Thursday, October 30, 2014

Impressions of L.A. Dance Project for The Dance Enthusiast

Benjamin Millepied's "Reflections" for L.A. Project. Photo by Julian Cervantes. 

Welcome to the table, L.A.! For years, Los Angeles has lagged not just behind New York, but smaller cities like Seattle and Philadelphia, in the concert dance dialogue. As of late, this sprawling, sun-soaked Tinseltown has rocketed into the limelight as new-kids-in-town L.A. Dance Project and USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance (professors include William Forsythe and D. Sabela Grimes) join veterans like BodyTraffic and Los Angeles Ballet to generate a cross-country buzz.

L.A. Dance Project bounded into BAM for their New York debut to show off their striking chops. While none of the three works feature a born-and-bred California choreographer, there’s a definite west coast vibe to the evening.

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

For the Dance Enthusiast: Reid Bartelme Dishes on 10 Tips for a Perfect Halloween Costume

Costume Designer Reid Bartelme. Photo courtesy of Reid Bartelme. 

It’s no surprise that costume designer Reid Bartelme, who grew up in Soho, has the guidelines you need to assemble the perfect Halloween getup. Bartelme, a master of sartorial invention and personal reinvention, has enjoyed a wide-ranging career that began with an appreciation for music. While studying vocal performance at Interlochen Academy in Michigan, he discovered a love, and innate talent, for dance. He focused on ballet, which came naturally due to his physical gifts, and enjoyed stints at BalletMet and Alberta Ballet.  Ready for a change, he returned to New York where his height helped him secure a position with Shen Wei Dance Arts. Bartelme also performed with Douglas Dunn and Jack Ferver, the latter an old friend from Interlochen, before joining the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Soon after, during a heart-to-heart with himself, he realized that performing had lost its luster; he opted to follow his passion for fashion and costume design.

He applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology with a profile that highlighted the ingenious Halloween costumes he’d produced for himself throughout the years. These costumes...

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Impressions of a canary torsi's "Court/Garden"

a canary torsi in Court/Garden at Danspace. Photo by Aram Jilibian. 

The Baroque era, marked by extravagant pomp and circumstance, appears to have little in common with our casual, democratic, technology-obsessed generation. That is unless you are Yanira Castro and her company, a canary torsi. They shatter the mannerisms and ethos of the Baroque period and reassemble these gilded fragments to forge something contemporary yet wholly reminiscent in “Court/Garden.”

“Court/Garden” is more an installation than a typical dance performance. Movement throughout St. Mark’s Church — of props, of them, of us — comprises much of the proceedings. Upon entering, we check our bags and have our photos snapped, the latter live-streamed during “Sonic Curtain,” the prelude. Folding chairs and pillows are strewn around the end of the performing space; take a seat — but don’t get too comfortable.

Two “Cupids,” radiant in pale skinny jeans, call us to order and wheel large partitions, their interiors filmy, the ends bedazzled with shiny foil, to form a long corridor. Dangling overhead, a gob of bunchy white fabric suggests a chandelier. It’s Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors but reinterpreted through a cool, indie lens.

In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, Castro unpacks the rococo decadence... 

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Impressions of Ivana Muller's "We Are Still Watching"

The audience as performers in Ivana Müller's "We Are Still Watching." Photo by Ian Douglas. 
We don’t think about it, but the experience of the audience is as scripted as the performance on stage. Stay in your seat; don’t talk; applaud even if you hate it; and, for Pete’s sake, TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. The performing arts, with its reflexive adherence to these long-established rules, can feel hampered by its liveness, this very thing that makes theater, theater. Thrust into relief against movies and television — glossy mediums that can’t be offended by multitasking and phone checking — theater, with its fraught desire to say important things in a real-time environment, can feel dated, a relic from another period akin to pantomimes or masques.

Ivana Müller, as does the smallish audience gathered at New York Live Arts 3rd floor studio, believes that the theater experience can be stretched to ignore the tropes that burden conventional shows. In “We Are Still Watching,” presented as part of FIAF’s Crossing the Line Festival, she recasts show-goers as performers, and we spend an hour reading aloud a play, randomly passing around scripts to ensure everyone has a go in the spotlight.

Using amateurs, even game amateurs, carries... 

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Preview of Mark Dendy's "Labyrinth" for The Dance Enthusiast

The cast of "Labyrinth." Photo by Marissa@RockPaper.

Some artists settle into a niche, think Rothko with his cool Buddhist squares or Pollock and his poetic drip paintings, while others, like Duchamp and his transition from “Nude Descending a Staircase” to his readymades, reinvent themselves every few years. Mark Dendy, a fixture in the New York dance world for over thirty years, is one of the latter. His varied career has spanned the downtown dance scene to Broadway and then back again. In the 80s, he worked with Pooh Kaye and Jane Comfort before making the transition to The Great White Way, where he received a Best Choreography Obie for “The Wild Party.” He shifted back downtown because he wanted to address issues in the world, make work that traded glamour and gloss for truth and engagement. “I wanted my creative autonomy back,” he states. 

Dendy advocates that dance can operate as a catalyst for social change. An activist at heart, he has, in his fifties, become a passionate campaigner for environmentalism and social justice. He feels an affinity for canvassing in purple states, trying to turn them blue, so that everybody, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, can get a fair shake. He believes it’s important to leave a mark on the world, a public and personal one: “I want to leave a legacy through my activism and art-making.”

Fixations, in the form myth and archetypes, have preoccupied Dendy...

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