So be warned, this is not the Disney version of Cinderella, but rather an adult re-envisioning of the 1697 baroque fairy tale by Charles Perrault. The production is billed as a theater experience, a thrilling fusion of nightlife and theatre with a unique blend of live opera, circus, burlesque, vaudeville, baroque dance and design. Company XIV’s Cinderella was conceived, directed and choreographed by the Drama Desk Award nominee Austin McCormick.
The score is a blend of popular tunes such as Irving Berlin’s Sisters, Daddy by the Andrew Sisters and Lorde’s “Royals” which I pretty sure part of was sung in German. Marcy Richardson gave a brilliant rendition of Faust’s Ah! Je ris de me voir – Allegretto, all the while turning in an upside-down position know in pole dancing the Rainbow Marchenko.
Zane Pihlstrom’s costume and sets just added to the whole. The costumes were sparse, spangled G-strings and corsets, extravagant wigs and the men and women both in baroque style shoes with a pronounced heel. The set itself, while colorful, was minimalist by nature but with just enough oomph to allow your imagination to soar.
Mr. McCormick choreography was thrilling from the get-go. As in most Off-Broadway productions I had assumed there would be some dancing but nothing overly difficult. But the intricacies of the choreography combined with the abilities of these performers made me really sit up and take notice. These were polished professionals with impeccable technique.
Allison Ulrich gave us a superb performance as the beautiful Cinderella. Ms. Allison is a Juilliard graduate, a former member of Cirque Du Soleil’s Viva Elvis. Another bright presence on stage and who was often just his G-string was Jakob Karr, the runner-up to Russel Ferguson in the 6th season of So You Think You Can Dance. (…FYI, I loved him on SYTYCD and after seeing him perform in person I am somewhat in awe…)
Davon Rainey, one of Company XIV’s founding members, won our hearts as the somewhat lusty and ever-so-evil stepmother. His star quality undeniable, his antics were larger than live and he made sure the entire cast new exactly who the star of the show was. He would sometimes come out of character to remind the performers of anything he felt was lacking in anyway. During a scene where the dancers had gather center stage behind Mr. Rainey and had seemed to have lost focus he had to remind them, “guys, this is the dramatic fall.”
Steven Trumon Gray was the handsome prince, though sadly somewhat flawed. As the evil step-sisters …as well as the rather randy step-mother…tried their best to fool him into believing one of them was the perfect fit for the fabled slipper…well, let’s just say he had to struggle with his libido on more than one occasion….
The pièce de résistance for the evening was the duet between Mr. Gray and Ms. Ulrich. Mr. Gray, a noted aerialist, used a hoop to sweep Ms. Ulrich up and intro his arms. Together, both on the floor and in the air, they melded as one to create sublime imagery.
The world premiere of Cinderella runs from September 22 – November 15 in a limited 8-week engagement. Previews begin September 22 for a September 30 opening.
Company XIV’s 2015-2016 Off-Broadway season will include three adult only shows: the world premiere of Cinderella, a revival of their sexy hit holiday show Nutcracker Rouge, and the world premiere of Snow White, all conceived, directed and choreographed by Drama Desk Award nominee Austin McCormick.
Shows take place at the Minetta Lane Theatre, located at 18 Minetta Lane between MacDougal Street and 6th Avenue in New York City. Performances are Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 5pm. The shows contain partial nudity – 16 & over admitted.
Tickets for Cinderella and Snow White from $40 to $65 with premium and VIP seating from $75 to $105. Tickets for Nutcracker Rouge from $50 to $85 with premium and VIP seating from $100 to $175.
Visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 1-800-745-3000.
For info visit CompanyXIV.com.
Like them on Facebook at /CompanyXIV
follow on Twitter at @Company_XIV
and on Instagram at CompanyXIV…
Scottish Ballet shows a unique behind-the-scenes look at David Dawson’s visionary new production of Swan Lake for World Ballet Day 2015. Scottish Ballet’s first re-imagining of this classic ballet in over 20 years to premiere spring 2016. Taking the format of the successful Uncut series, this is an exclusive peek into the rehearsal studio with David Dawson as he creates his visceral and daring interpretation of this iconic ballet on Scottish Ballet Principal Dancers Sophie Martin and Christopher Harrison.
Scottish Ballet’s Swan Lake
April 27 – 30, 2016
The Satellite Collective is a group of 29 artists from across the nation that work together to produce interdisciplinary works. They just completed their second season with seven world premieres created specifically for the BAM Fisher Space. Those seven works premiered consisted of post-classical music by four composers, contemporary dance works by three choreographers, a new animated set, two new short films, and spoken work. Damian Smith, former principal of San Francisco Ballet, is artistic advisor for the program.
Now, I have a lot of respect for the Satellite Collective but was their second season as successful as their first…for me sadly not. David Moss opened the evening by performing his composition for the cello. I’m not in the least bit qualified to critique music but I did found it interesting in a new age sort of way…
Michaela Mann performed Individuate, a solo work set to a score by Nick Jaina and choreographed by Devin Alberda, who dances with the New York City Ballet. Ms. Mann’s performance was impeccable and Mr. Alverda’s choreography reminded of work I seen in the early 80’s by dancers who were trained in Erick Hawkins’ Technique and I mean this in the very best of ways.
Mr. Hawkins’ technique has a serene quality as well as a stately elegance in how a dancer’s body employed its kinetic energies. I found many similarities in Mr. Alberda’s choreography. The piece had a light airiness to it that was wonderful to see. Though I found the costume, a brown and tan body suit, distracted from the work as a whole.
A Pair of Ideal Landscapes was an interesting piece using dance, film and voice. Richie Greene created a score that was hauntingly captivating and the way he incorporated the sublime voice of Catherine Hancock was sheer genius…
Lora Robertson created a film that produced an abstract thread of shifting imageries, green grass moving in a breeze, a copper satin dress with a long train that flowed with the wind. The film focused on several women, all in various states of contemplation in which they seemed fascinated with their hands. Esmé Boyce is seen wearing bright red lipstick as she seductively places her hand against a man’s, reflected in an antique mirror, Kit McDaniel’s face is seen in a moving moment of meditative emotion.
The only problem I had with the piece was that during the showing of the film Ms. Boyce and Christopher Ralph performed a duet that was also choreographed by Ms. Boyce. There is so much to say about this duet and none of it positive, first and foremost it was not needed.
In regards to the mechanics of the duet there was nothing original neither in content nor in its construction. They choreography was dated and lacked imagination, There was nothing exciting or innovative in regards to how Ms. Boyce utilized the body in space. Everything about the duet, sadly, has been seen before. I have seen Ms. Boyce’s work twice now and both times I left wishing she would be more willing to take chances, for her to stop thinking of how to move but instead let her emotions speak though her body to create her own unique language.
Ms. Robertson’s exquisite use of her camera combined with Mr. Greene’s score and Ms. Hancock’s sublime vocals were strong enough to stand on their own. Frankly, I found Ms. Boyce’s duet more of a distraction than anything else. I found myself focusing purely on the film.
Edie Leaves Twice was a beautiful stop motion short film by Lora Robertson, with libretto by Kevin Draper and scored by Ellis Ludwig-Leone. The film is the second installment of an ongoing trilogy, the first installment, Twin Star Event, premiered in the Collective’s first season at BAM in 2014. (“Tornado Fighter” will be third installment of the trilogy and is in production, set to be premiered in June, 2016.)
The imagery was rich, colorful and deliciously abstract. The film begins with the credits super-imposed over several lit birthday candles that as the melted would flow and morph into imagery that was as worthy as any abstract painting hanging in the Whitney. There is a model of a wooden horse that has moveable parts (that I think I remember seeing in the first installment…but don’t quote me on that…) Also, a Red Ford Mustang toy car, then there are a herd of marbles that flow across an embossed gray fabric, at the top of the frame a rotating globe partially seen. It was a brilliant, fun and a unexpected sweet treat…I’d love to see again…..
Manuel Vignoulle’s career as a choreographer I have been following closely since I first saw his work Shifting Shadow at the 2013 :pushing progress Showcase Series. I was immediately drawn to Mr. Vignoulle’s emotional yet at the same time athletic approach to dance.
I found his latest work Walls Are Here to Fall exciting, fast-paced and thought provoking. (Mr. Vignoulle found the words Walls Are Here to Fall written on the Berlin Wall.) This piece is more intricate in its construction then past works, more complex in his use of the body in space and he masterfully wove Nick Jania’s composition with Kevin Draper’s imagery in to a flawless statement. Also, Brandon String Baker must be commended for his lighting design that added so much depth to the work.
Wearing all white, the dancers would suddenly start to spasmodically jerk their bodies like some escaped mental patients. Then each dancer stands in a square of light and begins to move individually but there is still a unifying theme. It’s as if you enter a room with four people all discussing the same subject but with each having their own point of view and each determined to be heard over the rest.
Isaies Santamaria has this ability to tie his body into knots of movement that should be physically impossible. Rena Butler, who also dances with Bill T. Jones, dances with an inherent lyricism that is delicious to watch. Gage Self is a recent graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program and of whom I had not seen perform before but he was wonderful, naturally falling into Mr. Vignoulle’s movement as if born to it. Elena Valls I have had the good fortune to see perform before and if you have not seen her perform I would suggest you do.
Satellite Collective is a New York based arts non-profit, committed to generating interdisciplinary works of performance and publication. Founded in 2010, Satellite Collective has produced three evening-length ballets, four hours of original music, two hours of original film, commissioned four modern dance works, founded an artistic publication, hosted five annual arts retreats, and has recently launched Telephone, which simultaneously published the interconnected works of 315 artists from 42 countries.
Satellite Collective was selected by the Brooklyn Academy of Music to participate in the 2015 BAM Professional Development Program in collaboration with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.
For the World Ballet Day on Oct 1, 2015, five of the world’s leading ballet companies including The Royal Ballet will unite for a day of live-streamed rehearsals, interviews and insights.
Following the success of last year’s unprecedented collaboration, five of the world’s leading ballet companies will again come together for World Ballet Day, a day of live-streaming via YouTube on 1 October 2015.
The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet will again partner to provide viewers around the world with an inside look at professional ballet companies in the studio, on tour, and in performance.
The Royal Ballet’s section of the day will feature exclusive backstage footage from across the Royal Opera House. As well as showing segments of morning class live, filming will follow the preparation and off-stage action from a matinee performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet featuring Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli. Rehearsals for the world premiere of Carlos Acosta’s Carmen which opens in October will be broadcast alongside exclusive footage of Royal Ballet Principals preparing for the 2015/16 Season. Further details of the five hours hosted by The Royal Ballet will be announced in due course.
In addition to behind-the-scenes streaming from Melbourne, Moscow, London, Montréal and San Francisco, the day will feature pre-recorded footage from a range of regional dance organizations who are based close to the five companies. These companies include Bangarra Dance Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, English National Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Houston Ballet, Northern Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Scottish Ballet.
Throughout the day, viewers will be invited to enter a ‘Dance Anywhere’ contest by submitting a video or photograph via social media of themselves dancing in front of regional landmarks. Entries may be posted using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and should be tagged with #WorldBalletDay. The best ones will be broadcast to a global audience during the day.
The broadcast schedule is as follows:
- 3-8am BST: The Australian Ballet live from Melbourne
- 8-11am BST: The Bolshoi Ballet live from Moscow
- 11am-4pm BST: The Royal Ballet live from London
- 4-9pm BST: The National Ballet of Canada live from Montréal
- 9pm-2am BST: San Francisco Ballet live from San Francisco.
World Ballet Day will be available to watch via the official website and YouTube. Please note that all details are subject to change.
A Ballerina’s Tale
Directed by Nelson George
In Theaters & on VOD
October 14, 2015
Iconic ballerina Misty Copeland made history when she became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer of the legendary American Ballet Theater. Get the incredible, behind-the-scenes story of how she overcame a tumultuous upbringing and near career-ending injuries to become one of the most revered dancers of her generation. More than just a ballet success story, Copeland’s journey is a hugely inspirational, universal tale of perseverance.
Well, let’s be honest! 10 Hairy Legs is rather unusual name for a dance company…The visual imagery does not really lend itself to the known aesthetic of a danseur noble.
Well, wake up! That was yesterday or perhaps even the day before yesterday. 10 Hairy Legs is the brain child of Randy James. It is a contemporary dance company composed of just men…and actually the dancers legs are not that hairy, well a couple are but they shall remain nameless.
Mr. James has selected an eclectic repertory by some of the most noted of choreographers working today, Steven Petronio, Sean Curran, David Parker, Miguel Vignoulle and the list goes on.
Mr. James has paired this eclectic repertory with fourteen young men of exceeding talent. One is Alex Biegelson, (…who frankly makes my heart go pitty-pat…) who is noted for his masculine presence on stage blended with his amazing strength and athleticism. There is also Nick Sciscione who I could literally watch dance all-day! Mr. Sciscione, who I have had the privilege of seeing perform on many occasions, possesses flawless technique and an innate lyricism that is rare for most dancers, male or female! (Mr. Sciscione also performs with the Stephen Petronio Company.)
The evening opened with an excerpt from Christopher Williams’ The Portuguese Suite, a duet performed by Tyner Dumortier and Kyle Marshall. This work was a rather pleasant surprise. The music was a traditional Portuguese fado song recorded by the legendary Portuguese singer Amália Rodrigues, Ginja Sem Caroço.
There was such diversity between the hauntingly beautiful voice of Ms. Rodrigues (accompanied by a lone guitar) and how Mr. Williams approached the body in space with in regards to the music. Nothing about this piece should have worked…but work it did…
Mr. Dumortier moved with such longing and beauty, his body seldom still, one moment he was turning with his arms in angular shapes, then into stumbling steps as if intoxicated, and then into the bravado shapes of the tango.
Like I stated previously, nothing about this piece should have worked but the combination of Mr. Williams’ choreography, the fado by Ms. Rodrigues combined with the performances of both Mr. Dumortier and Mr. Marshall, created something of genius. If you have a chance, you really want to see this duet!
At the beginning of David Parker’s Slapstuck, Derek Crescenti wanders onstage as if he has not a care in the world. He starts to sort of tap dance (with no shoes on) and then Will Tomaskovic walks onto the stage. They amicably shake hands. Mr. Crescenti then continues has aimless tap dancing (with no shoes on).
About this point I begin to wonder what is going on, there is no music at all, the dancers seem clueless and are continuing to meander about the stage without direction or focus. Their costumes are just as peculiar as this piece has been from the start. Both men are clad in all-black and rather bulky costumes that are not flattering in the least…
Mr. Tomaskovic runs and leaps on to Mr. Crescenti’s back sideways, and somehow does not fall, but instead seems to have become caught. It is obvious that he is not using his hands or legs to support himself and just seems magically stuck to Mr. Tomaskovic’s back. Mr. Tomaskovic wanders around in circles and finally is able to get Mr. Crescenti off his back. As this occurs we hear a weird ripping noise…Then the fun begins, the dancers are wearing Velcro on most of their bodies. The ripping noise was the Velcro tearing away from the other dancer’s Velcro. I laughed so hard my sides ached…loved it!
As we hear the opening sounds of Rufus Wainwright’s Oh What a World and as the stage is slowly being illuminated, seen are Alex Beigelson and Nickolas Sciscione standing together both facing the same direction. They are wearing intriguing costumes originally designed Tara Subkoff/Imitation of Christ and realized for this production by Cindy Capraro. The costumes are red briefs with half the torso covered in a black long sleeved garment while the other side of the torso is bare but with three small straps use as support. A singular black strap is also of found on one leg of each dancer just below the red briefs.
This is the beginning of Stephen Petronio’s Bud, a deliciously relaxed duet that is somewhat sarcastic as well as a little tongue-in-cheek. Mr. Biegelson begins to manipulate Mr. Sciscione’s body as if he were a puppet or perhaps a rag doll. There is little to no expression on either dancers’ face.
The duet just borders on the nonsensical, at times the dancers perform in flawless unity and others in a delayed response. The limbs of the body are moved in a relaxed manner as if flung but still in complete control. This work is intelligent and abstractly emotional that’s well-crafted and was brilliantly performed! Bravo to all…………
The 10 Hairy Legs’ 2015 New York Season was
June 11 – 14, 2015 at New York Live Arts.
10 Hairy Legs are giving a FREE performance of
Stephen Petronio’s” Bud”
Saturday, Sept. 12 at 4:30 pm
73 Fullerton Ave, Montclair, NJ.
Daniel Ezralow directed and choreographed Pearl, a multimedia extravaganza inspired by the life of author, Pearl S. Buck. Pearl appeared at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater for a limited run of four nights only, Aug 27 – 30, 2015.
Ms. Buck is the first woman to win both the Nobel and the Pulitzer Prizes. She spent most of life before 1934 in China. Her parents, both Americans, were missionaries who went to China when Ms. Buck was only three months old. Her first language was Chinese. She grew up along Yangtze River which allowed her a unique perspective into the life of the Chinese peasant. This was the subject of Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Good Earth, a best-seller for both 1931 and 1932.
To say that Ms. Ezralow’s Pearl was a multimedia production is just a nice way of saying that he pulled out the bells and whistles. The dance play is told in an abstract manner, each section defined by a combination of lighting, sound and the positioning and movement of the set. The stage was divided in two sections by a 150’ by 6’ river of lazily flowing water. As the story unfolded a dancer would periodical stand on a small raft while the river transported them across the stage. The reminiscence of rice fields is unmistakable in the flooring’s design; a rich brown color with curving lines as if the rows of a freshly plowed field waiting to be planted.
Christopher Akerlind created a masterful lighting design that wove color and drama into an imaginative place of startling beauty and mysticism. He applied lighting that was bold, rich and luminance. Mr. Akerlind’s choices in the manner in which he applied lighting were enhanced by his choosing to work with a palette rich in bold colors. Without a doubt it was Mr. Akerlind’s brilliant lighting design that was the glue that held this story together. The lighting was more than inspired…it was sheer genius!
Ms. Buck’s return to the United States is marked by the sounds of Ragtime, a party or gathering seems to be commencing, everyone happy. But mixed in with the Ragtime are haunting melodies played on Chinese instruments, a reminder that though she is American by birth, China will forever be a part of her heart.
Special Guest Artist Margie Gillis portrayed a more mature Pearl who was transitioning into her writing career. Ms. Gillis would intersperse her movements with short choppy motions utilizing her arms and upper torso. The unmistakable sound of a manual typewriter is heard. Behind her is seen several long and wide white fabrics unfolding from the rafters. As Ms. Gillis dances letters and then later words could be seen floating up the fabrics.
Pearl, though visual beautiful, was not without its flaws. Daniel Ezralow’s choreography seemed lacking in imagination. Nowhere in the production did I witness innovation in his manner of movement phrasing or toward his approach to use of the body in space. His movements and choreographic phrasing seemed dated and predictable. Mr. Ezralow, who danced in Paul Taylor’s company, perhaps sticks to closely to Mr. Taylor’s movement choices and choreographic style.
The musical score, though clever enough seemed at times a bit cliché. The score in hindsight was what you would expect from a production such as Pearl, a blend of Eastern and Western music. Missing greatly was a character(s) playing a traditional Chinese instrument such as an erhu or qinqin, Sadly the score was taped; a live orchestra could have enriched the productions in ways unimaginable.
Thought Daniel Ezralow’s Pearl is not without its fault it is still a beautiful production and well worth seeing. I felt it could easily be made into a Broadway production, the story line and concept are both rich enough