Supremely talented and equally ambitious, Nate “Nacho Pop” Mendelsohn has established himself in Australia as a leading choreographer, presenter and performer, and one of the most respected names in the business.
Once year the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet produces one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting event in dance in NYC, the Cedar Lake Installation. The company turns its spacious studio in Chelsea into a 360 degree performance space. No seating is provided; you are encouraged to walk amongst the dancers as they are performing.
When you enter the Cedar Lake studio, the dancers, all in black walk about the room stone faced. We the audience are none existent, the weave in and around us. It is evident from the start that we have entered their world, a world where surrealism is the norm and abstraction is a manner of expression.
The dancers are wearing pleated knee length skirts with each in a black top of their own choosing. Guillame Quéau is wearing a black motorcycle jacket; Joaquim de Santana has on a see-through mesh tee-shirt while Joseph Kudra is shirtless.
There is a blend of mystery and tension. For the audience does not know what to expect…that is the brilliance of the Cedar Lake Installation 2015….you never know what to expect….
After a five year absence, the Nederland Dans Theater2 (NDT2) returned to the Joyce this February with a program that included three works by NDT2 house choreographers Paul Lightfoot, Sol León and Johan Inger, and one by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar of Israel.
NDT2 was founded in 1978 as a launching pad for young dancers between the ages of 17 to 22. The initial aim of NDT 2 was to “feed” the main company (Nederlands Dans Theater 1) with its young dancers. NDT2 serves as a “bridge period” to mature the freshly graduated dancers from the various classical conservatories and schools for a professional dance career. Today, over 70% of Nederlands Dans Theater 1’s dancers have started their career in NDT 2.
Choreographed in 2012 to five songs by Van Morrison, Swedish choreographer Johan Inger’s I New Then, just made me smile from the beginning till the end. It is a work for five men and four women all wearing causal street attire. Mr. Inger’s choreography is relaxed, spontaneous and more than a little whimsical.
There is individuality to each dancer’s movements, each dancer possessing their own voice. When one or two dancers are moving other dancers will casually walk across the stage. But when two dancers begin sharing the same movement phrase it is akin to a conversation in a crowded room. Those two are focused on each other where the rest just pass by, each of the other dancers with their own destinations/intentions in mind. Greg Lau is an amazing young dancer, with his long lean line he flowed through the work like silk…Mr. Lau is fresh out of Juilliard and has an exciting career before him.
Mr. Inger’s choreography is wonderful mixture of quick movements and sudden changes in direction or focus. A dancer will pass another dancer who is in the midst of a movement phrase and as suddenly mirror that dancer, then he will suddenly break off with that same abruptness and continue on walking.
Even though the choreography is quick and sometimes quirky it is never erratic. There is an intelligence to be seen with in the total as well as great emotion. I say bravo to all! I hope I get the chance to see the work again and soon.
I had a chance to see Sol León and Paul Lightfoot’s “Shutters Shut” at the 2012 Fall for Dance Festival. I thought it brilliant then and I think so still. The program notes states it is “A short study of the poem written and read by Gertrude Stein “If I told him: A completed portrait of Picasso.” 1912”. “If I told him: A completed portrait of Picasso” is a rambling, tongue-twisting, satirical bit of genius…
Imre van Opstal and Spencer Dickhaus were wonderful. The work is filled with fast, quirky moves. Beginning solo, Ms. Van Opstal responded to Gertrude Stien’s as she spoke “If I told him, would he like it, would he like it if I told him” swinging her left arm up she grabs her forehead and yanking her head back to then swiftly move both hands up to her mouth in a shocked expression, as if “did I just do that?…
She was soon joined by Mr. Dickhaus and for the next four minutes the two cross the front of the stage with scalpel precision. Using their bodies they create a language unique to them but can still impressively be understood by all. It is the starkness of the spoken word used instead of music that help lend to the individuality of the piece. Shutters Shut is one of my favorite pieces from the choreographic team known as Lightfoot León.
Sharon Eyal and Gal Behar I just never seem to get. There is a cerebral aspect to the work that I recognize and try to respect but that’s about all the good I can say about their work. Sara was premiered in 2013 at The Hague. The work has an original composition by Ori Lichtik: The Knife “From On to Off” comprised of repetitive synthesized percussions that do not help the work in the least.
As a group the dancers start to move forward, relaxed arms held with elbows bent, the head looking left and right, made them seem like sleepwalkers from a 1950’s science fiction movie. A woman separates from the crowd and moves center stage to lip-sync to a raspy unintelligible whisper from the soundtrack. There is a minimalist aspect to the work that may appeal to some, but sadly I always find Sharon Eyal and Gal Behar wanting…
Subject to Change was premiered in 2003 and also choreographed by the Nederlands Dans Theater resident choreographer duo Lightfoot León. It is a work for five men, one woman and a red carpet. The piece won the Zwaan award for best dance production of 2003. The work was created during an a time of personal turmoil for Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot.
Reported in an interview in 2006 with Ian Palmer….
…We had a very dear friend who was exceedingly sick and she had had a brain hemorrhage at the time we were creating the piece. So we were in the hospital with her every day and then going back to the studio so the piece is actually about her confronting the possibility of death…Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot.
Yukino Takaura and Olivier Coeffard performed a fluid duet throughout the work. Ms. Takaura dances with both a sense of fragility and strength. Mr. Coefield has a wonderful line and his leaps were breath taking.
There is an intense emotion portrayed by the dancers, the hint of death stalking around the red carpet, waiting for Ms. Takaura to step off so they my sweep her into their grasp is riveting. This is truly one of the most exciting works I have seen in recent years…
Inspired by the calm, tranquil beauty of the forests, lakes and wide skies of their Swedish homeland, world-renowned design company Bolon is proud to launch their new collection, ‘Silence’. Already known for their work with designers and architects such as Missoni, Paul Smith and Jean Nouvel, this launch features a creative collaboration of a different, yet equally exciting kind – with acclaimed choreographer Alexander Ekman. Famous for his modern interpretations of classic dance, his previous work includes projects with the Boston Ballet Company, Sydney Ballet Company, The Juiliard School and The Royal Swedish Ballet.
More here: bolon.com/silence
Brooklyn Academy of Music recently presented The Mariinsky Ballet in a matinee performance of three works, all using music of Chopin entitled Chopin: Dances for Piano. The company ended a two-week season of three different programs, this week it moves on to the Kennedy Center in Washington with a program of late-19th- and early-20th-century choreography.
Michel Fokine was only 26 when he created Chopiniana and is the first plot-less ballet. Created in 1908 for the Mariinsky Theater, Chopin referred to his Chopiniana as a “reverie romantique.” It is his first masterpiece and known as a crown jewel in his choreographic legacy. In this performance the dancers were accompanied by Alexandra Zhiliana on piano.
Dressed in ankle-length dresses of white tulle, a corps of ballerinas encircles a lone man on stage. It is wonderfully lyrical work and deeply emotion. The work intentionally lacks the great jumps, multiple turns or any showing tricks of the trade that were a must for ballet performances during that age.
Instead Fokine used the simplicity of beauty found within the classical vocabulary blended with lyrical movement. There is perfection to the work that can be found in the way the corps is moved about the stage and the use symmetry in the tableaus.
Oxana Skorik floated across the stage but Timur Askerov landed each jump with a load thud. I having been attending performances at BAM for years, so I know it was not because of the stage’s floor. Someone was simply not rolling through his feet when he lands!
Jerome Robbins‘ In The Night from 1970 was my least favorite of the three pieces shown. In this work I found the same problem I have with many of ballets found in the repertory of the New York City Ballet and those specifically choreographed by George Balanchine.
It’s neo-classical ballet but the choreography maintains a certain rigidness of style, the men in 19th military style tunics with leggings and boots plus the women is skirts with corseted tops, that gave the work a formal aspect that I found strained. There were just too many elements I felt forced…
A wonderful surprise was Benjamin Millepied’s Without , a work for five couples. Mr. Millepied was recently named director of the Paris Opera Ballet.
Vladimir Lukasevich created a lighting design that bordered on almost to dark…and I don’t know if my age is catching up with me but it seemed to get dimmer as the work progressed…it is later that you come to realize that the dim lighting merges with music that created an ambience unique in itself.
There is a romance to the piece that is intrinsic. The work is for five couples that are in matching colors, one couple in blue, another in green and so forth. A couple would perform center stage as dancers ran on, off and through black drapes that encompassed the stage.
But, it was the couple in red, Anastasia Matvienko and Konstantin Zverev, that grab and twisted the audience’s heartstrings. They performed with such fluidity of movement and true emotion that I did not want them to ever stop dancing.
The Mariinsky Ballet, known as the Kirov Ballet during the Soviet Era, has produced some of the Twentieth Century’s most noted dancers, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Dudinskaya, Natalia Makarova, and Rudolf Nureyev.
The Mariinsky Ballet is the parent company of the Vaganova Ballet Academy, a leading international ballet school in St. Petersburg. Over 250 years old the academy takes its name from Agrippina Vaganov, who brought perhaps the most important developments in modern Russian Ballet.
“Batsheva Dancers Create”‘ is an autonomous artistic framework which allows Batsheva dancers to create their own works while dealing independently with all aspects of the creative process, from the artistic aspect to marketing and advertising. The project, now in its eighth year, is supported by the Michael Selah Foundation for Cultivation of Young Artists at Batsheva. The project provides an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the dancers vibrant creative talent and each year it stirs great interest amongst the public. To date https://nycdancestuff.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.phpmore than one hundred works by dozens of young artists were supported by the Selah Foundation.
Britain’s Royal Ballet principal Natalia Osipova has won two top prizes in the country’s National Dance Award. According to a post on the Russian-born dancer’s official Facebook page, she was lauded for ‘Outstanding female performance, classical’ in the title role as Giselle, which she danced on stage at Covent Garden. Ospiova was also recognised as ‘best female dancer,’ for roles that included her appearance in ‘Solo for Two.’ In her career so far, the 28 year-old has already danced for the Bolshoi, as a guest performer for the American Ballet Theatre and is currently principal dancer for both the Royal Ballet in London and Mariinsky Ballet of St Petersburg.
George Crumb “God Music,”
Arvo Part “Fratres”
Thomas Oboe Lee. “Morango Almost a Tango”
Filmed in 2005 at TED
A male-female duet which traces the birth of a relationship between two creatures sinuously & sensuously intertwined. At once a Darwinian investigation and a love story, Symbiosis never ceases to surprise with its majesty and emotional depth.
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
Sixty years after The Royal Danish Ballet’s U.S. debut, principals and soloists from this internationally renowned company perform a fantastic program featuring excerpts from works by August Bournonville, the acclaimed 19th century Royal Danish Ballet choreographer and ballet master who created more than fifty works for the company. A highlight of the Joyce season, this engagement promises to be a memorable one.
All choreography by August Bournonville
The Flower Festival in Genzano (Pas de deux)
Music: H.S. Paulli
A Folktale (Pas de sept)
Music: Niels V. Gade
Jockey Dance from Siberia to Moscow
Music: C.C. Møller
La Sylphide, Act II
Music: Herman Løvenskiold
Napoli, Act III
Music: H.S. Paulli
Le Conservatoire (Pas de trios)
Music: H.S. Paulli
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