Sunday, September 28, 2014

Impressions of The BEAT Festival's "Crossing Over"

Elisabet Torras Aguilera’s Martinete. Photo by Monica Simoes. 
Do you think cemeteries are only appropriate for funerals and Stephen King novels? For the easily spooked, “Crossing Over,” part of The BEAT Festival’s showcase of Brooklyn-based artists, is best avoided. Set in the rolling hills of Green-Wood Cemetery, “Crossing Over” incorporates a traditional guided tour with site specific performances.

It begins like every horrible tour you've been on before. There are stragglers, complainers, and avid Instagrammers. Our guide is soft spoken and must make repeated referrals to her notes. The first landmarks aren't particularly interesting: the headstone of 19th century actor William Wheatley and a landmark commemorating the 1876 Brooklyn Theater Fire. Even surrounded by graves and a rapidly darkening sky, there's nothing out of the ordinary.

That is until we turn a bend and spy a human body encased in a net dangling from a tree. It sways...

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Impressions of Christopher Wheeldon's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

The National Ballet of Canada in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

Since it's publication in 1865, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has remained a staple of the literary canon. The work, initially panned by critics, found an audience with children and adults who delighted in its cunning wordplay, surreal cast of characters, and Alice herself, a curious, opinionated girl based on a real child with whom Lewis Carroll (this is suspected but not substantiated) was infatuated.

Much in the way that Alice grows and shrinks by nibbling on a magical mushroom, the raw footage of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland lends itself to reshaping.  Christopher Wheeldon’s interpretation, performed by the National Ballet of Canada, inflates the source material into lurid proportions.

The ballet opens as maids and butlers bustle about, hoisting trays and stealing kisses; they are preparing for a garden party given by Alice’s parents, the Dean of Christ Church and his wife. It is here we meet...

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