Vital Signs

January 30, 2012




Edge of Glory

Wayne McGregor’s arresting Infra, full of swirling lifts, overstretched extensions, and isolated tics at light speed, comes stateside Feb. 15–26 as part of the Joffrey Ballet’s “On the Threshold” evening. To a moody, shimmering score by Max Richter, the dancers move beneath ghostly animations of pedestrians on a colossal walkway, designed by Julian Opie. The Joffrey is the first company to perform Infra other than The Royal Ballet, which debuted the piece in 2008. The “On the Threshold” program is an embarrassment of contemporary-classic riches, with Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain in full and the Joffrey premiere of William Forsythe’s limb-splaying, percussive In the middle, somewhat


Infra, performed here by The Royal Ballet. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.



Occupied by Dancers

Since a dancer is literally the face of the Occupy movement that ignited the nation last fall—she stands in attitude on top of Wall Street’s charging bull—it seems fitting that dancers would get involved in bringing art to the protests. Callie Chapman Korn, the artistic director of Zoé Dance who also performs with Prometheus Dance, brought her site-specific sensibility to Occupy Boston last October. Dancers, wearing can’t-miss-it red, and musicians improvised in Dewey Square for protesters and onlookers.


Photo by Charles Daniels, Courtesy Chapman Korn.



Handled with Care

Eiko & Koma continue their 40th-anniversary celebration with a new installation titled Fragile. The piece, a tribute to their long-standing collaboration with San Francisco string masters Kronos Quartet, was commissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park (also celebrating a birthday at 10). Audiences can see Fragile for free Feb. 22–23. The work then travels to Kronos’ hometown in San Francisco to play at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts March 15–17.


From left: Koma, pianist Margaret Leng Tan, and Eiko in
Mourning. Photo by Takahiro Haneda, Courtesy Clarice Smith Center.



Fifty Years Young

Dutch National Ballet hits the big 5-0 this year but is keeping things fresh. The Amsterdam-based company, which performs full-length classics while also excelling at contemporary works, looks to the future for its “Present(s)” program of nine premieres by prominent choreographers. The ambitious venture, split into two evenings, features new ballets from DNB’s usual suspects—resident choreographers Hans van Manen and Krzysztof Pastor and artistic director Ted Brandsen. Works by David Dawson, Alexei Ratmansky, Lightfoot León, and Christopher Wheeldon also help celebrate DNB’s golden year. Feb. 15–March 3.


DNB in David Dawson’s
Timelapse. Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy DNB.



Maurya Makes Moves

During her 12 years as a principal dancer with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Maurya Kerr captivated audiences with her long-limbed fierceness. The statuesque beauty, on faculty at LINES’ pre-professional school and the LINES/Dominican BFA program, has now embarked on a new adventure: dancemaking. Kerr, who founded her company, tinypistol, in 2010, travels to University of North Carolina School of the Arts this month as a winner of the talent-unearthing Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition. Her piece for HS2 dancers and UNCSA students culminates in a showing Feb. 23–26. and


Kerr. Photo by Alan Kimara Dixon, Courtesy HSDC.



Two Sides of the Same Khan

Akram Khan Dance Company shows its different styles on its North American tour this month. There’s Gnosis, primarily a solo by Khan drawn from kathak, and Vertical Road, a group meditation on mortality that speaks with Khan’s contemporary dance language. But the pieces are parallel investigations, exploring origins, as Khan does in many of his works. The choreographer sought out dancers with compelling stories for both—former Graham star Fang-Yi Sheu collaborated with Khan on Gnosis, while he traveled the world choosing dancers like Algerian-born Ahmed Khemis (see 2011 “25 to Watch”) for Vertical Road. At Théâtre Maisonneuve in Montreal, Jan. 24–28; Grand Théâtre de Québec in Quebec City, Jan. 31; NAC Theatre in Ottawa, Feb. 1–4; and Montclair State University in NJ, Feb. 8–12.


Vertical Road. Photo by Richard Haughton, Courtesy Khan Company.



Wicked Fun

Twyla Tharp may be the last choreographer you’d think would make a ballet based on a fairy tale. But she is doing just that at Atlanta Ballet. The Princess and the Goblin is a full-evening work co-commissioned with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, to premiere Feb. 10 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, and next fall in Winnipeg. It’s the story of a brave little girl written by 19th-century novelist George MacDonald. Word is, Twyla’s having a fabulous time working with 15 children ages 8 to 15—oh, and the 21 Atlanta Ballet dancers too.

Tharp takes a seat during rehearsal. Photo by Charlie McCullers, Courtesy Tharp.




Contributing writers: Wendy Perron, Kina Poon