zhong-Jing Fang.

Moscow Festival Ballet's Romeo and Juliet / Carmen
Moscow Festival Ballet’s
Romeo and Juliet / Carmen

One night only, March 5th to be exact, Moscow Festival Ballet presents a double bill of one acts on romance, Romeo and Juliet and Carmen at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. The Shakespeare is restaged by legendary Bolshoi principle dancer Elena Radchenko and set to the music of Tchaikovsky. This is followed by Alberto Alonso’s tempestuous Carmen, inspired by Bizet’s spirited and sensuous  opera.

The Miami City Ballet is at Lincoln Center from April 13th to 17th. There will be world premiere commissioned works on the large Koch stage.  Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky, Liam Scarlett, Twyla Tharp and Balanchine are on the bill.

The headline is that the New School, which opened a performing arts space on West 13th Street, has formed a College of Performing Arts under Executive Dean Richard Kessler. The program includes the Mannes School of Music, The School of Jazz at The New School, and The School of Drama, and is partnering with the Martha Graham Dance Company.

As part of that new educational collaboration between the world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company and The New School’s College of Performing Art the Martha Graham Dance Company’s 2016 New York Season, its 90th anniversary year, will be presented at New York City Center with the Mannes Orchestra, conducted by David Hayes on April 14, 15,16, and 18.

Posted in dance, musical theater

“An American in Paris” is a ballet lovers show

An American In Paris is definitely a ballet-lovers/ballet-goers musical. Don’t shortchange yourself, however. If you enjoy the musical theater, or are a fan of Gene Kelly (as …Paris star-dancer Robert Fairchild has said he is) or like the film, you will also like the musical.

As a bit of self-congratulations, and an aside, we’ve seen Fairchild this season in both Slaughter On Tenth Avenue and Who Cares? at the New York City Ballet, between his committments to the Broadway musical.

Breaker/breaker: Fairchild commented on Twitter today that he is leaving …Paris to return to @nycballet in 5 weeks. The show is scheduled to go on through July 3rd.

Our Theater Blog: TandBOnTheAisle

If it weren’t for Gene Kelly, Robert Fairchild told Dance Magazine, he would never have become a dancer. Thank you Gene Kelly! Your “American” surely inspired the one on the stage at the Palace in an open run.

3548That said, An American In Paris,A New Musical,  is an entertainment onto itself. Director-Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has created dance numbers that shine. Craig Lucas has  devised a book based on the movie, but with its own point of view.

3546Jerry Mulligan, a Lieutenant in the US Army (Fairchild) misses his transport home from Paris. He wanders around, following a girl (Lise Dassin, played by the lovely Leanne Cope) he has spotted and lands in a bar where Adam Hochberg (Brandon Uranowitz,) a fellow American ex-pat welcomes him. Adam is helping his friend, Henri Baurel (Max von Essen) rehearse a nightclub act.

WartornParisThe setting is Paris just after the war, giving Bob Crowley…

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