Dance Magazine Award Spotlight: Philip Glass

October 31, 2013

From Jerome Robbins to Lucinda Childs to Doug Elkins to Jirí Kylián, it’s not easy to name a choreographer who hasn’t taken on one of Philip Glass’ propulsive scores. Dance Magazine is honoring the prolific composer on December 9 with a 2013 Dance Magazine Award*; other awardees are Mats Ek, Martha Clarke, Patricia Wilde and Yuan Yuan Tan. Glass will be the first composer since Aaron Copeland (in 1979) to receive this award.


Einstein on the Beach,
Glass’ 1976 collaboration with Andy DeGroat, Lucinda Childs and director Robert Wilson, was one of the first operas that put Glass on the radar of other choreographers. The epic, 5-hour work continues to be remounted at various venues worldwide; it was most recently performed by the LA Opera in October. Take a look at this video to watch a conversation between Childs and Glass (moderated by Mark Swed) at University of California–Berkeley. Here’s an excerpt of the piece, performed in Mexico City:




Houston Ballet in Tharp’s
In the Upper Room
Photo by Amitava Sarkar


Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room (1986) is a classic Glass ballet with true staying power. Miami City Ballet’s Jennifer Kronenberg described performing it in 2009: “It was tough to get at it and through it—like learning to take a deep breath and relax in the middle of a storm.” Here is a glimpse of Miami City Ballet performing In the Upper Room:




Muriel Maffre and Pierre-François Vilanoba in Robbin’s
Glass Pieces
Photo by Erik Tomasson


One of my favorite dance pieces set to Glass is Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces (1983). In the video (below) from 2010, you’ll see clips of Pacific Northwest Ballet rehearsing the work. And for some performance footage, click here to watch New York City Ballet’s video, which features Georgina Pazcoguin and Adrian Danchig-Waring discussing it.




Most recently, Glass created a new piece just this year for the Memphis jooker Lil Buck. Staged by Damiam Woetzel, the work premiered at NYC’s Le Poisson Rouge in April, accompanied by cellist Yo Yo Ma. On Monday December 9, Woetzel will present the Dance Magazine Award to Glass.


*The awards ceremony at The Ailey Citigroup Theater in NYC is open to the public with a reception immediately following. Tickets are available for $50; contact Ashley Mathus at 212-979-4872 or [email protected].