92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Festival
Ailey Citigroup Theater, New York
March 14-18, 2007
Reviewed by Naomi Abrahami
Pictured: Jae Mon Joo
Photographer: Julie Lemberger
One does not just watch a dance by Zvi Gotheiner. One enters a world with its own internal logic, a sensual, organic world of movement, language, and images where one is pulled along by currents unseen and inevitable.
Gertrud, billed as a tribute to Gotheiner's mentor Gertrud Kraus, flows at a relatively calm pace. It opens with a single dancer receiving instructions to, for example, turn their head toward nine o'clock, walk three steps in the direction of two o'clock, etc. On the backdrop are the rows of mysterious “dancing stick figures” that Gotheiner, in the program notes, has told us Kraus kept in her notebook after she stopped choreographing. As the layers of the piece unfold through the repeated riff-like instructions from dancer to dancer, shifts of scenery, and dramatic vignettes, one gets the picture of an intense, demanding, unpredictable woman whose influence on the then-17 year old Gotheiner was enormous. Neither saccharine nor melodramatic, but laced with affection and humor, Gertrud transcends the personal, evolving into a meditation on the process of becoming an artist and the act of creation.
A rhythmic, driving, propulsive piece, Les Noces (marriage or wedding party) provided a welcome contrast to the quieter, more reflective Gertrud. Once again, Gotheiner allows his work time to unfold. A woman sitting alone on a bench is called to movement by a sudden, siren-like sound. Others join her. The men and women face each other on low, black benches. Touching one another's hair, they tentatively check one another out. Various couplings are tried on and discarded. Pairs form: men and women, women together, men together. Conflict arises and is resolved. A single couple is chosen and the dancers unite in celebration, forming a circle that keeps turning even when broken. Space is left for the missing person to return.
In its affirmation of humanity, Les Noces might remind the viewer of Martha Graham's Acts of Light, with it final stage full of dancers striving separately, but in unison, toward a common vision. Here, as the dancers of the wedding party rush to place benches beneath the feet of the bride and groom as they symbolically walk down the aisle, we are left with the image of a community supporting its own on an unknown journey to which even the main players are blind. Yet, with confidence and hope they walk forward into the future.
It's not often that a dance video provokes bona fide cackling in our office, but this new episode of BroadwayWorld TV's improv-based series "Turning the Tables" is just too real. For this episode, seven Broadway pros were invited to a mock dance call. With series regulars Ellyn Marie Marsh, Andrew Briedis, Andrew Chappelle and Julia Mattison running the "audition," disaster and hilarity (mostly hilarity) ensue.
First of all, it's amazing to see Broadway dancers like Neil Haskell, Eloise Kropp and Samantha Sturm try to keep straight faces with the amount of deadpan shenanigans happening at the front of the room. And if you've ever been to a Broadway dance call, you're going to be struck by just how on point the jokes are. Plus, it's just really, really funny.
Watch now. Thank us later.
"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.