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.  

Impressions of Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group's "Citizen" at BAM

Clement Mensah in Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group's Citizen at BAM. Photo by Stephanie Berger. 

It feels like the world needs dance more than ever. In a time where words and facts have no meaning (Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is post-truth), perhaps physical poetry could restore dignity to humanity. Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group certainly makes the case for it with Citizen, an hour-length work that received its New York premiere at BAM. 

The genesis for Citizen was a 1797 portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley by Girodet. Belley, a slave from Senegal, purchased his freedom in the French West Indies before fighting in the Haitian Revolution. In 1793, he was elected to the French National Convention before losing his seat four years later. Belley's portrait is housed at Versailles, the lone black face in a sea of white. Wilson’s interest in Belley led him to study African-American individuals who’ve grappled with discrimination and their decision to belong — or not. 

While Belley’s portrait may be the starting point, Citizen is no . . .

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Impressions of Lucinda Childs

Lucinda Childs Dance Company in Dance at The Joyce Theater. Photo by Sally Cohn. 

Minimalism. The word conjures up Scandinavian furniture, sans serif fonts, the lulling thrum of a Steve Reich score. At its best, minimalism allows for a striking point of view, the artful result of a few well-chosen elements. At its worst, it can be dull, uninspired, and overly simplistic.

Choreographer Lucinda Childs has maintained a fifty-year-plus career embracing and expounding upon minimalism. A few years shy of eighty, she remains spry, making work and showing it around the globe.

The Joyce Theater gave her eponymous company a two-week run — a career fête of sorts. The first week, entitled Lucinda Childs: A Portrait, featured an octet of pieces that spanned from the ‘60s to the present day. The second week showcased Dance, an instant classic when it premiered in 1979.

Childs’ movement tools are . . .

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