Dance As Activism
Batsheva's U.S. performances are often met with protests, like this one outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Photo Courtesy Brian Schaefer.

The United States has never had a strong tradition of government support for the arts. But we take what we can get and, since its founding in 1965, American artists have gratefully accepted whatever the National Endowment for the Arts is willing and able to give. Though the NEA has at times been aggressively politicized, for the most part, we have maintained a delicate separation of art and state.

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Dancers Trending
Clockwise from top left: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Ohad Naharin's Minus 16, photo by Pierre Wachholder via alvinailey.org; Photo by David Hoffman/Unsplash; Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro, photos via Instagram; Boris Charmatz's 10000 Gestures, photo by Ursula Kaufmann via nyuskirball.org

What did our readers care about most in 2018? Judging by our top-clicked stories, topics as broad as confronting a bullying teacher, investigating how Instagram has impacted the dance world and advocating for dance as an intellectual pursuit were the biggest stories in dance this year.

But our biggest hit, published just earlier this month, already has us looking to the new year: Our annual "25 to Watch" list for 2019, profiling the artists we think will be taking the dance world by storm sooner than later.

These are our 10 most-read stories of the year, and why we think they struck a chord with readers:

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What Wendy's Watching
The Young Ensemble in Naharin's Virus

The first piece that Ohad Naharin brought to New York City after taking over Batsheva Dance Company exploded onto the Brooklyn Academy of Music stage in 2002. The NYC dance audience knew immediately that something big was happening in Tel Aviv. The piece was Naharin's Virus, and it seemed to embody both rage and a Zen acceptance of the unique strangeness of every human body. Now it's back in NYC until July 22, danced by the second company, known as Batsheva — The Young Ensemble, which ranges in age from 20 to 28.

The choreography has the ferocity yet humanity we've come to expect from Batsheva, plus a text from Peter Handke's agitating play, Offending the Audience. The dancers speak Handke's accusations, saying one minute that we, the audience, have a private part of our minds that no one can touch, and then in the next breath that they are invading that part of our brains.

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Dancers Trending
Bobbi Jene Smith in rehearsal for A Study on Effort. PC Jim Carmody, courtesy Bobbi Jene Smith.

I dance to remember.

I dance to forget.

I dance to contain.

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