May 26, 2014


Baryshnikov Takes Brooklyn


A man retires to his lonely apartment. There, he mysteriously discovers a dead woman. His solution? To fold her into a suitcase and take her on a journey by train, only to have the luggage disappear in transit. If the storyline doesn’t intrigue, throwing Mikhail Baryshnikov into the mix surely will. This month, the dance legend co-stars with actor Willem Dafoe in the U.S. premiere of The Old Woman, directed by Robert Wilson—the man who brought us the epic (and still-touring) dance/theater work Einstein on the Beach. Wilson’s The Old Woman is based on Daniil Kharms’ bizarre novella of the same name. The set and dress are equally strange, with a cartoonlike quality that feels simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. June 22–29 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. bam.org.


Above: Mikhail Baryshnikov in
The Old Woman. Photo by Lucie Jansch, Courtesy Brooklyn Academy of Music.




ABT Tries a New Glass Slipper


Over the past few years, the artists of American Ballet Theatre have been performing Frederick Ashton’s ballets—The Dream, Sylvia, A Month in the Country—with all the purity and poise of English dancers raised on his style. This season, the company tackles Ashton’s full-length Cinderella, setting aside the James Kudelka and Ben Stevenson versions previously in its repertoire. In an era when companies frequently rely on story ballet remakes to drum up excitement (see: Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella), it’s refreshing to see a time-tested classic embraced by ABT, which is, after all, the home of time-tested classics. June 9–14, Metropolitan Opera House. abt.org.


Above: ABT’s Craig Salstein and Roman Zhurbin try out the Ugly Stepsisters’ accessories (as Thomas Forster looks on). Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy American Ballet Theatre




Hip-Hop Heaven


Quiet New England towns aren’t generally known as hip-hop hubs. But that will change for a few nights this June, when some of urban dance’s most extraordinary artists assemble at Jacob’s Pillow. Unreal Hip-Hop, which runs June 25–29 at the Doris Duke Theatre, features Boston sensations The Wondertwins performing their inimitable man-meets-machine style; b-girl Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie in a series of genre-defying solos; and all-female crew Decadancetheatre’s unconventional reimagining of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. jacobspillow.org.


Above: Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie. Photo by
Cristiano Marcelli, Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.




Honoring His Mentors


In marking his company’s 20th anniversary, Pascal Rioult has chosen to look back even further than 20 years, programming reconstructions of works by his mentors, Martha Graham and May O’Donnell. RIOULT Dance performs Graham’s famous El Penitente (1940), a trio inspired by self-lacerating rituals of the American Southwest, and O’Donnell’s Suspension (1943), a highly controlled exploration of shape and weightlessness that draws its drama from Ray Green’s airplane-inspired music. Rioult’s own works include a world premiere and last year’s Iphigenia. June 17–22 at The Joyce. joyce.org.


Above: RIOULT Dance’s Jane Sato in
Suspension. Photo courtesy RIOULT Dance.



A Meeting of the (Renegade) Minds


You gotta love an intensive that offers a course called “Practice More Failure.” It will be taught by that supreme New York rebel, Faye Driscoll, at SaltDanceFest, which is hosted by the dance department at University of Utah. Other choreographers at the festival include Seattle’s Zoe Scofield and New Yorker Pavel Zustiak, both of whom have been known to kick up the dirt. Trust the excellent dancemaking faculty of U of U to guide participants through exploring technique, somatics, improv jams, collaborative sessions and performances. June 2–13. dance.utah.edu.


Above: Matthew Rogers, Jaro Vinarsky and Pavel Zustiak in Zustiak’s
Endangered Pieces. Photo by by Nandita Raman, Courtesy University of Utah.