Wandering Man

Steven LaBrie, the baritone in Jessica Lang’s The Wanderer. Photo by ulieta Cervantes
Steven LaBrie, the baritone in Jessica Lang’s The Wanderer. Photo by ulieta Cervantes

Last week, the choreographer Jessica Lang presented her new, fully-staged version of Shubert’s song-cycle Die Schöne Müllerin at BAM’s intimate Fishman Space. In it, she takes on the the lyricism of Schubert and  the poetry of Wilhelm Müller and gives it physical form. Her eight dancers fill the roles of protagonist, miller’s daughter, huntsman, and, more intriguingly, of the forces of nature and the brook in which the protagonist eventually drowns himself. Lang made a valiant effort; her approach is sensitive, well-informed, and consistently engaging. But the two languages—dance and son—only occasionally spoke to each other with eloquence, bringing about something more than the sum of various parts. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

And a longer a piece I wrote for The Nation, on the difficulty of combining vocal music and dance.

The cast of Jessica Lang's "The Wanderer." Photo by  Julieta Cervantes
The cast of Jessica Lang’s “The Wanderer.” Photo by Julieta Cervantes

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.