Performances Onstage this Month
NEW YORK CITY
Over 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation; 20 years ago, Nelson Mandela helped end apartheid in South Africa. New York Live Arts resident artist Kyle Abraham will premiere three works—a feat that would exhaust even the most seasoned choreographers—inspired by both momentous events. The Watershed, an evening-length piece, explores today’s freedoms, and the mixed-rep program, When the Wolves Came In, takes inspiration from jazz musician Max Roach’s 1960 protest album We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite. We’re in for a treat, as the performances promise plenty of dancing by Abraham himself. Not even the skilled movers of Abraham.In.Motion can quite grasp his fleeting, run-on sentences of movement like he can. Sept. 23–Oct. 4. newyorklivearts.org.
Above: Jordan Morley and Tamisha Guy in When the Wolves Came In. Photo by Carrie Schneider, Courtesy New York Live Arts.
With a Twist
Twisted: a Trio of Excellence will gather more than 200 artists from BalletMet, Opera Columbus and Columbus Symphony and Chorus. The resulting revue samples opera’s greatest works, from La Bohème to The Magic Flute to Carmen. Some of the performance’s intrigue is its sheer spectacle, but it also has the choreographic chops to back it up: contemporaries Val Caniparoli, Ma Cong, Edwaard Liang, James Kudelka and BalletMet dancer Jimmy Orrante will choreograph to the opera excerpts. Ohio Theatre, Sept. 25–28. balletmet.org.
Right: Adrienne Benz and David Ward in rehearsal. Photo by Jennifer Zmuda, Courtesy BalletMet.
The House That Ralph Built
The next stage for interdisciplinary performance artist Ralph Lemon’s work isn’t a stage at all, but a two-story structure in a gallery at the Walker Arts Center. Scaffold Room, which Lemon describes as a “lecture-performance-musical,” questions what qualifies as contemporary performance. Performers Okwui Okpokwasili and April Matthis will enact female historical and pop culture figures, from standup comedian Moms Mabley to singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. Also on display is Lemon’s sound and image installation Meditation, which was the final piece to his multi-year exploration How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? After the work premieres in his hometown of Minneapolis, Sept. 25–28, it will tour the U.S. walkerart.org.
Above: Scaffold Room. Photo by Ralph Lemon, Courtesy Walker.
After years of choreographing plotless works, Helen Pickett has begun experimenting with narrative. Her latest: The Crucible, commissioned by Scottish Ballet, is based on Arthur Miller’s emotionally riveting 1953 play about the 17th-century Salem witch trials. Pickett has applied her Forsythe-flavored physical explorations to character portrayal by asking questions like, “How does it feel in the spine when this character is accused?” Also on the bill is Ten Poems, Christopher Bruce’s tribute to poet Dylan Thomas. Quite a literary evening! Theatre Royal, Sept. 25–27, and touring. scottishballet.co.uk.
Above: Victor Zarallo in a Pickett rehearsal. Photo by Andy Ross, Courtesy Scottish Ballet.
This month, Hope Mohr Dance’s Bridge Project will celebrate Anna Halprin and Simone Forti. It’s a rare opportunity to see these foremothers of postmodern dance perform live: In her 1999 solo The Courtesan and the Crone, Halprin shuttles from youth to old age. And Forti, prompted by nothing but the whims of her mind in motion, will dance one of her uncanny word-and-movement improvisations. Also on the program is Mohr in Lucinda Childs’ absurdist solo Carnation (1964) and Peiling Kao in a new work by Mohr. Joe Goode Annex, Sept. 26–27. hopemohr.org.
Above: Simone Forti. Photo by Carol Peterson, Courtesy Hope Mohr Dance.
Inside a bustling television studio in Los Angeles, Lindsay Arnold Cusick hears the words "Five minutes to showtime." While dancers and celebrities covered head to toe in sequins whirl around preparing for their live performances on "Dancing with the Stars," Cusick pauses to say a prayer to God and express her gratitude.
"I know that it's not a given, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do what I love for a living," says Cusick, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For her, prayer is a ritualized expression of her faith that she has maintained since she was a girl in Provo, Utah. Even with her seven-plus years of industry experience, she always takes a moment to steady herself and close her prayer in Christ's name before rushing onto the stage.
The hotly-debated Michael Jackson biomusical is back on. Not that it was ever officially off, but after its pre-Broadway Chicago run was canceled in February, its future seemed shaky.
Now, the show has secured a Broadway theater, with previews starting July 6 at the Neil Simon Theater.
In the October 1969 issue of Dance Magazine, we spoke with Jacques d'Amboise, then 20 years into his career with New York City Ballet. Though he became a principal dancer in 1953, the star admitted that it hadn't all been smooth sailing.
These days, social media is an essential tool for dance companies looking to promote their work. Karole Armitage's company, Armitage Gone! Dance, recently posted ads for their upcoming show at New York Live Arts, You Took A Part Of Me, a "mysterious and hypnotic display of erotic entanglement and unresolved attachment" inspired by traditional Japanese Noh drama.