Lyon Opera Ballet is not a traditional ballet company for missing from the company’s repertoire are the great White Ballets such as Swan Lake or Giselle. Instead this exceptional company it is committed to showcasing the work of significant contemporary choreographers by superbly trained and gift dancers.
The Lyon Opera Ballet’s program at the Joyce Theater, April 19-May 3, 2015 presented three works and all created within the last thirty years, Benjamin Millepied’s Sarabande (premiering in 2009), William Forsythe’s StepText (premiering in 1985) and the New York premiere of the Israeli-born, French-based choreographer Emanuel Gat’s Sunshine from 2014.
Benjamin Millepied’s Sarabande is a work for four male dancers wearing casual street attire. Paul Cox had the men in tan pants with each dancer wearing a plaid shirt but each shirt in a same but yet slightly altered color scheme.
Julian Nicosia began the piece by dancing solo to two extracts from Bach’s Partitas for Solo Flute while being accompanied on stage by flutist Stefan Ragnar Hoskuldsson. Mr. Nicosia is a most gifted dancer; he possesses a natural lyricism mixed with a wonderful sense of athleticism.
Mr. Millepied’s chorography is attentive to the music for it flows intrinsically from shape to phrase. There is a freedom to the work making it seemed improvised, of the moment. Quick transitions of weight are followed by rapid changes of direction and focus with astounding leaps and jumps. It is a delicious work that allows you, the viewer, to sit back and enjoy the beautiful simplicity of the piece.
Emanuel Gat’s Sunshine, for me and a few others in the audience (I know because I asked) was a bit of a head scratcher. After the serenity of Sarabande, Sunshine seemed chaotic with dancers running, jumping, sliding in various directions, sometimes to music, sometimes not.
The score, which did not help the choreography in the least, is a recording of rehearsals of Handel’s Water Music. Mr. Gat did not incorporate the music in either the creation of the work or the rehearsal process but added it just days before the premiere. Sadly this showed….
The pièce de résistance for the evening was William Forsythe’s 1985 work Steptext. It is quartet for three males and one female dancer to Bach’s Chaconne for the Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin in D Minor.
Mr. Forsythe once famously said “The [classical] vocabulary is not and will never be old; it is the writing that can be dated.” So it is that with StepText he applies the classical vocabulary in ways that he is known for by the altering phrasing with unexpected combination of steps and body positioning.
Two men, in all black with their arms uncovered begin to move in almost darkness. It is the play of shadow and light of the dancers’ bare arms that draws your eye and first brings them to your notice.
They leave the stage as we hear a violin, but only briefly. Dorothée Delabie, wearing a red sleeveless body suit, walks on stage. She too starts to move just her arms in silence. Again the violins are heard but only for an instant.
A man walks up behinds and so begins the dance. Steptext was choreographed in 1985 just two years before Mr. Forsythe’s groundbreaking work In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. You can see the same use of extended limbs with balance off kilter.
Ms. Delabie was tossed and turned then tossed and turned again. Her every move was magical. If you have not seen William Forsythe’s StepText or the Lyon Opera Ballet in performance you are doing yourself a grave injustice.
American Masters teams up with Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns to co-produce a new documentary about American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in honor of the ballet company’s 75th anniversary.
American Masters – American Ballet Theatre: A History …premieres nationwide Friday, May 15, 2015 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)…rthe rise of the company from its earliest days as a small, financially struggling collective, to its pinnacle as one of the most respected and revered dance companies in the world. Beginning film production in 2006, Burns was given unprecedented access to the company and shot hundreds of hours of original footage, including dramatic live performances in Paris and Havana, grueling rehearsals at ABT’s flagship studio in New York City and slow-motion captures at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, N.Y.
The footage from Kaatsbaan features iconic dances by nine ABT dancers, including Copeland, Murphy, Seo, Gomes, Isabella Boylston, Herman Cornejo, Daniil Simkin, Joseph Gorak and Cory Stearns, chosen by McKenzie for their diversity and breadth of talent to illustrate the ABT dancers’ formidable technicality, intricate artistry and nuanced emotion. Shot by Emmy-winning cinematographer Buddy Squires and a 30-person crew using Phantom Flex cameras — which capture up to 2,500 frames per second and brings to life even the smallest of movements — the footage brings a new dimension to the understanding of the extraordinary efforts made in the perfection of form: from the delicate placement of a fingertip to the perfectly executed jeté.
American Masters on PBS
Friday, May 15, at 9 pm EST
Boris Eifman Explores the Dark Side of the Jazz Age
The New York City Center presents the American premiere of the new ballet from renowned choreographer Boris Eifman. Adapted from the novel Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, with music by George Gershwin, Franz Schubert and Alban Berg.
The book, first published in 1934, tells the story of a young psychoanalyst and his wife, who is also his patient, and their doomed relationship. The action takes place in the south of France in the 1920s.
The young psychoanalyst, Dick Diver is a charming, affluent socialite who is plunged into an existential crisis by the mental illness affecting his wife. Mr. Eifman has characterized the work as a “dazzling chronicle of a human dying spiritually”.
“Among a wide range of topics touched upon in this novel, I chose three main ones – preserving God’s gift; realizing oneself, one’s mission and one’s purpose; and jazz,” Eifman said in an interview with news agency Ria Novosti.
Boris Eifman was born in the Altai Territory in Siberia in 1946 and graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1977 he founded the Leningrad Ballet Ensemble, which later became known as the St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet.
For over three decades, the choreographer has staged works in his distinctive bold, emotion-driven style. Mr. Eifman’s unorthodox selections of themes and music for his ballets along with the body movements of his dancers has earned him the reputation of “a choreographic dissident.”
In 2013, Eifman opened the Boris Eifman Dance Academy, which currently has a student body of 90 young dancers from across Russia. The Eifman Ballet currently does not have a permanent stage, but the Boris Eifman Dance Palace is currently under construction.
Fri, May 22 at 8pm
Sat, May 23 at 2pm & 8pm
Sun, May 24 at 2 pm
BTW 6th & 7th Aves.
New York, NY 10019
One on the great pleasure in living in New York City is the annual appearance of the Youth America Grand Prix at Lincoln Center‘s David H. Koch Theater Each year YAGP presents two nights in which some of the best dancers in the world are put on display. First presented it the Final Rounds of the Youth America Grand Prix in which the young dancers that have made it to the final round of the competition perform Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala takes place the next evening. It is a much awaited for event in which the students showing the most potential perform alongside some of stars of today’s leading dance companies. The evening was hosted by Julie Kent from American Ballet Theater and Jared Angles from the New York City Ballet.
Of the sixty dancers that made it to the final rounds everal American dancers came away with top spots. Rio Anderson from San Francisco won 2nd place in the Senior Women’s Division and was also awarded a year round Scholarship to the Royal Ballet in London, as well as an apprenticeship with the Dutch National Ballet. New York native Juliette Bosco, age 12 and Maggie Chadbourne, age 13 from Orland actually tied for 1st Place in the Junior Women’s division.
When the curtain opened for the Final Rounds, Connor Hamilton, age 12, gave a stunning interpretation of the Variation from Giselle. She was so tiny, so petit and danced wonderfully. Shogo Hayami, age 18 from the John Cranko School in Germany performed an exciting tour-de-force performance of the Variation from Don Quixote. He is someone to watch….
It is customary during the Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala that the top ranking dancers chosen from the night before perform during the first half of the program. After the intermission dancers from some of the best dance companies in the world are presented.
In the first half of the program, Stars of Tomorrow, Shogo Hayami, age 18, the first place winner in the Senior Men’s Division performed Mikis Theodorakis’ Solo for Diego. The piece calls for a certain level of drama that is still tongue-in-cheek, yet, the performer must have superb technical ability to full express the character being portrayed. I have seen this piece performed many times but rarely as smoothly as Mr. Hayami’s. I will be interesting to see where this gifted young man will begin his professional career.
Austen Acevedo, age 15, came in 6th in the Senior Men’s Division. During the Final Rounds he and Kennedy Kallas, age 14 gave a riveting performance of Yuri Smekalov’s Who is My Shadow. Both dancers displayed a maturity far beyond their years. It is an intriguing contemporary duet that the couple had premiered at the Mariinsky Festival held in Russia at the Mariinsky Theatre. They are the first pre-professional American dancers to perform on the Mariinsky Theatre stage.
The Stars of Tomorrow opened with Calvin Royal III from American Ballet Theater and YAGP alumni with partner Katrina Shapran (Mariinsky Ballet) performing Anton Primonov Untitled. It was the work’s world premiere, presented as part of YAGP’s Emerging Choreographers Series. Though beautifully performed the piece itself felt somewhat lacking.
The Bolshoi stars Evgenia Obraztsova and Semyon Chudin performed a Pas de Deux from The Pharaoh’s Daughter which I was excited to see. Ms. Obraztsova was flawless but it was Mr. Chudin who grabbed the eye. I do not believe I have ever seen a male body more suited for dance. His line is lean and impeccable. He grabs you and pulls you into his performance.
Xander Parish, the first and only British dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet, gave an athletic and rousing performance of the amusing Eric Gauthier’s Ballet 101. The work displayed Mr. Parish faultless technique and gave witness to why he was selected to dance with the Mariinsky Ballet.
The Youth America Grand Prix mission is to support and develop world-class dancers, ages 9-19, of all economic, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds by providing scholarship auditions, performance and education opportunities, and by serving as the global network of dance, connecting students, teachers, schools, dance companies, dancers, and audiences.
YAGP reaches over 7,000 dance students annually by holding workshops, scholarship auditions, master classes and audition classes in approximately 15 U.S cities and 5 international locations. Each season culminates in the week-long New York City Finals, where more than 1,200 of the world’s most promising dancers receive in-depth mentoring and greater scholarship, professional, and performance opportunities.
Only 300 of most promising young dancers representing 30 countries on 5 continents are chosen for the New York City Finals. Open to general public, the Final Round gives the New York audiences a unique opportunity to see 60 of the world’s best young dancers before they disperse around the world to study on scholarship at the world’s leading dance academies (over $300,000 in scholarships are presented annually at YAGP).
Dance Against Cancer 2015
An Evening to Benefit
The American Cancer Society
Monday, April 27, 2015 at 7pm
at AXA Equitable Theater
787 Seventh Avenue (between 51st and 52nd Streets).
Producers Erin Fogarty and Daniel Ulbricht have partnered with the American Cancer Society to present the 5th annual Dance Against Cancer on Monday, April 27, 2015 at the AXA Equitable Theater, VIP guests will enjoy cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres at 6pm, followed by world premiere dance performances at 7pm from companies including
New York City Ballet,
American Ballet Theatre,
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,
Complexions Contemporary Ballet,
As well as members of NYC’s Broadway community and more.
Tickets are available at dacny.org
$150 for General Admission
$300 for VIP
$500 for Preferred VIP with dress rehearsal access.
All proceeds from this event will benefit research initiatives as well as all patient and family service programs that American Cancer Society funds. Since its inauguration, Dance Against Cancer has raised over $325,000 in support of the American Cancer Society.
Dance Against Cancer
Co-producers and longtime friends Erin Fogarty and Daniel Ulbricht conceived Dance Against Cancer in 2010. They both have close ties to the cause as Ms. Fogarty lost her father in 2011 after a seven-year battle with colon cancer and Mr. Ulbricht’s mother is currently battling uterine cancer. With so many of their close friends and family sharing stories of their own relation to the disease, the desire to do something grew into what is now a gala benefit for the incredible work that the American Cancer Society does through research initiatives as well as patient and family service programs. The benefit brings together artists from leading dance companies from New York City and beyond for a night of beautiful performances, world premieres and great company. Since its inauguration, Dance Against Cancer has raised over $325,000 in support of the American Cancer Society.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We’re determined to finish the fight against cancer. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
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.