Mark Dendy's Fauns in Love

Mark Dendy’s brilliant Afternoon of the Faunes is a beguiling, beautiful, odd, tribute to the homoerotic element in the Ballets Russes. I remembered loving it back in 1996, when Mark danced it with Larry Keigwin. Last night at Fall for Dance, two new dancers, Lonnie Poupard, Jr. and Alex Dean Speedie, gave it a gentle yet stirring performance. They jam those flat Nijinsky hands into the air but then curl them up and inward. They dive into the earth and come up with open chests bumping each other. They nuzzle with each other, not with a nymph or a scarf. That enticing flute sound of Debussy’s, like a faun is leading you into a dream world, led the two dancer into a kind of running in place with limbs splayed out to the side. Somehow it was very moving. The limited movement palette was simple, tender, creature-like. I was spellbound.

I wish Nijinsky could see this. I wonder if he would have felt that secretly this is the afternoon in the forest he really wanted to see. It captures the erotic undercurrent to all of the Ballets Russes.

I hope you can see it yourself.  It will be at Fall for Dance at City Center again tonight.

Latest Posts


Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS