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Ballet, Evolving

It’s been a surprisingly good year for female ballet choreographers. It could be a side effect of the political climate, or simply numbers—that half the population just might be able to create noteworthy dances as well as the other half, given the chance. In any case, American Ballet Theatre (ABT) commissioned Jessica Lang to create Her Notes, which had its world premiere in the company’s brief fall Koch Theater season.

Opening the Door to Memory

In the ’70s, dancing and sex were not at all dangerous, and there was a lot of both going around,” the performer, choreographer, dance curator, and educator Ishmael Houston-Jones told me in a coffee shop this October. “There was a sort of exuberance, especially coming after Stonewall and ’69. There was this feeling in the gay world that life was this celebration. And suddenly 1981 happens, and it’s like a brick wall.”

NYCB’s Fashion Gala Leaps Forward

New York City Ballet (NYCB)’s recent tradition of holding a fall fashion gala has evolved from a somewhat crass leveraging of the influential world of haute couture into a fuller consideration of the conceptual possibilities of fashion as explored through dance. In the recent gala, this shift was brought into high relief by the juxtaposition of the season’s most interesting premiere—Unframed, by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, with costumes by Rosie Assoulin—with a section from Bal de Couture by Peter Martins, costumed by Valentino, from the first fashion gala in 2012.

Two Revolutions: Saw You Yesterday and Mourn and Never Tire

Tykulsker and her performers explore physical extremes and “community cohesion” at the heart of these tensions at levels ranging from the interpersonal to the national. The piece is a mash-up of postmodern disorder that mirrors the senselessness of violent incidents and the randomness of whether they get attention. The piece is coupled with Jennifer Harge’s movement installation Mourn and Never Tire, which serves as inspiration for her black community and a eulogy for black lives lost to police brutality.

This is the Kind of Dance that We Do

If every one of your dance projects has felt dramatically different from the last, in terms of aesthetic goals, rehearsal process, or performance procedures, it is overwhelming to grapple with each individual experience, let alone sum them up in a coherent statement. To describe what kind of dance you do is to draw a box around different experiences—dances—that you yourself designed to be unique. Just because the moth and the peregrine both have wings does not mean they behave, grow, or migrate in the same ways.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2016

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