New York Notebook

January 30, 2012




From Phoenix, With Love & Mozart

Mixing things up in the classical vernacular comes naturally to Ballet Arizona. Its artistic director, Ib Andersen, formerly a principal with Royal Danish and New York City Ballet, saturated his dancers with Balanchine’s and Bournonville’s repertoire 12 years ago when he took on BAZ. Andersen’s heady, full-length ballet Play marks the full company’s NYC debut. Mozart’s variations on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” gently begin the ballet, which progresses to Schubert’s lush strains, followed by riveting dancing to Benjamin Britten. Arvo Pärt inspires an arduously steamy pas de deux, and Stravinsky robustly accelerates the pace. Feb. 22–26 at the Joyce. —Astrida Woods


Tzu-Chia Huang and Russell Clarke in
Play. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor, Courtesy BAZ.



A Double Burst of Youth

Spurred by the success of showcasing the second companies of ABT, Ailey, and Taylor, the Joyce presents a week split between two other youthful companies: Cloud Gate 2 and Dance Theatre of Harlem II. The Cloud Gate program includes two pieces by “25 to Watch” choreographer Huang Yi (selected by Fang-Yi Sheu last year) and one by Bulareyaung Pagarlava, who has choreographed on the Graham company. (Cloud Gate 2 also tours to L.A., San Diego, Nashville, and Williamstown, MA.) DTH II premieres a new work by Donald Byrd as well as a rarely performed Balanchine work, Glinka Pas de Trois. Feb. 7–12, —Wendy Perron


Passage by Bulareyaung Pagarlava. Photo by LIU Chen-hsiang, Courtesy Cloud Gate 2.



Does Black Dance Always Mean African American?

Back in 1982, Ishmael Houston-Jones brought African American dance artists into a sacred hall of (mostly white) postmodernism—Danspace at St. Mark’s Church. They included Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller, and Blondell Cummings. Now the Danspace Project is celebrating that moment with “Platform 2012: Parallels,” an ambitious, sprawling series of performances and discussions that ask questions like “What does African American mean now?” Younger artists like Will Rawls, Nicholas Leichter, and Tania Isaacs appear and/or debate. Included is an evening curated by Dean Moss called “Black Dance,” with artists who are not African American but whom he calls “black” for their outsider status. Feb. 2 to March 31 at Danspace. —W. P.


Ishmael Houston-Jones at Danspace in 1982. Photo by Courtesy Danspace.