‘Tis the Season

Dance season arrived last week with a vengeance. Suddenly there is just too much to see, too much to choose from! Here are a few of the things I’ve caught around town:

  1. Twyla Tharp at the Joyce
Sara Rudner and Rose Marie Wright in The Raggedy Dances at ANTA Theatre (1972). © William Pierce



Here’s my review.

2.Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis’s “A Love Supreme,” at New York Live Arts

Rosas in A Love Supreme. Photo by Maria Baranova.

Here’s my review.

3. The New York City Ballet fall gala, with works by Troy Schumacher, Gianna Reisen, Lauren Lovette and Justin Peck

Indiana Woodward in Justin Peck’s Pulcinella Variations. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Here’s my review. 

Pam Tanowitz Lets Her Hair Down

Last night I saw Pam Tanowitz’s evening of new works at the Joyce, and it was…fun. Not a word one usually associates with this smart, analytical, and serious choreographer. Here’s my review of the evening, for DanceTabs.

And a short quote: “The dancers were both particles in space – you could watch them one by one without losing interest – and hubs of activity, entering into passing conversations. The whole stage felt alive.”

The show is at the Joyce through Feb. 6.

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.”

Christopher Wheeldon’s New Cinderella, for San Francisco Ballet

Maria Kocketkova as Cinderella, and her four anonymous "helpers." Photo by Erik Tomasson.
Maria Kocketkova as Cinderella, and her four anonymous “helpers.” Photo by Erik Tomasson.

The San Francisco Ballet ended its run with a week of performances of Christopher Wheeldon’s new Cinderella. As I write in this review for DanceTabs, it’s a handsome work, but not completely satisfying dramatically. The designs, by  Julian Crouch, are supremely elegant, as is Wheeldon’s choreography. But Prokoviev’s score is tricky and episodic, and the ballet doesn’t manage to transcend these difficulties or really touch the heart. Still, it’s a great showcase for the company’s strong, polished dancers.

Houston Ballet comes to NYC

Houston Ballet in Mark Morris's Pacific. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Houston Ballet in Mark Morris’s Pacific. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

Houston Ballet made paid the Joyce Theatre a visit this week, with a mixed bill that included works by Mark Morris (Pacific), Ben Stevenson (Twilight, a pas de deux), Hans van Manen (Solo), and Stanton Welch, the company’s artistic director, (Play).

The company looks great, but the rep peaked with Mark Morris’s Pacific and went downhill from there. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

Of Bugs and Men—Arthur Pita’s “Metamorphosis” at the Joyce

Edward Watson in The Metamorphosis. Photo by Tristram Kenton.
Edward Watson in The Metamorphosis. Photo by Tristram Kenton.

Finally, a production that puts contem-porary ballet’s  extreme feats of flexibility to use! Arthur Pita’s “Meta-morphosis,” now playing at the Joyce, is a kind of cross between the rubber-band contortions of Wayne McGregor and the theatrical savvy of Matthew Bourne. And at the heart of it all, an extraordinary performer, Ed Watson, who, for an hour and a half, ties himself into knots to give physical form to the torments of Gregor Samsa, the victimized hero of Kafka’s tale. But in the end, the problem remains; our eye becomes inured to the strangeness and the effect dissipates. Here’s my review for DanceTabs.

I’d love to hear other people’s reactions to the show.