Co•Lab Dance at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center

"What did you do on your summer vacation?" is a big conversation starter this time of year  Dancers dance, whether on tour, as featured guests at festivals, or for members of American Ballet Theatre, exploring their art at  Co•Lab Dance .  Led by Founder-Director and ABT colleague  Lauren Post, On September 6 and 7, Co•Lab showed two sold-out audiences at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center what they did between ABT's two seasons at Lincoln Center.  The four engaging new works were created by female choreographers; something their home company is seriously trying to address.  Here this was a matter-of-fact new normal. Forming Co•Lab''s sophomore company were ABT Soloists

Ma-Yi Theater Company Presents the World Premiere of “Felix Starro” at Theatre Row

Photo: Richard Termine

  Like many musicals, Felix Starro, opening Ma-Yi Theatre Company's 30th anniversary season at Theatre Row, is about the tenuous connection between family and faith.  What makes Felix's strong ensemble of voices unique is that they are heard in the first Off-Broadway Filipino-American musical where pain may be imaginary but always real. Jessica Hagedorn's book and Fabian Obispo's score is based on Lysley Tenorio's short story.  Filipino psychic surgeon Felix (Alan Ariano) and his teenage grandson Junior (Nacho Tambunting) are in 1980s San Francisco on the older man's latest mission to heal those in pain.  His technique combines prayer and a lot of faith on the part of the seeker. 

Lara Spencer Won’t Read This and I Don’t Care

Edward Watson. Photo: Rick Guest

My first reaction to Good Morning America anchor Lara Spencer's insensitive remarks about young Prince George taking ballet lessons was primal outrage.  Ballet is one of my "things" - despite the entitlement and snobbery I still encounter because, well, someone from a suburban working class home doesn't belong. That she and her GMA audience think ballet is laughable is something else.  Mocking a six-year-old's participation in an activity combining physical fitness and aesthetics or anything else  is alarming.  Is it okay for girls to rightly emulate the world champion U.S. Women's Soccer team but boys can't aspire performing The Nutcracker Prince? 

Joyce Ballet Festival Program C, or The Art of the Arabesque

Joseph Gordon (in blue) & David Hallberg (in maroon) in "Songs of a Wayfarer" Photo: Maria Baranova

  Arabesque: "One of the basic poses in ballet, arabesque takes its name from a form of Moorish ornament. In ballet it is a position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demi-plié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions creating the longest possible line from the fingertips to the toes. The shoulders must be held square to the line of direction. The forms of arabesque are varied to infinity...Arabesques are generally used to conclude a phrase of steps, both in

Yang Liping Contemporary Dance’s ‘Under Siege’ at Mostly Mozart

Photo: Rosie Marinelli (Lincoln Center)

  Since there is no longer a Lincoln Center Festival (the moral being never hire a former college president who believed locals could summer in Salzburg or other pricey European festivals just like ex-colleagues and students/alums can), Mostly Mozart successfully transitioned to a more inclusive schedule.  Choreographer/Director Yang Liping's Under Siege, an entertaining retelling of the Ancient Chinese Chu-Han Contention may seem a bit of a stretch, but at its conclusion when pieces of red paper symbolizing dead warriors and one fiercely loyal maiden fell,  its message is very clear: a world without harmony.is dangerous. Audiences filing in to the Koch Theater saw the

Midsummer Dance Card: Tradition Defined

The Royal Danish Ballet's Ulrik Birkkjaer and Gudrun Bojesen. .Photo: Dave Morgan

  A delightful part of ballet history was at the Joyce July 7-14. The Dance is an art because it demands vocation, knowledge, and ability. It is a fine art because it strives for an ideal, not only in plastic but also in lyrical respect. The beauty to which the Dance ought to aspire is not dependent upon taste or pleasure, but is founded on the immutable laws of nature. Dancer/Choreographer August Bournonville (1805-1879) Let's start with the finale.  Ida Praetorius and Ulrik Birkkjaer, who danced so beautifully earlier in the evening, rejoin their colleagues.  They are the first of several couples performing tarantellas with stunning degrees

Final Performances of Megan Monaghan Rivas’s ‘Three Musketeers: 1941’ This Weekend!

All for One (left to right): Christina Liang, Ashley Bufkin, Essence Stiggers, Kate Margalite, & Ella Dershowitz. © ClintonBPhotography

    Even if King Arthur didn't return to the aid of Great Britain during World War II, other heroes like Wonder Woman, Captain America, Sherlock Holmes and The Scarlet Pimpernel aided the Allies.  Now they are joined by Megan Monaghan Rivas's Three Musketeers: 1941 at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres.  June  27-30 are Rivas's likable re-imagination's final performances.  Hopefully her smart update will find audiences beyond NYC. Commissioned for the Women in Theatre (WIT) Festival, the four loyal guards are now dedicated female Resistance fighters.  The time transition is so smooth that there's no need to be familiar with the 1844

Celebrations Two Legends Remembered During PRIDE Month

Lisa Lyon by Robert Mapplethorpe. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It's been 30 years since photographer  Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) and choreographer Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) died from AIDS.  The June-long celebration of civil rights and respect is also a reminder that while there are now ways of controlling the disease, there remains no cure. Two recent performances were timely reminders that both left indelible marks on art and society.   Triptych (Eyes of One on Another).  New York premiere. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, June 6-8, 2019. In 1989 when the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. caved to pressure from politicians and the Religious Right and cancelled the travelling Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment exhibit, protesters aimed a high-power scenic projector and

NY Philharmonic Ends Its Season with David Lang’s ‘prisoner of the state’

Composer David Lang. Photo: Peter Serling

    The New York Philharmonic  began the 2018-2019 season in light and ended in darkness with the world premiere of David Lang's opera prisoner of the state. The NYP commission, conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, performed June 6-8 as part of the orchestra's Music of Conscience series, explored the long tendrils of totalitarianism - and an opera born out of hate is brilliant. prisoner of the state is a meditation on Beethoven's only opera Fidelio (1805), whose titled character infiltrates where her wrongfully incarcerated husband is held and saves him from execution.  Written during the Napoleonic wars, Beethoven never hid his passion for freedom.  Lang removes

A Positive Russian Influence: Ballet

Scene from Harlequinade. Photo: Erin Baiano.

As the Romanovs's bewilderingly indifference to the political and socioeconomic upheavals leading to the Russian Revolution worsened, ballet at home and abroad flourished.  French-born Marius Petipa (1818–1910) was Chief Choreographer of Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater where he set the premieres of Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker among others.  Artists dissatisfied with his autocratic yet groundbreaking vision joined impresario Serge Diaghilev in his Paris-based Ballets Russes.  The two aesthetics share a legacy of brilliant choreographers (Ballets Russes had Michael Fokine, Nijinsky, his sister Bronislava,  Leonid Massine and George Balanchine) and enduring influence.  New York had pleasing reminders of this lofty dance heritage when American Ballet Theatre opened their

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