writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, San Francisco Bay Area edition

       Volume 2, Number 3     January 19, 2004    An online supplement to DanceView magazine

The Inside View

Robert Altman's The Company

by Rita Felciano
Copyright ©2003 by Rita Felciano

With The Company director Robert Altman created a gentle hermetically self-contained world into which reality bursts like momentary gusts of wind when opening a window. As has been his wont throughout his long film career, Altman blurs the line between fiction and fact when taking us inside a somewhat mythologized Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. In this case the approach served him particularly well. Ballet is an arcane universe but is inhabited by surprisingly human beings. The Company captures this double perspective with considerable success. One would only wish that the works shown in performance were of higher quality.

Not much of a plot animates this otherwise sweet little film. It traces the love and work life of an ambitious but amiable young dancer, Ry (Neve Campbell who also co-wrote the story with Barbara Turner) and her chef boyfriend Josh (an affable James Franco). But the real story, as the title indicates, is the company. Altman weaves a richly textured fabric of off-stage life, rehearsals and performances. Periodically he introduces little dollops of personal drama. However, those never interfere with the film’s trajectory. He plops them in much like close-ups on a face. It’s an excellent way of bringing individuals momentarily to the surface without having to develop characters.
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No One Danced At My Mother’s Wake

by Ann Murphy
Copyright © 2004 by Ann Murphy

No one danced at my mother’s wake. Not a single person found the screwdriver that might have removed the front door so that that door could be stretched out in the parlor to let an uncle tap out a jig or a reel as another relative fiddled. No one kept awake all night by her side to usher her spirit on, dancing about the room with her tiny body to help her get to the next world.

It’s not a surprise.

There was no Derry County front door, no parlor, not a stitch of food nor a drop to drink at this sanitize wake in the New England suburbs for this Irish American woman who could never fully embrace nor escape her origins. And anyway, the uncles that might have danced were dead, and no one knew a reel or jig to play.
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This weeks' articles


Mindy  Aloff's Letter from New York

The Balanchine Celebration
New York City Ballet:
A Veteran and a Raw Recruit
by Mindy Aloff

Heart and Soul
by Mary Cargill

Kid Stuff
Cas Public's If You Go Down To the Woods Today
by Susan Reiter

San Francisco Ballet:
New Wheeldon (Rush)
by Rita Felciano

New Tomasson (7 For Eight)
by Paul Parish

Possokhov's New Firebird for OBT
by Rita Felciano

Moscow Festival Ballet and Scott Wells
by Paul Parish

Hamburg Ballet's Nijinsky:
Nijinsky—Lost in the Chaos
by Clare Croft

NijinskyMadness and Metaphor
by Alexandra Tomalonis

Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes
by George Jackson

Batsheva: Breaking Down Walls
by Lisa Traiger

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
by Clare Croft

Choreographers Showcase
by Tehreema Mitha

Zoltan Nagy
by George Jackson







Rita Felciano
Alison Garcia
Ann Murphy
Paul Parish


The next issue of DanceView, a quarterly review of dance published since 1979, will be mailed out in mid-October.

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Copyright ©2003 by by DanceView
last updated on December 1, 2003