New York Notebook

May 27, 2009



Legends Fly to the Stage

When a major black woman choreographer performs on our stages, it’s reason to rejoice. So now it’s time for a fanfare, as five history-making women—Germaine Acogny, Carmen deLavallade, Dianne McIntyre, Bebe Miller, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar—present works in “FLY: Five First Ladies of Dance.” Urban Bush Women founder Zollar and African-born Aco­gny combine African and modern styles, while deLavallade and McIntyre shine in theatrical dance, and Miller explores movement as a postmodernist. A true cornucopia of artistry, all presented in one weekend. The brainchild of 651 ARTS, now celebrating its 20th season, the festival takes place at Long Island University’s Kumble Theater in Brooklyn, May 30–31. See —Valerie Gladstone



Beyond Romeo & Cinderella

There’s a sense of longing in Prokofiev’s music that tugs at you—and a sense of foreboding that can give you chills. It’s part of the reason why no choreographer can ruin Romeo and Juliet, and why Cinderella has had such an upsurge. Even the triumphant, joyous sections of his music are threaded through with strains of darkness. This month American Ballet Theatre mounts an all-Prokofiev program with Balanchine’s enduring Prodigal Son; Kudelka’s expressive ballet for seven couples, Désir; and Alexei Ratmansky’s world premiere, On the Dnieper. June 1–6. See —Wendy Perron



Revolutionary on Revolutionary

Sardono Kusumo exploded onto the Indonesian arts scene in the ’60s as a daring new choreographer who combined elegant Javanese court traditions with jarring contemporary ideas. For Asia Society’s “Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas” festival, he brings Diponegoro, in which he explores the life of Prince Diponegoro. This 19th-century Muslim revolutionary, imbued with the peaceful values of Javanese Islam, was pressed into a battle for national liberation, though he didn’t believe in war— and nearly brought the Dutch colonial government to its knees. June 13–14. See Plus Sardono himself performs, along with Steve Paxton and Kota Yamazaki, at the reception for Polly Motley’s video installation at Baryshnikov Arts Center, June 6. See —Rhoda Grauer



photo credit: Tom Caravaglia, Courtesy 651 Arts