Vital Signs

October 17, 2011

The Better Half

This month, three dancers from Lucky Plush Productions and two performers from physical theater company 500 Clown band together for a performance of Julia Rhoads ( a 2010 “25 to Watch”) and Leslie Buxbaum Danzig’s The Better Half. This evocative new LPP work is based on George Cukor’s 1944 melodrama Gaslight, which features Ingrid Bergman as a young woman manipulated into insanity by her obsessive, murderous husband. Though Rhoads and Danzig depart significantly from their source material, the collaboration retains the intensity and mystique of Cukor’s original thriller. Oct. 27–29 and Nov. 3, 5, 6 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.



A Light Feast

What do a choreographer and her dancers have in common with a painter/media artist, a composer, a poet, and a lighting designer? For San Francisco–based Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, this melting pot of artists has spawned the company’s latest interdisciplinary collaboration, Light Moves. Composed of video projections, live music, text, and movement, the result is a feast for the senses infused with Jenkins’ intellectual and philosophical sensibilities. Its elements overlap and merge, ebbing and flowing between extremes—the alternating rhythm of its episodes is inspired by natural light cycles. See the light Nov. 3–5 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.



Ghosts, Ghouls, Gala!

Trick or treat for dancers at Career Transition For Dancers’ 26th Anniversary Jubilee, “A Halloween Thriller: A Dance Celebration of Ghosts, Ghouls, Vampires & Wilis.” Celebrating the fun and the frightening, the Oct. 31 gala at NY City Center includes performances by artists from Carolina Ballet and Houston Ballet and an appearance by the Trocks. Chita Rivera presents this year’s Rolex Dance Award to Nigel Lythgoe, the man behind So You Think You Can Dance and co-founder of the Dizzy Feet Foundation. The bounty from this evening benefits dancers finding their way into new careers, a considerably less scary step since CTFD’s inception.



All You Need Is Love

Ballet has always told tales of romance, heartbreak, and happily ever after. This season, Pacific Northwest Ballet compiles five instances of ballet’s favorite four-letter word into one love-themed program. Swan Lake’s Black Swan pas de deux is betrayal at its most virtuosic, followed by the harmonious wedding scene of Sleeping Beauty. Alongside these classics, PNB charts new territory with company premieres of Balanchine’s Divertimento from “Le Baiser de la Fée” and the dreamy narcissism of Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun. Sandwiched in between is Romeo and Juliet’s declaration of love in the balcony scene from Jean-Christophe Maillot’s version. PNB performs its “Love Stories” program Nov. 4–13 at Seattle’s McCaw Hall.



BalletX’s Fall Harvest

BalletX’s fall season offers two premieres and a slightly older work. Co–artistic director Matthew Neenan collaborates with composer Robert Maggio in a world premiere for the company and two cellists from the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. The work is a part of “Inside the Mind of the Composer and Choreographer,” a project which brings artist residencies to Philadelphia’s Andrew Jackson Public School (K–8). Also on the bill are Loni Landon’s premiere Layer Cake, and Alex Ketley’s Silt, a deeply personal piece that captures the push and pull of relationships in sweeping partnered phrases. Nov. 16–20 at The Wilma Theater.



An Undying Swan

Nina Ananiashvili has bourréed into audiences’ hearts in The Dying Swan and countless other roles. A former Bolshoi prima ballerina and principal dancer at ABT, the internationally renowned star now heads the State Ballet of Georgia. This month, Ananiashvili and members of her company present a trio of works by Alexei Ratmansky (a recipient of this year’s Dance Magazine Award). The pair go way back—she gave him his first big commission. The program includes Ratmansky‘s cheeky nod to Romantic ballet, Charms of Mannerism; his percussive, Kabuki-inspired Dreams About Japan; and Bizet Variations, the swirling neoclassical work he created for SBG in 2008. Nov. 4–6 in New York and DC.



Dinner & a Ballet…

 …and dessert with the dancers. North Carolina Dance Theatre’s annual “Innovative Works” program moves to a smaller venue in uptown Charlotte. While the new theater’s capacity reduces the number of seats, the revamped format creates an intimate dance environment. Audiences can dine as they watch world premieres by NCDT2 program director Mark Diamond and company dancer David Ingram, along with dancer/rehearsal director Sasha Janes’ recent Last Lost Chance and Alleged Dances, a tribute to Balanchine by resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden. A post-show discussion with the dancers follows the evening’s main course. See NCDT’s “Innovative Works” Nov. 3–5, 10–12, and 17–19.



Contributing writers: Vani Ramaraj, Stav Ziv

From top: Tim Heck, Adrian Danzig, Kim Goldman, Meghann Wilkinson, and Julia Rhoads. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy MCA; MJDC’s Heidi Schweiker, Joseph Copley, and Margaret Cromwell in
Light Moves. Photo by Mark Palmer, Courtesy MJDC; Chita Rivera. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy Merle Frimark Associates; Carla Körbes and Lucien Postlewaite in Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette. Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB; Colby Damon and Tara Keating. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy BalletX; Ananiashvili in The Dying Swan. Photo by Lado Vachnadze, Courtesy International Concerts; NCDT’s Pete Walker. Photo by Jeff Cravotta, Courtesy NCDT.