A few years ago, the Bolshoi turned up in town with a program of four ballets, including the Stalin-approved (and ghastly) Spartacus, and something called The Bright Stream, which Stalin had banned in 1935, even punishing some of those responsible for it. Its entrancing Shostakovich score was buried in the Bolshoi archives until, in 2003, Read More
New definition of joy: 85 uninterrupted minutes of my friend Cy Coleman’s songs at the 59E59 Theater called “The Best is Yet to Come.” The tiered stage in black and silver is an art deco version of a musical night club from an old Hollywood movie-RKO, not MGM. Jazzed up with New York hormones to Read More
City Ballet is having a schizophrenic season. The opening black-and-white Balanchine week was a triumph, and the further rush of Balanchine in the following weeks has given us the most satisfying programming in many years. Equally, the overall level of performance compared to what we’ve been experiencing for 20 years has been dazzling: not only Read More
One of the eternal mysteries of ballet is how untalented choreographers find backers for their work, and then find good dancers to perform in it. Is it irresistible charm? Chutzpah? Pure determination? Blackmail? Or are so many supposedly knowledgeable people just plain blind?
The latest example of this phenomenon is 26-year-old Avi Scher, who for Read More
After a dance week of occasional ups and all too many downs, Mark Morris came to the rescue with a program of three works previously unseen in New York, one a world premiere. The venue was his own elegant and spacious building practically opposite BAM, his habitual stomping ground, and the three new works were Read More
The tremendous achievement of the Paul Taylor season that just ended was the revival of his 1966 masterpiece Orbs. It must be his longest work–it’s in two parts, split by an intermission–and it’s been revived only once before, in 1982. This is a magisterial piece–an astounding summing-up by a choreographer barely in his mid-30s, set Read More
Okay, dance people, buckle up–March is going to be a bumpy month. It’s a modern-dance invasion. (Paul Taylor’s come and gone; everyone else is on his/her way.) Start figuring out your priorities now … next week will be too late.
To begin with: You’re going to be spending a lot of time at the Joyce. Read More
It’s a famous image. Merce Cunningham, chair strapped to his back, suspended in the air, somehow peaceful, not a hair out of place, effortless. His signature: the eerily calm upper torso. The image is from a dance called Antic Meet. It’s a 1958 collaboration between Cunningham and his close friend, artist Robert Rauschenberg, staged to Read More
The all-Balanchine opening night at City Ballet this season was a discouraging affair. To begin with, it was ridiculously short–less than an hour and three-quarters. And then it was ridiculously slight. And ridiculously programmed. A satisfactory ballet program is more than four ballets flung serially onto the stage.
Walpurgisnacht Ballet is one of Balanchine’s lesser Read More
So much is awful about the blood-and-tutu psychodrama Black Swan that I perversely want to start with what’s good about it. It really tries to be honest about what life is like for ballet dancers (female ones, that is; the guys are barely discernible in the movie’s fictional ballet company). We see how hard the Read More