Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Impressions of American Realness

American Realness' Karol Tyminski's This is a musical at Abrons Arts Center. Photo by Ian Douglas. 

For many, January is a month of self-reckoning and self-contemplation, a time to reset after the sweetmeats and sugarplums of the holiday season. Not so in the dance world. January equals opportunity. Presenters from around the globe tramp through New York’s slush and snow in search of work they want to book. For dancers and dance-makers, these see-and-be-seen weeks can be a game changer.

American Realness, a festival devoted to the artistic value of the other, joined the fun eight years ago. Founded, directed, and curated by Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor, it embraces the subversive and the political. This year's iteration featured fifty-three performances of sixteen productions over eight days at multiple venues. Choosing whom to see is an exercise in #FOMO.

To read about Kimberly Bartosik/daela’s Étroits sont les Vaisseaux, Big Dance Theater’s world premiere of Cage Shuffle, Karol Tyminski’s solo, a US premiere, This is a musical, and Trajal Harrell's Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (S), please visit The Dance Enthusiast

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Impressions of Noche Flamenca

Noche Flamenca performing La Ronde. Photo by Zamik Moqtaderi. 

The strike of a toe. The smack of a heel. The clap of the hands. In flamenco, sound is as powerful as sight. When done well, this bodily score can grab us viewers’ hearts, coaxing ours to beat in time with theirs.

Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca blow the rafters off of West Park Presbyterian Church during their two-week run of La Ronde and Creación. (A three-week run of Antigona fills out the rest of January.) Although the two pieces are stand-alone works, the intermission-less evening unspools seamlessly.

This may be due to the structure of both works. Although group numbers with clacking heels and whirling wrists transpire, the prominence is on solos and duets. Yet, for all the technical brio on display — and there’s plenty of that — the presentation is democratic, supportive, devoted to sportsmanship rather than one-upmanship. The audience, chockablock with flamenco aficionados, approves, with shouts of olé and bravo.

The opener . . . 

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

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel & The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel ARE LIVE

Shadow and light
Bloody blisters and shiny rhinestones
Tears and giggles

Ceiling-spiking developpés and elegant Natural Spin Turns

I'm delighted — a little nervous — to announce the release of my two novels. Both are dance novels although markedly different in tone and content.

The Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel is dark, brutal, and provocative. It follows a ballet dancer turned choreographer who must decide how far she will blur the line between art and reality when the person she loves most threatens her.

The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel is bright and emotive. Told through dual narrators, it pits two friends against each other in their dramatic journey to win a prestigious ballroom dance competition.
I wrote The Piece first, and due to its polarizing, pitch-black narrative, it took over two years of extensive rewriting before I got it to where I wanted it to be. I wrote The Winner this past summer as a palate cleanser and to showcase the lively, complex ballroom world (a place most of concert dance friends know nothing about) in a literary light. I can't promise you'll like my books, but if you do me the honor of reading, I can promise that I've taken YOUR experience seriously and have striven to make it viscerally arresting. 
To read a sample and/or purchase The Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel, please click HERE.

To read a sample and/or purchase The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel, please click HERE.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Impressions of Sonya Tayeh's "you'll still call me by name" at New York Live Arts

Sonya Tayeh's "you'll still call me by name" at New York Live Arts. Photo by Paul B. Goode.

If fame and a little fortune are the criteria for making it in the dance world, then, by all accounts, Sonya Tayeh has made it. She's a popular contemporary choreographer who's been featured on reality show-juggernaut So You Think You Can Dance, which has garnered her two Emmy nominations. But Tayeh seems to want more: in particular, to create full-length works that stride, sometimes entrancingly and sometimes jarringly, the line between concert and commercial dance.

She blasts into New York Live Arts for a two-week run of you’ll still call me by name, a heated frenzy of movement, music, and mythology. Featuring ten vigorous dancers and a score by The Bengsons, the hour-plus work is loud and proud.

Tayeh sharpened her choreographic chops in the high-definition medium of television where impact must be immediate and long lasting. She employs a similar ethos here, mostly with . . .

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