Meet A Very Different Faun, Tonight on PBS
The mythical faun, half human, half goat, has inspired many dance works. In Nijinsky's 1912 Afternoon of a Faun, he created a role for himself with the vulnerability of a human and the sensual power of an animal. His love object, a beautiful siren, was unattainable, so he pleasured himself with her scarf, causing a sensation in Paris.
Jerome Tisserand of Pacific Northwest Ballet in Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun, photo @Angela Sterling
Jerome Robbins created his faun in 1953 to the same Debussy music, but his character was part human, part dancer. The narcissism of looking in the mirror fostered a languid kind of self love. When he wakes up to the beautiful female dancer in the room, they are both so self-involved that the attraction doesn't go beyond one still-born kiss.
Mark Dendy portrayed a homoerotic duet with his "Afternoon of the Faunes" (part of his Dream Analysis) in 1996. He and Larry Keigwin sprinted faun-like, side by side, mostly in place. This new interpretation of the animal/human in love was quirky and touching.Gregg Mozgala, with Lucie Baker (seated) in Rogoff's Diagnosis of a Faun, from the film Enter the Faun.
Tonight on "America Reframed" on PBS we will see yet another rendition of the faun. Choreographer/healer Tamar Rogoff's protagonist is sensual, virile, charming—and has cerebral palsy. In a way it's a perfect metaphor for the faun never fitting in. The lead performer is the charismatic, distinctive Gregg Mozgala, a professional actor. This amazing documentary, Enter the Faun, tracks Rogoff's approach to rehearsals with a differently-abled Faun, interspersed with clips of his performance in her 2009 Diagnosis of a Faun. Rogoff had an intuition that she could do what no doctor could—change the way he walks. In the film, she trains Mozgala in her "body scripting" technique, which involves hands-on manipulations and vigorous, sustained shaking. Mozgala is a changed man after their work together—but not without a sense of loss for his old, familiar, lop-sided walk.
When I previewed this film for Dance on Camera last year, I called Rogoff a miracle worker. If you watch the film on "America Reframed" tonight, you'll see why. You'll also see how humor can bubble up from a challenging situation.
Here's the trailer.
The 68-minute film airs tonight at 8pm EST. To check local listings in your area, click here.
For more info and for streaming after March 28, click here.
"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.