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Pilobolus: A dance of “Symbiosis”….





 Michael Tracy


George Crumb “God Music,”

Arvo Part “Fratres”

Thomas Oboe Lee. “Morango Almost a Tango”

Premiered: 2001

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.


The Royal Danish Ballet: Principals & Soloists at the Joyce Theater, Jan 13-18, 2014….

 Royal Danish Ballet Principal Dancer Ulrik Birkkjaer in August Bournonville’s “A Folktale.” Photo: ©Costin Radu

Royal Danish Ballet Principal Dancer Ulrik Birkkjaer in August Bournonville’s “A Folktale.” Photo: ©Costin Radu

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

Royal Danish Ballet Principal Dancer Alban Lendorf in “Napoli.” Photo: ©Costin Radu

Royal Danish Ballet Principal Dancer Alban Lendorf in “Napoli.” Photo: ©Costin Radu

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175 Eighth Ave at 19th St.


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In Memory of Rudolf Nureyev….


On Jan. 6th, 1993, that’s 22 years ago today, Rudolf Nureyev died in Paris of complications related to AIDS at the age of 55. One of the most celebrated dancers of the 20th century, he trained at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg and danced with the Kirov (Mariinsky) Ballet before defecting to the West in 1961. (Photo: Lord Snowden, 1986)

Of Light, Silence & Stillness | Russell Maliphant Company at the Joyce, Dec. 10-14, 2014….

Dickson Mbi of the Russell Maliphant Company ©Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones

Dickson Mbi of the Russell Maliphant Company. Photo: ©Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones

Russell Maliphant is an artist of great courage, of bravery, someone unafraid to take chances and this was evident during the Russell Maliphant Company’s engagement at the Joyce Theater, Dec. 10-14, 2014. As a choreographer he challenges the very concept of how we perceive the body in space and the relationship it has with its environment. The evening’s program, entitled Still Current, was a collection of five dances, all solos or duets.

Mr. Maliphant, who made his Joyce debut in 2012 with The Rodin Project, has collaborated closely with lighting designer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist, Michael Hulls, since 1994… Mr. Hull received the Outstanding Achievement in Dance award at the 2014 Olivier Awards…They have created a symbiotic relationship, a shared vision of merging light and movement into a new language. A new way of viewing the body in space where light becomes as tangible as the dancer, where the two become intertwined into a singular statement.

Mr. Maliphant is not afraid of stillness. He creates exquisite moments in the dance, for one brief moment, time is suspended. Everything stops, then like a heartbeat; the kinetic energies began to flow thought the dancer’s body.Two premiered in 1997 and was inspired by Maurice Béjart’s Bolero. The work is essential a duet between light and the dancer. The sole feminine presence in the company, Carys Staton, stands alone in a thin cone of shaded light with one arm raised above her head, she appears more sculpture then person.

Mr. Maliphant’s ability to marry silence and stillness makes Two alive, vibrant; you forget that there is only one person on stage. You become entranced by how light creates valleys of shadow with the body’s anatomy. The elbow becomes a peak of luminance surrounded briefly by dusk. As the arm continues to move you discover another pocket of shadow, unnoticed before but now so very important to the overall. The total effect is startling.

Carys Staton in Russell Maliphant’s “Two”. Photo: ©Hugo Glendinning

Carys Staton in Russell Maliphant’s “Two”. Photo: ©Hugo Glendinning

The Russell Maliphant Company is small with only four dancers, three men, Thomasin Gülgeç, Dickson Mbi, Adam Kirkham (who also dance with Balletboyz) and Carys Staton as the lone woman. Mr. Maliphant also dances in the company but due to an injury was unable to perform.

Still, making its United States premier, was danced by Ms. Stanton and Dickson Mbi. Mr. Mbi, famed for his strength and incredible popping style, began the piece solo. His movements filled with a primal passion as Mr. Hulls’ lighting design teasingly rippled across his bare torso.

Thomasin Gülgeç in Russell Maliphant’s “Afterlight”. Photo: ©Hugo Glendinning

Thomasin Gülgeç in Russell Maliphant’s “Afterlight”. Photo: ©Hugo Glendinning

The drums in the score enhanced this feeling of primal passion. At one point Mr. Mbi is joined by Ms. Stanton. Their relationship to each other is both dependent and independent. Ms. Stanton joins in movement with Mr. Mbi then breaks away.  She is being quietly deviant, a declaration of her own fearlessness.

The second half of the program opened with a solo for Thomasin Gülgeç entitled Afterlight (Part One) and set to Erik Sati’s haunting Gnosiennes 1-4 and new compositions by Andy Cowton. Mr. Gülgeç moves with a quiet majesty, his body folding and rolling with the music. As a phrase of music slows to a moment of stillness, his arm sweeps gentle from his side to punctuate the moment.

The work was created for Sadler’s Wells’ In The Spirit of Diaghilev and inspired by photographs of Vaslav Nijinsky and his geometric drawings. Mr. Gülgeç circles and creates arcs of movement about the stage; his body seems to flow with the score. His arms possess a fragility as he moves them almost birdlike. It was an inspired performance of a Russell Maliphant’s Olivier nominated work from 2009.

Russell Maliphant is an artist to watch. With The Rodin Project, performed at the Joyce in 2012 and now with this program, Still Current, you are able to witness the brooding genius of a choreographer who speaks with his own voice.

“Ballet 422″: An Unprecedented Look Behind the Curtain as Justin Peck Creates NYCB’s 422nd Ballet, “Paz de la Jolla” Opens in Theaters Feb. 6, 2015….

Ballet 42 posterFrom first rehearsal to world premiere, BALLET 422 takes us backstage at New York City Ballet as Justin Peck, a young up-and-coming choreographer, crafts a new work. BALLET 422 illuminates the process behind the creation of the ballet Paz de la Jolla within the ongoing cycle of work at one of the world’s great ballet companies.

New York City Ballet, under the artistic direction of Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins, boasts a roster of more than 90 elite dancers and a repertory of works by many of the greatest choreographers in the history of the art form. When 25-year-old NYCB dancer Justin Peck begins to emerge as a promising young choreographer, he is commissioned to create the only new ballet for the Company’s 2013 Winter Season. With unprecedented access to an elite world, Jody Lee Lipes follows Peck as he collaborates with musicians, lighting designers, costume designers and his fellow dancers to create NYCB’s 422nd new ballet. BALLET 422 is an unembellished vérité portrait of a process that has never before been documented at New York City Ballet in its entirety.

Ballet 422

Director: Jody Lee Lipes

Producer: Anna Rose Holmer, Ellen Bar

Editor: Saela Davis

Associate Producer: Lauren Clifford

Cinematographer: Jody Lee Lipes, Nick Bentgen

Sound Designer: Mark Henry Phillips


Dancers of New York City Ballet,

with Justin Peck, Tiler Peck, Sterling Hyltin Amar Ramasar

Magnolia Pictures

Opens in Theaters Feb. 6, 2015

Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands: A New Adventures Production | Sadler’s Wells Dec. 2 – Jan 11, 2015….

Ed Sc

Dec. 2 – Jan 11, 2015

Sadler’s Wells

Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R

Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of Edward Scissorhands has carved a place in the hearts of thousands across the world since its premiere.  Presenting its first major revival, Bourne takes a fresh new look at this modern fairytale, which will be revitalised for a whole new generation of dance lovers and theatregoers.

Based on the classic Tim Burton movie and featuring the beautiful music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, played live each night by the New Adventures Orchestra, this touching and witty love story tells the bittersweet tale of a boy left alone and unfinished in a strange new world.  It is a parable for our times about the ultimate outsider.

Ed Sc 1

After global success with his inspired interpretations of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Nutcracker!, this new production is guaranteed to delight the whole family.


Hairy Chests, Ruby Red Lips & Men in Tutus | Program A of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo’s 40th Anniversary Season at the Joyce Theater, Dec. 16 – Jan. 4, 2014….

Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) as the Naiad & Mikhail Mypansarov (Ihaia Miller) as the Fisherman in “La Naïade et Le Pêcheur.” ©Yi-Chun Wu-001

Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) as the Naiad & Mikhail Mypansarov (Ihaia Miller) as the Fisherman in “La Naïade et Le Pêcheur.” ©Yi-Chun Wu-001

Now every year I am so excited to witness the brilliance of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a troupe of classical trained male dancers who fearlessly bourrée across the stage while wearing tutus and point shoes. The Trocks (as they are commonly known) are an all-male ballet troupe that parodies the great ballet classics en travesty and en pointe.

These gentlemen perform under such enticing names as Maya Thickenthighya (Ihaia Miller), Nina Immobilashvili (Alberto Pretto) and Tatiana Youbetyabootskaya (László Major). Each dancer, besides their challenging roles as Russian ballerina, also perform male roles, such as László Major is also Araf Legupski, Giovanni Goffredo performs the dual roles of Varvara Bratchikova and Sergey Legupski, Duane Gosa is also Helen Highwaters and Vladimir Legupski

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in “Swan Lake.” ©Sascha Vaughn.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in “Swan Lake.” ©Sascha Vaughn.

It is noted in the program that all the Legupski listed, there are five of them, are brothers, but not really, though their first names are in fact Araf, Sergey and Vladimir. Unfortunately they do not the difference between a pirouette and a jeté, but they moved nicely and fit into the costumes.

Now, aside from the names and the clever backstories found in the program,  such as Ida Nevasayneva (Paul Ghiselin), who has just returned from the Varna International Ballet Competition where the judges, after having to sit through her performance, awarded her the plastic medal for Bad Taste. But, sadly, that was about the most humorous thing I found for the evenings performance.

Les Ballets Trockadero presented four works, a supposedly tongue-in-cheek rendition of Petipa’s classic Le Lac Des Cygnes (Swan Lake, Act II), Go for Borocco, an hommage to George Balanchine, the Le Corsaire Pas de Deux and Variations, plus a short ballet attributed to Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa with music by Cesare Pugni, La Naïade Et Le Pêcheur (The Niaid and the Fisherman).

The last time I saw Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo the company performed The Black Swan Pas De Deux as part of the 10th Anniversary of the Fall for Dance Festival in 2013. It was brilliant, I laughed so hard I cried…but it was because of the understated humor. A somewhat diminutive Prince Siegfried, danced by Innokenti Smoktunmuchsky (Carlos Hopuy), was immediately entranced by a taller and stronger looking Odile performed by Yakatarina Verbosovich (Chase Johnson). It was just that Ms. Verbosovich was not so taken with Prince Siegfried.  The evil Von Rothbart as performed by Vytacheslav Legupski (Paolo Cervellera)  and ran interference anytime the bewildered Odette, danced by the noted and much respected ballerina Sonia Leftova (Boysie Dikobe), attempted to enter the stage, complete with a white tutu and her arms a ripple. Von Rothbart refused to have his Odile (Ms.Verbosovich ) upstage by Odette and simple refused let her on to the stage, steering her back to the wings, sometimes gently, most times not. I remember the performance like it was yesterday…I say again, it was sheer brilliance.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in Marius Petipa’s Black Swan Pas De Deux

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in Marius Petipa’s Black Swan Pas De Deux

But what I saw in Program A of the Les Ballets Trockadero’s biennial three-week NYC engagement at the Joyce Theater, I sadly cannot say the same. There was too much hamming it up, to many obvious trips and falls that could have been very funny had they been cleverly staged.

The Le Corsaire Pas de Deux and Variations was somewhat better. The stand out in the performance was László Major who performed the slave variation with force and a surprising aerial or two. (…Mr. Major also should be granted the  award for the most hunkiest of the evening….just saying…)

Carlos Hopuy performing as Medora always impresses me with his abilities, but I must say after seeing his performance in this pas de deux, he raised the bar even higher. Mr. Hopuy was whipping out double fouettés turns, en pointe, better than a few real ballerinas I have known. It was a worthy performance for such an honored pas de deux but it seemed the focus was the dancing that was filled with difficult tricks as opposed to being a true parody.

For Le Lac Des Cygnes (Swan Lake, Act II), the dancers seemed to be camping it up more than needed. Everyone, especially Prince Siegfried (Giovanni Goffredo) had on way to much make-up. I was confused as to who was en travesty, Prince Siegfried or Odette (Robert Carter). The Prince sported deep blue eye shadow, a lot of it, cheek contouring and ruby red lips. I found it distracting.

Yakaterina Verbosovich (Chase Johnsey) & Nina Immobilianshvili (Alberto Pretto) in “La Naïade et Le Pêcheur.” ©Yi-Chun Wu-001

Yakaterina Verbosovich (Chase Johnsey) & Nina Immobilianshvili (Alberto Pretto) in “La Naïade et Le Pêcheur.” ©Yi-Chun Wu-001

La Naïade Et Le Pêcheur needs to be completely reworked. It never went anywhere, during the performance I was bored and kept hoping it would end soon. Here also, the male characters in the piece, Matteo (Ihaia Miller) and the friends of Matteo (Jack Furlong, Jr. and Christopher Ouellette) had on to much make-up I that could not take the characters seriously at all. Jack Furlong and Christopher Ouellette looked as if they had just changed costumes and threw on a short haired wig. Both sported long (and I mean long) lashes and again bright ruby red lipstick.

Mr. Furlong looked more like his character, Guzella Verbitskaya, was in actuality a woman pretending to be a man as opposed to the opposite. I understand that costume changes between performances can get very tight in regards to timing…but still, the dancers could have taken off the eyelashes and wiped off the lipstick to at least some differentiation between male and female characters.

To be fair, this was the opening night for Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Always opening nights are tricky, the dancers, no matter how rehearsed or how much they have already performed the repertory, opening nights everything seems new and nerves are a reality that has bested the most gifted of performers…


Kim Brandstrup’s “Leda and the Swan” with Zenaida Yanowsky & Tommy Franzen….

Zenaida Yanowsky & Tommy Franzen in “Leda and the Swan”

Zenaida Yanowsky & Tommy Franzen in “Leda and the Swan”

Choreographer and director Kim Brandstrup’s short dance film Leda and the Swan, commissioned by The Royal Ballet for Deloitte Ignite 2014. Performed by dancers Zenaida Yanowsky and Tommy Franzen, and Yeats’s poetry read by actor Fiona Shaw.

Deloitte Ignite 2014 is the annual contemporary arts festival at the Royal Opera House and was curated by The Royal Ballet and The National Gallery’s Minna Moore Ede. This year’s festival is a feast of dance and visual art.

The month-long festival celebrated and explored the origin of myth and creation through dance, visual art, film, music and movement. The festival focused on two archetypal myths: Prometheus, the Titan who creates man from clay and steals fire from the Gods, and Leda and the Swan, the mysterious conjunction of a mortal woman and the god Zeus, disguised as a swan.

Music by Nico Muhly (Diacritical Marks 1, 2 & 6)

Poems by W.B. Yeats

Poems Read by Fiona Shaw

Cinematographer: Stephen Standen

Producer: Lucie Conrad

Choreography, directed & edited by Kim Brandstrup

Dancers: Zenaida Yanowsky & Tommy Franzen

Commissioned by The Royal Ballet for the Deloitte Ignite Festival 2014

Find out more at…

Frisch’s Presents “The Nutcracker” Performed by the Cincinnati Ballet, Dec. 19-27, 2014….

Cincinnati Ballet in “The Nutcracker”. Photo: Peter Mueller.

Cincinnati Ballet in “The Nutcracker”. Photo: Peter Mueller.

Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director for the Cincinnati Ballet has taken one of ballet’s most iconic pas de deux, The Nutcracker pas de deux and recreated a dance that fits comfortably in the 21st Century. Now that is saying something indeed when you realize The Nutcracker pas de deux, first choreographed by the legendary master of dance Marius Petipa, was first performed in in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

But let’s be honest, at 122 years of age, The Nutcracker pas de deux needed a little tweaking, a bit of spit and polish and updated for the 21st Century. For the millennials in the crowd, think of it as The Nutcracker pas de deux v. 2.0. Ms. Morgan gave it a much needed upgrade.

Now many a balletomane we cry foul and fall weeping in the center aisle, of that you can be sure. Stodgy dance critics (the ones who never like anything, anyway) will storm out of the theater in righteous indignation. I mean after all, it was good enough for Anthony Dowell and Leslie Collier to perform at Covent Garden,,,but, ahh folks, that was in ‘70’s.

The Nutcracker pas de deux is a dance for the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince Coqueluche in the ballet The Nutcracker.  It is performed all over the world, probably being performed somewhere right now as you are reading this…The pas de deux and the codas are staples for the International ballet competitions, Varna to Tokyo, Moscow to Jackson, Miss….

Frisch's Presents “The Nutcracker” Performed  by the  Cincinnati Ballet, Dec. 19-27, 2014

Frisch’s Presents “The Nutcracker” Performed by the Cincinnati Ballet, Dec. 19-27, 2014. Photo: Peter Mueller

Ms. Morgan has remained true to Petipa’s original choreography (historically speaking dance scholars think it’s the original choreography, but I digress…) What is unique is that she has merged elements more often found in Contemporary Ballet as opposed to Classical.

In Ms. Morgan’s updated version, the rigidity of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s torso has been replaced with a torso that is allowed to move and is freer. The positions des bras (position for the arms) have breath and show more fluidity. The male dancer is not there just to lift and carry the ballerina across the stage, instead he is more engaged, an active partner. Most importantly, the choreography is more embracive of the musicality that is in Tchaikovsky’s score.

**Also, just a little side note, if you’re fan or admirer of the Cuban School of Classical Ballet (like I am), the Cincinnati Ballet has several Cuban dancers of note. Yosvani Ramos, former dancer with the Australian Ballet, Venus Villa, formerly with the English National Ballet,  Rolando Sarabia, Gold Medalist at USA IBC in Jackson Competition, Mississippi, Romel Frometa and Gema Diaz, both formerly with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and one of my favorite male dancers dancing today, Cervillo Amardor, a Principal Dancer with the Cincinati Ballet since 2004.

…Also, be sure to catch Jenessa Touchet as the Snow Queen…she gives a remarkable performance….

If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area (and I wish I were)…This is one Nutcracker you will not want to miss……


Dec. 19-27, 2014

The Aronoff Center for the Arts

Choreography by Victoria Morgan

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Carmon DeLeone

Scenic Design: John Ezell

Costume Design: Carrie Robbins

Lighting Design: Trad A Burns.