Ballet Austin in Stephen Mills’ “Ashes,” from Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project
Photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy Ballet Austin
Joyce Theater, New York, NY
October 5–9, 2005
Reviewed by Doris Hering
Ballet Austin (of Texas) features works by a generous range of contemporary choreographers, among them Ulysses Dove, Dwight Rhoden, David Parsons, David Nixon, and Peter Pucci. But for the company’s New York debut, artistic director Stephen Mills chose only his own ballets.
Mills is a dancemaker who takes human and philosophical content very seriously. He also takes love seriously, but seemingly without much trust. His “One/the body’s grace,” part of a longer work called Touch, dealt with three couples in various stages of their relationships. Starkly costumed in leotards and inhabiting a bare stage, they shared a state of athletic angst. In theme, the ballet was reminiscent of Jerome Robbins’ In the Night, but the latter’s contrasting of passion and irony was richer perhaps because it was, in a way, more trusting.
In “Ashes,” from his Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project, Mills examined the journey from birth to death, from one state of aloneness to another. The mood was darkly tense as the eight participants lined up upstage and were gradually propelled toward the center. They circled like the hands of a clock run amok, then sifted away one by one, leaving soloist Allisyn Paino desperately reaching upward.
Desire and Three Movements, a world premiere, continued the evening’s exploration of the nature of irony and loss, but its mood was mellower, the partnering more relaxed. It was as though Mills the artistic director were taking over from Mills the choreographer, revealing his dancers in a more poetic guise.
Although the majority of Ballet Austin’s 20 dancers do not appear to have been trained in the company’s large school, they have a well-matched style. Led by Lisa Washburn and Paino, their energy was high, the gestures crisp, and the partnering bold. Mills’ ballets revealed the director to have a strong sense of aesthetic purpose, clearly expressed by his dancers. See www.balletaustin.org.
What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.
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If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.
For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?
Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.