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Articles by Sheila Kogan

Sheila Kogan
About Sheila Kogan (9 Articles)
Writer Sheila Kogan has written theater, film and dance reviews for Zealnyc.com, Cinespect.com and Script Magazine. As a writer and producer, she has worked on film and television projects all around the world, from New York to China. A member of the Writers Guild of America East, she is currently developing her own projects.

Houston Ballet: Fall 2019

October 29, 2019

The first piece on the program was the most successful of the three: Mark Morris’ “The Letter V”. (There was no mention of any specific meaning of the title.)  The classical music composition “Symphony No. 88 in G Major” by Joseph Haydn provided a substantial underpinning for the choreography because Morris had a beautifully uncanny way of making the movement seem to rise up from the music. The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by David Briskin, provided the fine, live, performance. Morris, in fact, always insists on live music, and that added so much to the experience. [more]

The Wrong Man

October 10, 2019

"The Wrong Man" is a new musical by multi-platinum songwriter Ross Golan with "Hamilton"’s director Thomas Kail. Like "Hamilton," it began as a concept album and grew into a stage performance. Unlike Hamilton‘s epic sweep of history, this subject is contemporary and has a narrower focus, following the fortunes of one man, Duran, who is down on his luck in Reno, Nevada. The intimate setting of The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space’s Newman Mills Theater is a good place to show off the production. [more]

Fall for Dance 2019: Program 3

October 9, 2019

The Mariinsky Ballet performed the U.S. premiere of “At the Wrong Time,” which had been choreographed by Alexander Sergeev and had its world premiere March 26, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the Mariinsky Theatre.  The curtain rose to display a piano. A young man, Vladimir Rumyanstev, turned out to be the pianist who was waiting for a ballerina. Once she arrived, the music could begin. Eventually there were three ballerinas and three partners. The women wore pointe shoes and brightly colored dresses that were cleverly designed by Daria Pavlenko to appear simple but that allowed easy movement. Their partners wore dark shirts and pants. [more]

Ballet Festival 2019: Program D

August 21, 2019

The fourth piece, titled “3 with D” was choreographed by Javier de Frutos and was the only performance that included live music. Patrick Gallagher was on piano in front of the stage and Dan Gillespie Sells sang and played guitar center stage, simply and straightforward, making the most of music, which was a compilation of songs by Ivor Novello, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter. Next to Sells were two chairs – something of a “set” compared to the other bare-stage designs. Danced by Watson and Fairchild, it was more of a drama than any of the other pieces. Although there was little linear plot, it was a gay love story. The familiar lyrics of Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” had a different connotation when referring to two men. The two performers were such gorgeous dancers, and very similar body types, so when they moved in synchronistic unison, it created a beautiful effect. [more]

Lady5 @ Savion Glover’s BaRoQUE’BLaK TaP CaFé

July 9, 2019

Whatever Glover discussed in the opening – about identity and wearing masks – may have been relevant, but the program could be seen simply as a revue.  A wide variety of recorded music was played. The first music sounded like something you’d hear in a French café, and in fact was recorded by a group called French Café Ensemble. Other musical styles included classical (Bach), jazz, pop, salsa, Trinidadian, hip hop, and more, performed by Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Bjork, and others. The dancing paralleled the music. Special mention must go to Brandon Stirling Baker whose lighting design created the changes in atmosphere, subtly separating the numbers. [more]

Límon Dance Company: Spring 2019 Season

June 1, 2019

Having its world premiere, “Radical Beasts in the Forest of Possibilities” is a collaboration of choreographer Francesca Harper with iconic composer/performer Nona Hendryx and the dancers. Hendryx performs live on piano, along with digitally recorded sounds and music (the piano sections are more satisfying than the digital ones). The costumes by Epperson are made up of layered fabric that suggest a ragged look which is appropriate to the theme described in the program about reaching for contact in a world where time is fractured. The hardworking dancers include Jacqueline Bulnes, Terrence D. M. Diable, Mariah Gravelin, David Glista, Jesse Obremski, Frances Samson, Lauren Twomley and Mark Willis. [more]

Natalia Osipova’s Pure Dance with David Hallberg

April 7, 2019

The evening consisted of a number of short dances in varying styles, but the final piece, “Valse Triste,” was the most successful. Osipova wore a simple, off-the-shoulder, blue dress and Hallberg wore a form-fitting unitard designed by Moritz Junge. “Valse Triste” by Jean Sibelius was the music for the plotless ballet. Choreography is an elusive art, but Alexei Ratmansky seems to have understood its secrets. Using the language and conventions of classical ballet, he designed this piece specifically for Osipova and Hallberg, and it showed off their exceptional talents and finely tuned partnership – and beautifully shared the joy of the dance with the audience. It’s the kind of short pas de deux that lends itself to gala events, so there’s little doubt that it will show up again. One wishes it were longer (it’s only six minutes). Or it would have been a wonderful treat to watch again if they had repeated it. [more]

BalletNext 2019

February 25, 2019

BalletNext is a company founded by Michele Wiles, former prima ballerina of American Ballet Theater. Wiles has developed a symbiotic relationship with the University of Utah where she trains professional ballet dancers who are simultaneously getting degrees in various fields. In exchange, she has bodies on which she can develop her skills as a choreographer. And she arranges public performances, giving her students real stage experience. These performances always include live musicians, which is a particular pleasure compared to so many companies that use canned music. [more]

Drum Love (African American Dance Theater)

February 6, 2019

Part of the tradition is the audience’s response. There was hooting and hollering from the audience, sounding like they were at a rock concert, but it was impossible not to get caught up in the enthusiasm. The general raucousness was a display of the clear delight that the audience enjoyed. It created an atmosphere of unbridled joy and who could resist? Everyone was smiling and laughing and clapping. [more]