Author Archive: Mari S. Gold

Mari S. Gold

Mari S. Gold is a freelance writer who contributes to many magazines and websites. Her blog, But I Digress… , on cultural events, travel, food  and other topics is at www.marigoldonline.net. She lives in New York City.

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host

At one point in the entirely delightful Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, Ira Glass observes that Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass imbue their performances with personality just like “real people” as differentiated from more typical dancers with bland facial expressions who spin around. Bingo. This hybrid of two art forms, dance and radio, is like nothing I’ve ever seen, and I doubt that anyone else in the large Town Hall audience has either.

Wind and Tree, a Three-screen Dance-video by Abe Abraham

The three screens turned out to each be the size of a household flat-screen TV so I was a little taken aback having somehow expected to find three huge screens but no matter. Jack, a performance space, consisting of a large room with three of its four walls covered in tinfoil, made an unorthodox, but rather appropriate venue for this very avant-garde film which runs 45 minutes.

A Shakespeare Double-Bill at the American Ballet Theater: Ashton’s The Dream and Ratmansky’s The Tempest

American Ballet Theatre in "The Dream." Photo Gene Schiavone.

ABT’s The Dream is highly poetic, romantic and vaguely Victorian. It differs from the version presented by the New York City Ballet in that it is only one act and has a somewhat different story line as well as highly contrasting choreography. (I confess to a preference for the NYCB version, but so be it.) Herman Cornejo was unquestionably the star of the performance, a magical, energetic Puck whose leaps are astounding. He spins so brilliantly I couldn’t tell how many rounds he made; took to the air as though truly born an elfin sprite and displayed a keen a sense of humor. Oberon was danced by Cory Sterns in place of the injured David Hallberg. In one charming moment, Oberon partnered Puck; when the sprite leapt into his master’s arms, the audience let loose a collective chuckle. This Oberon, regal and compelling, does some of his own dirty work, sprinkling the love charm into Titania’s eyes so that when she awakens she is entranced by Bottom, complete with ass’s head, and danced with panache by Blaine Hoven.

Savion Glover’s OM, at the Joyce Theater

Savion Glover’s newest production, OM, is as much a mystical experience as a dancing one. The performance, which spans about seventy minutes with no intermission, begins with a lengthy jazz recording of what I think is Calling by Kenny Garrett, very improvy -sounding and full of saxophone. During this pre-performance period, the audience views the front of the stage lined with small bulbs that seem to flicker in the half-light with a head of Buddha on one side. Finally the curtain is raised, revealing the stage set with hundreds of candles of all sizes, and photos of Glover’s spiritual mentors, some dance figures like Gregory Hines and others more spiritual like Gandhi. I’m not sure where Michael Jackson fits in. Glover, minus his trademark dreads, stood on a small platform in the center where he remained for the entire performance.

Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Balanchine’s choreography at the New York City Ballet with Karinska’s Costumes Restored

Sean Suozzi as Puck in NYCB's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo Paul Kolnik.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream deals with totally unrealistic events including crossed lovers, magic spells, and meaningless arguments. The performance by the New York City Ballet with Balanchine’s original choreography integrates broad comedy with magnificent dance for a hugely satisfying evening.

 

Steps Beyond Performance Lab Series for Emerging Choreographers, Steps Studio Theater, May 17, 2014

Sarah Zielinski

Steps Beyond Performance Lab Series for Emerging Choreographers.

At first, the evening felt a little like an exam, as there was a sheaf of paper and a pencil on each seat, and the audience was told to mark each performance with an eye to musicality, originality, costumes and other information. Afterwards, each sheet would be given to the choreographer, presumably as a guide to fine-tuning his or her work.

 

Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York 10th Anniversary Celebration

Valentina Kozlova

Valentina Kozlova was born in Moscow and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School where she danced all the major classical roles. In 1979, on tour in the U.S with the Bolshoi, she defected and began her career anew, performing leading roles at the New York City Ballet; appearing at Spoleto, La Scala, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and also on video. In 2003, she opened her ballet school, a pre-professional training program that has been a launching pad for many students.

Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway

Bullets over Broadway - Cast. Photo Paul Kolnik.

Once upon a time Broadway theater-goers’ mantra was “bring on the girls,” and shows were mostly opulent costumes, engaging settings and pure, unadulterated fun. Ever since Oklahoma, ostensibly the first big hit with a thought-provoking book and integrated musical numbers, writers and directors have searched, sometimes in vain, for ways to  raise the stakes and engage audiences minds as well as their hearts.

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