The work of Stephen Petronio has always spoken to my soul. For me it is the intrinsic value of his work, the ways in which he portrays the human condition. He is one of those rare artists who has the ability to combine both the cerebral and the emotional aspects giving us a glimpse into that which has made him and that which continues to inspire him.
Big Daddy (Deluxe) is the perfect example of this. Having its world premiere earlier this month at the Joyce, Mr. Petronio presented a chronicle of sorts by using the combination of text, music and movement. The work is a recollection of memories of his father, Thomas Petronio, who passed away a few years ago.
Mr. Petronio does not approach the work in a maudlin or overly sentimental manner. But instead we are treated a portrait of his father. He dissects, inspects and explains his complex relationship that existed between them.
Mr. Petronio uses the music of Son Lux to generate an atmosphere of contemplation. With his dancers he created abstract imagery or shadowed memories that flows through and around his recitation of text.
The beauty of the work lies in its simplicity of statement, a statement of respect and admiration with a hint of longing. It was a touching and beautiful performance. I am richer for having experienced it.
Now, I have never been a big fan of Trisha Brown’s work, but after having seen her 1979 work Glacial Decoy , I question myself as to why. Glacial Decoy is part of Bloodlines, a project of Mr. Petronio to honor and curate a lineage of American postmodern dance masters. Over a period of five years, the Company plans to bring works by Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and others into its repertory.
Glacial Decoy is a work for five women featuring sets, costumes and visual direction by Robert Rauschenberg. There is a elegance to the work and the longer I watched it the more I was pulled in. If you get as chance to see this work you should.
MiddleSexGeorge (1990) was created in the midst of the aids crisis. The piece is set to a commissioned score by the British post-punk band Wire, with costumes designed by H. Petal. There was a sense of frustration mixed with anger in the work. There is also a depth that makes me want to see this again before I more fully write about it.
Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo teamed up to perform Dust as part of English National Ballet’s production Lest We Forget, which commemorates the centenary of the First World War. Akram Khan’s work Dust is about the empowerment of women in the war, especially as they became the main workforce in the country.
Akram said: “The piece is inspired by two things. First, the concept of a trench, of the young men and old men all going into trenches, and disappearing. The other substantial part was inspired by the women. In WW1 there was a huge social shift towards women. They needed weapons made for the war, they needed a huge workforce. I felt this shift in role was interesting. They knew they would be letting go of fathers, husbands, and sons; they might lose them. Yet they were making weapons that would kill others’ fathers, husbands, and sons. It didn’t matter which side you were on – they both felt loss and death. But in order for someone to live someone else was putting their life on the line. That cyclical thing was what I wanted to explore.”
March 2-6, 2015, the Joyce Theater Foundation presented Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo with the American pianist Bruce Levingston for the U/S. premiere of Trio ConcertDance.
The beauty of the performances was in the simplicity of the choreography…nothing flashy or overly complicated. Because of the simplistic beauty of the choreography you could truly focus on the performances of Ms. Ferri and Mr. Cornejo.
Fang-Yi Sheu’s Senza Tempo, set to Bach, is an exploration of both devotion and protection. Mr. Cornejo stands behind Ms. Ferri with their arms interwoven like snakes. Clifton Taylor, who was the lighting designer for the performance, subtle backlit the performers so at first it was hard to tell if it was some sort of tree like sculpture it’s many branches locked in geometric patterns or the dancers’ standing one behind the other
This piece focuses on the arms and the arms’ relationship to each other. There constant connection provided a circuitry for the energies to pass between the dancers. Ms. Ferri would step away from Mr. Cornejo, arms still woven together only to have Mr. Cornejo quickly step in and readjust his arms so she resides within his protective embrace.
Herman Cornejo performed Momentum which he had also choreographed. Dancing to Philip Glass’ Etude No. 16 Mr. Cornejo gave evidence as to why he is one of American Ballet Theatre’s most celebrated principal dancers. He has an uncanny ability to turn, his body spinning in wonderful ways, whether in the air or on the floor.
He moved with such sensuality that it was breath-taking. He would step into a position and then with the grace of a panther move into the next. It was indeed one of the best performances by Mr. Cornejo I have seen and I have seen him perform many times.
Throughout the evening you witness the strong chemistry that exists between Mr. Ferri and Mr. Cornejo, it was always passionate and at times almost erotic in it intensity. When Mr. Cornejo gathered Ms. Ferri info his arms and kissed her passionately you could hear gasps of admiration from the audience.
Now add to the mix acclaimed American pianist Bruce Levingston, one of today’s leading figures in contemporary music. He has had the distinction of composers such as Philip Glass and Timo Andres creating music for him.. He is known for his “extraordinary gifts as a colorist and a performer who can hold attention rapt with the softest playing” (MusicWeb International).
Mr. Levingston created a rich tapestry of sound the matched the talents of both Ms. Ferri and Mr. Cornejo. Trio ConcertDance was truly an evening of magic and majestic performances. Bravo to all involved…
Echoes, the first full-length work by emerging choreographer Ella Robson Guilfoyle, is a breath-taking combination of contemporary dance and circus. Via a full size trampoline, a trampowall and 2 chinese poles, this spectacular performance explores the extraordinary in the journeys and routines of our daily
Created & Choreography: Ella Robson-Guilfoyle
Composer: Jon Opstad
Gabrielle Cook, Beren D’Amico, Louis Gift, Joshua Smith, Kassie Starkey
Filmed at Maiden Lane Festival, Camden
As Part of CIRCUSFEST 2014 for the Roundhouse in London
With Acclaimed Concert Pianist Bruce Levingston
The U.S. Premiere of
March 2-6, 2016
Respectively dubbed “one of the most cherished ballerinas of our time” and one of “the most miraculous artists” (The New York Times), world renowned dancers Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo join forces with the adventurous acclaimed pianist Bruce Levingston to create TRIO ConcertDance, a program of commissioned work by three enchanting contemporary choreographers—Russell Maliphant, resident artist of Sadler’s Wells; Demis Volpi, resident choreographer of Stuttgart Ballet; and Fang-Yi Sheu, from Taiwan. This magnificent engagement also features Ferri and Cornejo performing work by Angelin Preljocaj. Clifton Taylor joins the artistic team as the lighting designer.
Fri 8pm S
Sat 2pm & 8pm
Tickets start at $10!
\Call JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800 for $10 tickets
All other tickets can be purchased online.
(175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street)
New York City
“Generous artistry and technical prowess bathe the company in a warm glow,” says The Boston Globe about Hong Kong Ballet. One of Asia’s premier classical ballet companies, the company is gaining international recognition as a world-class institution that represents Hong Kong’s unique character. The first company in Asia to perform Nacho Duato’s eloquent Castrati, Hong Kong Ballet brings this ballet to the Joyce stage along with work by Krzysztof Pastor, the Artistic Director of Polish National Ballet, and Fei Bo, Resident Choreographer of the National Ballet of China.
A Room of Her Own (excerpt), Castrati, In Light and Shadow
A Room of Her Own (excerpt), Dancing in the Wind, In Light and Shadow
Saturday 2pm & 8pm Sunday 2pm
Tickets start at $10!
Call JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800 for $10 tickets.
Program A: 1 hour 34 minutes (including one intermission)
Program B: 1 hour 21 minutes (including one intermission)
175 Eighth Avenue at 19th St.
Created by Barely Methodical Troupe
Directed by Eddie Kay
Produced by Dream
With Support from
Underbelly Productions &
The National Centre for Circus Arts of
Additional choreography: Ella Robson Guilfoyle
Lighting: Kate Bonney
BMT (Barely Methodical Troupe) is an experimental acrobatic circus company, fusing Hand-to-Hand and Cyr Wheel with a through line of creative dynamic movement.
The artists came to circus, each having trained independently in their own respective fields, with a thirst for breaking boundaries. Influenced by their already existing skill sets (Parkour, Bboying, and Tricking), they have a fresh perspective on the creation of their material. This combination of technical ability with their stylish flow is the defining feature of the troupe.
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake was first staged at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London in 1995. The longest running ballet in London’s West End and on Broadway, it has been performed in the UK, Los Angeles, Europe, Australia, Japan, Israel and Singapore.
- Original premiere in 1995, performed in London’s West End and toured across UK, USA, Europe, Japan
- Revived for Sadler’s Wells 2004 and returned for extended seasons in 2006/7, 2009/10, 2013/14
- Won Astaire Award for best dance on Broadway, Tony Awards for Best Director of a Musical, Choreography and Costume Design, 5 Drama Desk Awards, Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, The South Bank Show Award, Evening Standard Ballet Award, Olivier Award and many more
- Film version of Billy Elliott concludes with Billy about to take the lead in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake
- Filmed in 3D for Sky Arts 2011
- 38 dancers
Adapted from Petipa’s Swan Lake
Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
When Troy Schumacher premiered the impulse wants company I realized that here was someone to watch. Mr. Schumacher has been a member of the New York City Ballet since 2008, so it should come as no surprise to find evidence of the influences of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins as well as Peter Martins in his work. It can be found in how he uses the body in space, in how he weaves music and his dancers into one voice but most of all it can been seen in his willingness to take chances, his willingness to push the envelope and challenge not just himself but his dancers as well.
Mr. Schumacher founded BalletCollective in 2010 with the goal of exploring the collaborative process. He gathers together poets, visual artists, photographers, composers and designers that together work with equal voices, equal input towards the creation of new works. So far BalletCollective has worked with over 30 artists in the creation of new works.
Mr. Schumacher is classically trained and studied at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet. So it comes as no surprise that his choreography is built upon the classical vocabulary. He also has studied with some of the greatest dancers of the 20th century, Patricia McBride, Violette Verdy and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.
Each of the two world premieres had commissioned scores, Invisible Divide’s score was by Ellis Ludwig-Leone while Mark Dancigers created the original music for The Last Time This Ended. The eight members of Hotel Elefant provided live music for BalletCollective’s two night run at the NYU Skirball Center.
The Last Time This Ended, a duet for David Prottas and Taylor Stanley, had been inspired by three photographs by Israeli photographer Dafy Hagai. One photo was of a couple playfully rolling in the grass, another was of trees in spring and the last was of a car’s front windshield with a collection of beads hanging from its rearview mirror. Each photograph had its own mystery and possessed each own secrets.
Mr. Schumacher’s choreography was a series of rapid-fire choreographic phrases that pushed both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Prottas. They would perform beautiful leaps and execute these wonderful turns, sometimes with their arms waving or the torso arched back. The two would come together then separate, but still, there was this unspoken connection, an energy shared between them. The piece, though emotional, also possessed playfulness.
For Invisible Divide, a work for seven dancers, Ellis Ludwig-Leone incorporated the voice of Vanessa Upson to provide a powerful score that was rich in tone. Harrison Coll, Taylor Stanley and David Prottas all performed admirable. Each had his own voice, each making his own statement. Mr. Coll dances with such passion and confidence that he pulled you eye whenever he was on stage.
The women, Lauren King, Claire Kretzschmar, Ashley Laracey and Megan Mann brought out the youthful energies of the piece. Brandon Stirling Baker’s lighting design created a place that bended light and shadow and was true to the subtle drama that flowed through the work.
The imagery of Mr. Coll’s duet with Ms. Kretzschmar has stayed with me. He seems to pull her to him as if seeking someone to help with the loneliness and the despair he is feeling. He repeatedly gathered her into his arms only to then push her away, at one point boldly dropping her to the floor. Mr. Baker’s stark lighting augmented the rawness of the moment.
Eventually Mr. Coll broke away from Ms. Kretzschmar and began a deeply moving solo. You witness a moment of deep realization and can feel the emotional aspects of his plight. He explodes into leaps and turns with seemingly super-human strength. I sat there amazed by his expressive performance. Bravo Mr. Coll, bravo indeed.