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G-Chat Recap: Editors Discuss 2017 Fall For Dance
Fall For Dance is always a huge talkabout here in the Dance Media offices. So after all the programs were performed this year, a few of the editors from Dance Magazine, Pointe and Dance Teacher got together on Google Hangouts this morning to share our thoughts. Here are excerpts from our convo:
Jennifer Stahl, Dance Magazine: So, Fall For Dance 2017—biggest surprises?
Madeline Schrock, Dance Magazine: I'm not sure if it was a surprise, but the energy in the house during Michelle Dorrance's Myelination was infectious. I loved seeing an audience get so excited about dance. Not being able to wait until a section was over to erupt into applause or holler.
Jennifer Stahl: That was like the French hip hop group Cie Art Move Concept. The audience kept hootin and hollerin!
Betsy Farber, Dance Teacher: I always like how diverse and unique the Fall for Dance performances are and it was extra refreshing to see performances like the Cie Art Move Concept in the lineup.
Amy Brandt, Pointe: I didn't really know what to expect from Cie Art Move Concept, but I was really moved. The dances were exciting, of course, but I also thought the piece was very beautiful—I wanted to cheer but I also wanted people to be quiet, to listen to the story.
Lauren Wingenroth, Dance Magazine: Fall for Dance audiences are always super vocal! It's not hard to tell what resonates with them. And what doesn't...
Madeline Schrock: Ha ha. That's so true
Jennifer Stahl: Any obvious duds this year?
Lauren Wingenroth: It was well-danced, but I was disappointed that Polyphonia replaced the Schumacher premiere.
Jennifer Stahl: Yeah, I feel so bad for Troy that they decided to pull his piece
Lauren Wingenroth: I was curious about that—and there was already a Wheeldon on another program AND Polyphonia at NYCB the same week.
Miami City Ballet in Polyphonia, via miamicityballet.org
Jennifer Stahl: Did anyone see both? I didn't feel like Pennsylvania Ballet quite did Wheeldon's Rush justice—the corps especially didn't look comfortable moving at that speed
Amy Brandt: I agree, Jenny. The company seemed to lack cohesion in the Wheeldon piece. But Alexandra Hughes really stood out to me.
Jennifer Stahl: I loved Ana Calderon, too. How about Sara Mearns' piece with Honji Wang?
Madeline Schrock: It was disappointing. I went with Courtney [a DM assistant editor] and she mentioned that, in theory, the concept was okay, but the execution of it was something entirely different.
Jennifer Stahl: If only they hadn't brought out a ballet barre... Or done something more interesting with it
Madeline Schrock: I'm all for cross-genre collaborations, and I think there's a lot dancers can learn from each other. But this felt too cliché.
Jennifer Stahl: It made me wonder if the choreographers had seen other collaborations like this, like Tiler Peck and Bill Irwin last year
Madeline Schrock: Which, even that felt unfinished to me. But at least it was entertaining and emphasized each dancer's prowess in a fun way.
Lauren Wingenroth: Was anyone else wistful for Dorrance's original Myelination from 2 (3?) years ago? I missed the simplicity of it—I loved this one but it seemed to be trying to do just a little too much.
Jennifer Stahl: Well, she is a "genius" now...that's gotta be a lotta pressure to be creative
Lauren Wingenroth: True!
Madeline Schrock: I appreciated that she dared to go in different directions, even if some sections felt more "successful" than others.
Jennifer Stahl: For me, with all the collaborations and fancy things Fall For Dance offers, my favorite piece was probably the simplest: Petronio dancer Nicholas Sciscione in Steve Paxton's solo Excerpt from Goldberg Variations. He's such a compelling performer
Amy Brandt: He looked fantastic in that!
Betsy Farber: I LOVED Excerpt from Goldberg Variations too
Lauren Wingenroth: My fave was simple too: Trisha Brown's You can see us
Madeline Schrock: I loved that duet too. It reminded me of how good that type of movement can feel on your body.
Lauren Wingenroth: It had such a quiet beauty, and the two dancers moved so similarly that you could almost believe they were a mirror—and yet they both brought their own flair to it too.
Madeline Schrock: There was something so calming and trancelike about it.
Lauren Wingenroth: Exactly.
Madeline Schrock: And their timing!
Lauren Wingenroth: Yeah it was so nuanced.
Cecily Campbell and Jaime Scott in Trisha Brown's You Can See Us. Photo by Stephanie Berger
Amy Brandt: It was fun to see the Trocks in the mix, too.
Jennifer Stahl: What'd they perform?
Amy Brandt: Paquita
Jennifer Stahl: Fun!
Amy Brandt: With all the talk on gender and ballet these last few weeks, it was kind of ironic to see the Trocks on the same program as Ratmansky!
Lauren Wingenroth: Ha.
Jennifer Stahl: Ha! Good point. How was that Ratmansky piece for ABT?
Amy Brandt: It felt a bit too sentimental for my taste, and I couldn't quite follow the story.
Lauren Wingenroth: What about Kyle Abraham's new piece?
Jennifer Stahl: I enjoyed it! I don't think it's one of his greatest hits, but I loved the music—and the energy of his dancers. I could watch Tamisha Guy for hours and not get bored
Kyle Abraham's Drive. Photo via Twitter
Madeline Schrock: The audio at the end of Kyle's piece, that was Obama's voice backwards, right?
Jennifer Stahl: Oh, I didn't catch that! What was he saying?
Madeline Schrock: I was pretty sure it was him. You couldn't make out the words but I recognized the voice.
Jennifer Stahl: Interesting. The ending actually kind of felt a little unresolved to me, with the solo dancer onstage. It was kind of that awkward moment where the audience isn't sure whether to clap or not
Madeline Schrock: I will say that at least it didn't go on for too long...which I felt like some of the FFD pieces did
Jennifer Stahl: True. I loved Gauthier Dance's piece by Andonis Foniadakis for like the first 10 minutes, then it just kept going on...
Jennifer Stahl: Speaking of things just going on... any last thoughts before we wrap up?
Lauren Wingenroth: This was fun!
Betsy Farber: Makes me wish I would have gone more than one night!
Jennifer Stahl: There are so many great performances going on in NYC this time of year—but Fall For Dance always remains a must-do. Even if you can't make it to all the shows.
What'd you think of the shows? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.
When Rachel Hamrick was in the corps of Universal Ballet in Seoul, her determination to strengthen her flexibility turned into a side hobby that would eventually land her a new career. "I was in La Bayadere for the first time, and I was the first girl out for that arabesque sequence in The Kingdom of the Shades," she says. "I had the flexibility, but I was wobbly because I wasn't stretching in the right way. That's when I first started playing around with the idea of the Flexistretcher. It was tied together then, so it was definitely more makeshift," she says with a laugh, "But I trained with it to help me get the correct alignment so that I would have the strength to sustain the whole act."
Now, Hamrick is running her own business, complete with an ever-growing product line and her FLX training method—all because of her initial need to make it through 38 arabesques.
For the new Broadway season, Ellenore Scott has scored two associate choreographer gigs: For Head Over Heels, which starts previews June 23, Scott is working with choreographer Spencer Liff on an original musical mashing up The Go-Go's punk-rock hits with a narrative based on Sir Philip Sidney's 1590 book, Arcadia. Four days after that show opens, she'll head into rehearsals for this fall's King Kong, collaborating with director/choreographer Drew McOnie and a 20-foot gorilla.
Scott gave us the inside scoop about Head Over Heels, the craziness of her freelance hustle and the most surprising element of working on Broadway.
Dance in movies is a trend as old as time. Movies like The Red Shoes and Singin' in the Rain paved the way for Black Swan and La La Land; dancing stars like Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers led the way for Channing Tatum and Julianne Hough.
Lucky for us, some of Hollywood's most incredible dance scenes have been compiled into this amazing montage, featuring close to 300 films in only seven minutes. So grab the popcorn, cozy on up, and watch the moves that made the movies.
Broadway musicals have been on my mind for more than half a century. I discovered them in grade school, not in a theater but electronically. On the radio, every weeknight an otherwise boring local station would play a cast album in its entirety; on television, periodically Ed Sullivan's Sunday night variety show would feature an excerpt from the latest hit—numbers from Bye Bye Birdie, West Side Story, Camelot, Flower Drum Song.
But theater lives in the here and now, and I was in middle school when I attended my first Broadway musical, Gypsy—based, of all things, on the early life of the famed burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee. I didn't know who Jerome Robbins was, but I recognized genius when I saw it—kids morphing into adults as a dance number progresses, hilarious stripping routines, a pas de deux giving concrete shape to the romantic yearnings of an ugly duckling. It proved the birth of a lifelong habit, indulged for the last 18 years in the pages of this magazine. But all long runs eventually end, and it's time to say good-bye to the "On Broadway" column. It's not the last of our Broadway coverage—there's too much great work being created and performed, and you can count on hearing from me in print and online.
If you want to know how scary the AIDS epidemic was in the 1980s, come see Ishmael Houston-Jones' piece THEM from 1986. This piece reveals the subterranean fears that crept into gay relationships at the time. Houston-Jones is one of downtown's great improvisers, and his six dancers also improvise in response to his suggestions. With Chris Cochrane's edgy guitar riffs and Dennis Cooper's ominous text, there's an unpredictable, near-creepy but epic quality to THEM.
What is the right flooring system for us?
So many choices, companies, claims, endorsements, and recommendations to consider. The more you look, the more confusing it gets. Here is what you need to do. Here is what you need to know to get the flooring system suited to your needs.
This time last year, Catherine Conley was already living a ballet dancer's dream. After an exchange between her home ballet school in Chicago and the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana, she'd been invited to train in Cuba full-time. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and one that was nearly unheard of for an American dancer. Now, though, Conley has even more exciting news: She's a full-fledged member of the National Ballet of Cuba's corps de ballet.
"In the school there were other foreigners, but in the company I'm the only foreigner—not just the only American, but the only non-Cuban," Conley says. But she doesn't feel like an outsider, or like a dancer embarking on a historic journey. "Nobody makes me feel different. They treat me as one of them," she says. Conley has become fluent in Spanish, and Cuba has come to feel like home. "The other day I was watching a movie that was dubbed in Spanish, and I understand absolutely everything now," she says.
Chantel Aguirre may call sunny Los Angeles home, but the Shaping Sound company member and NUVO faculty member spends more time in the air, on a tour bus or in a convention ballroom than she does in the City of Angels.
Aguirre, who is married to fellow Shaping Sound member Michael Keefe, generally only spends one week per month at home. "When I'm not working, I'm exploring," Aguirre says. "Michael and I are total travel junkies."
Akram Khan and Florence Welch (of Florence + The Machine) is not a pairing we ever would have dreamt up. But now that the music video for "Big God" has dropped, with choreography attributed to Khan and Welch, it seems that we just weren't dreaming big enough.
In the video, Welch leads a group of women standing in an eerily reflective pool of water. They seem untouchable, until they begin shedding their colorful veils, movements morphing to become animalistic and aggressive as the song progresses.
Savannah Lowery is about as well acquainted with the inner workings of a hospital as she is with the intricate footwork of Dewdrop.
As a child, the former New York City Ballet soloist would roam the hospital where her parents worked, pushing buttons and probably getting into too much trouble, she says. While other girls her age were clad in tutus playing ballerina, she was playing doctor.
"It just felt like home. I think it made me not scared of medicine, not scared of a hospital," she says. "I thought it was fascinating what they did."
It can be hard to focus when Alice Sheppard dances.
Her recent sold-out run of DESCENT at New York Live Arts, for instance, offered a constellation of stimulation. Onstage was a large architectural ramp with an assortment of peaks and planes. There was an intricate lighting and projection design. There was a musical score that unfolded like an epic poem. There was a live score too: the sounds of Sheppard and fellow dancer Laurel Lawson's bodies interacting with the surfaces beneath them.
And there were wheelchairs. But if you think the wheelchairs are the center of this work, you're missing something vital about what Sheppard creates.
A Jellicle Ball is coming to the big screen, with the unlikeliest of dancemakers on tap to choreograph.
We'll give you some hints: His choreography can aptly be described as "animalistic," though Jellicle cats have never come to mind specifically when watching his hyper-physical work. He's worked on movies before—even one about Beasts. And though contemporary ballet is his genre of choice, his choreography is certainly theatrical enough to lend itself to a musical.