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David H. Koch Theater

Paul Taylor American Modern Dance: Spring Season 2017

March 31, 2017

Now named Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Taylor has included ballets by other choreographers which allows for some healthy comparisons and a hope for the future of this legendary company. The four non-Taylor works, all but one danced by the Taylor dancers, made fascinating comparison with his work: particularly Martha Graham’s “Diversion of Angels,” her ode to romantic and sexual love, choreographed in 1948 to music by Norman Dello Joio, one of the few works in which Graham, herself, did not appear. [more]

Candide (New York City Opera)

January 10, 2017

Linda Lavin, padded and badly bewigged, comes across more like a Jewish yenta than the victim of the vagaries of Eastern European warfare. She has only one song, “Easily Assimilated,” a silly attempt at seduction, which is a shame. This character had several numbers in the original, including one that actually referred to why she is “missing the half of my backside.” Lavin is a star, but is ill-used here. [more]

Confucius

January 6, 2017

This dance/theater piece is subtitled “Teacher, philosopher, man who shaped a nation,” a rather big theme to dramatize effectively, especially when the mandate is spectacle. Mr. Liu’s barebones, chronological script (consisting of little more than narrative plot advancements and quotes from Confucius) first finds Confucius a defiled presence in the court of the Duke of State (Zhu Yin, zestfully portraying the enervation of over-indulgence) whose evil Minister (Guo Haifeng, zingingly evil) works overtime to frustrate Confucius’ effort. Confucius becomes the love object of and mentor to the Concubine (lovely, floating Tang Shiyi) and, finally becomes the beloved and respected sage. [more]

Takarazuka in “Chicago”

July 30, 2016

This Japanese version lacks the passion and darkness necessary to make this morality tale pop. The two leading ladies, Wataru Kozuki as Velma and Hikaru Asami as Roxie looked too wide-eyed and innocent to portray such trampy characters, but they moved and sang well. Keaki Mori as Matron “Mama” Morton, in her high, curly wig, totally missed the seamier sexual ambiguity of the character while Chihiro Isono as the put-upon Amos was a tad too low key. Asato Shizuki was slick, but not seamy or sexually provocative as the lawyer, Billy Flynn. [more]

Miami City Ballet

April 20, 2016

I cannot remember the last time a ballet company so completely blew me away as the Miami City Ballet did during its recent, depressingly short season at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center. The explosive metaphor is entirely apt. This is a stylish classical ballet troupe that is definitely a company whether they are dancing works by Alexei Ratmansky, Twyla Tharp or George Balanchine. They exude a lushness of style that allows them all to be individuals, yet cohere into an exciting artistic unit. [more]

Twyla Tharp 50th Anniversary Tour

November 24, 2015

Twyla Tharp is a choreographer who can infuriate and charm audiences in equal measure. (Paul Taylor also comes to mind.) Her choreography is clearly the result of an intensely fertile mind, but her very personal, quirky movement style often seems arbitrary and unmusical. Her program at the David H. Koch Theater, marking the end of her 50th Anniversary Tour, was filled with her quirky idiosyncratic, non-stop movements, beautifully danced, but finally becoming an onslaught of just too many ideas—some corny, some brilliant—flung at the music and the audience. [more]

The Peking Opera: The Jewelry Purse

September 11, 2015

With considerable fanfare and extensive advance publicity, Chinese opera singer Zhang Juoding made her American debut at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Performing with the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, Zhang Huoding brought her own very modern magnetic star power and the very old, formal traditions of a highly stylized traditional Chinese art form to an exuberantly adoring, largely Chinese audience. Over two nights, the company presented "Legend of the White Snake" and "The Jewelry Purse." On both evenings, the house was packed; about a quarter of the audience came to both evenings. The atmosphere of excitement about The Jewelry Purse on the second evening was fueled in part by the audience delight with the first evening. [more]

The Royal Ballet 2015: Program B

July 3, 2015

he Royal Ballet’s second program of its ridiculously short season at the David H. Koch Theater was disappointing as much for what was on it as for what wasn’t. What wasn’t there were any classical works. Among divertissement-type short works making up the second part of the show, there was not one classical Pas de Deux. Instead, the program opened with an abstruse modern ballet and ended with an equally abstruse new version of an old one with six very short works of varying quality and appropriateness sandwiched in between. [more]

The Royal Ballet: “The Dream” and “Song of the Earth” 

June 26, 2015

The Joyce Theater Foundation is presenting a short season of the Royal Ballet at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center, the Royal’s first visit to New York in 11 years. After a gala opening night, the Royal showed its regal stuff in a program consisting of Frederick Ashton’s The Dream and Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, two works which couldn’t be less alike. In fact, the only thing they had in common was excellent, stylish dancing. [more]

Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance 2015

April 4, 2015

What became clear over the course of the four performances under review attended were the subtle changes in Mr. Taylor’s work over the years, how his works have become less deep and more oddball. This was a terrific way to see everything from his delightfully lovely “white” ballet, “Aureole” (1962), to his most recent opus, “Death and the Damsel,” a dark, distorted—sadistic, even—view of female sexuality. No matter what period the works come from, and no matter what one thinks of them, they are always models of craftsmanship, design and musicality. [more]