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.


Posted in modern American dance, modern dance, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Uncategorized

Jumping for Joy

The rites of spring tend to be worshipful of renewal, resumption and continuation. We are grateful to have as one of those rites, the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance spring at Lincoln Center.

1TrusanvoecGoodePrintempsLe Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) was on the bill for the centenial of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky collaboration in February 2013 when we last saw it.

It is an homage in the Paul Taylor mode, created as an operatic rendering of a Keystone- Kops-and-Krooks silent film. Paul Taylor playfully references the Nijinsky production for Diaghiliev’s Ballets Russe which caused a near riot for the brutality it displayed.

Company B 1The Taylor version of Le Sacre… (The Rite of Spring) is for two pianos, and the dancers’ moves follow the urgency in the musical score with a very serious levity. 

Songs from an era, like the ones used in Taylor’s Company B, set a mood and place for a given dance number. (BTW You can catch our personal all time favorite Taylor piece on March 16th and 23rd at 7p.m.)

In Black TuesdayPaul Taylor kicks-off his dance piece about the Great Depression and its propellant great market crash with songs from the era. The Kennedy Center took a lead in commissioning this work from 2001, which is set to recorded versions of tunes like Irving Berlin’s “Slummin’ On Park Avenue,” and the better known Yip Harburg lyric “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.”

The Weight of Smoke 1Paul Taylor renamed his dance enterprise as Paul Taylor American Modern Dance to fulfill dual objectives. On the one hand, the company aims to preserve and reincarnate classic pieces from the modern dance repertory and thus to keep them alive.

On the other, it commissions the creation of new works for that same repertory.

Doug Elkins received one such commission in 2016. The result is that he has choreographed The Weight of Smoke with and on the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Such collaboration is at the essence of what modern dance intends as a genre.

For a full schedule of the remaining performances in this 2017 Taylor Spring, please visit the Lincoln Center website.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in dance, dance making, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

Pure and simple

Promethean_rep1-300x168
Promethan FirePhoto by Paul B. Goode

An Appreciation

Paul Taylor has an “inquiring minds” approach to dancemaking, and I surmise from readings in his essays, the same ecleticism in his life.

Paul Taylor American Modern Dance

In his dances we benefit from exposure to Taylor’s far-flung tastes and ideas. The wide range of his imagination excites and entices.

Often multiple viewings yield deeper and deepter understandings. His dance seems so simple and pure. Its complexity is incrementally revealed.

Sometimes it runs to the Gothic and lurid, as in Big Bertha or Promethan Fire or The Word. Sometimes a pleasing surface hides an undercurrent of pain or sadness, like Company B. Some works are an homage, like Le Sacre du Printemps… or To Make Crops Grow. There are memories from a long life, like  Danbury Mix or Esplanade or Sea Lark.

The New York Season Begins

When you’ve dug into the canon and feel sated, Paul Taylor presents you with a new and nourishing gem. He is prolific. Each season brings another work. One year, it was American Dreamer (2013), another Death and the Damsel (2015). This season, it’s The Open Door and Ports of Call. The latter is a World Premiere with its first showing on March 8th, and the former has been introduced elsewhere but will make its New York bow at the Gala on March 9th.

The pleasures of discovery await. The Lincoln Center season begins March 7th and runs through the 26th.

Be prepared to be astonished, delighted and enlightened.

 

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 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

Don’t say a word

In ballet, actually in all dance, actions really do speak louder than words.

Edgar Degas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Edgar Degas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What exposition–i.e. story ballets– there is is spelled out in movement. There will be no exclamation of rights and wrongs; no one will make a declaration of love. At least not in so many words.

By Otria (Own work My library collection) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Otria (Own work My library collection) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
There may be a sudden gambol, a leap, a plié, a grand jeté, a dip, a swirl, but no one will burst into song or speeches.

The quiet, except for music, and in the case of the New York City Ballet–always live music, is contemplative. We are mesmerized by the movement, and immersed in the excitement of motion.

Live music is also featured at Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, starting its spring New York season at the David H. Koch on March 16th (through April 3rd.) Leaping–almost flying through air– is de rigeur for the PTAMD.

Dance is action. It is dramatic, dynamic and animated.

We are witnesses to the buoyancy, exuberance and vivacity of the dancers. While we are watching them, the dance is all we need to know, to hear.

This just in from PTAMD:

March 15, 2016, at 7pm has been added to the New York season, and every seat at the David H. Koch Theater for PTAMD’s kickoff night is priced at just $5. The featured dances are Mercuric Tidings (1982), Dilly Dilly (2016), and Esplanade (1975). March 15 tickets will go on sale on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. If you miss this opportunity for a gift of dance, there will still be tickets for the rest of the season as low as $10. On the other hand, tickets for the gala on March 16th are still available at $1000, $2500, or $5000.

Posted in avant garde, dance, love story, theater

Romance and Dance Just Around the Bend

Love is eccentric. It often erupts in or from unresolved disagreements and conflicts.

Some “lessons” about the messy nature of romance were witnessed first-hand by author Ellen Maddow in her role as a mediator in Brooklyn Civil Court.

Maddow applies what she learned to create the chaotic music-filled comedy, Burnished by Grief-A Romantic Comedy, at La MaMa’s first floor theater from January 22–February 7,  in which she investigates the symphonic beauty of cramped New York City life.

Burnished by Grief, written and composed by Maddow and directed by Paul Zimet, partners since 1974 in the Talking Band,  one of the city’s foremost avant-garde theaters.   La MaMa joins with Talking Band to present the world premiere of Burnished by Grief, an offbeat and disturbing romantic comedy.

DRUNKThe creative team—including Anna Kiraly (Set and Video Designer), Kiki Smith (Costume Designer), Lenore Doxsee (Lighting Designer), and Tim Schellenbaum (Sound Design) – will transform LaMaMa’s First Floor Theater into a prismatic and halucinatory Brooklyn with a backyard surrounded by peering neighbors and stationery bikes in the midst of the disarray of a traffic island.

Visit www.lamama.org to find out more about Burnished by Grief.

Love is a form of intoxication for some. LABAlive presents Drunkan Evening of Wine, Jewish Text Study, Art, Music, Theater and Imbibing at the 14th Street Y on January 21, explores the more traditional kinds of inebriation. LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture presents this event in which wine is paired with scriptural text.

To find out more about LABA and Drunk, visit http://www.labajournal.com/drunk.

There are additional January off-Broadway “treats” at http://wp.me/p5jq0w-FA

Sometimes love and art marry. Bob Fosse, for instance, was not just influenced by Jack Cole, the legendary “inventor” of the theatrical jazz style of which Fosse, along with Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey, and Gower Champion, was a practitioner, he also married Cole’s assistant, Gwen Verdon.

From January 20 through February 4, MOMA presents a film (series) tribute to Jack Cole, All That Jack (Cole). Cole’s style of dance–combining elements from ethnic, ballet and popular dance idioms– is what we have come to  expect on stage and screen.

For a schedule, please visit the MOMA calendar.

Speaking of dance… and dance on film:

Movies by Movers will merge with The American Dance Festival’s International Screendance Festival to become ADF’s Movies by Movers. Directed by Cara
Hagan, ADF’s Movies by Movers will be a festival dedicated to the exploration and celebration of human movement in film and digital media. The festival will hold screenings in Durham, NC during ADF’s season and in Boone, NC in September.

 

Teach your children well:

Exposure to dance performances can be a formative experience for youngsters.

A new initiative by Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance (PTAMD) called the Tier 3: Arnhold Dance Education and Audience Development Initiative is a free program introducing New York City students K-12 to modern dance.  After its success as a pilot program last year, Tier 3 will invite New York City teachers, administrators, principals, students, and parents joined PTAMD to experience great works of modern dance at the highest standard of excellence—performed by amazing dancers, with live music, at one of the world’s greatest dance venues, free of charge to PTAMD’s annual New York Season at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in March.

Tier 3 will also make available a customized Study Guide that contains primary source material, critical thought provokers, and links to video documentation and will give teachers an opportunity to attend a Professional Development workshop to deepen their understanding of the modern dance genre so they can maximize the benefits of the performance component when following up in their classrooms.

About the (PTAMD) Spring season:
Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance opens its annual Season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, on March 16. (It runs through April 3.)

The prolific Paul Taylor presents his 143rd dance, Sullivaniana, and his 144th work, Dilly Dilly this spring.

Taylor Company Commissions, initiative Paul Taylor has undertaken to ensure that the vitality of modern dance continues, will feature commissioned world premieres of dances by Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkins.

To honor the Martha Graham Company’s 90th Anniversary, Paul Taylor chose to present her Diversion of Angels during the seven seasons he danced with the Martha Graham company beginning in 1955. Helping him oversee the production, to be staged by Blakeley White-McGuire and Tadej Brdnik, will be Linda Hodes, Taylor’s partner in Diversion of Angels. and who was the founding Director of Taylor 2 in 1993.

Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder, Donald McKayle’s 1959 signature work, depicting workers on a chain-gang, is another historical masterpiece that will be on the Season’s programs; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will perform.

Music will be performed live by the renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by long-time Taylor Music Director, Donald York.

To learn more about the PTAMD New York Season, please visit http://ptamd.org/LC2016/