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.
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.
You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)
Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of: