Vital Signs

August 24, 2010

Physics, Poetry, Performance

Science and art collide in a work as explosive as the Big Bang when Liz Lerman Dance Exchange premieres The Matter of Origins. The University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center hosts the multidisciplinary interrogation of the beginning of life as we know it. Inspired by Lerman’s research on developments in the field of physics, the two-act performance includes an interactive tea party and thought-provoking dialogue. Sept. 10 and 12. See


A Dancer’s Life

Jérôme Bel’s latest “visual autobiography,” Cédric Andrieux, comes stateside this month. Andrieux, who danced with Merce Cunningham and Lyon Opera Ballet, shares vignettes from his personal and professional life—the most compelling stemming from his years with Cunningham (the piece was made before Merce’s death last year). Like Bel’s other subjects, Andrieux performs excerpts from past reper­tory, including Trisha Brown’s Newark, Bel’s The show must go on, and Cunningham’s Biped. Portland Sept. 10–12. Philadelphia Sept. 14–16. NYC Sept. 18–19. See


Camera Ready

In today’s technology-obsessed world, everyone has an electronic trail. Cuban-born choreographer Marianela Boán explores this fact in Decadere, which makes its U.S. debut at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival Sept. 15. Two American and two Latin American dancers of the BoánDanz Action Company perform together for both an audience and a camera. Decadere highlights the ways that American and Latin American culture can and cannot coexist. See


$10 Dance

Fall for Dance, once again at a happy $10 a ticket, settles into New York City Center from Sept. 28 to Oct. 9 with a cornucopia of artists and genres. Ballet companies contribute contemporary work (Miami City Ballet in Tharp’s anarchic The Golden Section, and New York City Ballet in Dove’s intense Red Angels), and modern dance groups bring their classics—Ronald K. Brown’s Grace and Paul Taylor’s Company B. In between are younger choreographers like Andrea Miller, Larry Keigwin, and an effervescent newcomer from Taiwan, Shu-Yi Chou. India, Brazil, Spain, and the U.K. are also represented. But the audience itself is cause for celebration: young, diverse, and exuberant. Tickets on sale Sept. 12. See


Triple Treats

Colorado Ballet’s triple bill includes two favorites and a world premiere as the company ushers in its 50th-anniversary season. Edwaard Liang’s Feast of the Gods takes its inspiration from a band of traveling gypsies. Lar Lubovitch’s beguiling …smile with my heart commemorates Richard Rogers. Matthew Neenan, choreographer-in-residence at Pennsylvania Ballet, contributes the new work. Sept. 10–12 at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts. See


Gershwin is Golden

The golden age of Art Deco hits the stage for Houston Ballet’s 41st season. With works by Stanton Welch and Jirí Kylián, “Body, Soul & Gershwin” moves through a variety of stylistic domains, from glitzy to luscious to somber. The Core: Gershwin, the Heart of the Big Apple, a dazzling, full-company extravaganza, is Welch’s ode to 1930s NYC. Sept. 9–19, at the Wortham Theater Center. See


PoMo in Portland

The 2010 Time-Based Art Festival, presented by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, is a mish-mash of performances, exhibits, and informal showings. TBA On Stage presents SoloShow, Maria Hassabi’s sequence of contortions that reference iconic images of women, and Offsite Dance Project, a Yokohama-based troupe that specializes in site-specific pieces made in bustling cityscapes. “With Merce” commemorates the late choreographer through films and videos by Charles Atlas. Sept. 9–19. See


Impressions of an Impressionist

Who knew that Picasso’s first wife was a ballerina? Olga Khokhlova danced with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes when the company premiered Massine’s Parade (1917), for which Picasso designed the set and costumes. Perhaps he spotted her in this “cubist ballet” and fell for her. She may have influenced him to reconsider his view of fellow artist Degas, who died later that year. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute presents “Picasso Looks at Degas,” an exhibit that reveals Picasso’s response to Degas’ celebrated works of dancers, as well as rare images of Khokhlova. Included is Picasso’s Two Dancers, 1919 (Summer). Williamstown, MA. Through Sept. 12. See



Pictured: MCB in Tharp’s
The Golden Section. Photo by Alexandre Dufaur, Courtesy MCB.