Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Impressions of Aakash Odedra

Aakash Odedra in "Inked" as part of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival. Photo by Sean Goldthorpe. 

Aakash Odedra must be light. You see, Odedra, like light, behaves as both a particle and a wave. He’s here, there, and everywhere all at once.

Odedra — who resembles a daddy longlegs spider — fuses his Indian dance training in
Kathak and Bharatanatyam with contemporary aesthetics. The result is something almost alchemical in its ability to melt time and space until nothing but the dance exists. As part of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival, he performs two works that make the personal, universal.

Grief born of temporariness (his grandmother’s death) and an ache for permanence (the tattoos etched on his grandmother’s hands) form the impetus for... 

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

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Impressions of Mina Nishimura

Mina Nishimura's "Celery of Everything" at Danspace. Photo by Ian Douglas.

Be nice! It’s something worth striving for, this outward presentation of compassion, thoughtfulness, and good manners. But beneath the smooth gloss of politesse that greases everyday interactions, our thoughts — the ones only available to us — can be rude, dark, and downright inappropriate. If spoken aloud, these foul musings would likely offend. Lucky for us, no one can read our mind yet.

Keeping it all to ourselves can cause dissonance between our public and private personas. Finding a way to physically manifest our jagged parts is one way to synchronize the disparity of what we say and do with how we feel.

Butoh, a theatrical dance style founded in Japan in the mid-twentieth century by Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, celebrates the beauty in the ugly. Instead of sanding away the perverse, the awkward, and the deviant, it basks in them, creating a weird, gripping splendor where shoulders hunch, elbows jut, feet sickle, and fingers crimp into terrifying claws.

In her two-bill program at Danspace, choreographer Mina Nishimura takes the aesthetics of Butoh and overlays different moods to conceive of something... 

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Dance Enthusiast Hits The Streets: 60x60

BuggĂ© Ballet's Jessica McCarthy in 60x60, presented by Arts Brookfield. Photo by Darial Sneed. 

One hour.

It’s such a trivial amount of time that one can slip away unnoticed. It’s lunch with a friend or a spin class. It’s a well-deserved nap or an episode of your favorite television drama. In the concert dance world, it’s the de facto length for a single-bill piece. 

60x60 upends this notion of devoting one hour to any one thing. It presents 60 one-minute dances set to 60 one-minute music pieces, all created by contemporary choreographers and composers. The brainchild of Rob Voisey, Executive Director of Vox Novus, 60x60 was born of a mad, creative desire to present as much new music and dance in as short a time as possible.

It sounds crazy. It is a little crazy. But gung-ho choreographers and dancers show that a little crazy makes for a vivid and varied hour. At Brookfield Place, 60x60 captures the attention of everyone from worker bees in suits and scowls to moms pushing strollers. Some sit entranced for the entire hour; others only watch a piece or two.

Co-curators Andrea Skurr and Fran Sperling assemble a smorgasbord of movement styles that stretch from modern to ballet and from musical theater to circus arts. The show opens with a bang... 

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

Wendy Whelan Chats About “Hagoromo”

Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto rehearse "Hagoromo," which receives its premiere at BAM. Photo by Matthew Gray. 

Wendy Whelan has been living in David Michalek’s head for the better part of five years. So has Jock Soto. As has “Hagoromo,” a classic piece of Japanese Noh theater. Whelan, who is married to Michalek, says, “My husband lives and breathes this work.”

Soon, audiences will have a chance to see what’s been keeping Michalek, a photographer and videographer, so preoccupied. “Hagoromo” makes it debut at BAM’s Harvey Theater with a veritable constellation of who’s who in the performing arts. Conceived of and directed by Michalek, this dance-chamber opera headlines Whelan and Soto, both former principal dancers with New York City Ballet. It features choreography by David Neumann, a Bessie-award winner known for his absorbing dance-theater works. Chris M. Green oversees the puppets and puppeteers, a group of individuals Whelan calls “profound.” The International Contemporary Ensemble and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform music composed by Nathan Davis. The star power assembled is dazzling.

Whelan plays an angel who loses her hagoromo, a talismanic garment that confers magical powers. A lowly fisherman (Soto) chances upon it. Recognizing its potential, he can’t resist...

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