Those of us who love Twyla Tharp's early works were jazzed to hear that she will expand As Time Goes By (1973) for The Royal Ballet this fall.
ATGB, original cast with Richard Colton (left), Pamela Nearhoof (right), photo courtesy DM Archives
This was a beautiful, dreamy, swirly ballet that was her first totally classical piece. Her Deuce Coupe a few months earlier was a hit that mingled the Joffrey dancers with her own dancers, performed to songs by the Beach Boys. It integrated modern and ballet, streetwise and classical, and took New York City by storm. Naturally Robert Joffrey asked her to make a second ballet ASAP.
For music, she chose excerpts of Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony. Her plans for The Royal Ballet include using the entire symphony.
Beatriz Rodriguez in center, @ Tom Rawe
We asked William Whitener, one of the original dancers in As Time Goes By, to comment. A member of the Joffrey Ballet since 1969, he had danced in Deuce Coupe as well. He found his Tharp experiences so challenging, so enticing, that he joined her company a few years later and danced with her from 1978-88. As artistic director of Kansas City Ballet, he staged ATGB for that company in 2005. (It's also been done by Paris Opera Ballet and Boston Ballet II, but it has not been one of the go-to Tharp ballets like In the Upper Room or Nine Sinatra Songs.)
Here is what Whitener says about ATGB:
"There were high expectations and excitement when As Time Goes By was created. It followed in the footsteps of Deuce Coupe, which had revolutionized the dance world. Twyla worked closely with Haydn's score during the creative process. As dancers, we dove deeply into the choreography, which has complex combinations and phrases of movement that are rooted in ballet vocabulary. The leg and footwork are highly articulated at all tempos. The port de bras integrates formal classical ballet technique with a natural flow of movement and force. We shifted directions with split-second timing in tightly woven patterns and broad sweeps of movement. As the ballet concluded, the cast quietly watched from the wings as a lone male dancer gently unspools gorgeous adagio movement. Audiences responded audibly to the rigor, humor and tenderness in As Time Goes By. My friend and colleague, Tommy Tune, likened the work to a flock of birds in flight."
William Whitener at left, with Christine Uchida and Donn Edwards, © Tom Rawe
The expanded ATGB, titled The Illustrated Farewell, comes to the Royal Opera House in London November 6–17. It shares a program with Arthur Pita's premiere The Wind and Hofesh Shechter's Untouchable (2015).
I'm already dreaming of a quick trip across the pond that week.
"I don't cook for just one or two people," says James Whiteside, stirring a pot on his stove. "My mom taught me to cook and she had five kids. So when I do cook, I go in!"
Aside from breakfast (usually bacon, egg and cheese on an English muffin), the American Ballet Theatre principal rarely cooks for himself during ABT's seasons. He prefers to "forage" for his lunch and go out or order in for dinner, saving the real cooking for when he has friends or colleagues to feed. "I like to have a lot of people tell me my food is delicious," he quips.
We're not sure what we did to deserve the livestream generosity the dance world is giving us these days, but this weekend, it's getting even better.
PC Joe Toreno
L.A. Dance Project, Benjamin Milliepied's trendsetting contemporary troupe, has been in residence at The Chinati Foundation for the past few days. This weekend, they're showing us what they've come up with—for three days straight.
To create great work, choreographers need the freedom to tackle difficult subjects and push physical limits. But when your instruments are human beings, is there a limit to how far you should go? Five choreographers open up about where they draw the line.
Restaurants have always been a great source of survival gigs for dancers. But today's top chefs aren't just looking for waiters to carry dishes to the table. They're hiring choreographers to give the staff dance-like skills and compose a sort of choreography for the dining room.
Leslie Scott, artistic director of dance theater company BODYART, is one of those choreographers. After working in more typical food industry jobs for 10 years, she's been tapped by top restaurants in both New York City and Los Angeles to lead workshops that finesse servers' non-verbal communication and navigation of tight spaces.
Back in 2002, dancer and choreographer Jonah Bokaer founded an art space in Brooklyn called Chez Bushwick. As Manhattan and Brooklyn were quickly becoming unaffordable, and many studio spaces were closing, Bokaer seized upon "creative placemaking"—the idea that the arts can play an integral role in community-building—before it became a buzzword. "We have been sustaining and maintaining one of the most affordable dance studios in New York State since the very beginning of my career," he says.
Fifteen years later, the challenges for choreographers in expensive urban centers continue unabated, and Bokaer has found his original mission magnified. While Chez Bushwick remains a haven for the next generation, there is also a growing number of young dancemakers who have been inspired to create their own residencies, communities and, ultimately, opportunities.
The New York City premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's sugary sweet story ballet, Whipped Cream, made for one of the most exciting spring galas at American Ballet Theatre yet. While we're usually in awe of the gowns the dancers sport on the red carpet beforehand, this time around, it was all about Whipped Cream's colorful and over-the-top costumes by Mark Ryden—and, okay, a few major dress moments, too. Ahead, check out what went on behind-the-scenes.