Hofesh Shechter's Latest Hits North America, Plus Six Other Shows That Sparked Our Interest This Month
We are deep into the fall season, and the steady stream of great performances has yet to let up. Here are the shows we're keeping an eye on this month.
It's the End of the World as We Know It
Hofesh Shechter's Grand Finale. Photo by Rahi Rezvani, Courtesy Danse Danse
MONTREAL AND NEW YORK CITY Seductive yet unnerving, Hofesh Shechter's choreography is uniquely polarizing. His newest work, Grand Finale, a maelstrom of 10 dancers and 6 musicians sketching "a world in freefall," promises to be as dark, discomfiting and cathartic as any of his others. It lands in North America this month, appearing first at Montreal's Danse Danse Nov. 1–4 before arriving at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival Nov. 9–11. hofesh.co.uk.
His/Her/Their Moves Showcased by the Bridge Project
Monique Jenkinson. Photo by Arturo Cosenza, Courtesy Hope Mohr Dance.
SAN FRANCISCO For several years Hope Mohr's Bridge Project has connected history and the present moment, art and intellectual probing. Plunging into the burgeoning area of gender-nonconforming performance, this year's iteration, Radical Movements: Gender and Politics in Performance, asks the question: What does it mean to have a radical body? Radical Movements will be kicked off by a conversation between Monique Jenkinson (aka faux-drag performer Fauxnique) and gender-theory superstar Judith Butler. Other performers include Julie Tolentino, boychild and Miryam Rostami, all of whom walk on the wild side of gender innovation. Nov. 2–12. hopemohr.org.
Chaos=Hope for Threads Dance Project
Threads Dance Project. Photo by Alex Roob, Courtesy The Cowles Center.
MINNEAPOLIS Before she founded Threads Dance Project, choreographer Karen L. Charles made a living as a computer analyst and mathematician—and her latest work combines that dual passion. Taking chaos theory as a starting point, Uncertain Reality postulates that there is hope in chaos and humanizes an otherwise abstract construct. The Cowles Center, Nov. 3–4. thecowlescenter.org.
Nicolo Fonte and Ballet West dancers rehearse his Carmina Burana. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West.
SALT LAKE CITY In Ballet West's early years, one of the company's mainstays was a Carmina Burana staged by founding artistic director Willam Christensen. Now, resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte is tackling the iconic score. Fonte's new iteration is appearing on a program with George Balanchine's Serenade at both Ballet West and Cincinnati Ballet (in February), providing a stark contrast to the lush neoclassical masterpiece. Nov. 3–4, 8–11. balletwest.org.
David Dorfman Dance, Just Messing Around
David Dorfman Dance. Photo by Adam Campos, Courtesy BAM.
NEW YORK CITY David Dorfman Dance returns to Brooklyn Academy of Music with its signature blend of highly physical group tussles and existential inquiry. With Aroundtown, Dorfman explores what community means in these violently polarized times. Accompanied by electric folk music played live, Aroundtown includes a cameo duet between the choreographer and his wife, Lisa Race. BAM Harvey Theater, Nov. 8–11. bam.org.
An American in...Scotland?
Robert Fairchild. Photo by Matt Trent, Courtesy An American in Paris.
NEW YORK CITY Christopher Wheeldon is tackling another classic musical. But instead of postwar Paris, New York City Center audiences will be transported to a town in the Scottish Highlands that only appears one day every century: Brigadoon. The original 1947 production featured choreography by Agnes de Mille. With Wheeldon at the helm and An American in Paris alums Robert Fairchild and Sara Esty in the cast, the dancing should be in top form. Nov. 15–19. nycitycenter.org.
Bebe Miller Makes Some Dances About Making Dances
Bebe Miller Company. Photo by Julieta Cervantes, Courtesy Bebe Miller Company.
COLUMBUS, OH For choreographer Bebe Miller's latest work In a Rhythm, she and her company turn their attention toward the dancemaking process itself. The hourlong suite of short dances explores the syntax of movement and how we absorb its meaning. Says Miller: "Process is fascinating. The product is whatever it turns out to be, but how we get there and who we get there with is really why I do what I do." Wexner Center, Nov. 30–Dec. 3. bebemillercompany.org.
Contributors: Courtney Escoyne, Wendy Perron, Steve Sucato
It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.
Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.
It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.