Vital Signs

December 17, 2009




“I’ll Facebook message you my Twitter name.” Ten years ago, this sentence would have been meaningless. Today, however, we use social networking sites on a daily basis. Lula Washington explores this theme in her newest piece, WWW.CONNECTING.2010, which the Lula Washington Dance Theatre will debut at Peak Performances in Montclair, NJ, from Jan. 28–31. The L.A.-based company, known for its muscular choreography, dedication to artists of color, and politically charged pieces, will also present an excerpt from Donald McKayle’s Songs of the Disinherited (1972). LWDT celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and in addition to participation in the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference (see “Finding the Power,” p. 92), the troupe tours to Georgia, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Alabama in the coming months. See



A Whimsical Debut

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Olivier Wevers and his nine dancers—four from PNB, four from Spectrum Dance Theater, and one independent—unveil their new pick-up company, Whim W’Him, to the Seattle community this month. With a three-night run at On the Boards, program highlights include Three Seasons and X stasis, Wevers’ work for PNB’s Choreographers’ Showcase in 2006. The com­pany’s name alludes to Wevers’ interest in the whimsical and the spontaneous—Three Seasons randomly omits one of the four seasons of Vivaldi’s eponymous score each night. Wevers’ work has previously been danced by PNB, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, and Seattle Dance Project. Jan. 15–17. See



Men in Tights

Donning pointe shoes, tutus, and eyeliner an inch thick, the “ballerinos”-in-drag of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo perform on Jan. 29 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans as the city begins its Mardi Gras season. The all-male company, founded in 1974, fouettés and grand-jetés its way through classic ballets like Swan Lake and Les Sylphides. The ethereal choreography usually reserved for ballerinas superimposed onto the dancers’ powerful, masculine bodies creates satires of ballet that are as impressive as they are humorous. Even more delightful: The Trocks are not only funny but technically accomplished. See



Flocking Together

When BalletMet Columbus and Cincinnati Ballet combined forces for a new production of Swan Lake in October, “that healthy sense of competition charged everyone up,” says CB artistic director Victoria Morgan. This arrangement took advantage of pooled resources, including split rehearsal time, divided choreographic duties, and a combined cast of dancers. The show received standing ovations during both its weekend run in Columbus and the second weekend in Cincinnati. In each city, audiences enjoyed lead performances by dancers from their home company, while soloist and corps roles were mixed. When asked about future collaborations, Morgan replied, “We are both too tired to think about the immediate future, but we should do it again.” See and



A Trio at Southern Theater

Get ready for three weekends of decidedly different dance at the Southern Theater in Minnesota this month. First up: a split bill with B-boys Battlecats and West African/hip hop choreographer Kenna Sarge (Jan. 14­–17). Follow­ing is Keith Hennessy from San Francisco, who performs his daring solo Crotch on Jan. 21–23. Rounding out the trio is 1/2 Life, in which BodyCartography Project explores the threat of nuclear war (Jan. 28–30). See



Over the Moon

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan brings Moon Water to Chicago’s Harris Theater, Jan. 22–23. The piece, which premiered in 1998, incorporates the fluid motions of tai chi into Cloud Gate’s signature blend of modern dance and martial arts. A startling set of overhead mirrors reflects dancers dressed in white, and water pours onto the stage in this work by Lin Hwai-min. Cloud Gate will also perform the program at the Kennedy Center Jan. 29–30 and in Vancouver Feb. 5–6. See



The Young & the Talented

Gathered in Miami for five days of classes, workshops, and performances this month are 150 of the nation’s most talented teens. YoungArts annually selects an elite group of 17- and 18-year-olds out of an applicant pool of thousands. With an all-expenses-paid week of artistic immersion, YoungArts nominees—whose talents span the performing, visual, and literary arts—connect with other artists, train with masters, and showcase their work in events open to the public. Standout finalists may be nominated for the Presidential Scholars in the Arts program. These young faces join the ranks of accomplished YoungArts alums, like Complexions’ Desmond Richardson, who will receive this year’s Alumni Award. Jan. 12–16. See



Bull’s Eye

In October, MOMIX teamed up with graphic design company Eyeball to produce a stunning video installation funded by Target’s Art for All series. Eyeball director Limone Shur (whose previous work for the same series featured the terrific Clifton Brown and other Ailey stars) teamed up with MOMIX artistic director Moses Pendleton to create a visually arresting sequence that mimics the Target logo. Titled “Art Expands,” the video was displayed on giant screens outside the Staples Center in downtown L.A. See both videos at



Pictured: Dylan James Tedaldi. Photo by Robert Leslie Photography, courtesy YoungArts