Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Impressions of Counterpointe

Janice Rosario's spring is almost here. Artistic collaborator: Jessica Weiss. Video artist: Zander Padgett. Photo by Jason Andrew courtesy of Norte Maar. 

A concoction of pink satin and thread, its only prosaic element a leather sole, the pointe shoe emblematizes ballet, and, in particular, Balanchine's famous dictum that “ballet is woman.” The pointe shoe acts as the intermediary between heaven and earth. Flesh-and-blood ballerinas — because it’s women who almost always wear pointe shoes — balance on its tiny tip to evoke the celestial, the divine. It appeared in the 19th century, popularized by Marie Taglioni, whose light-as-air dancing belied a grueling training regimen, and ballet never looked back.

This is where Counterpointe starts, but not at all where it will end. In the hands of seven female choreographers who've been paired with seven painters and sculptors (also women), the pointe shoe, and sometimes ballet itself, receives a fresh interpretation.

Counterpointe is...

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

Impressions of Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem in Nacho Duato's Coming Together. Photo by Rachel Neville. 
New York holds a reputation for being a hub for the young and the hungry. With hopes higher than skyscrapers, fame-and-fortune seekers test their mettle against the backdrop of glass, concrete, and unchecked ambition. In 1969, Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded by one such individual: Arthur Mitchell, the first black principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Maybe it's the legacy of Mitchell or maybe it's the break the company took between 2004-2012 or maybe it's all the starry-eyed dancers on display, but during its four-piece program at New York City Center, Dance Theatre of Harlem performs like it has something to prove.

Like a protagonist in a bildungsroman, Dance Theatre of Harlem must first navigate...

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

Impressions of Ballet Hispanico

Christopher Hernandez in Ballet Hispanico's Bury Me Standing at The Joyce Theater. Photo by Paula Lobo.

Merriam-Webster defines a company as a group of performing artists (definition 2C), but most companies extend far beyond this. They can be the repositories for one choreographer’s vision, an outfit devoted to a dance style or period, or an organization that realizes the cultural dynamics of a particular community.

As a company, Ballet Hispanico is pretty straightforward. It explores, preserves, and celebrates Latino culture through dance. Yet, during the three pieces it showcases during its season at The Joyce Theater (there’s also a six-work family matinee), the company presents another unifying factor: the plié. The dancers sink and plummet into deep, juicy bends, knees extending far over their toes. This isn’t a polite plié; this is a plié that means business. Performers use their plié as part and parcel of whatever comes next: a nose-grazing kick, a shoulder shimmy, a scoot to the floor. There’s plenty of virtuosity, but these pliés, littered everywhere, are one of the most...

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

DD Dorvillier/human future dance corp in Extra Shapes at the Kitchen. Photo by Paula Court.

Perhaps this is one of the indisputable facts of life: The human body can only occupy one point in space and time. Where we are and when we are there affects what we see, hear, feel, and think. This physical fixedness limits our choice and defines events. Anyone who’s had a bad seat at a great show can attest to this.

DD Dorvillier/human future dance corp try to work around this in Extra Shapes at The Kitchen. She and two dancers (Katerina Andreou and Walter Dundervill) execute a seventeen-minute sequence three times as concurrent but independent music and lighting compositions unfold. The audience, who is stationed around the perimeter in a single row of chairs, moves to a new seat each time. The artists seem to be enacting an experiment: By switching location, do you experience these seventeen minutes differently? Or do you relive the same seventeen minutes over and over?

The answer to both questions is...

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

Monday, April 4, 2016

TDE Hits the Streets: Ice Theatre of New York

The Ice Theatre of New York in Hommage, choreographed by Florentine Houdiniere. Photo by Darial Sneed. 

What pops into your head when you hear the word ice-skating? A young woman in a sparkly dress twirling so fast that she blurs? Couples, both young and old, leisurely lapping a frozen pond? A scene from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular? Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan?

How about art? If you chanced upon the rink at Rockefeller Center on Wednesday, March 23rd around one p.m., your perceptions of ice-skating may have been broadened by the Ice Theatre of New York, which specializes in on-ice dances as well as educational outreach.

The thirty-minute program opens with... 

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