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.

The Nutcracker, A Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory Performance Project

This version of the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker, is less a focus on technical brilliance and more a charming family event with a host of young (and very young dancers). I went with two teenage girls, both veterans of other performances including the iconic New York City Ballet version. We agreed that the dancers worked hard and danced their little hearts out and that a huge amount of time and effort, to say nothing of a lot of rehearsals, went into the performance.

Mikhailovsky Ballet Performs The Flames of Paris

Move over Les Miz! The Flames of Paris is an opulent, highly muscular, charged ballet that’s mass entertainment complete with sward-fighting, clog dancing, folk music and enough revolutionary zeal to please any audience. It also makes the French Revolution look like an event that took place between dessert and coffee – no guillotines, no blood and almost no tragedy if you don’t count the two on-stage deaths that register more as plot lines than emotional grabbers.

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.