What Wendy's Watching
Stephanie Williams, Cory Stearns, Catherine Hurlin and Duncan Lyle rehearsing In the Upper Room. PC Kelsey Grills

Waves of sheer dance inventiveness come rolling toward you. Dancers in sneakers, pointe shoes or ballet slippers mingle: it looks like a free-for-all but is carefully plotted out. Philip Glass' music lets the dancers ride his gorgeous momentum.

This is In the Upper Room, the celestial yet kinetically charged ballet made by Twyla Tharp in 1986. It hasn't been done by American Ballet Theatre since 2012 and now it's coming back with full force.

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Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, PC Charles Villyard

In 2016, Lar Lubovitch decided that New York City's Joyce Theater needed a new look. He envisioned extending the stage outward so that audiences could sit on all sides. And that is pretty much what happened for his Quadrille series, and it was so refreshing that the series returns this year, with a new bunch of intrepid choreographers. I say intrepid because the choreography may be seen from unplanned angles, and the dancers are more exposed.

For the audience, if you're sitting under hundreds of lighting instruments overhead, you naturally feel like you are onstage. And if you're sitting in the usual seats, you see the performers onstage, with half the audience behind them. The whole set-up can be pleasantly disorienting.

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What Wendy's Watching

10000 Gestures, PC Tristram Kenton

Boris Charmatz, a favorite choreographer in France for his dancing in museums, has come up with an idea for non-stop dance. In his new piece, 10000 Gestures, each action is different—no repeats. This week, a horde of more than 20 dancers invades New York City's NYU Skirball Center, each of them cramming a thousand gestures into one hour. They seem to be exorcising them—shaking, scratching, jabbing, huddling—as though they can't get rid of them fast enough.

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Bill T. Jones' Ambros: The Emigrant. PC Paul B. Goode

Bill T. Jones is one of the few choreographers who can weave together social consciousness with choreographic inventiveness. This is visible in all three parts of his Analogy Trilogy, a 6½-hour marathon that comes to NYU Skirball Center on Sept. 22 and 23.

In this Trilogy, Jones goes beyond his own cultural identity. The first part, Dora: Tramontane, centers on Dora Amelan, a Holocaust survivor who tried to help children during World War II. Her ordeal is told through interviews spoken by the dancers and envisioned in shifting scenes. The second part, Lance: Pretty aka the Escape Artist, is about Jones' nephew, and his involvement in the underground world of drugs and sex in New York in the 80s. This section contains several gorgeously choreographed duets. The third part, Ambros: The Emigrant, is not about a real person but about the nature of trauma and memory.

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Marcelo Gomes and Victoria Hulland in The Two Pigeons, PC Frank Atura

Sarasota Ballet is returning to New York City's Joyce Theater with a batch of rarely-seen Ashton works. But the big news is that guest artist Marcelo Gomes will be performing with the company. Yes, Gomes is back performing in New York, possibly for the first time since he resigned from American Ballet Theatre in December after an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Gomes is one of the greatest male ballet dancers ever to grace the ABT stage—which he did for 20 years. Watching him dance, it's easy to see why he was every woman's favorite partner: He lavishes attention on his ballerina. The audience can feel his connection and his passion.

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What Wendy's Watching
The Young Ensemble in Naharin's Virus

The first piece that Ohad Naharin brought to New York City after taking over Batsheva Dance Company exploded onto the Brooklyn Academy of Music stage in 2002. The NYC dance audience knew immediately that something big was happening in Tel Aviv. The piece was Naharin's Virus, and it seemed to embody both rage and a Zen acceptance of the unique strangeness of every human body. Now it's back in NYC until July 22, danced by the second company, known as Batsheva — The Young Ensemble, which ranges in age from 20 to 28.

The choreography has the ferocity yet humanity we've come to expect from Batsheva, plus a text from Peter Handke's agitating play, Offending the Audience. The dancers speak Handke's accusations, saying one minute that we, the audience, have a private part of our minds that no one can touch, and then in the next breath that they are invading that part of our brains.

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Mats Ek and Ana Laguna in Memory. Photo by Lesley Leslie-Spinks, Courtesy Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

Three generations of Swedish dancemakers—Mats Ek, Johan Inger and Alexander Ekman—pay tribute to filmmaker Ingmar Bergman this month at Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. The youngest, Ekman, will no doubt tear up the stage in a solo called Thoughts on Bergman. Inger, whose Walking Mad wowed Ailey audiences last year, has made a work for four dancers titled 4 Karin. But it's likely that Ek's touching, oddly beautiful Memory, performed by Ek and his wife, Ana Laguna, will be the most fitting tribute to the great filmmaker. July 12–14, Salle Garnier, Opéra de Monte-Carlo. balletsdemontecarlo.com.

What Wendy's Watching
Lisa La Touche's 2017 choreogaphy with Felipe Galganni, Megan Bartula, Gabe Winns, Brittany DeStefano, Lisa La Touche, Charles Renato, Oriana Niño & Grace Cannady, PC Amanda Gentile

Every summer Tap City gives New Yorkers a week of classes, events and awards culminating in "Rhythm in Motion." This year the showcase, on July 11, has gathered star tappers—and not only tappers—in a mix of tradition and innovation.

Chloe Arnold's new group Apartment 33 (her previous group, Syncopated Ladies, went viral) as well as Caleb Teicher (a 2012 "25 to Watch") will be part of the mix. Lisa La Touche has choreographed a trio, and the fearless B-girl from the Bronx, Ana "Rokafella" Garcia, is choreographing for a quartet of break dancers. Leo Sandoval, the smoothest tapper from Brazil, is making a new piece to music by Steve Reich.

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Sahar Damoni, PC Tamar Lamm

Do you ever imagine collaborating with a dancer or musician from a faraway place? Composer Andy Teirstein, professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, has made this wish come true for performing artists with his Translucent Borders project. Over the last three years he has brought dancers and musicians from Cuba, Israel, Greece and Ghana to experience other cultures. On June 29, this project culminates in a rich border-crossing event at the Jack Crystal Theater at Tisch.

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News
Dimensions Dane Theatre of Miami performs Gerald Arpino's Light Rain as part of the Joffrey/Arpino Celebration. Photo by Simon Soong, Courtesy The Gerald Arpino Foundation

This year has been a time to commemorate Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino's huge contributions to American dance, as 2018 marks the 30th and 10th anniversaries of their deaths, respectively. On June 10, The Joffrey Ballet brought Arpino's neo-romantic Round of Angels (1983) to the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS, where Joffrey chaired the jury for years. A Joffrey master class and lecture took place on June 18. Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, the young company founded by former Miami City Ballet stars Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra, brings Arpino's boldly sensual Light Rain to The Joyce Theater June 26–27. arpinofoundation.org.

What Wendy's Watching
Jeremy Pheiffer, Michael Watkiss in THEM, PC Rachel Papo

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.

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Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Shelter addresses homelessness. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy Ailey

Just in time for its summer season at Lincoln Center, the dancers and management of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have settled their issues surrounding the performers' union contracts. Now that they've reached a new collective bargaining agreement, the dancers can sail into this weeklong season of nine ballets. (Well, maybe not sail, since this is some of the hardest repertory on earth.)


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Rennie Harris Puremovement's Joshua Culbreath. Photo by J. Harris, Courtesy New Victory Theater

The grand master of transforming street dance for the stage (and 2017 Dance Magazine Award recipient), Rennie Harris returns to the New Victory Theater with the multimedia Funkedified. This world premiere, with dancers of Rennie Harris Puremovement as well as guest artists from The Hood Lockers, looks back on African-American culture of the 1970s. A video montage evokes that tumultuous era, and a live band celebrates the unique funk sound. June 1–10. newvictory.org.

What Wendy's Watching
PC Paul Kolnik

New York City Ballet is celebrating the Jerome Robbins Centennial with twenty (20!) ballets. The great American choreographer died in 1998, so very few of today's dancers have actually worked with him. There are plenty of stories about how demanding (at times brutally so) he could be in rehearsal. But Peter Boal has written about Robbins in a more balanced, loving way. In this post he writes about how Robbins' crystal clear imagery helped him approach a role with clarity and purpose.


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Wayne McGregor in rehearsal at The Royal Ballet, where he is resident choreographer. Photo by Johan Persson, Courtesy Royal Opera House

Many choreographers have been defeated by Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. However, one dancemaker whose stridency, rhythmic daring and sheer inventiveness could possibly match Stravinsky's is Wayne McGregor. For his first commission from American Ballet Theatre, McGregor has taken on this earth-cracking music in AFTERITE, to premiere at ABT's Spring Gala. Also on the May 21 gala program are excerpts from Alexei Ratmansky's restaging of the comic ballet Harlequinade, the full version of which will premiere next month, and a pièce d'occasion by tapper Michelle Dorrance. May 21–26. abt.org.

What Wendy's Watching
Photo by Brook Trisolini

You can count on Mark Dendy to create a wild and crazy piece that eventually cuts to the heart of the matter. In this case, his New York premiere, Elvis Everywhere, is about our obsession with celebrities.

The piece was inspired by a monologue Dendy happened to see from when Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, met Elvis Presley. He captures the absurdity of the moment and then some. Commissioned by American Dance Festival with further development at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and UC Santa Barbara, Elvis Everywhere is a collaboration with Dendy's longtime performer, designer and filmmaker, Stephen Donovan.

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News
Meg Stuart's Until Our Hearts Stop. Photo by Iris Janke, Courtesy Helene Davis Public Relations

American choreographer Meg Stuart, who is based in Brussels and Berlin, brings her wildly unpredictable choreography to the Skirball Center. For this production, Until Our Hearts Stop (2015), the international cast of six dancers and three musicians aims to recapture a sense of free play. But Stuart's version of "play" contains as much struggle and strangeness as delight. The dancers in her company, Damaged Goods, get tangled in a physical intimacy that can be either sensitive or bizarre. May 4–5. nyuskirball.org.

What Wendy's Watching
Photo by Scott Shaw

Gina Gibney runs two enormous dance spaces in New York City: Together they contain 23 studios, five performance spaces, a gallery, a conference room, a media lab and more. Gibney is now probably the largest dance center in the country. It's not surprising that Dance Magazine named Gina Gibney one of the most influential people in dance today.

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News
Lar Lubovitch's Men's Stories: A Concerto in Ruin. Photo by Phyllis A. McCabe, Courtesy Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Lar Lubovitch has made more than 110 dances for his troupe, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. For the celebration of its 50th anniversary, the choreographer has programmed his bracing Men's Stories: A Concerto in Ruin (2000) as well as a premiere titled Something About Night, set to choral music by Schubert. The inclusion on the program of The Joffrey Ballet in a quartet from his Othello (1997) and the Martha Graham Dance Company in Legend of Ten (2010) testifies to Lubovitch's command of both ballet and modern dance idioms. Young choreographers would do well to study his craft and passion. April 17–22. joyce.org.

What Wendy's Watching
Five dancers and a hologram in Co-Natural. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

These days, more and more museums are inviting dancers to liven up the art that's on the walls and pedestals. The New Museum, on the border of SoHo and the Lower East Side, has designated a special room for live events called the South Galleries. Every day for two months, ending April 15, this gallery is home to Co-natural, a mesmerizing performance exhibition by Romanian choreographer Alexandra Pirici (pronounced Pireech). She is acclaimed in Europe and makes her U. S. debut with this exhibit. Included is a life-size hologram that really looks like another person. If you spend some time wandering around in the gallery, you start to see congruencies between the gestures of the live performers and the not-quite-live hologram. And you start to wonder about the stamina of the dancers, who are there, as moving sculpture, all day long (with a few breaks).


News
Jane Comfort's S/He. Photo by Arthur Elgort, Courtesy Comfort

What do choreographers Mark Dendy, David Neumann and Edisa Weeks have in common? They all cut their dancing-and-talking teeth with Jane Comfort and Company. This month, they, along with 20 other former Comfort dancers, return for the company's 40th Anniversary Retrospective. In excerpts from 12 works that draw on Comfort's political and gender satire and her signature rhythmic complexity, the tone ranges from haunting to ribald. High points in this Lumberyard production will surely include Four Screaming Women (1982), Underground River (1998), Faith Healing (1993) and S/He (1995). April 5–8. lamama.org.

News
Kotze and her collaborators in rehearsal. Photo by Carolyn Silverman, Courtesy NYLA

Joanna Kotze can twist and lurch in surprising ways. Her rigorous, vigorous, juicy and slightly zany choreography has been gaining attention in recent years. For What will we be like when we get there, she collaborates with dancer Netta Yerushalmy, visual artist Jonathan Allen and composer Ryan Seaton to explore intimacy and all its accompanying fantasies and flaws. New York Live Arts, March 28–31. newyorklivearts.org.

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