Vital Signs

February 23, 2010



Morgan’s Home in Mobile

New York City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan (“On the Rise,” May 2008) returns to her Alabama roots when she goes back to perform with the youth company where her dance dreams started. Morgan will guest with the Mobile Ballet, dancing the role of Aurora in the company’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. Morgan will bring Tyler Angle, a fellow NYCB standout and recently promoted principal, as her partner. Led by revered artistic director Winthrop Corey, Mobile Ballet will perform at the Mobile Civic Center Theater March 6–7. See



An Amazing Muse

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet appears in its spring season at the Kennedy Center March 3–7 before touring to the University of Minnesota (March 12 and 13) and Cornell University (March 17). The company performs two programs at home, which include Apollo, Donizetti Variations, Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun, and Haieff Divertimento, this season’s choice for the Balanchine Preservation Initiative and a predecessor to Square Dance. The company brings The Balanchine Couple, a series of the choreographer’s duets, to Minneapolis and Ithaca. See



No to Everything, But…

Hope Mohr takes on the conceptual underpinnings of postmodern dance when she performs Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A at Theater Artaud in San Francisco March 4–6. The dance has no phrasing, no connection to the audience, no dynamics, and no music. It’s the embodiment of Rainer’s famous “No Manifesto” of the 1960s. And yet it can be fascinating to watch a dancer maneuver the rough-hewn, random-seeming coordinations. You can expect more dancey dance from the other pieces on the program: a new solo by Molissa Fenley (with Molissa herself dancing!) and a new group work by Mohr, who has danced with Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, and Margaret Jenkins. See




The choreography of Michio Ito, the revolutionary Japanese dancemaker who influenced Martha Graham and Ted Shawn in the 1920s, is the centerpiece of Repertory Dance Theatre’s “Mystique” program. Dubbed “a concert of contrasts,” the eclectic night also includes a premiere from choreographer Andrea Miller, a 2009 “25 to Watch,” and Kraak by Norwegian dancemaker Jo Stromgren. “Mystique” runs March 25­–27 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City. See



Defying Gravity

On a 12’ climbing wall, the Berkeley-based AscenDance Project is suspended above the Ashby Stage in its first home season. Director Isabel von Rittberg, whose international background led her to study the dance/climbing fusion danse escalade in France, founded AscenDance in 2006, and the seven-member company swings across both indoor and outdoor stages (like the international Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder last year). March 5, 6, 12–14. See



Second to None

It’s the last month to catch Ailey’s terrific junior company (where most of the main company began their careers) on their 28-city tour. With six stops in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, the company performs both repertory favorites and a few new additions, including Judith Jamison’s Divining, Christopher L. Huggins’ Essence, and a premiere by The Ailey School’s Carlos dos Santos. The 12-member troupe will give lecture-demonstrations and master classes at local schools before returning to NYC next month for the 1.2.3. Festival with fellow second companies ABT II and Taylor 2. See



Celebrate Chopin

To commemorate the 200th birthday of Frederic Chopin—that dreamiest of composers—Pennsylvania Ballet presents an all-Chopin program March 13–14. Choreographer in residence Matthew Neenan’s The Crossed Line joins Jerome Robbins’ romantic In the Night, set to four Chopin nocturnes, and The Concert, Robbins’ famously funny ballet that revolves around a piano recital. See



The Beauty & the Geek

How does the brain imagine movement? Wayne McGregor’s Entity, made for his company Random Dance, marries neuroscience with his signature explosive vocabulary. McGregor, whose side job is resident choreographer at The Royal Ballet, describes the piece as having “its own grammar and syntax and sense of identity.” The multimedia Entity, which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2008, is performed to layered, looping music by Jon Hopkins and Joby Talbot, with costumes imprinted with each dancer’s own DNA. Random Dance comes to Portland March 4–6, Milwaukee March 13, and Chicago March 18–20. See



Contributing Writers: Rebecca Ain, Wendy Perron, Kina Poon