Robert Altman

The Timelessness of Ephrat Asherie's ​ODEON and Where It's Headed Next

Dancer/choreographer Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie's background is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world—which you can vividly see reflected in her work. But the recent Harkness Promise Awardee attributes the cross-pollination of genres in her work to more than just her background.


The choreographer says her eclectic style is deeply inspired by the New York City club scene. "It reflects a utopic space where people of so many different backgrounds can come together," she says. "Everyone has the room, space and time to express all the parts of themselves. So the idea of having the freedom to put all my interests together is supported by the collective consciousness of the club saying 'Go for it!' "

We stepped into the studio with Asherie and her company as they rehearsed an excerpt of ODEON for The CUNY Dance Initiative's 5th Year Fest. The piece, which premiered at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in June 2018, is a work Asherie feels will be in her repertoire forever. "I think the music is really timeless," she says. "There's something universal about it." Unfortunately, the musical score by Ernesto Nazareth will not be live with the company at CUNY as it was when it premiered at the Pillow.

"The piece is rooted in Brazilian music," Asherie says, "but because Brazilian culture is implicitly such a hybrid of its Indigenous and African roots, and European influences—there's something in there that is so unique and that spoke immediately to me. I always like making connections, whether it's through dance, people, spaces or time periods."


Catch ODEON at CUNY Dance Initiative's 5th Year Fest at Baruch Performing Arts Center, March 21 and 23.

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Charlene Gehm MacDougal as Lead Nursemaid in Petrushka. Photo by Herbert Migdoll, courtesy the MacDougal family.

In Memoriam: Joffrey Dancer Charlene Gehm MacDougal, 69

Former lead dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, Charlene Gehm MacDougal died of ovarian cancer on January 10 at her home in New York City, age 69.

Gehm illuminated the inner life of each of the varied characters in her extensive repertoire. Whether she was the gracious hostess in George Balanchine's Cotillon, the riveting Lady Capulet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, or in the tumult of William Forsythe's Love Songs, she drew the viewer's eye and heart to the essence of the role.

As Forsythe puts it: "Charlene was certainly one of the most elegant dancers I have had the privilege to work with. Her striking countenance flowed into her work and, joined with her wicked sense of humor and intelligence, created thoughtful, mesmerizing and memorable art."

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February 2021