In 2013 Jennifer Muller contacted New York Live Arts and then Elisa Monte about creating a shared program for established choreographers. This year the program presented works by Elisa Monte, Jennifer Muller, Margo Sappington and Molissa Fenley in Monte/Molissa/Margo/Mueller – LIVE! At New York Live Arts, June 14-18, 2016.
Opening the evening was the premiere of Elisa Monte’s Dextra Dei with music by Tibor Szemo and lighting by David Moodey. From the program notes…”Dextra Dei was started in 1989 in response to what was then the AIDS assault on my community of friends. It was a men’s quartet which premiered in Palais des Festivals et Congres, Cannes, France. I’ve decided to bring the work back into my repertoire, as well as premiere an additional new section adding four women to the work – Elisa Monte.”
Dextra Dei began with four men slowly rolling onto the stage from upstage right. It is not evident that it is four men, not at the very beginning, lights and shadows allow glimpse of a moving mass of anatomy.
The work is a powerful statement of the Aid’s crisis so rampant in the 80’s and 90’s. The four men provide succor while giving strength and support to each other. When one jumps into the air he is caught and almost cradled/caressed before he stands and joins the others.
Four women join the men showing both their compassion and support. You see four strong women express a combination of grief and outrage of the losses they have endured. But eventually the women withdraw and the four men are left alone on the stage, still struggling, but still supporting and caring for one another.
The world premiere of Molissa Fenley’s The Third Coast (Parts 1 and 2 of the Water Table) was a duet performed by Christiana Axelsen and Rebecca Chaleff. Though the duet possessed a sense of purity, it still seemed to be missing a strength of statement. It was performed in two sections; both of which went on for a tad too long. The works are too similar in concept and construction to be seen back to back. It could have easily been just long one duet from start to finish. Now I am not saying I did not enjoy the piece….it just has a few kinks that need to be worked out is all…
Now I have to say that Molissa Fenley is Molissa Fenley for a reason and that reason is evident in her solo performance in the New York premier of Mali (Part 8 of Water Table). Ms. Fenely is able to capture and hold your attention in ways that many soloists lack. You witness her focus as she seamlessly blends her movement with both the music and lighting to create a visual statement of thought and expression. She moves her arms in pronounced angles while her body tilts forward or too the side all the while projecting a beautiful sense of serenity…It was a powerful performance and I am richer for having witnessed it….Thank you Ms. Fenley……..
Margo Sappington’s Entwined is set to the music of Eric Satie. The beginning I thought slow and did not truly hold my attention but as the piece progressed I found myself pulled in. I’ll be honest I am 50/50 on Ms. Sappington’s choreography. Of her works I have seen I find myself left with a feeling of either blasé or of being totally invested…for Entwined I was totally invested….
With Entwined, Ms. Sappington utilizes the classical vocabulary to create a stunning piece of contemporary ballet. The work had an inherent lyricism as well as musicality that many of Ms. Sappington’s pieces are known for….
Jennifer Muller presented the world premiere of Working Title…now I am insure if Working Title is the just that… a title to be used during the construction of the work…
Working Title is a fast paced work “about the difficulty of defining relationships in today’s world.” The dancers move in a controlled frenzy…relationships between the dancers are fleeting but still pronounced.
The work grabs your attention right from the start and I’m not sure I even blinked while watching the performance. I must be honest… I have been watching Jennifer Muller’s work, on and off, since the 80’s… for whatever reason her pieces never seemed to grab me or speak to me…
But with both this year’s Working Title and last year’s Alchemy… let’s just say I am not sure what Ms. Muller has been up to the last few years….but whatever it is… please don’t stop. With both Working Title and Alchemy Ms. Muller has become the choreographer to watch.
The two pieces I have seen over the last two years both exhibited her “out-of-the-box-thinking” which she applies with innovated movement and a willingness to experiment with the body in space. All I can say is I can’t wait to see what see comes up with next year…..
An established name in modern dance with a reputation for performing sensual, articulate, and exquisitely musical works, RIOULT Dance NY performs two programs. Women on the Edge… Unsung Heroines of the Trojan War, a profound and timeless anti-war statement, features the world premiere of Cassandra’s Curse with commissioned music by Richard Danielpour performed by the Uptown Philharmonic under the baton of Kyle Ritenauer. The work is narrated by guest artist Kathleen Turner on June 21, 23 and 25. The second program is distinguished by the New York City premiere of Polymorphous, a piece exploring the subjectivity of perception through movement and technology; a suite of magnificent duets drawn from some of Pascal Rioult’s finest works; and fan favorite Bolero.
“WOMEN ON THE EDGE…Unsung Heroines of the Trojan War”
Cassandra’s Curse (World Premiere)
Iphigenia, On Distant Shores
Jun 21 & 26 at 7:30pm; Jun 23 & 25 at 8pm
‘The program will be narrated by
guest artist Kathleen Turner on Jun 21, 23, & 25.
Polymorphous (NYC Premiere)
Dream Suite, Duets, Bolero,
Jun 22 at 7pm; Jun 24 at 8pm; Jun 25 & 26 at 2pm
For the first time in 18 years the Canadian contemporary ballet company, Ballet BC (British Columbia) appeared at the Joyce Theater featuring the works of three female choreographers, June 1-5, 2016.
The evening opened with artistic director’s Emily Molnar’s 16 + a room. Ms. Molnar is a former member of Ballet Frankfurt so it should come as no surprise to see the influences of William Forsythe in her choreographic choices. As I watched I was impressed in how she incorporated the body in space in relation to Dirk P. Harbrich’s original score as she wove the dancers and the music into a visual tapestry
There were moments in the 16 + a room where I was reminded of Mr. Forsythe’s masterpiece, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. For me, that is a great compliment, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated is one of my top ten dance works I’ve ever seen…and I have seen a lot.
The curtain opens and the dancers are standing still, momentarily another dancer walks on stage carrying a sign that read “THIS IS A BEGINNING” and so it is. In a burst of energy dancers start running off the stage.
Within moments Rachel Price and Scott Fowler begin a powerful and emotional duet. The moment they touched you felt an energy, and unbridled passion as Mr. Fowler supports Ms. Price as she twist, turns, bends her body in quick constant movement…their duet was the star of the evening… Bravo to both Ms. Price and Mr. Fowler.
Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo was, for me rather somber affair. I am use to seeing suich works by Crystal Pite as Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue or Grace Engine…both of which pack a powerful punch.
Solo Echo has a restraint to it, a mellower energy than what I have come to associate with Ms. Pite’s choreography. There is sense of caring and concern shared among the dancers, They stand in a line with each dancer’s arms encircling the dance in front of them…that dancer slips from those arms is if he is too difficult to contain, Solo Echo was a beautiful piece and exceptional danced but just not what I had expected….
Closing the evening was Bill choreographed by the Israeli duo of Sharon Eyal and Gal Behar. So far I have seen four of their works… Too Beaucoup, Sara, Killer Pig and now Bill…and after the bows and when the curtain has fallen…I am always left wondering one thing….Why!
The manner in which this choreographic duo envisions the use of body in space, is for me, just strange….and not in good way. It’s as if the two insist on making the body seem as unattractive as possible. Legs bent, spine arched with arms reaching with the fingers spread like some type of spider. The head of the dancer sometimes even seems at odds with the rest of the body.
To be honest the audience seemed to have greatly enjoyed Bill, But sadly, after watching the performance, Bill left me with the same unanswered question…Why!
Iconic director Robert Wilson and legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov are joining artistic forces to create a new performance work based on the famous diaries of Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky who, in his prime, was recognized as the most celebrated male dancer in the Western world, performing with Sergei Diaghilev’s renowned Ballets Russes. The project is the second collaboration for Mr. Wilson and Mr. Baryshnikov, whose production of Daniil Kharms’ The Old Woman, featuring Mr. Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, has been touring nationally and internationally to critical acclaim.
Of Nijinsky’s diaries, first published in 1936, American author Henry Miller wrote: “It is a communication so naked, so desperate, that it breaks the mold. We are face to face with reality, and it is almost unbearable…had he not gone to the asylum we would have had in Nijinsky a writer equal to the dancer. Letter to a Man is a theatrical work performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, who enters the fragmented mind of the great dance artist as he descends into madness. As always in Wilson’s works movements, text, lights, set and music are equal parts of the same creation where, as he says, “all theatre is dance”.
Direction, sets, lighting design
Robert Wilson with Mikhail Baryshnikov
Based the autobiography “The Life of Vaslav Nijinsky”
Text: Christian Dumais-Lvowski
Dramatury: Darryl Pinckney
Music: Hal Willner
Costumes & Makeup: Jacques Reynaud
Collaboration movements & spoken text: Lucinda Childs
Lights: A.J. Weissbard
Décor: Annick Lavallée-Benny
Video: Tomek Jeziorski
Scenery: Thaiz Bozano
Technical Director: Reinhard Bichsel
Lighting Technician: Marcello Lumaca
Commissioned by the Spoleto Festival
BAM 2016 Next Wave Festival
Executive Producer: CRT Milano
Thanks to the Estate of Vaslav and Romola Nijinsky
“There is no place for arrogance in the arts, but neither is there room for doubt or a perpetual need for affirmation. If you come to me with doubts about a particular move in a piece, or if you come to me and ask if what you’ve written has truth and power in it, these are doubts I can handle and respect. But if you come to me and moan about whether or not you really have a place in the dance or the theatre or in film, I’ll be the first person to pack your bags and walk you to the door. You are either admitting that you lack the talent and the will, or you are just looking for some easy attention. I don’t have time for that. The world doesn’t have time for that. Believe in your worth and work with a will so that others will see it. That’s how it is done; that’s how it was always done.”
- Martha Graham Interview with James Grissom
LET’S. MOVE. NOW.
A Benefit Dance Concert!
ONE NIGHT ONLY!
June 25, 2016
GIBNEY DANCE CENTER
NY, NY 10007
All of the proceeds benefit
Summer Dance Intensive
ONE NIGHT ONLY!
Featuring dancers from NYC’s most prominent dance companies as well as choreography by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Sidra Bell, Gina Gibney, Manuel Vignoulle, Jeremy McQueen, Greg Dolbashian & Maleek Washington among others. With performances by Niya Love, Antonio Brown, , Krystal Mackie, Alexeya EM, Maleek Washington, Loni Landon and Rena Butler…
*All of the proceeds from this event will benefit NYC’s most talented and deserving young dancers!
This is an event NOT TO BE MISSED!
The core mission of MOVE(NYC) is to identify exceptionally talented New York City teenagers and provide them with a world class dance education completely free of charge. Our goal is to develop, cultivate, and educate the next generation of exceptional dance artists. In order to do this successfully, we feel it is an absolute necessity to eliminate any potential roadblocks deserving students may face on the path towards…
by Isaies Santamaria & Norman Vickery
Dancer: Isaies Santamaria Perez
From a choreographic and aesthetical production perspective, Mary Wigman (1886 – 1973 Germany) is, after Laban, the first relevant, European, modern dance figure reported by modern dance history.
As much as Laban, Dalcroze and Delsarte (who are of an extreme importance mainly because of their ideological contributions), Wigman develops her own understanding of dance and introduces it in a significant amount of choreographic pieces.
She opposes radically to classical dance values and methods, in a search for a dance that would accomplish an expressive function of the dancer’s soul.
Concerned about a close relationship between spirituality and movement, she defends the idea of invisible forces that would give life to dance. From this point of view, she somehow recreates the cathartic function attributed to dance in ancient societies.
Her choreographic work and thought are considered as part of the artistic trend called German expressionism. Her practice itself receives the name of dance of expression or “Ausdrückstanz” (in German).
Wigman’s dance pieces are remembered for their tragic, dark character and are described as introspective dances that reveal vibrant, vital, excited and passionate inner states of being.
She engages herself into the social and educational mission of the choreographer, by creating several schools and transmitting her artistic legacy. Among her renowned students are Hanya Holm, Harald Kreutzberg, Gret Paluca and Kurt Joos.
According to modern dance history, she influences the whole German dance trend during the 1920s and 1930s and what follows after the war.
Her ideas are brought to the United States of America by Hanya Holm, who passes the heritage to figures like Alwin Nikolaïs.
Still, in other countries like France, for example, Wigman heirs are responsible for the respective modern dance trends at the time.
Her most famous piece is called “Hexentanz” (The Witch).