the danceview times
Volume 1, Number 13 December 22, 2003 An online supplement to DanceView magazine
"Twas the Night Before Christmas..."
a dance publication asked recently, "is The Nutcracker
so popular?" The answer is that it is so popular because so many
people love it. The reason for this lies, I think—leaving aside
the fan club factor, to wit, the many thousands of relatives who have
bought and continue to buy tickets to see young family members perform
in it—that many of us first see The Nutcracker as children.
Then, we see ourselves in the characters, and we see the kinds of things
we imagine when we play wrought large. Toys come to life in the night!
As children, we project ourselves into the ballet.
Letter from New York
a choreographer born in Canada who has performed widely in Europe and
who is a winner of the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s National Choreographic
Competition, made an absolutely sensational New York debut at the Joyce
SoHo last weekend with a Manhattan première of a suite entitled,
with an overload of ingenuity, "Mais We," in 22 soles.
Don’t let her ill-advised titles stop you from taking her seriously:
this is the Arshile Gorky of choreographers.
New Dances: An Experiment
Dances at Juilliard Edition 2003
As the program's
title implies, this is the start of an intriguing new annual project of
Juilliard's Dance Division. Four choreographers were invited to create
new pieces, each working with one of the four classes. Unlike the annual
February performances by the Dance Division, the cast of each work was
not selected by audition. The choreographers were asked to use all the
students in their class, either as the full cast or by double-casting
Matters of Choice
holding their breath, wondering if the Kennedy Center Opera House would
be ready for the start of the ballet season, it’s safe to exhale.
The planners did a splendid job. There was a test show a few weeks ago
(which George Jackson reviewed in these pages) to spot possible problems;
then the Kennedy Center Honors; and this week, the really truly grand
[opera] opening: the Kirov Opera, presenting Tchaikovsky’s Eugene
Onegin and Mazeppa as part of a Festival in that composer’s
honor. Congratulations to all involved in the renovation. There were no
visible last minute glitches; no dangling wires, no “pardon our
dust!” signs. The new carpet is in place, those masking tape repairs
to the wall covering are gone. Whether my sense of scale has been skewed
by several months in the intimate Eisenhower Theater or whether the house
really is about 20 percent larger, I can’t say, but it certainly
SEEMS bigger. The aisles are twice as wide, the orchestra center section
has more seats. The pit is huge, swallowing up the Rows Formerly Known
As E and F (this may be adjustable for occasions that require fewer musicians).
One quibble is that the seats seem less suited to a theater than a restaurant
whose management wants to insure quick turnover. It’s not that they’re
hard as Victorian horsehair; that’s rather bracing. It’s that
that they seem cut and angled to fit a different species, with low backs
and an odd slant that make it difficult for the lower spine and seat back
to find each other. But overall, I think patrons will be happy to have
their house back.
A Lively Nutcracker
you are living in the Bay Area and committing to only one Nutcracker
this year, you could do far worse than Dennis Nahat's production for Ballet
San Jose Silicon Valley, which opened last Friday and runs through December
28. This version, first presented in Cleveland in 1979, is not as elaborate
as some—there's no gigantic Christmas tree looming over the set—but
plenty to see in the way of lively dancing, good storytelling, smooth
choreography, and some impressively combative mice courtesy of the Ballet
San Jose Silicon Valley School.
The Pilot series at ODC Theater is one of ongoing initiatives which attempt to provide solutions to the eternal question of affordable rehearsal space. By now ODC has developed a hierarchy of gthese programs designed to meet needs of choreographers at various tages in their development. Pilot is for those just learning how to structure a public presentation, Migrations features choreographers who have some experience and finally there is the House Special for fully professional dance makers with a specific project in mind.
been going on for fifteen years and, not surprisingly, the quality has
been a real toss up. Some programs have let you see a whole evening of
budding talents that just needed time to develop, others have made you
wonder why these people were invited to join the first place. Usually,
these evenings are mix of self-conscious trying-to-be different at all
costs, sparks of imagination and a fair amount of pedestrian plodding
©2003 by DanceView