the danceview times
Volume 2, Number 6 February 9, 2004 An online supplement to DanceView magazine
Rita Felciano on Cunningham
Pursuit of Happiness
Paul Parish on SFB's Don Quixote
that Pack a Punch
Susan Reiter on the New Rubies
|Mindy Aloff's Letter from New York|
Tehreema Mitha on Flamenco Fest.
Change in San Francisco
Ann Murphy on SFB's Triple Bill
Jackson on American Ballet
Theatre's La Bayadere
Nancy Dalva on Doug Varone
DanceView is out!
Intimate Low Key Gala
Ann Murphy on SFB's opening gala
Clare Croft on ABT's Opener
Weekend in New York
Clare Croft on Bill T. Jones & Doug Varone
Letter from New York
9 February 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by
can we know the dancer from the dance?,” Yeats asked rhetorically,
implying that the distinction is impossible. And he was right, in the
sense that dancing, when it is great, erases the difference between performance
and choreography: it really does look as if the performer is making everything
up on the spot. Of course, the dance critic’s more practical answer
is, “See two casts.” The dance is whatever survives both of
them. Yet this presumes that, apart from the exchange of performers, all
the other elements of theatrical production stay the same.
Varone and Dancers
Varone's two programs at the Joyce Theatre last week were exhilarating
because he has accomplished a synthesis of his dance origins
(José Limón and Lar Lubovitch) and the contemporary vernacular
(postmodernism) he has long favored. (He founded his own company in 1986).
His new work called Castles plays on all current strengths, which
include great duet-making, a knack for the small telling gesture, the
parlaying of the interpenetration of forms into metaphor, and an economical
allusiveness typical of short story writers.
A Weekend in New York
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
I return to New York, I search for three things: choreographers whose
work I have not seen, choreographers whose work I love, and work that
will never make it to more conservative Washington. This weekend in New
York, I hit the first two. I saw the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
in their twentieth anniversary program at BAM and Doug Varone and Dancers
at the Joyce.
Debuts, Good Dancing, in ABT's La Bayadère
the year was 1961, the place Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. The first
half dozen had entered, one by one, doing the same step and stretch. Would
others follow? I hoped so, and another half dozen did. Then I was afraid
they would stop. Couldn't they just keep coming on? The women of the full
Kirov corps did, descending the ramp in a grave cantilena of arabesques,
seemingly without end. It was bliss! Almost all New York succumbed to
the Shades of La Bayadere. The impact was immeasurable. Classicism,
minimalism and abstraction could no longer be seen as separate and opposed.
Modern dancers and painters started showing up at these performances.
Hatchets were buried and only Agnes de Mille dismissed the choreography
New! Posted February 4, 2004
ABT's Without Program
Without Words, Within You Without You
titles of two of the three pieces on American Ballet Theatre’s opening
night program at the Kennedy Center include the word “without:”
Nacho Duato’s Without Words and Within You Without
You by four choreographers. It’s an apt word for the program
as a whole. Tuesday night was an evening without any great choreographic
feats, without any really good roles for the company’s fine dancers
throughout the principal, soloist and corps ranks, and without the sense
of polish expected from a company among the ranks of the world or American
New! Posted February 3, 2004
An Intimate, Low-Key Gala
San Francisco Ballet Opening Gala
the man and the times have finally come into sync, or SF Ballet is finally
able to present itself on its merits without hot air, no gala I can remember
mirrored Tomasson the artist and man as warmly and pointedly as this one.
This was a low-key night of in-house dances dedicated first to the pas
de deux form, second to the virtuosity that love and dance demand, and
finally to the relationship of individuals to the group and the group
to the individual.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Francisco Ballet's winter season opened for real last week with the first
program in rotating rep, a smash-hit opening night performance of our
new-last-year version of the Petipa-Gorsky Don Quixote, starring
the dancers for whom it was made, the Cubans, Lorena Feijoo and Joan Boada.
To say these two are perfect for the roles is as much an understatement
as saying that John Wayne was right for Stagecoach. Feijoo and
Boada are sensational in the roles—in terms of virtuosity this year's
performances topped anything I saw last year, Feijoo turning triple and
quadruple pirouettes as the take-offs for diagonals where she
hurls herself through the air into Tchai-pas dives. But their
virtuosity is merely a pre-requisite for presenting mythic energy; these
characters are archetypes, albeit comic archetypes—nobility in adversity,
expressed not as Stoicism but as unconquerable high spirits.
Designs That Pack a Punch
it was Susan Stroman's Double Feature that was supposed to be
NYCB's nod to Broadway this season, it was when the curtain rose on Rubies,
the central portion of George Balanchine's stunning tryptich, that
a truly Broadway moment occurred: the audience applauded the scenery.
There were even a few scattered "bravo"s, and the ballet did
not begin for several seconds.
What can you say at this point about Merce Cunningham? That he is a genius? That imagination must be a powerful elixir to keep his wracked body going? That his dancers look like gods sent to earth for our delection? It has all been said before by better minds with more insight. And yet, the spirit aches to hang on to the experience for even a smidgeon. Language can do that. Imperfectly to be sure, but that's all we have.
away from a Cunningham performance, having seen those beautiful dancer
athletes who have been formed by the same clay, been refined through the
same smelting process and yet turned out looking as individually distinct,
leaves the heart—as should be clear by now—overflowing.
Seasons Change in San Francisco
Quattro Staggioni, Study in Motion,
It is busy around here. Full moon’s up, Venus’s gleaming in the sky and in the moonlight you can just make out the silhouette of the flowering cherry trees. By day, crocuses shoulder through the ground and magnolias are flouncy with flowers like Southern girls in pink party dresses. Into this still pale but fragrant February comes a week in which several men view the world: Helgi Tomasson, Yuri Possokhov and Stanton Welch in program II at the San Francisco Ballet, Stephen Petronio, with haunted new dances, then 84-year-old Merce Cunningham, making old work seem new and necessary.
some notes about SFB.
Classics and Legends
Andaluza de Danza
The Flamenco festival, having just completed its fourth year, is firmly established in the hearts of those who follow Flamenco.
Andaluza de Danza” started its program on the 7th of February, Saturday
evening, with Bodas De Sangre (Blood Wedding) the famous
theatre piece by Federico Garcia Lorca. The story is full of romance and
tragedy as are all traditional tales from Spain.
© 2004 by DanceView