Vital Signs

January 1, 2013

30 Years of Dance in Philly

A series bringing contemporary dance to Philadelphia for three decades, Dance Celebration—and its director Randy Swartz—has much to rejoice about. Over the years Celebration has presented more than 1,500 performances by 200 troupes. This month one company, Pilobolus, that appeared in Celebration’s first season and in many since, returns to the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Jan. 17–20.


Pilobolus. Photo by John Kane, Courtesy Dance Celebration.



Dance Dance Evolution

In a program that transports audiences through the last century, San Francisco Ballet has planned an intriguing opening to its season this month. The company has matched Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc (1943)—Maina Gielgud, who staged it for SFB, discusses that process with Wendy Perron in a “Choreography in Focus” video at—with Robbins’ poetic In the Night (1970), and a world premiere by ballet’s brainiac Wayne McGregor, his first work made for SFB.


Elana Altman and Tiit Helimets in
In The Night. Photo © Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.



Rudolf’s Regalia

, as described in these pages, was “a blast of energy, driven and amoral, frightening and magnetic, pushed through the prism of classical dance.” On exhibit at the de Young Museum, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, “Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance” includes more than 80 costumes, plus photos, videos, and other mementos of the life of the famously demanding superstar—whose particularities extended to the fit and make of his costumes.


Nureyev in
Apollo, 1974. Photo © Francette Levieux, Courtesy de Young Museum, © Balanchine Trust.



Emotion in Motion

The U.K.-based dance company Motionhouse tours 15 U.S. cities this winter with technological super-show Scattered. Seven dancers perform amidst the awe-inspiring projection work and innovative scenery, casting clever illusions. Motionhouse will perform in Gainesville, West Palm Beach, Key West, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota, FL, along with Greenville, SC, this month.


Scattered. Photo by Chris Nash, Courtesy Motionhouse.



Limits, Not Limitations

“What are the possibilities for multiple forms of expression when the limit becomes the art?” asks poet Denise Leto. This question is the centerpiece of Cid Pearlman/Performance Project’s premiere Your Body Is Not a Shark at ODC Theater in San Francisco Jan. 11–13. The piece examines the ways in which the limitations of the body interact with the creative process. (Some of the work’s collaborating artists deal with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and laryngeal dystonia.) Your Body encourages the viewer to recognize the artist, creator, and collaborator inside themselves.


Your Body Is Not a Shark. Photo by Rainbeau Pictures, Courtesy Pearlman.



Sole Saints

In SoLe Sanctuary, superstar Savion Glover has made a shrine of sorts to the legends of tap. The piece, which references Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde, and Charles (Honi) Coles, among others, in images and recordings, tours to New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, and Nebraska this month. SoLe Sanctuary is mostly a one-man show, featuring the kind of introspective, rhythmically dynamic hoofing Glover is known for.


Photo by Len Irish for
Dance Magazine.



Down the Rabbit Hole

The National Ballet of Canada
invites viewers young and old to Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Kennedy Center Jan. 18–27. From the tap dancing Mad Hatter, to the Queen of Hearts’ send-up of the Rose Adagio, to the sweeping pas de deux for Alice and Jack/The Knave of Hearts, this eye-popping production is also a chance to enjoy a company that we don’t see nearly enough of.


Piotr Stanczyk, Kevin D. Bowles, Tanya Howard, and Heather Ogden in
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Photo by Bruce Zinger, Courtesy NBoC.