But now he’s the artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, which will be performing at the Joyce next week. This is the company’s first visit in over twenty years. Stiefel is bent on molding them into a first-class ensemble, with Gillian Murphy’s help. Here’s my feature on the company, for the Times.
Here he is, in the Flames of Paris pdd with Murphy:
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.”
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.”
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 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).
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.