News Ticker

Joyce Theater

Complexions Contemporary Ballet 2017 at the Joyce

February 15, 2017

“Star Dust,” Rhoden’s tribute to rock original David Bowie forced Rhoden to study and use each of the nine chosen songs as vignettes to comment on Bowie’s magic, the superb quirkiness of his dancers and display subtlety in his use of steps sometimes missing from his wham-bang, jet engine choreography. Rotating lights and disco balls beamed mood-changing pools of light on the stage (designed by the hard-working Mr. Korsch with psychedelically colorful costumes and makeup by Ms. Darch which exposed a lot of skin.) [more]

Sarasota Ballet: A Knight of the British Ballet

August 15, 2016

A few months ago we saw the sensational Miami troupe featuring the works of George Balanchine. Now we have just had a fascinating week-long season by the Sarasota Ballet troupe, directed by Iain Webb, at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea, in a program called "A Knight of the British Ballet" focusing on the brilliant work of Sir Frederick Ashton. Ashton was for decades synonymous with The Royal Ballet. His ballets were the artistic backbone of that troupe. It’s odd—yet wonderful—that Florida has become a stronghold for the repertories of two of the twentieth century’s most important choreographers. [more]

Twyla Tharp and Three Dances

July 13, 2016

From 1976, “Country Dances” represented the post-experimental avant-garde phase after breakout success with her ballets for major dance companies. From 1980, there was “Brahms Paganini,” her entrée into her hybrid style combining her eccentric, seemingly casual movements with the classical ballet vocabulary and from 2016, “Beethoven Opus 130,” virtually a classical ballet with quirky touches. [more]

RIOULT Dance New York 2016

June 30, 2016

The New York City premiere of “Polymorphous” to Bach was a coolly elegant work that featured ever shifting black and white projections (by Brian Clifford Beasley) matched by the witty leotards by Karen Young which were white in front and black on the back. The video also featured reverse shadow images surreally mirroring the dancers as they plied the light jumps, gentle partnering and beautifully arching steps. The most balletic work on the program, “Polymorphous” used one of Rioult’s frequently used technique of working one pair of dancers in contrast to the other. In this case, the four dancers—Brian Flynn, Ms. Haines, Jere Hunt and Sara Elizabeth Seger—created two different pools of emotions—one quietly amorous, the other darker. “Polymorphous,” with its careful, quiet craftsmanship, was a kind of choreographic palate cleanser between the heated “Dream Suite” and the four “Duets Sacred & Profane” which followed. [more]

Ballet Tech presents Kids Dance

June 17, 2016

However, the main thrust of this troupe is to stimulate a gentle discipline and the ability to work effectively with others. It’s clear that these youngsters who range from seven or eight years old to teenagers enjoy their time on the stage and have been rehearsed to perfection. Occasionally a look of concerted concentration replaced smiles but this experience—whether any of these kids will go on to careers in the performing arts—is priceless and will have positive repercussions throughout their lives. [more]

Ballet Preljocaj: “Empty Moves”

April 27, 2016

Testing the patience and understanding of both the audience and the dancers, Ballet Preljocaj, Angelin Preljocaj’s modern troupe from Aix-en-Provence, performed the complete version of his “Empty Moves” at the Joyce Theater. Two of the three parts were previously seen in New York City. Set to John Cage’s “Empty Words,” a deconstruction of a text by Henry David Thoreau, the work put four terrific dancers through their paces for nearly two hours. [more]

Ballet Hispanico

April 11, 2016

The Ballet Hispanico wants to be meaningful while at the same time entertaining. It is a difficult course to chart—just look at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater—and, so far, the entertainment element seems to have taken charge. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to please an audience, but, let’s face it, others do it better. Mr. Vilaro has kept the technical level of the dancers and the productions at a very high level and shouldn’t be afraid to shock, move and confound his audiences—along with making them happy. [more]

Alwin Nikolais Celebration

February 16, 2016

A constant criticism of Nikolais’ work is that he “de-humanized” his dancers by putting them into odd, sculptural costume constructions and giving them “mechanical” movements. This program of four major works disproves this, hopefully once and for all. All the choreography, music, lighting and costumes were by Mr. Nikolais—with Frank Garcia assisting on the costumes—and, yes, at times the dancers were hidden under masks and props, but always—always—they were clearly humans expressing human emotions and relationships. [more]

American Dance Platform: Fist and Heel Performance Group & Martha Graham Dance Company

January 16, 2016

Reggie Wilson has been combining dance and cultural anthropology for many years. His troupe, Fist & Heel Performance Group, is a living testament to his passion with “Moses(es), Moses(es),” his full-company work, a living and breathing example of his philosophy. In his program notes, Mr. Wilson explained that this work was based on “the many iterations of Moses in religious texts, and in mythical, canonical and ethnographic imaginations,” a big subject that, unfortunately, doesn’t lend itself to a dance interpretation. In fact, Mr. Wilson’s description, not withstanding, it would be difficult to find any reference to that Jewish Biblical giant in “Moses(es), Moses(es),” except when the entire company sang a song whose only word was “Moses.” [more]

Momix: Alchemia 

July 21, 2015

The suite of discrete scenes, distinguished by quasi-poetic lines in the program notes and a series of obvious theatrical gimmicks—tall columns that become ancient weapons; ultra-violet light revealing intricate patterns of blood vessels; women gliding about in floor-length gowns that later cocoon them; young lovers floating about each other; mirrored booths that confuse who is where; etc.—paints a vivid portrait of a constantly shifting land populated by gorgeous creatures dressed in astounding costumes by Phoebe Katzin. [more]

Polish National Ballet 2015

June 20, 2015

Judging from this program only, the PNB is firmly in the mainstream of the world’s modern ballet troupes, almost indistinguishable one from the other (viz. Netherlands Dance Theater, Sydney Dance Theater, National Ballet of Spain, Houston Ballet, etc.) Mr. Pastor’s ballets are part and parcel of the international ballet style which I like to call “fun house ballet,” in which classical ballet steps and poses melt into twisty, angular shapes only to coalesce into and be punctuated by recognizable classical vocabulary. William Forsythe, a real iconoclast, began this in his purposely ugly “in the middle somewhat elevated.” The watered-down copies permeate the repertories of many dance companies. [more]

Pontus Lidberg Dance 2015

June 11, 2015

Swedish modern dance choreographer, Pontus Lidberg is a master of the quietly eerie. His works invade your brain slowly with their deliberate pacing and strange imagery. Mr. Lidberg showed his mastery of mood and the nuances of relationships in his recent program at the Joyce Theater. [more]

Ballet Hispanico New York Season 2015

April 24, 2015

The Ballet Hispanico has long been revered as a beacon of dance art in the Latino community. Its school and repertory have helped illuminate the Latino experience while instilling the discipline and joy of dance, particularly under the direction of its founder, Tina Ramírez. Eduardo Vilaro, the troupe’s artistic director, seems to be slowly turning the company away from ethnic exploration towards the generic modern dance aesthetic of companies like Complexions and the soon-to-be-defunct Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. Although the three works on this program were choreographed by Hispanic artists to music by Spanish-influenced composers with themes seemingly concerning the nature of Latino behavior, the impression was of a company working hard to find a choreographic aesthetic that can satisfy its identifying with both the Latino community and the newer ideals of modern dance, only partly succeeding. He may eventually find this balance between the two ideals. Certainly he has an absolutely brilliant company of good-looking, talented dancers to work with. [more]