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
In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.