What Wendy's Watching: Dorrance Dance Taps Up An Eclectic Storm
|Michelle Dorrance, Jillian Meyers, Melinda Sullivan and Josette Wiggan-Freund performing Until the Real Thing Comes Along (a letter to ourselves) at The Joyce Theater. Photo © Todd Burnsed|
I'm watching Dorrance Dance's tech/dress rehearsal at the Joyce. What a blast!
Michelle Dorrance is showing two major works. The world premiere, Until The Real Thing Comes Along (a letter to ourselves), is about four women entertainers. They are fabulous tappers, and they make reference to vaudeville and other traditions of entertainment. (I swear I saw a split second of the Marx Brothers in there). But Dorrance's choreography digs underneath for deeper characterizations, for instance playing with gender. Melinda Sullivan sings a sly semi-drag version of "Night and Day;" Josette Wiggan-Freund, wearing a ruby red dress, is the fancy, girly-girl; Jillian Meyers gets left behind and shows her pluck; and Dorrance herself does a terrific non-gendered drunken solo.
Leonardo Sandoval, Gabriel Winns Ortiz, Warren Craft, Michelle Dorrance, and Claudia Rahardjanoto performing "Myelination" (2017) at The Joyce Theater. Photo © Todd Burnsed
Dorrance's Myelination is all about rhythm. The word "myelination" has something to do with synapses firing. And that's what's happening here. You may see hip hop, house and rhythm tap, and sparks fly when these forms encounter each other. House dancer Ephrat Asherie rocks the house, and gangly Warren Craft is a total original.
Dorrance is not content to just make tap numbers. She envisions the entire stage when she choreographs, and that's evident in both these pieces. Dorrance Dance is at the Joyce until Dec. 31. Click here for more info.
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.
You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)
Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of: