the danceview times
Volume 4, Number 6 February 13, 2006 The weekly online supplement to DanceView magazine
In the Sanctuary
by Nancy Dalva
A Great "Manon"
by Eva Kistrup
On Friday, February 10th, there was a standing ovation at the Royal Danish Ballet. It was not inspired by a jubilee or a farewell performance. Nor was there an international guest in residence. What brought the audience to its feet was a rare but well earned public appreciation of a very fine performance of MacMillan’s "Manon" and its two stars, Silja Schandorff and Kenneth Greve, who had just given us one of the finest performances we have seen in a very long time.
by John Percival
Was Laura Henderson really like Dame Judi Dench plays her in the film “Mrs Henderson presents”? Capricious, generous, irresistible, as well as rich, rude and blunt-spoken? It’s pretty plausible, and I’d like to think it’s true, since Mrs H made a real contribution to the early days of British ballet. You know, I hope, that the film tells how, as a wealthy widow, she bought the little Windmill Theatre off Shaftesbury Avenue (London’s Broadway) and with a clever manager, Vivian Van Damm, made it immensely popular through a doubly unique policy. First, by presenting non-stop revue (vaudeville you’d probably say) from noon till late evening, and then by having some of the girls pose nude during the big song and dance numbers.
Playing the Fool
Heather Kravas & Antonija Livingston
by Lisa Rinehart
There's a saying, "A century you should live, a century you should learnyou'll die a fool anyway," and in their divergent ways, these two semi-improvisational dance theater groups echo that message. Founders Alexandra Konnikova and Albert Albert take PO.V.S. Tanze for an Eastern European wallow in human imperfection, while Kravas and Livingston use nutty entertainment to distract themselves from despair. Neither group quite succeeds in taking their work beyond intriguing collage, but it's fun to watch them try. The defining difference in approach is culturalKonnikova and Albert of PO.V.S. Tanze are Russian and Latvian, and have a Chekovian resignation to the frustrations of self-awarenesswe are ridiculous, we are flawed, miserable creatures without hope of redemption, but what the hell, let's have a few stiff drinks and talk about it. Conversly, the North Americans, (Kravas and Livingston are American and Canadian, respectively), embrace human inadequacies with a goofy enthusiasm. They want us to question ourselves, but when things get too dismal, they have the good sense to send in a marching bandliterally. Trombones, spangles, the works. Can I just say right here that the spectacle of the Hungry March Band gallumping through the seats of DTW, on to the stage, into the lobby and out on to 19th Street is pure genius.
Todd Williams Downtown
It’s a rare dancer who could move from New York City Ballet to the fiercely unpredictable “downtown” milieu of Stephen Petronio’s choreography, but Todd Williams managed to operate in both realms with aplomb. His time with NYCB was brief (1990 94), but his crisp, buoyant dancing made an impression, and he received plumb corps assignments such as “Donizetti Variations.” Clearly, a restless intelligence and interest in broadening his horizons took over, and he became an exceptional interpreter of Petronio’s works, as well as the company’s assistant artistic director, from 1995 to 2002.
Peter Martins' new “Friandises”
“Friandises, ” “Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’” and “Union Jack.”
“Friandises,” a suite of dances composed by Christopher Rouse, had the first of two premieres in dance form Friday at the New York State Theater. In this instance the ballet was choreographed by Peter Martins. On February 22 the music will again be used in another new work, this time by Adam Hougland for the Juilliard Dance Ensemble. “Friandises” was co-commissioned by Juilliard and New York City Ballet, a highly unusual venture. It came about because Juilliard is one hundred years old this year and wanted something special to celebrate it. Rouse, a well-known composer who teaches at Juilliard, has long been interested in composing a dance work, and the joint commission made it economically feasible.
Stories, Complete and Incomplete
“Donizetti Variations”, “Octet”, “Fancy Free”
Balanchine’s “Donizetti Variations” is an Italian bon-bon, obviously inspired by the fleet, gracious, and warm-hearted dancing of Bournonville. Like so many of Balanchine’s plotless romps, it gives the feeling of starting in the middle of a longer work, one set in some mythical land where Spain, Italy, and Denmark meet, and where everyone is young and beautiful. Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette made their debuts as the anonymous couple with lots of energetic friends. Bouder’s legs went out from under her as she shot on for her first entrance, but she shrugged the mishap off like a pro and danced with an exuberant femininity, tempering her power (her extended leg in the pas de chat volé seemed to reach beyond her head) with graceful details and elegant grace notes. Veyette, too, seemed inspired, and his beats, in the deceptively difficult variations, were clean and sharp and his demeanor elegant and generous.
Backwards and Forwards
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
by Kate Mattingly
Few dancers today are masters of the broad strokes of movement and the delicate details. The beauty of the Ailey company is that its dancers excel at both and their repertory showcases this range. The audience erupts in applause when the dancers unveil their superhuman extensions and god-like leaps, but it’s the more subtle movement quality that allows the same artists to illuminate a work like Hans van Manen’s “Solo.”
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
by George Jackson
Festivities abounded at the beginning of the Ailey's week in Washington. Opening night at the Opera House was early, 7 PM, because of a post-performance party. That didn't faze the dancers, more so the audience which had a higher proportion of latecomers than usual. The company, 47 years old, has always performed at high voltage but for several seasons in the recent past it seemed inhuman, so hard hitting was its attack. That manner began to dissipate a year or so ago, and this time the dancing could breathe and individuality shine.
Dancing to Drink By
DanceNow/NYC kicked off its 2006 season in the rowdy atmosphere of Joe’s Pub, with its usual mix of energetic exhibitionism and serious new choreography. For a second straight year, much of the latter was contributed by two artists: dancer Mary Cochran and choreographer-dancer Laura Peterson. Both are onto something new. Cochran, who last year played a crazed cheerleader with a gun, has moved from hyper-patriotism to hyper-eroticism. Peterson, who last year was some kind of crawling pest, has descended from the subhuman to the inhuman, into the origins of the computer age.
Copyright © 2006 by DanceView