Baryshnikov Takes Brooklyn


A man retires to his lonely apartment. There, he mysteriously discovers a dead woman. His solution? To fold her into a suitcase and take her on a journey by train, only to have the luggage disappear in transit. If the storyline doesn’t intrigue, throwing Mikhail Baryshnikov into the mix surely will. This month, the dance legend co-stars with actor Willem Dafoe in the U.S. premiere of The Old Woman, directed by Robert Wilson—the man who brought us the epic (and still-touring) dance/theater work Einstein on the Beach. Wilson’s The Old Woman is based on Daniil Kharms’ bizarre novella of the same name. The set and dress are equally strange, with a cartoonlike quality that feels simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. June 22–29 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. bam.org.


Above: Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Old Woman. Photo by Lucie Jansch, Courtesy Brooklyn Academy of Music.




ABT Tries a New Glass Slipper

Over the past few years, the artists of American Ballet Theatre have been performing Frederick Ashton’s ballets—The Dream, Sylvia, A Month in the Country—with all the purity and poise of English dancers raised on his style. This season, the company tackles Ashton’s full-length Cinderella, setting aside the James Kudelka and Ben Stevenson versions previously in its repertoire. In an era when companies frequently rely on story ballet remakes to drum up excitement (see: Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella), it’s refreshing to see a time-tested classic embraced by ABT, which is, after all, the home of time-tested classics. June 9–14, Metropolitan Opera House. abt.org.


Above: ABT’s Craig Salstein and Roman Zhurbin try out the Ugly Stepsisters’ accessories (as Thomas Forster looks on). Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy American Ballet Theatre.




Hip-Hop Heaven

Quiet New England towns aren’t generally known as hip-hop hubs. But that will change for a few nights this June, when some of urban dance’s most extraordinary artists assemble at Jacob’s Pillow. Unreal Hip-Hop, which runs June 25–29 at the Doris Duke Theatre, features Boston sensations The Wondertwins performing their inimitable man-meets-machine style; b-girl Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie in a series of genre-defying solos; and all-female crew Decadancetheatre’s unconventional reimagining of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. jacobspillow.org.


Above: Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie. Photo by Cristiano Marcelli, Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.




Honoring His Mentors

In marking his company’s 20th anniversary, Pascal Rioult has chosen to look back even further than 20 years, programming reconstructions of works by his mentors, Martha Graham and May O’Donnell. RIOULT Dance performs Graham’s famous El Penitente (1940), a trio inspired by self-lacerating rituals of the American Southwest, and O’Donnell’s Suspension (1943), a highly controlled exploration of shape and weightlessness that draws its drama from Ray Green’s airplane-inspired music. Rioult’s own works include a world premiere and last year’s Iphigenia. June 17–22 at The Joyce. joyce.org.


Above: RIOULT Dance’s Jane Sato in Suspension. Photo courtesy RIOULT Dance.



A Meeting of the (Renegade) Minds


You gotta love an intensive that offers a course called “Practice More Failure.” It will be taught by that supreme New York rebel, Faye Driscoll, at SaltDanceFest, which is hosted by the dance department at University of Utah. Other choreographers at the festival include Seattle’s Zoe Scofield and New Yorker Pavel Zustiak, both of whom have been known to kick up the dirt. Trust the excellent dancemaking faculty of U of U to guide participants through exploring technique, somatics, improv jams, collaborative sessions and performances. June 2–13. dance.utah.edu.


Above: Matthew Rogers, Jaro Vinarsky and Pavel Zustiak in Zustiak’s Endangered Pieces. Photo by by Nandita Raman, Courtesy University of Utah.

Dancers & Companies

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!"

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By Rick Tjia, Dance Talent Scout, Cirque du Soleil Casting

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.

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Dancers & Companies
PC Elena Fetisova

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.

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Health & Body
Danielle Peazer, photo by David Salafia

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.

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ABT's James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston. Photo via Instagram

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.

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What Wendy's Watching
Arolyn Williams and Chase O'Connell in Fox on the Doorstep, PC Beau Pearson

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.

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Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Pictures at an Exhibition, performed by The Royal Ballet of Flanders.
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.

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Simone Forti. Photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy Danspace.

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.





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