Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Impressions of Richard Move and MoveOpolis!

Richard Move as Martha Graham at NYLA's Live Ideas Festival. Photo by JulenPhoto. 

If imitation is the best form of flattery, then Martha Graham (1894-1991) would preen with delight at Richard Move.

Move has been conjuring the spirit of Graham since 1996. Martha@20, the first of Move’s two-work program at New York Live Arts, which opens the Justin Vivian Bond-curated Live Ideas Festival, fetes her enduring genius and pokes fun at her indefatigable ego.

Calling Move a Graham impersonator, though, isn’t quite apt. They is (Move prefers the pronoun “they” coupled with verbs conjugated in the third-person singular) more an alchemist. Move unearths archival information such as quotes and videos and uses their own communion with Graham’s spirit to present a version of modern dance’s grand dame that’s steeped in historical accuracy yet tonally appropriate to 2017 — Lady Gaga is mentioned with a derisive twist.

Move, a majestic bun tacked to their head, is attended by former Martha Graham Dance Company performers Katherine Crockett and Catherine Cabeen. Unfolding like a lec-dem but with the zingers of stand-up comedy, Martha@20 . . . 

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

Impressions of Cuba's Malpaso Dance Company

Malpaso Dance Company in Dreaming of Lions at BAM' Harvey Theater. Photo by Ian Douglas.

If your idea of dance in Cuba is a scene from Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights — smoky club, steamy moves — think again. Contemporary concert dance is not only alive there; it is thriving.

From ballerinas to baseball players, Cuba excels at cultivating physical talent. The eleven members of Malpaso Dance Company, formed in 2012, are no exception.  Coolly agile, casually charming, they boast technique so solid that their dancing looks like child’s play.

The company, co-presented by BAM and The Joyce Theater, makes its BAM debut with the one-hour Dreaming of Lions. Dedicated to Ron Feiner, a Havana aficionado and supporter of Malpaso Dance Company, the work unfolds over a dozen-plus episodes. It follows choreographer and performer Osnel Delgado (he’s also the company’s artistic director) in a journey of self-reflection inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Impressions of the Martha Graham Dance Company

Martha Graham Dance Company in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Mosaic. Photo by Brigid Pierce.

To dancers, modern can mean a couple of things. As a common noun, it refers to a style of moving that emphasizes gravity, freedom, experimentalism, and individuality. The proper noun, Modern, signifies an era in the first half of the 20th century when dance pioneers like Ruth St. Denis, Doris Humphrey, and Isadora Duncan threw off the literal and metaphorical strictures of corsets and tutus.

Whether you’re talking modern or Modern, one figure stands above the rest: Martha Graham. Born in 1894, she created an eponymous technique and 181 dances. Although she died in 1991, the Martha Graham Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Janet Eilber, tours globally to keep Graham’s contributions front and center. It also commissions work from contemporary choreographers — honoring the Modern while staying modern.

In its two-week run at The Joyce Theater, entitled Sacred/Profane (you decide which is which or which are both), the company showcases . . . 

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Impressions of New Chamber Ballet

New Chamber Ballet in Gravity. Photo by New Chamber Ballet.

While the new and the trendy garner the buzz in the dining scene, sometimes nothing beats your local restaurant. Reliable and satisfying, these places have lifelong customers for a reason.

New Chamber Ballet is the dance equivalent of a neighborhood favorite. Now in its second decade, the company presents short runs several times a year at City Center Studios. Shows boast a small but devoted following and a thoughtful, well-articulated point of view.

Like a maître d’, Artistic Director and Choreographer Miro Magloire cares about our comfort and pleasure. He introduces the pieces and, during intermissions, invites us into the lobby for wine and brownies. His friendliness extends into the dances, which are welcoming and easily digestible.

This program features five shortish ballets with . . .

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

Impressions of New York City Ballet's New Combinations: Peter Martins, Pontus Lidberg, and Justin Peck

New York City Ballet in Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

With all the turmoil gripping the United States, it feels decadent to settle into a plush seat at David H. Koch Theater for New York City Ballet's New Combinations program. But that's exactly what a bunch of people and I are doing — divorcing ourselves from the news cycle where each story is more unbelievable and heart wrenching than the last. For a few hours, we commit to beauty, to the power of art to transcend and elevate.

This iteration of New Combinations showcases the work of three choreographers: Pontus Lidberg, with his first commission from NYCB; Justin Peck, Resident Choreographer; and Peter Martins, Artistic Director.

Everything you know and love about ballet . . . To read the balance of my review, please visit The Dance Enthusiast.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Impressions of Vim Vigor's Future Perfect

Vim Vigor in Future Perfect at Baruch College. Photo by Arnaud Falchier. 

Do you enjoy being scared silly, having your scalp prickle and your heart gallop as danger looms? If so, Vim Vigor’s Future Perfect is for you. Making its New York premiere at Baruch College in a two-week run, this dance-theater work by Shannon Gillen filters the immediacy of live performance through a cinematic lens.

A generic campsite — one tent, a heap of smoking logs, several coniferous trees — looks innocent enough until the lights come up. Two men and two women are frozen in a tableau as strident music with ominous chords blares. One of the women begins to lip sync while aggressively flailing. Our stomachs contract: Something weird is going to happen.

But first . . . 

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