Vital Signs

June 30, 2009



Ride the Momentum

Four of the Twin Cities’ experimental dance artists come together for two weekends at The Southern Theater’s series, Momentum: New Dance Works. The choreographers all reveal glimpses into human behavior in one way or another. Vanessa Voskuil’s en masse explores gestural movements; Sachiko Nishiuchi’s piece, The Apple Tree, offers a flamenco-inspired performance focusing on the way we categorize one another. Sally Rousse, co-founder of James Sewell Ballet, explores the concepts of celebrity and privacy in Paramount to My Footage. And Megan Mayer’s I Could Not Stand Close Enough to You uses dry wit to examine awkward first encounters. July 16–18, 23–25. See


Cheers to Coppelia

During their annual summer residence at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the New York City Ballet will celebrate the 35th anniversary of a beloved company favorite, Coppélia. The NYCB version, choreographed by Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova after Petipa, was originally commissioned by SPAC in 1974 with Patricia McBride as Swanilda and Helgi Tomasson as the love-struck Frantz. The comic love story lives on in a new generation of NYCB dancers in SPAC’s outdoor amphitheater July 15, 17–18. See   


Cultivating Choreographers

For the past five years, under the direction of UC Irvine professor Molly Lynch, the National Choreographers Initiative has provided a petri dish for the creation of new works. The project invites four choreographers to spend a three-week period making new works on a group of professional dancers from around the country, and culminates with a showing of four new works. Past choreographers include Val Caniparoli, Christopher d’Amboise, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and Amy Seiwert. This year Sidra Bell, Deanna Carter, Rick McCullough, and Olivier Wevers will present works on July 25 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. See


Fang-Yi On Her Own

Jacob’s Pillow hosts the U.S. debut of a Graham breakaway with an Asian twist. Fang-Yi Sheu, the former star of the Martha Graham Dance Company, formed her own company in 2007 with her partner Bulareyaung Pagarlava. LAFA & Artists, which is based in Taiwan and NYC, will perform 37 Arts, an intensely acrobatic and darkly humorous work that was created during a residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, and debut a new work. Jacob’s Pillow, July 1–5, and the Vail International Dance Festival, July 27. See and


Ferri Takes the Reins

The great dramatic ballerina Alessandra Ferri is making drama of a different sort these days. She has taken the helm of the dance programs at the Spoleto Festival, Italy, and hopes to make the festival once again a beacon in the dance world. Her choices include works by three of today’s most exciting choreographic voices sharing a program for the first time ever: Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, and Wayne McGregor. This evening, titled “Choreo­graphing Today,” will be followed by Pina Bausch’s Bamboo Blues and a tribute to Jerome Robbins, as well as a world premiere by Luca Veggetti. July 3–5. See


Dancing in the Kitchen

This month check out a dance performance about kitchen appliances. Really! L.A.–based Collage Dance Theatre performs a revival of the 1994 Mr. Westing-house, which explores the complex relationship between a housewife and her refrigerator. Always pushing the limits, Heidi Duckler (see “All the World’s a Stage,” April 2008) is known for her site-specific works (like Laundromatinee at left) that make the ordinary extraordinary. See


An Island Festival

The island of Nantucket will overflow with ballet stars during the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival. Gillian Murphy, David Hallberg (below), Cory Stearns, and Isabella Boylston of American Ballet Theatre; Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans, Sébastien Marcovici, and Kathryn Morgan of New York City Ballet; Carla Körbes of the Pacific Northwest Ballet; and Céline Cassone of Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève will perform works by Balanchine, Petipa, Forsythe, and Millepied. July 24–25. The festival also includes a lecture/demonstration and master classes. See 


Go Gat Go

Among the new crop of Israeli choreographers, Emanuel Gat’s work is more fluid and less disjointed than some of his peers’. But he still has that bare, unadorned look where the people dancing can suddenly get either very aggressive or so exposed you think they might start crying. In Winter Variations, his new duet with Roy Assaf, they entwine, scoop, and stride to music that ranges from Strauss to the Beatles. Silent Ballet, with its white floor and exaggerated sound of footfalls, almost feels as though the dancers are trudging through snow.  Emanuel Gat Dance performs these two works at Lincoln Center Festival (July 14, 16, 17). At the American Dance Festival and the Montpellier Dance Festival (which brings together 30 choreographers, including Angelin Preljocaj, Stephen Petronio, and Mathilde Monnier), Gat performs Winter Variations (June 22–24; June 30). See,, and



Contributing Writers: Angela Getter, Emily Macel, Kathleen McGuire, Wendy Perron


 Photo: Chen-Hsiang Liu, Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow