The past year has been a festival-heavy one for New York City Ballet, and while the fall and winter seasons showcased works with scores by Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, the first three weeks of New York City Ballet’s spring season celebrated American music. This isn’t the first time the company has devoted part of a season to American composers; it’s actually the 25th anniversary of the original American Music Festival, which featured a staggering 20 new ballets. Although the current festival didn’t feature nearly as many new works, it covered a lot of ground and showed how infectious, energetic, and appealing American music can be. Continue reading
Four years ago, Gallim Dance made waves in New York when it performed two pieces by Artistic Director Andrea Miller at Joyce SoHo. One was Blush, an evening-length work that explores the moment of blushing through powerful, emotional rawness and intimacy. Blush has toured worldwide, but sadly hasn’t been seen in New York since 2009. From May 21st through 26th, New Yorkers will have a chance to see it at BAM.
Four years after reviewing the piece, there are still many images and moments from Blush that have stayed with me. The work is chilling and sometimes frightening as the dancers shake and convulse and charge and pour every ounce of their beings into it. But they also invite you into their world, creating a very personal, intimate experience. With music by Manyfingers, Kap Bambino, Chopin, Arvo Part, and others, the emotional climate drastically changes. It’s a thrilling, intense journey – one you’ll be glad you experienced. Below are some excerpts from the piece. You can buy tickets here.
Stephen Petronio’s inspiration for his company’s latest work, Like Lazarus Did, performed last week at the Joyce Theater, was a book of American slave songs sent to him by composer Son Lux. Lazarus’ resurrection became a point of departure for the piece, whose title is a line taken from one of the songs.
As is expected with Petronio’s work, there is constant motion – limbs whipping through space at myriad angles, bodies collapsing to the floor and being lifted overhead, torsos pushing and pulling in every direction. Yet, most compelling of all was not the movement in Like Lazarus Did, but the stillness. Continue reading
On April 24th, one night before its official opening, Pippin dazzled, delighted, and blew me away. Sitting in the balcony of The Music Box Theatre, I was mesmerized by the dynamite singing, phenomenal circus creations and choreography, and the magic of this production, which hasn’t been mounted on Broadway since its debut in 1972. It’s impossible to take everything in – the stage is frequently busy, but not chaotic – but my eyes were glued to the stage from start to finish.
Maria Tallchief, a 20th century ballet legend and the first American prima ballerina, has died. George Balanchine, who was her husband for six years, created many roles for her including leads in Firebird and Allegro Brillante.
Tallchief was my first ballet role model as a little girl. I feel very lucky to have met and studied with her as a teenager at The Jillana School, a summer ballet program founded and directed by former New York City Ballet principal dancer Jillana. Tallchief’s classes were rigorous, to say the least. I admired her passion and dedication to teaching perfect alignment, turn out, and expression, along with her commitment to revealing “the soul of the dancer”, as she always said. Tallchief was an extraordinary dancer and person. She will be missed.