Pennsylvania Ballet Braves Trisha Brown Terrain
The work, a quiet, dreamlike trio titled O zlozony / O composite, will be part of PAB’s “Balanchine and Beyond” program, Jun 9–12. Also on the program are works by Balanchine, Hans Van Manen and Jean-Pierre Frohlich.
Paris Opera Ballet dancers in O composite, photo by Julieta Cervantes @2009
O composite was originally made for Paris Opera Ballet in 2004. The French adore Trisha Brown and many of her pieces premiered in Paris, so it makes sense that the French companies (Lyon Opera Ballet has also done a Brown ballet) got to her first. The original cast of O composite was three of Paris Opera’s most glamorous étoiles: Aurélie Dupont (now the artistic director of the company), Manuel Legris and Nicolas Le Riche. They infused her choreography with a rich, velvety smoothness.
I say “brave” because the choreography has no multiple turns or extravagant leaps guaranteed to thrill an audience. But it casts a certain spell, so subtle are Brown’s movements and so mysterious is Laurie Anderson’s soundtrack of whispered poems (in Polish) and sputtering noises.
Angel Corella, newly at the helm of PAB, told me recently that when he was in Spain, he was aware of Trisha Brown’s impact when her company performed there, so he is totally behind this project.
Neal Beasley watching PAB dancers Lillian DiPiazza and Aaron Anker rehearsing O composite, photo by Alexander Iziliaev
It will be interesting to see how the PAB dancers negotiate Brown’s slippery movement and elusive imagery. Former Trisha Brown dancer Neal Beasley, who is setting the trio on PAB dancers, said in this blog that capturing her sometimes off-balance quality has a lot to do with trust.
PAB’s performance of O composite concludes a yearlong celebration in Philadelphia called “Trisha Brown: In a New Body,” organized by Lisa Kraus. There have been performances by the Trisha Brown Dance Company, classes and talks (some of them given by me) to acquaint Philly’s audience with the work of this beloved modern master. No doubt Philly’s most active dance website, thinkingdance.net, will have plenty to say about this meeting of the minds: the ballet mind and Trisha Brown’s postmodern mind.
What if there was a way to get your dancing in front of the likes of Desmond Richardson, d. Sabela grimes and Vincent Paterson all at once? Just in case you needed another excuse to break out your best moves this week, the Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival is back, and Richardson, grimes and Paterson are among this year's judges.
Dancers and non-dancers alike are invited to submit short dance films to the international online festival, with one caveat: The dancing has to take place in a public space.
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.
When we're talking about the history of black dancers in ballet, three names typically pop up: Raven Wilkinson at Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Janet Collins at New York's Metropolitan Opera and Arthur Mitchell at New York City Ballet.
But in the 1930s through 50s, there was a largely overlooked hot spot for black ballet dancers: Philadelphia. What was going on in that city that made it such an incubator? To answer that question, we caught up with Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet founder (and frequent Dance Magazine contributor) Theresa Ruth Howard, who yesterday released her latest project, a video series called And Still They Rose: The Legacy of Black Philadelphians in Ballet.
Janie Taylor didn't know if she'd ever return to the stage. But that's exactly where the former New York City Ballet principal has found herself: Nearly three years after retiring, she is performing again, as a member of L.A. Dance Project.
Taylor officially debuted with the company at its December 2016 gala in Los Angeles, then performed in Boston, via live stream from Marfa, Texas, and at New York's Joyce Theater before heading off on tour dates in France, Singapore, Dubai and beyond.
"She is wildly interesting to watch—and not conventional," says LADP artistic director Benjamin Millepied. "There are films of Suzanne Farrell dancing, where you feel like the music is coming out of her body," he says. "I think Janie has that same kind of quality."
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!"
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.
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.