Thursday, November 17, 2016

Impressions of Sam Kim's "Fear in Porcelain"

Sam Kim's Fear in Porcelain at The Chocolate Factory.  Photo by Brian Rogers. 

Losing your body is no easy feat. While it may not feel essential to you being you, it is essential to you doing you. Your mind controls your matter, and while the relationship is imperfect, it works more times than not. But what happens if you give yourself over to your physical impulses, indulge every whim and wiggle? Could flesh and blood extinguish the spirit? What might remain on your body?

In Sam Kim's Fear in Porcelain, which received its premiere at The Chocolate Factory, four women conceal and reveal their bodies through clothing and movement. Nakedness, both actual and implied, ununveil the residue of femininity that can linger on women'sodies.

The piece’s peripheral ingredients are few . . .


To read the balance of my review, please visit The Dance Enthusiast. 



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Moving Caribbean in NYC: The Merengue

"Merengue" by Jose Morillo. 

At first glance, the Merengue looks straightforward. Two people hold dance position — a set of hands clasped, the other arms wrapped in a half hug. The couple shifts weight onto a bent leg as their hips thrust emphatically in the opposite direction. Their timing is punchy and repetitive: One beat equals one step. Described as paseo with jaleo (walking with fuss), the Merengue is a joyous, celebratory dance.

While simple, the Merengue is not easy: not in its execution and not in its evolution. Today, it's the signature dance of the Dominican Republic, its birthplace, and has become popular around the world. Its origin, though, remains murky.

Since Columbus' arrival, the Caribbean has been in what . . .

To read the balance of my article, please visit The Dance Enthusiast.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

FIAF's Crossing the Line: Impressions of Jérôme Bel at The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, and MoMA

Jérôme Bel's MoMA Dance Company at Museum of Modern Art as part of FIAF's Crossing the Line. Photo by Julieta Cervantes. 

What is dance to you? A lithe ballerina whipping through thirty-two fouettés? A hip hop crew popping and locking and freezing? Fred and Ginger? Martha Graham?

No matter the answer, one thing stands out. Dance can stretch to accommodate any number of interpretations, even a movement called non-dance. Non-dance is a trans-disciplinary art form born in the ‘90s in France. While it includes physical actions, its practitioners abandon traditional dance phrases in favor of film, projections, music, or lectures.

Jérôme Bel, one of non-dance’s originators, showcases works both old and new as part of FIAF’s Crossing the Line Festival. If the idea of sitting through three pieces of performance art fills you with dread, fear not. Bel is more class clown than pretentious provocateur, employing humor, pop culture references, and amateur performers in his bag of tricks.

In The show must go on at The Joyce Theater, Bel revels in gags of shape, sound, and light. An endless overture to “Tonight” involves us sitting in the dark, wondering if something — anything — will happen.  To the strains of “Aquarius (Let the Sunshine In),” the stage brightens. The DJ, stationed at the front of the performing space, cues up The Beatles “Come Together” as a cast of twenty enters. Some are old, some are of color, and some have disabilities. The presentation, though, is so matter-of-fact that no one sticks out. As if at a rousing wedding reception, the group lets loose, booty pumping to the strident thrums of “I Like to Move It.”  


Get it?

Each song has . .

To read the balance of my review, please visit The Dance Enthusiast

Friday, October 21, 2016

Preview of Jessica Lang's "Her Notes" for American Ballet Theatre

American Ballet Theatre in rehearsal for Jessica Lang's Her Notes. Photo by Susie Morgan Taylor. 

“I was always creative,” says Jessica Lang, the Bessie-winning choreographer whose work is shown by companies around the world. She’s been making dances for close to two decades, using a signature calling card of textured emotion and strong visuals to create the effect of shape painting sound. New York audiences will have the opportunity to witness this ethos in a world premiere, Her Notes, commissioned by American Ballet Theatre.

Her Notes is set to and inspired by the music of Fanny Mendelssohn, the lesser-known but the equally gifted sister of Felix Mendelssohn. Discouraged against publishing her work due to the family’s high social standing, Mendelssohn produced over four hundred compositions, many of them for piano, the instrument in her home.

Lang says, “Fanny's most famous work, "Das Jahr" (The Year), is the focus of my ballet. The Year was written as she and her husband took a yearlong journey. At the end of each month, she wrote a musical reflection of their experience. The score, which is written on different colored pieces of paper, has a drawing and a poem by her husband inspired by the music.”

She immediately connected to . . .

To continue reading about Jessica Lang's Her Notes, please visit The Dance Enthusiast