Happy Nymphs and Happy Swains

The final tableau of Mark Morris's Acis and Galatea. Photo by Richard Termine for Lincoln Center.
The final tableau of Mark Morris’s Acis and Galatea. Photo by Richard Termine for Lincoln Center.

As part of the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Mark Morris Dance Group is performing Morris’s production of Handel’s opera “Acis and Galatea,” in which dancers and singers share the same sylvan world onstage. In the pit, Nicholas McGegan conducts the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale. Here’s my review of last night’s performance, for DanceTabs.

A short excerpt:

“Unlike his Dido and Aeneas (1989) and L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (1988), in Acis Morris places the four soloists…onstage among the dancers. The chorus is down below, with the players. (Morris also took this approach in his delightfully zany staging of Purcell’s King Arthur, staged at New York City Opera in 2008.) Here, the singers and dancers share the same world, in relative harmony.”

And a couple of images from the production:


No Place Like Home

Tom Pecinka in The Soldier’s Tale. Photo by Dana Astmann.
Tom Pecinka in The Soldier’s Tale. Photo by Dana Astmann.

The Yale departments of drama and music and “Yale in New York” teamed up for a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat at Zankel Hall, a bitter story that perfectly captures the hopelessness felt in Europe after the end of the First World War. Stravinsky was eking out a meager existence at the time (1918), separated from his former life and his bank accounts by war and revolution. He turned to a format he know from his childhood, the fairground theatrical, creating a lean, acidic little story. What’s surprising is how timely it still feels. The Yale players performed it well; the new choreography, by Emily Coates, was well-suited to the tale, and the young actors flung themselves into the tricky, folk-inflected steps. You can read my review for DanceTabs here.


Mark Morris’s “L’Allegro” Returns

Lauren Grant and Maile Okamura in Mark Morris's "L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato." Photo by Kevin Yatarola.
Lauren Grant and Maile Okamura in Mark Morris’s “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.” Photo by Kevin Yatarola.

As part of the spiritually-minded “White Light” festival at Lincoln Center, the Mark Morris Dance Group is performing Morris’s L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato, from 1988. The ebullient work is spiritual in the best sense: it lifts the spirit. Made in the first year of the company’s residence at La Monnaie opera house in Brussels, it reflects the choreographer’s delight at the resources at his command: a spacious stage, singers, full orchestra, endless rehearsal time. Twenty-five years later, it still feels fresh. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

And a short excerpt: “Throughout the piece, the mood and focus shifts from darkness to light, from the joys of nature to the hubbub of urban life, from animal instinct to human folly, architecture to philosophy. In one of the dance’s most blissful passages, set to the poem “As Steals the Morn Upon the Night,” ribbons of dancers trace lines across the stage….The rhythm of their motion remains steady. We feel implicated in the dance.”

Onward, Ballet

Ashley Laracey and Taylor Stanley in Troy Schumacher's "Warehouse Under the Hudson"
Ashley Laracey and Taylor Stanley in Troy Schumacher’s “Warehouse Under the Hudson”

After a little hiatus, here’s my first review of the pre-season, for DanceTabs. It’s a roundup of the second half of the so-called “Ballet v6.0 Festival,” a showcase of young choreographers working outside of the large ballet institutions (presented by the Joyce Theatre).  I caught the work of three choreographers: Olivier Wevers, Troy Schumacher, and Jessica Lang. Been wondering what the up-and-coming generation of ballet choreographers is up to? Well, here’s a peek.

A short excerpt: “There are lingering questions in people’s minds about ballet’s validity. Mainly, these tend to focus on the academicism of its forms, on the question of what is suitable content for dance, and, inevitably, on the stark gender division implied by the pointe shoe. What are the ethics and esthetics of dancing on pointe in 2013?”
I welcome comments, complaints, corrections, in fact reactions of any kind.