Vital Signs

October 31, 2013

We’ve Been Waiting for This

  When Akram Khan premiered DESH in England two years ago, our reviewer, Donald Hutera, wrote that “Khan’s stunning production feels like a culmination of everything this gifted British-Bangladeshi choreographer has been striving for.” Fascinating for his kathak-infused movement, whether helicopter-fast or mesmerizingly slow, Khan time-travels in this solo through his life from being a rebellious young man to becoming the global artist he is today. With striking visuals by Tim Yip, DESH comes to Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival Nov. 6–7, then goes to Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Nov. 14–16. or


Akram Khan in a scene from his solo
DESH. Photo by Tim Yip, Courtesy Khan.



From Farm to Stage

  Tanz Farm, a performance series co-curated by glo, under director Lauri Stallings, and the Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta’s hip artist community sitting on a 12-acre property, begins its second year of programming with Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor. The Israeli artists perform their Two Room Apartment from Nov. 1–3 at Goat Farm’s Goodson Yard Performance Hall, a converted factory space. As partners in art and life, Sheinfeld and Laor’s interpretation of this seminal 1987 work by Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal explores personal and artistic boundaries on a neatly divided stage. The pair will also give a free workshop on Nov. 2. A free talk—what Tanz Farm dubs a TanzFEED—titled “If we had a conversation about performance, what would it look like,” kicks things off on Oct. 29.


Virginia Coleman in Stallings’
Hippodrome at Goodson Yard. Photo by John Ramspott, Courtesy Tanz Farm.



A Cornucopia from ABT

  American Ballet Theatre’s fall season at the Koch Theater in Lincoln Center is packed to the brim with a varied rep. Alexei Ratmansky is premiering The Tempest with Marcelo Gomes, Daniil Simkin, and Herman Cornejo in lead roles. Tharp’s Bach Partita (1983), a lovingly complex ballet, is being revived for Polina Semionova, Gillian Murphy, and Stella Abrera. For those of us who adore Fokine’s dreamy Les Sylphides, it is coming back into the rep with debuts for Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston, Sarah Lane, Cory Stearns, and Semionova. National Ballet of Canada’s romantic lead Guillaume Coté (we loved his Romeo), will guest with the company, partnering Julie Kent in Ashton’s A Month in the Country. As if that’s not enough, Stanton Welch’s bracing Clear, Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Mark Morris’ Gong, and Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane complete the two-week season. Oct. 30–Nov. 10.


Stanton Welch’s
Clear. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.



Championing Choreographers

  On Nov. 16, Chicago Dancemakers Forum celebrates its 10th anniversary with a big homecoming bash at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Thirty choreographers who have received support from CDF, including Carrie Hanson (The Seldoms), Margi Cole (The Dance COLEctive), and current CDF Lab Artist—and 2013 “25 to Watch”—Victor Alexander, will show pieces or films throughout the museum all day. At that evening’s benefit performance, alumni such as Jan Bartoszek of Hedwig Dances, Darrell Jones, and Lucky Plush’s Julia Rhoads, who recently became one of the few choreographers in the heartland to receive the Alpert Award, present their work. Here’s to another 10 years of helping Chicago’s incredible dancemakers create on!


Cassandra Porter and Benjamin Wardell in CDF alumna Julia Rhoads’
Cinderbox 2.0. Photo by Benjamin Wardell, Courtesy Lucky Plush.



Light from a Dark One

  Hofesh Shechter’s work is so raw and brutal that one doesn’t usually think of it as sunny. But his new piece, Sun, promises to bring “light from chaos.” With its rock-concert lighting and Shechter’s own percussive sound score, it’s bound to have all the signatures of this Israeli choreographer’s work. Sun comes to BAM’s Next Wave Festival after its world premiere at the Melbourne Festival in October. The company also offers a master class at the Mark Morris Dance Center the morning after the opening. Nov. 14–16.


Political Mother, Shechter’s previous piece at BAM. Photo by Julieta Cervantes, Courtesy BAM.



East Meets West

  Though Yuan Yuan Tan hails from Shanghai and Fang-Yi Sheu from Taiwan, these two Asian women couldn’t be more different. Tan’s ethereality makes the San Francisco Ballet principal one of the world’s most breathtaking ballerinas, while Sheu is all grounded Graham power. From Nov. 14­­­–16, audiences can see their gifts side by side at Sadler’s Wells, in pieces by Sadler’s Wells’ associate artists Russell Maliphant (Two x Two) and Christopher Wheeldon (Five Movements, Three Repeats). The evening also includes a duet for Tan and SFB’s Damian Smith by Edwaard Liang, a solo for Sheu by Maliphant, and Wheeldon’s contemporary classic After the Rain.


Fang-Yi Sheu and Yuan Yuan Tan in Maliphant’s
Two x Two. Photo by Belinda Lawley, Courtesy Sadler’s Wells.



Desert Dance

  The McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA, which has hosted an annual choreography competition for 15 years, expands its dance offerings with the first Palm Desert International Dance Festival Nov. 9–16. Hip-hop crew I.aM.mE (as seen on the late “America’s Best Dance Crew”), Lula Washington Dance Theatre, and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal will each give one-night-only performances. As part of the choreography competition, the legendary Jacques d’Amboise, now the indefatigable director of the National Dance Institute and author of I Was a Dancer, will receive a lifetime achievement award.


Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in Cayetano Soto’s
Fuel. Photo by Benjamin Von Wong, Courtesy PDIDF.



Does Paradis Belong to the Downtrodden?

  No one deconstructs stereotypes as hilariously as Patricia Hoffbauer. A Brazilian-born, NYU-trained dance tinkerer, she can boomerang any racial or gender profiling. In Para-Dice (Stage 2) she “instructs” five straitlaced white dancers in white clothes (the colonists) with an overbearing grin, à la the Joker. Two people of color (the colonized) enact lounging in the sun or hiding out in a favela-like shack. One of them is Hoffbauer’s longtime collaborator, George Emilio Sanchez, who knows how to flaunt glorious bad taste in performance. (He also contributed to the writing.) The duality of white vs. color is echoed in the duality of restraint vs. pleasure. Nov. 21–23 at Danspace.


Hoffbauer with Peggy Gould in front of image of Balanchine and Arthur Mitchell. Photo by Bryan Foxx, Courtesy Hoffbauer.



Lift Off

  SF-based Flyaway Productions is back with another death-defying performance in Give a Woman a Lift. With an all-female cast, the politically charged work, created by choreographer Jo Kreiter and visual designer Sean Riley, looks at determination and self-sufficiency. For Lift, Kreiter, who has choreographed dances that swing through space on building sides, giant ramps, fire escapes, and billboards, works with Riley’s steel creations and moving light elements to make a piece both highly physical and aesthetically formal. Kreiter doesn’t just talk the talk about women moving up, she does something about it: For Lift, she is using an original score by Jewlia Eisenberg, the company’s 20th collaboration with a female composer. Nov. 8–9, 13–16.


Christine Cali. Photo by Nathan Weyland, Courtesy Flyaway