Bard Music Festival 2014 - Schubert and his World
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Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

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

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.

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

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

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.

Thumbnail : Savion Glover’s OM, at the Joyce Theater

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.

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

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

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.

 

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

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

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.

 

Thumbnail : Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York 10th Anniversary Celebration

Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York 10th Anniversary Celebration

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.

Thumbnail : The New York City Ballet Opens the New Ballet Season with an All-Balanchine Mixed Bill, and Some More Comic Programming

The New York City Ballet Opens the New Ballet Season with an All-Balanchine Mixed Bill, and Some More Comic Programming

When do you ever see a bill outside Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center with no other names but “Hindemith,” “Webern” and “Stravinsky?” And at that with an extremely well played concert behind it with energy and seriousness and intelligence? Only at the ballet it seems.

Thumbnail : Le Corsaire at the American Ballet Theatre

Le Corsaire at the American Ballet Theatre

What is le Corsaire? Is it a ballet? Is it entertainment — mere divertissement? Is there any difference? I believe intuitively that there is. Ballet defines itself on telling a story (even if there are exceptions) rather than presenting divertissements in vignettes, it is not a sort of artistic form of gymnastics. One more often encounters le Corsaire nowadays, at least in the west, as the extraordinary virtuoso pas de deux on its own, with its impossible leaps and lifts and turns for the man and the ballerina, and so this is what the ballet is known for, now associated especially with male virtuosity, thanks to Baryshnikov’s dancing, but the ballet presented as a whole is still a working piece of theatre.

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  • A Singer’s Notes 95: The Henry Plays at Shakespeare and Company
    Jonathan Epstein undertook a courageous and largely successful project making an evening’s performance out of the Henry plays. I could have used a little more Doll Tearsheet and a little less Ancient Pistol, but I understand choices have to be made. The narrative was clear throughout, and there were some surprising and gently humorous touches […]
    Keith Kibler
  • A Singer’s Notes 94: Local Excellence… and a Rare Unamplified Performance of a Broadway Musical!
    Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre once again filled its house and earned rave applause for its production of Gianni Schicchi, by Giacomo Puccini. This opera which seems so straight out and comfortable is actually a very hard score, both vocally and orchestrally. It could fairly be called the most intricate of Puccini’s compositions. This is why it […]
    Keith Kibler
  • A Singer’s Notes 93: Denève, the TMC Orchestra, and Berlioz; McGegan and Handel; Bernstein’s Candide at Tanglewood
    The excellent Stephane Denève chose two works of Hector Berlioz for his TMCO concert. Wholly remarkable was a performance of Les Nuits d'Été. The maestro gave these songs a sound I've never heard before. It was ravishingly quiet to begin with, not unlike the nearly silent playing Simon Rattle can achieve in his Mahler performances. […]
    Keith Kibler
  • Murder Myth Married to Music—Lizzie Borden Wields her Axe at Tanglewood
    In Jack Beeson and Kenward Elmslie’s 1965 retelling, Lizzie Borden is unequivocally presented the murderer of her step-mother and father; in the opening moments, as the orchestra starts up with a scream of outrage, Lizzie runs onstage with an axe and plants it firmly in the middle of the family table. It remains there for […]
    Larry Wallach