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Peter and the Wolf

Peter (Macy Sullivan) in Peter and the Wolf. © Jacklyn Meduga.
Peter (Macy Sullivan) in Peter and the Wolf.
© Jacklyn Meduga.

Once again, Works and Process is putting on Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. This year’s show is more elaborate than previous incarnations, with a full staging by Isaac Mizrahi, and choreography by John Heginbotham (formerly of the Mark Morris Dance Group). Mizrahi has put together quite a cast, including his friends Maira Kalman as the duck, and Gus Solomons, Jr. as the Grandfather.

Here’s my review, for DaneTabs.

And a short excerpt:

“But – and here lies its lasting power – it doesn’t talk down to its audience, musically or dramatically. The harsh realities of life are not papered over with saccharine melodies or unrealistically happy endings. The duck dies as a result of her foolishness. Near the end, we are reminded of her plight as we hear her unhappy quacking in the wolf’s belly. And Peter is told, rightly, that he, too, could have died.”

Nutcracker Érotique

Laura Careless as Marie-Claire and Marisol Cabrera in Nutcracker Rouge. Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand.
Laura Careless as Marie-Claire and Marisol Cabrera in Nutcracker Rouge. Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand.

Last week, I saw Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge, at the Minetta Lane Theatre, and found it to be a rather good show: sexy, imaginative, and great to look at. Here’s my review for DanceTabs.

And a short excerpt:

“I’ll bet this is not the first Nutcracker érotique, but it certainly makes a persuasive argument for the genre. This is partly due to the esthetics of the show – part Marquis de Sade, part cabaret, part drag show – , so beautifully executed by Zane Pihlstrom, the company’s resident designer. Baroque costume, with its panniers, ribbons and delicately-curved heeled shoes (for men and women), lends itself particularly well to the decadent esthetics of burlesque. The corsets are so flattering, and there are so many layers to remove, so much to reveal underneath.”

Mark Morris–Plainspoken Poet

Mark Morris at Ojai.
Mark Morris at Ojai.

I spent several months last year working on a profile about the choreographer Mark Morris for The Nation, interviewing current and former dancers, collaborators, and of course Morris himself. The greatest pleasure for me, was attending the Ojai Music Festival, where Morris had been invited to curate the musical offerings. (He is the first choreographer to be asked.) As everyone knows, he has a very musical mind, and his choices for the festival, grouped around the figure of Lou Harrison and the theme of “Western composers,” were eclectic, eye-opening, sometimes infuriating, and often quite thrilling. His next big project is a staging of the Handel opera Acis and Galatea in 2014.

Here is a link to the profile. And a short excerpt: “Morris is looking very pleased with himself, in rumpled cargo shorts, a red polo shirt, matching red socks and Franciscan-style sandals. With his broad chest and even broader belly, a scraggly beard, leonine head of graying hair and gleaming greenish eyes, he looks like a Welsh poet, a mischievous Buddha, a disheveled and possibly disreputable emperor….Something about the arrangement of his limbs as he perches on a stool—the extreme angle of his knees, perhaps—reveals the uncanny flexibility of a former dancer. “I was a fabulously good dancer,” he tells me later, and it’s true, too. I’ve seen the tapes.”

 

http://www.thenation.com/article/177447/plainspoken-mark-morris

Deep Song

The members of Noche Flamenca. Photo by Rachel Roberts.
The members of Noche Flamenca. Photo by Rachel Roberts.

This week and next, Noche Flamenca, New York’s reigning flamenco troupe, is back at the Joyce. The group specializes in a stripped-down performance style that brings us as close as possible to the atmosphere of the tablao, or nightclub. No fancy concepts or heavy-handed production values. Soledad Barrio, who leads the group, is an extraordinary performer. Her specialty is the stately, smoldering siguiriya, which she performs with enormous intensity at each show. Here is my review for DanceTabs.

And a short excerpt:

“Similarly, Barrio’s siguiriya, which followed, strayed into the twilight realms of the unknown, best left un-analyzed. Barrio’s slow, majestic strides gave way to clean, fast, nervous zapateo. As she clutched at her elegant, black silk dress, shaking it wildly, this compact, tight-faced woman looked enlarged by an inner force, and beauteous. Her expression was plain but electrified, as if she’d seen a ghost. At one point, she chewed at the air, as if to get a bitter taste out of her mouth; at another, she stalked toward one of the singers, her advance so intimidating that the singer sat down in her chair.”

Flamenco Nation

+ Click on image to enlarge. The flamenco dancer Carmencita photographed by B. J. Falk, circa 1890.
+ Click on image to enlarge.
The flamenco dancer Carmencita photographed by B. J. Falk, circa 1890.

I wrote this short piece about the flamenco exhibit at the New York Public Library for Humanities Magazine last summer.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“Despite his Spanish name and dark good looks, Greco was born in Italy and grew up in Brooklyn. Like many other dancers in the show, he often crossed over into the arena of less-than-authentic Spanish dance. The pursuit of “purity,” a slippery concept when discussing a dance form that is itself a hybrid of gypsy, Arab, and Spanish folk elements, did not become a burning issue until the irruption of Amaya’s fiery, “unschooled” style. The impresario Sol Hurok called her ‘the human Vesuvius.'”