Wendy danced with the Trisha Brown Company in the 1970s and has performed with many other NYC choreographers. Her own group, the Wendy Perron Dance Company, appeared at the Lincoln Center Festival, the Joyce, Danspace Project and other venues in the U.S. and abroad from 1983 to 1997. The documentary film Retracing Steps: American Dance Since Postmodernism profiles Perron along with seven other choreographers. She has taught at many colleges including Bennington and Princeton, has given lectures on dance across the country, and was associate director of Jacob's Pillow in the early '90s. In addition to serving as editor in chief of Dance Magazine from 2004 to 2013, she has written for The New York Times, The Village Voice, Ballet Review and Dance Europe. In 2011 she was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts' Hall of Fame and was honored by Dancewave in Brooklyn in 2014. She has been artistic adviser to the Fall for Dance Festival and often adjudicates for Youth America Grand Prix and the American College Dance Festival. Currently she teaches a graduate seminar at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and performs occasionally with Vicky Shick. Her book, Through the Eyes of a Dancer, is a selection of her essays, memoirs, and reviews spanning 40 years.
Eiko Otake has been half of the famed duo Eiko & Koma for many years. They created other-worldly, slow-motion dreamscapes, for which they received a 2006 Dance Magazine Award.
Recently Eiko has embarked on a solo project, A Body in Places, which landed on my Best of 2016 list (scroll down to "miscellaneous bests.") Now she is bringing this haunting performance/installation to the Metropolitan Museum of Art under its MetLiveArts program. Eiko has already visited the Met's two other venues: The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan and the Met Breuer on the Upper East Side. This Sunday, she will be in Lehman Court at the Met Fifth Avenue all day. Come witness A Body in Places. Click here for more information.
David Dorfman's choreography asks, How can we all get along? In his new piece, Aroundtown at the BAM Harvey Theater, he shows how hostility within a community can turn to tenderness. He and his wife, Lisa Race, have a long embrace in the corner of the stage. It's almost like saying that enduring love doesn't always happen center stage.
In my 2013 "Choreography in Focus" with Dorfman, he says he likes his work to reflect "the mess of life." And you will see some of that mess in this piece, captured with compassion, craft and humor.
Aroundtown, which is part of the Next Wave Festival at Brooklyn Academy of Music, is at the BAM Harvey Theater from Nov. 8 to 11.
We are back at New York City Center for The Red Shoes. Matthew Bourne's sumptuous version sticks with the story told in the wildly popular 1948 film. I have to admit I'm not crazy about the idea that Victoria Page, a beautiful young dancer, must choose between work and love. Plus, it uses ballet, once again in popular culture, as a destructive force. But this production is by Matthew Bourne's New Adventures, so the sets and costumes are (ahem) to die for.
For New Yorkers, a special indulgence: On select nights, New York City Ballet's Sara Mearns plays Victoria Page, and American Ballet Theatre's Marcelo Gomes (a 2015 Dance Magazine Awardee) plays the composer who falls for her.
The Red Shoes is up at NY City Center until Nov. 5. Click here for more information.
Maguy Marin, one of France's major choreographers, has a knack for taking us right up to the brink of cruelty. When she brought her startling—and at times bizarre—Umwelt to the Joyce in 2009, some audience members couldn't take it and walked out. Stoked by a pounding electronic score and accelerating rhythmic steps, in BiT the six dancers of Compagnie Maguy Marin work themselves into a frenzy. This new work may go beyond the brink, judging from the warning that has been issued: "This performance contains depictions of sexual violence." Proceed at your own risk. Oct. 25–29. joyce.org.
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.
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.
I was knocked out by three things this fall season at New York City Ballet.
First: Tiler Peck's debut in Swan Lake. Her expressiveness as an impulsive, trapped creature and her dazzling technique combined to create a onstage grandeur. She gave us an Odette of great depth, and an Odile of sharp drama and crazy good fouettés. This was a world-class performance by one of our recent Dance Magazine Awardees.
Second: Gianna Reisen's new work, Composer's Holiday, signaled to all present that a choreographer is born. At 18, this young American apprentice with Dresden Semperoper Ballett, came home to NYC to make a fresh, witty ballet that showed an original way of breaking up space. Reisen just graduated from the School of American Ballet, so the corps dancers she worked with were mostly her former classmates. She was obviously completely at home while making this scintillating work.
Third: Principal Lauren Lovette, in her second ballet for the company, included a dramatic male-male duet. This isn't just incidental, but a main part of Not Our Fate. Danced by the wondrous principal Taylor Stanley and corps dancer Preston Chamblee, this duet looks to me like they are falling in love. I don't have to tell you that seeing two men in a romantic duet is a rarity on the ballet stage.
A triple bravo for an exciting season at NYCB!
In this episode of "What Wendy's Watching," I talk about Twyla Tharp as a dance hero, and that's no exaggeration. She pioneered "pure dance" with gonzo energy and innovation for decades. She was an inspiration to all dancers—both downtown and uptown—when I was a young dancemaker myself. Two years after her 50th anniversary tour she returns to the Joyce Theater with a mixed program, which runs through Oct. 8. If you go to see the old and new work, there's a surprise—a spontaneous, fun entr'acte that is neither old nor new. It's in the guise of a wacky lec-dem that gives a glimpse into Tharp's dancemaking methods, her camaraderie with the dancers, and yes, her own dancing. The woman has guts to reveal her dancing self in her mid-70s. Her wit and playfulness remain intact.