Category — Dance
Dorrance Dance’s Michelle Dorrance sounds off at Fall For Dance
There are certain hallmarks of autumn in New York: hot lattes replacing iced coffee, the crisp autumnal smell reminiscent of schoolrooms bristling with possibility—and the lineup at Fall for Dance.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary and running from September 25-October 5 at New York City Center, the yearly festival continues to maintain a mission of diversity in geographical offerings, with choices from New York City stalwarts like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the recently re-formed Dance Theatre of Harlem programmed alongside far-flung troupes like Dance Brazil, Britain’s HeadSpace Dance, and the Netherlands’ Introdans.
Fall for Dance also includes a wide swath of genres, from contemporary and flamenco to classical Indian dance and tap. This year, Michelle Dorrance, tap performer and founder of Dorrance Dance, steps up to represent the legacy of this percussive American art form. [Read more →]
September 20, 2013 No Comments
Choreographer Mark Dendy’s latest work is a public affair
While Mark Dendy is rehearsing dancers in Lincoln Center’s Hearst Plaza for his large-scale, site-specific dance work Ritual Cyclical, he’s interrupted by a passerby: “They’re fantastic! Are they modern dancers? Once in a production of Pippin, they put me right in the middle of all these great jazz dancers and I was lost, but I compensated with my baritone voice! But you kids are really good.”
This is not the only commentary from the plaza. While Dendy creates phrases with his performers on the concrete walls and in between trees, the city observes him. People stop and Instagram. Parents pause with kids. Some eat lunch while watching. It feels like a widespread collaboration between the space’s random inhabitants and the deliberate ones.
This is precisely why Dendy has an affinity for site-specific choreography. Free public performance “brings the audience and performer on exactly the same footing, he says. “It takes the financial politics out of art, of who can afford the ticket. We’re all on equal ground. I’m not setting myself up as more prestigious or godlike: I’m just among you dancing.” As part of Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, Dendy will fill Hearst Plaza at 6:00 PM on July 24th and 25th with over 80 dancers in a modern movement ritual that symbolizes society’s varied sects. Inspired by the space’s divisions, textures, and levels, he says, “It’s more interesting than any theatrical set could ever be, and I don’t have to pay the lighting designer.”
July 22, 2013 1 Comment
The Between the Seas Festival stages the Mediterranean experience
If we watch the news, then we know that southern Europe is in the throes of a financial and political crisis, but what does that crisis feel like? And if we can get a sense of that experience, how will it change our attitudes about the news?
Those questions are implicitly answered by several pieces in the Between the Seas Festival, a celebration of contemporary Mediterranean theatre, dance, and multimedia work. Running July 22-28 at the Wild Project, it includes boundary-pushing performances from Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Algeria, and more.
The festival lets us experience how artists are grappling with the turmoil in their region. In the dance piece Amongst Millions, for instance, Portuguese choreographer Pedro Goucha embodies his country’s economic upheaval, which included a $100 billion bailout in 2011 and the resignation of financial and foreign ministers earlier this month.
“It’s a very static and contrived form of dance,” says Aktina Stathaki, the artistic and producing director of Between the Seas. “It represents those feelings of frustration, of suffocation that many people in southern Europe feel right now.”
Similarly, in City-State, Greece’s Kanigunda Theater Company manipulates narrative forms and official government language to reflect the impact of the Greek economic meltdown. Stathaki calls it “an anarchic piece of theatre,” adding that it “very much reflects the identity crisis that Greek people are going through right now.”
Stathaki, who is Greek herself, adds, “It’s also one of the first plays I’ve seen in Greece that really grapples with Greek identity in a non-linear, non-well-made-play kind of way.”
That’s partly why she was eager to include City-State in the festival. Its form reflects how Mediterranean artists are participating in larger, experimental movements.
In Stathaki’s experience, it’s not easy to find this type of work in New York—or at least not from Mediterranean artists. “My impression is that those Mediterranean communities that are here [in the city] sometimes represent the more folkloric aspects of the culture and also the more isolated aspects of the culture. You will rarely see Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, Spanish together under one umbrella, although there are so many things in common.”
She continues, “Those were the two major reason I wanted to start [Between the Seas]—to move away from the folkloric and also to bring the artists together under one umbrella.”
Want to know more about Wild Project? Watch this film from TDF’s Meet the Theatre series:
Mark Blankenship is TDF’s online content editor
Photo of City-State courtesy of the Between the Seas Festival
July 19, 2013 No Comments
Inside the acrobatics of Monkey: Journey to the West
Who knew how difficult it was to find performers who can spin plates? That’s what director Chen Shi-Zheng discovered when he traveled to China to find 23 acrobats adept at traditional Chinese circus techniques. It took him half a year to track them down.
“A lot of people have abandoned training in these classic acts,” explains the New York-based director. That’s why he was so intent on incorporating the art form into Monkey: Journey to the West, the opening production for the 2013 Lincoln Center Festival.
“I wanted to give a spotlight on this dying tradition,” Chen says. “I want the people who are practicing, especially young people, to value what they do. In China, it’s very unappreciated.”
July 10, 2013 No Comments
From time to time, TDF Stages will highlight exciting Off and Off-Off Broadway theatre companies with exclusive “getting to know you” videos. Today, we’re featuring Wild Project, an eco-friendly, up-for-anything theatre in the East Village that gives a home to some of New York’s most adventurous artists.
Currently, Wild Project is featuring the Clubbed Thumb Summerworks festival.
This video was directed by Mark Blankenship, TDF’s online content editor, and shot and edited by Nicholas Guldner.
June 10, 2013 No Comments