Vital Signs

October 19, 2009



An Anniversary Aju (that’s good-bye in Dutch)

Nederlands Dans Theater’s 50th birthday is tinged with sadness as Jirí Kylián presents his last new piece before stepping down as resident choreographer. The legendary dancemaker has been creating works for the company for 36 years, 24 of which he spent as artistic director. Some of his over 73 works will remain in the company’s repertory. The anniversary program, Challenging Dance, will include this latest piece alongside his 2008 Vanishing Twin and current house choreographer duo Lightfoot León’s Source of Inspiration. Kylián’s new work premiered at the Holland Dance Festival, which began celebrating NDT’s anniversary last month with a homecoming for former NDT dancers who are now artistic directors and choreographers (see “Dance Matters”). Nov. 7–Dec. 18. See



Undressed for Success

Postmodern dance legend Anna Halprin’s Parades and Changes made waves at its 1965 NYC premiere when it was banned for nudity. French choreographer Anne Collod has re-created the controversial work and brings it to Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art Nov. 5, 7–8. Halprin originally wrote a series of scores, allowing dancers to interpret the instructions in their own way. The piece enacts several tasks as simple as getting dressed and undressed as if in a slow-motion ritual. Collod’s re-creation, parades & changes, replays, appears in tandem with an MCA exhibition of Daria Martin’s film Minotaur, a tribute to Halprin. It then moves to DTW and the French Film Institute in NYC. See



Dance the Night Away

Jazz up these chilly November evenings and catch BalletMet Columbus’ NightMoves at the company’s black-box venue. Dancers become musical instruments in the whimsical Maestro by artistic director Gerard Charles, one of five company premieres on the program. Another is dancer Adam Hundt’s mixed-media piece that invites audience participation. Other featured choreographers are Maria Glimcher, on faculty at the BalletMet Dance Academy; Laurie Eisenhower; and Michael Uthoff, artistic director of Dance St. Louis. In addition, Tharp’s popular returns to BalletMet’s stage. Nov. 6–21. See



Reminiscin’ Rhythms

Tapper Jason Samuels Smith (see “Dance Magazine Awards,” p. 32) stars in Thank You, Gregory!, a brand-new tap spectacular celebrating the New Orleans Ballet Association’s 40th anniversary. This tribute to the great Gregory Hines and other legends of tap like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Eleanor Powell, and the Nicholas Brothers, mixes the rhythmic feet of the best contemporary hoofers with jazz musicians and multi-media projections. Samuels Smith is no stranger to New Orleans; in 2006 he worked with more than 350 local students in NOBA’s education programs after Hurricane Katrina. Nov. 20–21 at NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall. See



Love, Sweat & 15 Years

Fifteen years ago Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson brought their vision of a diverse group of highly technical dancers to life by creating Complexions Contemporary Ballet. With its assortment of lithe, physical movers, the company presents its anniversary season, Love, Sweat & Tears. Rhoden has made three world premieres for the occasion; new works by Complexions ballet master Jae Man Joo and dancer Juan-Antonio Rodriguez are also on the bill. Catch the com­pany in St. Louis (Nov. 5–7), Seattle (Nov. 12–14), or at the Joyce in NYC (Nov. 17–29). See



From Broadway to Big Screen

The big screen embraces its inner Broadway this month as the provocative Tony Award– winning musical Nine comes to theaters. Director Rob Marshall, who brought audiences Chicago, leads a star-laden cast in the movie adaptation. The film follows the life of director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he struggles with a mid-life crisis and tries to balance the numerous women in his life, played by such big names as Kate Hudson (mom Goldie Hawn started her career as a dancer), Sophia Loren, Penélope Cruz (who studied ballet growing up in Madrid), Nicole Kidman, and Judi Dench. Watch as each shows off their dancing chops in sultry musical numbers. See



Parting Shots

Swiss choreographer Philippe Saire tries to capture the emotions that remain after the movement has stopped. At the end of his last two productions, he photographed his dancers as they left the stage, asking them to think about what they had just danced. The resulting grid of faces, titled Sorties de Scène, shows the journey of each individual over the course of the performances. His newest work, Lonesome Cowboy, comes to his hometown, Lausanne, this month. The piece for six male dancers playfully explores the differences between how men act when by themselves and in a group. Saire is creating a third set of portraits from this tour that will be available in January. Nov. 4–22. See



River Dance

Traditions from Africa and the American South come to Minneapolis in Reggie Wilson’s world premiere, The Good Dance—dakar/brooklyn. Wilson’s evening-length work, co-commissioned by the Walker Arts Center, was created through a three-year collaboration with Congolese choreographer Andréya Ouamba. Dancers from both Wilson’s Brooklyn-based company, Fist & Heel Performance Group, and Ouamba’s Senegal-based company, Compagnie 1er Temps, perform the piece, which draws parallels between the cultures of the Congo and Mississippi rivers. With Wilson at the helm, you can bet there will be body percussion, singing, and shouting. McGuire Theater. Nov. 12–14. See



Photo of Olivia Clark in
NightMoves by Will Shively, Courtesy BalletMet.