New York Notebook

December 17, 2009



Hungry from Hungary

The Györ National Ballet’s dancers are expressive powerhouses who move through poignant choreography hinting at the struggles of their home country, Hungary. Returning to the Joyce as part of a five-month festival entitled Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe, the provocative troupe will dance a Stravinsky program with its own version of Petrushka, by Dmitrij Simkin, and Rite of Spring, by Atilla Kun. While the entire festival looks at the impact of the performing arts on the 1989 revolutions in communist Europe, these scrappy works, fresh to the American stage, explore the tension between expression and repression inside the totalitarian landscape that was Hungary’s reality. Jan. 26–31. See —Rebecca Ain



Classical Tharp

Anyone remember the purely classical Mozart piece that Twyla made in 2000 before she launched Movin’ Out? It was dreamy, strong, and supremely musical. Now she has made a similar classic, Opus 111, to Brahms, for Pacific Northwest Ballet, and it’s coming to the Joyce Jan. 5–10. And it’s even better! It really rides through peaks and valleys, all the while playing with a folk dance theme, performed by PNB with both gusto and lyricism. Also on the program are works by Benjamin Millepied, Marco Goecke, and Edwaard Liang. See or —Wendy Perron



Uncensoring Eros

“Eroticism is natural, tactile, pleasurable,” says Urban Bush Women’s Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. But in the 1980s, when UBW’s productions grew too large for alternative spaces, few mainstream presenters felt comfortable with her work’s open sensuality.


Nudity and eroticism are certainly prevalent in today’s contemporary dance. Can Zollar’s early explorations—complicated by the legacy of racist attitudes towards black women’s bodies—retain power to startle, instruct, and liberate? Dance Theater Workshop’s “Zollar: Uncensored,” Jan. 20–23, will test this potential. In a celebration of UBW’s 25th anniversary, the evening revisits “LifeDance II: the papess…mirror in the waters” from Heat (1988), “My Female Hand” from Hands Singing Song (1998), and shorter pieces. See —Eva Yaa Asantewaa