BodyVox Dance Center
May 2–18, 2013
In the beginning—in this case, the late 1970s—there was Pilobolus, the Connecticut- based company where Jamey Hampton got his start. Then there was MOMIX, where he met fellow dancer Ashley Roland. The pair went on to cofound ISO Dance and later, BodyVox, a Portland, Oregon–based contemporary company which just celebrated its 15th anniversary this spring.
“In 15 years, you make a lot of work,” Hampton said before the opening of the company’s anniversary show, “Fifteen.” “And,” he added, “you make a lot of friends.” “Fifteen” did feel like a reunion of sorts, with a greatest-hits repertoire that encouraged reminiscing, a few home movies from years past, and a warm response from the crowd.
“Fifteen’s” two programs underscored the DNA that BodyVox shares with its predecessors, particularly the trompe l’oeil style that won Pilobolus and MOMIX acclaim. If you’re looking for edge, angst, or politics, well, keep looking: With BodyVox you get wit, whimsy, and well-mannered emotion in pieces performed by a dozen dancers with solid technical chops.
Program A featured BodyVox’s early work. Among the highlights were 2001’s X-Axis, a sinuous aerial duet between Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk, and 2005’s Hopper’s Dinner—a moveable feast of tipsy tabletop antics set to Tom Waits. Filmmaker Mitchell Rose has collaborated with the company on several movie shorts, most of them comedic, and two of the best were included here: 2000’s Deere John (which captures Hampton's loving pas de deux with a backhoe) and 2002’s Case Studies From the Groat Center for Sleep Disorders, which investigates, in a clinical setting, such medical anomalies as Disappointing Offspring Ballet Affectation Syndrome.
Program B opened with an excerpt from 2005’s Leave the Light On, in which a Keystone Kops–style chase interrupts a Bollywood number; it’s one example of the company’s occasional tendency toward the cartoonish. Better were the 2010 numbers Write My Book (Skinner’s lyrical piece for one man and four car tires), followed by The Man I Keep Hid, in which the ensemble makes a surprise entrance by sliding down a chute. Both programs featured one new piece: Café Blanco, which begins with a short film of the dancers, dressed in tennis whites, exiting a coffee shop on Razor scooters. The dance begins as they enter the stage on those same scooters before breaking into jazzy pairings.
If there’s one piece that sums up the company’s last decade and a half, it might be Rose’s film Advance, which follows Hampton and Roland dancing the same choreographic phrases in different locales and seasons, from bridges to beaches, in sun and snow. It’s a reminder that in 15 years, BodyVox has toured the world, grown roots, and built repertoire. It has even produced offspring: the junior company BodyVox 2, and Skinner/Kirk, a contemporary collective led by two of the company’s earliest members. “Fifteen” offered a welcome moment to pause and reflect as the company enters the next phase of its life.
At top: BodyVox dancers (L to R) Daniel Kirk, Zachary Carroll, Eric Skinner, Jamey Hampton, Ashley Roland, Jonathan Krebs in Café Blanco.
Photo by David Krebbs; Courtesy BodyVox
Last night was not your average Thursday at Bay Ridge Ballet in Brooklyn, New York. Studio owner and teacher Patty Foster Grado—a former Parsons Dance Company dancer—was teaching a boys class, when with only five minutes left, she heard commotion in the waiting area and someone yelled, "There's a lady giving birth in the bathroom!"
The dancers file into an audition room. They are given a number and asked to wait for registration to finish before the audition starts. At the end of the room, behind a table and a computer (and probably a number of mobile devices), there I sit, doing audio tests and updating the audition schedule as the room fills up with candidates. The dancers, more nervous than they need to be, see me, typing, perhaps teasing my colleagues, almost certainly with a coffee cup at my side.
Where can you watch Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Coppélia and Le Corsaire all in one place? Hint: It also has extra-buttery popcorn.
Yep, it's your local movie theater. Starting this weekend, theaters across the country will be showing Bolshoi Ballet productions of classical and contemporary story ballets.
When commercial dancer Danielle Peazer took on an ambassadorial role with Reebok in early 2016, she didn't realize the gig would also lead to a career shift. But while traveling with and teaching workshops for the brand, the idea for DDM (Danielle's Dance Method) Collective started to take shape.
Last night, American Ballet Theatre held its annual Fall Gala at the David H. Koch Theater in New York City. To celebrate ABT's artistic director Kevin McKenzie's 25 years of leadership, dancers from ABT's company, apprentices, studio company members and students from the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis School took to the stage in Jessica Lang's The Gift, Alexei Ratmansky's Songs of Bukovina and Christopher Wheeldon's Thirteen Diversions.
But we also love a good behind-the-scenes glimpse—especially when designer gowns are involved. And the dancers gave us plenty of glam looks to obsess over once the curtains closed. Ahead, see our favorite moments from gala straight from the dancers.
Last week Ballet West breezed into New York City's Joyce Theater from Salt Lake City. The dancers are excellent—especially the women (what else is new). The company brought five pieces including works by Gerald Arpino, Val Caniparoli and resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte.
Arpino's last work, made in 2004, is a duet called RUTH, Ricordi per Due ("remembrance for two"). It's about a man haunted by the memory of the woman he loved. Christopher Ruud is strong and sensitive as the man, and Arolyn Williams is riveting as the ghost of his beloved.
Val Caniparoli energizes his dancers with juicy movement, and always sticks to his theme. (He doesn't ramble, and let's face it, long rambling choreography is a problem these days.) In his premiere for Ballet West, Dances for Lou, he takes on the music of Lou Harrison, a composer known for his Eastern sounds and rhythms.
Photo by Filip VanRoe, courtesy Marquee
Your Saturday nights are about to go from "Netflix and chill" to "Marquee and chill." (Okay, maybe we'll need to coin a new phrase).
But seriously, the new streaming app Marquee Arts TV lets you curl up with Bolshoi Ballet's Swan Lake, Sylvie Guillem dancing Mats Ek's solo Bye, a dance film by Cullberg Ballet called 40 M Under, or a documentary about Alonzo King and LINES Ballet. Marquee unlocks a world of digital arts: dance, theater, opera, music, documentaries and film shorts that you can stream directly to your TV or mobile device.
When Simone Forti moved from California to New York City in 1960, she brought with her the improvisational approach of Anna Halprin. As one of the first five students in Robert Dunn's John Cage–inspired composition course (that led to Judson Dance Theater), she was a magnet for two others in that class: Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton. This month the three reunite for Tea for Three, an evening of moving and talking at Danspace Project, Oct. 26–28. It's a chance to see how dance mavericks grow and change and mellow. Forti will also give "Body Mind World" workshops Oct. 19–20. danspaceproject.org.