What Wendy's Watching
Gretchen Smith, Jared Angle and Sara Mearns in NEW BODIES.

The Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series is where dance artists show what they are working on and talk about it.

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Rant & Rave
Gallim in Stone Skipping PC Stephanie Berger

Here is my list of favorites from this year, some of them with video clips embedded. I've also added "lingering thoughts" about certain situations in the dance world. As usual, my choices are limited by what I have actually seen. Most of the following are world premieres.

Best Choreography

Andrea Miller's Stone Skipping in the Egyptian room at the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Ancient and ultra-modern at once, gaga-initiated grapplings, telling many stories of people in struggle and solidarity. The group sequence (with her company Gallim plus dancers from Juilliard) from lying on the floor with pelvis bobbing to standing, to swaying, to skipping wildly about was transcendent.

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What Wendy's Watching
Michelle Dorrance, Jillian Meyers, Melinda Sullivan and Josette Wiggan-Freund performing Until the Real Thing Comes Along (a letter to ourselves) at The Joyce Theater. Photo © Todd Burnsed

I'm watching Dorrance Dance's tech/dress rehearsal at the Joyce. What a blast!

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What Wendy's Watching
Kota Yamazaki, Mina Nishimura, Raja Feather Kelly and Julian Barnett, Photo by Janelle Jones

Japanese-born, New York–based choreographer Kota Yamazaki returns to his roots as a butoh dancer in Darkness Odyssey Part 2: I or Hallucination. He explores butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata's idea of the extreme fragility of the body. Yamazaki is joined by contemporary luminaries Julian Barnett, Raja Feather Kelly, Joanna Kotze and Mina Nishimura, each of whom engages in drastically eccentric pathways, making the body appear to disintegrate before your eyes. Music is by Kenta Nagai and visual environment by lighting wizard Thomas Dunn. Dec. 13–15, Baryshnikov Arts Center. bacnyc.org.

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Dancers & Companies
Wendy Whelan with Kyle Abraham

While it's appalling that any male leader would use his power to humiliate women, the accusations against Peter Martins opens up a wonderful, rosy possibility. In an email conversation about Martins stepping down temporarily, a friend of mine wrote, "They won't hire a man in this climate."

I suddenly found myself getting giddy with the thought that a woman might lead New York City Ballet. I pictured a former NYCB principal coming in and calming the dancers down, respecting them, inspiring them, treating them like adults, listening to them and encouraging communication between all factions of the company.

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What Wendy's Watching
Jamar Roberts, PC Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Jamar Roberts, one of the most riveting of dancers anywhere, is making a new piece for the season that is now in full swing at New York City Center.

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What Wendy's Watching
Photo of L'amour au théâtre by Julieta Cervantes

Trisha Brown, the high priestess of postmodern dance, is hugely influential. Her slippery movement style and her brainy structures are emulated by choreographers all over the United States and Europe. I am an alum of her company, and when she died last March, I gathered my thoughts and memories to write this farewell.

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What Wendy's Watching

Lots of college groups do stepping—a form of body percussion based on slapping, tapping and stomping—but Step Afrika! is the first professional dance company to do it. They are currently at New York City's New Victory Theater, presenting The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, a show based on the painting series by Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence about The Great Migration of the 1900s, when millions of African Americans fled the Jim Crow South and traveled by train to the North for a better life. The Great Migration transformed the demographics of the country, and Jacob Lawrence's paintings became famous for their bold color and evocative power.

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