Dancers Trending


Soirée Aszure Barton (presented by Danse Danse)
Salle Pierre-Mercure, Centre Pierre-Péladeau
Montréal, Canada
November 27–29, 2008
Reviewed by Philip Szporer


Photo by Jean Tremblay.

Dancers of [bjm_danse] in

Aszure Barton's Les Chambres

des Jacques.

Together Aszure Barton and [bjm_danse] (formerly Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal) are something to celebrate. The musicality of the energy-driven dancers is perfectly suited to Barton’s exuberant, ever-changing movement innovation. Their quick, limber physicality and mercurial sensuality are vital ingredients of the successful Soirée Aszure Barton. The good-looking dancers know how to work a move. The remarkable ensemble has the soul, intensity, and drive that jazz requires, and their long clean lines and versatile technique speak to a classical base. They also have a commitment to whatever they are dancing, and Barton strikes gold with that. In both pieces on the bill—Les Chambres des Jacques and Jack in a Box—her broad taste in music is equally key.

Barton’s appeal is her popular sensibility and her engagement with the dancers. For Chambres, a reprise from 2006, she takes the audience into the world of various Jacks, as embodied by the wide range of movers who reveal shades of their individual natures. She introduces them one by one, in solos, presenting differing movement styles (modern, hip hop, gymnastic, etc.) and a varied music score, stirring the Québécois folk sense of Gilles Vigneault, Vivaldi arias, klezmer and gypsy rhythms. The piece takes on a layered feel as the performers overlap, and in the process gives us a sense of a larger community.

Jack in a Box
(which premiered earlier this year at the Canada Dance Festival) explores community, with the group defined by grey school-type uniforms (shorts and shirts) and a soloist in shirt, tie, and slacks. That strict, formal sense evolves bit by bit, and we witness individuals in transformation, breaking out in a variety of iterations, from the sacred to the profane. The sense of playful, youthful exuberance and percussive movement, with jumps and sinuous spins, pushes aside any sense of conformity, and the quick-witted dancers are brilliant at this kind of double-playing. The finale, set at a Last Supper-like table, sees its cast of nine together creating detailed studies with minimal movements: synchronized palms banging, a tilt of the head, a hop or a glide, or a tap of a finger. Once more, the weave of music is compelling, with Kodo drumming alongside Mannheim Steamroller, chanting, and funky Robert Charlebois. Unfussy lighting by Daniel Ranger seals the deal.


Show Comments ()
Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream was created for Royal Swedish Ballet. Photo by Hans Nilsson, Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Bales of hay, black umbrellas, bicycles—this Midsummer Night's Dream would be unrecognizable to the Bard. Alexander Ekman's full-length, inspired by Scandinavian solstice traditions and set to music by Mikael Karlsson, is a madcap celebration of the longest day of the year, when the veil between our world and that of the supernatural is said to be at its thinnest. The Joffrey Ballet's performances mark the seductively surreal work's North American premiere. April 25–May 6.

Dance As Activism
Indumba investigates an African cleansing ritual. Photo by Ken Carl, via

When Kevin "Iega" Jeff saw Fana Tshabalala's Indumba at the annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience in South Africa, he immediately knew he would ask Tshabalala to set the work on his company.

"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body

When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one:

"Dance isn't for everyone."

This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.

Keep reading... Show less
Cover Story
Robert Fairchild is jumping into the next phase of his career feet-first. Photo by Jayme Thornton

In his final bow at New York City Ballet, during what should have been a heroic conclusion to a celebrated ballet career, Robert Fairchild slipped and fell. His reaction? To lie down flat on his back like he meant to do it. Then start cracking up at himself.

"He's such a ham," says his sister Megan Fairchild, with a laugh. "He's really good at selling whatever his body is doing that day. He'll turn a moment that I would totally go home and cry about into something where the audience is like, 'That's the most amazing thing ever!' "

Keep reading... Show less
Name calling, physical intimidation and cyberbullying are all-too-common experiences among male dancers. Photo by Goh Rhy Yan/Unsplash

Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.

"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "

Keep reading... Show less
Dance on Broadway
PC Kevin Berne, courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.


Keep reading... Show less
Dance in Pop Culture
Ballet Zaida; Courtesy Agnes Muljadi

Have a scroll through Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed (@artsyagnes), and you'll notice that in between her ballet shots is a curated mix of lifestyle pics. So what exactly sets her apart from the other influencers you follow? Muljadi has made a conscious effort to only feature natural beauty products, sustainable fashion and vegan foods. With over 500k followers, her social strategy (and commitment to making ethical choices) is clearly a hit. Ahead, learn why Muljadi switched to a vegan lifestyle, and the surprising way it's helped her dance career.

Keep reading... Show less
The Creative Process
Brandon Sterling Baker never tries to make it a "light show." Photo by Lora Robertson, courtesy Baker

He may not be a household name, but you probably know Brandon Stirling Baker's work. The 30-year-old has designed the lighting for most of Justin Peck's ballets—including Heatscape for Miami City Ballet, and the edgy The Times Are Racing for New York City Ballet—but also Jamar Roberts' new Members Don't Get Weary at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a trio of Martha Graham duets for L.A. Dance Project.

He's been fascinated by lighting ever since he attended a public performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California, where he had his first experiences lighting shows. He also has a background in music (he plays guitar and bass) and in drawing. Both, he says, are central to the way he approaches lighting dance.

Keep reading... Show less

Update: Due to an overwhelming response, the in-person audition has been moved to a larger location to accommodate more dancers. See details below.

For the first time in more than 10 years, Janet Jackson is holding an open audition for dancers.

Even better? You could land a spot in her #JTribe simply by posting a video on social media.

Keep reading... Show less
Career Advice
Yes, we will listen to any life lessons this man has to share

What does it take to become an international superstar? Carlos Acosta might have a few ideas.

At the Oxford Literary Festival earlier this month, the BBC sat down with Acosta to ask for his life lessons. His answers—which he says he will pass on to his kids one day—give incredible insight into how he's become such a beloved worldwide success.

Keep reading... Show less


Viral Videos



Get Dance Magazine in your inbox