Looks like I have some catching up to do…

Let’s recap 🙂

Since my last post (of Jan. 20), New York City Ballet has reached the midpoint of its winter season. Here are a few glimpses of what’s gone on so far.

On Jan. 22, I reviewed two mixed bills, one including Liebeslieder Walzer and Glass Pieces, the other Ballo della Regina (a not very inspiring performance), Kammermusik No. 2, And Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3. You can can read my review, for DanceTabs, here.


Then, on Jan. 27, I reviewed a wonderful all-Balanchine program: Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Sonatine (jazzily danced by Tiler Peck), a luminous Mozartiana, and a pretty good Symphony in C. The review is here.

Sterling Hyltin in Mozartiana. © Paul Kolnik.
Sterling Hyltin in Mozartiana.
© Paul Kolnik.

While I was down in Sarasota, I watched rehearsals for Miro Magloire’s new ballet for Aida. It was fascinating to see him navigate the challenges of choreographing for opera: restricted space, weird footwear, fabric, tempo. I wrote about it here, for DanceTabs.

Sarasota Opera rehearsing Aida. © Sam Lowry and Sarasota Opera.
Sarasota Opera rehearsing Aida.
© Sam Lowry and Sarasota Opera.

The Trisha Brown Dance Company is completing its three-year Proscenium Works Tour, after which the company will transform itself into a smaller, more nimble entity. Brown’s large pieces will likely never be performed by her company again. An important, and moment of transition for the company. Her dancers came to BAM one last time at the end of January, where they performed Set and Reset, Present Tense, and Newark (Niweweorce). My review for DanceTabs is here.

Trisha Brown Dance Company in Present Tense. © Nan Melville.
Trisha Brown Dance Company in Present Tense.
© Nan Melville.

The Baroque-Burlesque company Company XIV, which created a very effective Nutcracker a few years ago, is back with a new decadent evening, a naughty version of Snow White. Decadent it is, an sumptuous to look at, but unfortunately, not tight enough to hold my interest for two hours. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

Lea Helle in Snow White. © Mark Shelby Perry.
Lea Helle in Snow White.
© Mark Shelby Perry.

Gemma Bond, a dancer with ABT, produced her first full evening of works, danced by a group of her friends (all wonderful dancers). The evening was a bit of a throwback, with much loveliness all around. My review is here.

Unspecified work in Gemma Bond’s Harvest bill. © Kathryn Wirsing.
Unspecified work in Gemma Bond’s Harvest bill.
© Kathryn Wirsing.

A Year Ago…

A year ago I got to meet one of my childhood idols, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and interview him about his art collection. My heart stopped a little bit each time he opened his mouth to say something. It was, and still is, a highlight of my writing life. Here’s the piece that came out of that conversation.

And one of my favorite works from his collection,  Nikolai Lapshin’s Novgorod.


Bill T. Jones and Co. Take on the Canon (for DanceTabs)


The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in "Ravel: Landscape or Portrait?" Photo by Paul B. Goode.
The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in “Ravel: Landscape or Portrait?” Photo by Paul B. Goode.

Here is my review of  the program of new works by Bill T Jones at the Joyce, in the company’s thirtieth anniversary season. Both works are set to “important” chamber music (Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden),  performed here by the excellent Orion String Quartet.

And here is a short excerpt: “Mr. Jones holds his own, in part by not attempting to follow the music in any literal way. The choreography, which is described in the program as being made in collaboration with Janet Wong (Associate Artistic Director) and the dancers, has a pleasingly free, earthy, all-over-the-place quality. Each dancer has a story to tell and is allowed to do so; the stories, in turn, are artfully subdivided into smaller units (phrases) and re-distributed across the stage, thereby becoming themes, patterns, motifs…. The repeated phrases act as signposts, giving a sense of structure, much as the repeats do in a piece of music.”

I’m eager to hear what other people thought of the program…

Thoughts on Yasuko Yokoshi’s “Bell” (for DanceTabs)

Kuniya Sawamura and Yasuko Yokoshi. Phoot by Ian Douglas.
Kuniya Sawamura and Yasuko Yokoshi. Phoot by Ian Douglas.

Here‘s my review of Yasuko Yokoshi’s “Bell,” a deconstruction of the Kabuki drama The Maiden at the Dojoji Temple through the lens of Giselle. I’ve been a big fan of Yokoshi’s previous experiments with the pared-down Kabuki style known as Su-odori, but this one just didn’t work. The bits from Dojoji and Giselle never cohered, nor did they inform each other in any meaningful way. The “balletic” elements were woefully inadequate. The Japanese elements, beautifully executed, were given little context. Here’s a short excerpt from DanceTabs:

“Both Kayo Seyama, an older female dancer who performs a lengthy, delicate solo (called Kane no Misaki) toward the end of Bell, and Kuniya Sawamura, a young male dancer/actor who may just be one of the finest character dicers I have seen, are fascinating to watch. The utter control of every millimeter of their bodies and face, the refinement of their movements, the total clarity of the placement of each limb and adjustment of weight within the body, are astounding. To this, Sawamura adds an extraordinarily expressive face that suggests flickers of wit, sadness, irony, fear, pleasure, even naughtiness.”






Trisha Brown Takes a Step Back

It was announced this week that from here forward Trisha Brown will leave the day-to-day management of her company to two of her longtime dancers and collaborators, Diana Madden and Carolyn Lucas. What had become increasingly apparent in public appearances was confirmed: Ms. Brown’s health and ability to communicate has been compromised by a series of mini-strokes in the last few years. She will take on the title of Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer and, the company assures, remain very much involved. (Two of the pieces currently being performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, it should be pointed out, were made in the last year.)  Meantime, the company will undertake a similar process to the one mapped out by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2009: a worldwide tour of Brown’s pieces for the stage,  a retrospective at the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA,  the development of a new model for future stagings of her work, and the completion of a detailed and interactive archive of sets, costumes, scores, and video materials. The future of the company itself has not been decided. As the company announcement points out, “since the early 1980’s, Brown has documented every step in her creative process on video.” Someday, this footage will become an essential tool for those hoping to present her works. Meanwhile,  as the company points out, Brown is very much involved this massive project. At the moment, BAM is presenting an evening of her works, including the two that she has declared to be her final dances: I’m going to toss my arms—if you catch them they’re yours and Les Yeux et l’âme. Apollinaire Scherr reviewed them, vividly, for the Financial Times.

And here is a piece in the Times explaining the company’s plans.


Baryshnikov and his Art Collection (for DanceTabs)

In December, I went to see “Art I’ve Lived With,” a small show of Baryshnikov’s art collection. Baryshnikov showed me around himself, and we talked about the paintings. In a way, it was like leafing through a family album; each picture had a story, and captured a moment in time.

Here is the piece I wrote for DanceTabs.

And here is a short excerpt:

“He is no longer the boy with soft blue eyes that graced the bedroom walls of many a girl in the 1980’s, including my own. Somehow, he has grown wirier, tighter, more serious with age; what one senses more than anything is a sharp intelligence, an unwillingness to waste time. With a quick nod, he was down to business. This little collection, he told me, began with a simple purchase in Paris back in 1975, at the Galérie Proscenium on the Rue de Seine, on the left bank. Misha was twenty-seven then, and “the dollar was strong and I had money in my pocket,” he says, nonchalantly.”

The new DanceView is out!

And includes my  Letter from New York DanceviewFall with reviews of the Australian Ballet, Shantala Shivalingappa’s contemporary-dance solo evening at the Joyce, Larry Keigwin, Trisha Brown’s “Astral Converted” at the armory, and Mark Morris’s “Dido and Aeneas.”

As you can see from the TOC, it also includes Mary Cargill’s review of ABT’s spring season, great reading (though I disagree with her quite strikingly about Ratmansky’s Firebird!).

Yuan Yuan Tan (in Yuri Possokhov’s Raku) is on the cover. The photo is by Erik Tomasson. (Yes, he’s Helgi Tomasson’s son.)