Archive for October, 2011


Kavouras' choreography embodied the splintering complexity of glass in many instances.

UNLV’s dance department created a concert to honor Tiffany Studios in New York, which is an institution committed to maintaining traditions of scrupulous commitment to quality. This studio doesn’t turn out dancers, though. It turns out lamp shades.

“Glassworks” was a three-piece showcase performed on Oct. 21 and 22 that celebrated the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, an artist with a flair for stained glass and a vision of bringing that to people at every economic level. He believed that the beauty of glass should be shared with anyone who wants to partake of it. Most dancers can relate.

Louis Kavouras choreographed the opening number of the concert, an arching modern piece with an unpronounceable name. The title is the entirety of Schrodinger’s equation, a mess of Greek letters and symbols that describes how the quantum state of a system changes over time. Its solutions describe such things as particles and waves of light and this lofty, cerebral tone twined through his choreography.

Deep strings and a visually compelling set played host to a flock of dancers with good musicality and commendable spacial awareness. The piece churned with splintered factions of dancers, grouping, moving, regrouping, lemming-like at times but almost constantly in motion. The effect was one of near chaos, or many stories at once, or passing time.

The lighting contributed to this; the stage was a beige canvas continually painted with light and the set was gorgeous: stained glass-style hangings draped the wings and a translucent scrim emblazoned with geometric patterns completed the motif. The differing dynamics of movement undulated throughout and gave way to a quiet, amber sunset. The audience whooped.

Choreographer Richard Havey's jovial personality shone through in "Unbroken Times."

Richard Havey brought a delightful, 1950s-jazz-meets-the-millennial-generation with “Unbroken Times,” an energetic jazz piece underscored by a set of magentas and greens. Characters, extravagantly dressed in skirts, slacks and heels, alternated between big battements, rond de jambes and coupe seconds, nicely interspersed with sections of flouncing about in character. There was a rambunctious hipster vibe to the number, something akin to the visual cacophony of fine society with musings about the passing of time thrown in for fun. Havey was doing what he does best, and it was a wonderful change of pace for the show.

Cathy Allen’s “Shattered” summed up the performance with a postmodern feel, a curious set and an even more perplexing soundtrack. The overall effect was one of peeking at a foreign situation; watching from a safe distance seems wise and more mysteries keep presenting themselves as the interactions continue. A beautiful mobile dangled shapes of translucent, colored material over an otherwise tan stage. Dancers in blues and greens interacted beneath this silent spectre, reaching to it occasionally but keeping it at a level of oblique awareness throughout. It was simply interesting to watch and the disconcerting music, composed by UNLV’s Beth Mehocic, only added to the supervenient vibe.

“Glassworks,” as abstract as the concept may seem, was a multifaceted exploration of the nature of art, no matter the medium. The set itself deserves a tip of the hat; a small note in the program acknowledged the work of dance majors in building the phenomenal pieces, and the time these took was evident. The concert’s impact has much to do with the parts of the stage that weren’t moving as the parts that were. Visual beauty exists on several levels, after all, and this show made that quite apparent.

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Dancers, like trick-or-treaters, tend to have personal relationships with their costumes. Children are expected to grow out of dressing up, after all, but many a young woman has continued the habit, this time accompanied by a pirouetting prince and a pair of pointe shoes.

Oregan Ballet Theater sold a decade’s worth of dance costumes in a couple hours, just in time for Halloween but perfect for just dress-up as well. The money raised will go toward future company productions, but the historian for OBT cited pangs of nostalgia.

Want to read more? Click here for the full story.

A tap dance extraordinaire and an Indian dance afficianado walked into a radio station.

Really.

Jason Samuels Smith and Pandit Chitresh Dash were featured on the radio program “The Story” with Dick Gordon from American Public Media on Oct. 20.The partnership started with a, shall we say, foot-focused conversation: Dash heard Smith practicing at the American Dance Festival and replied with percussive footwork of his own. The music continued from there.

To them, though, it’s not necessarily a fusion of the two styles as much as a juxtaposition of the similarities and differences between Kathak, Dash’s dance specialty, and Samuels’ tap. The result is a complex, complementary melody of percussion and rhythm.

And, as most dancers will attest, it’s not just about music; the two speak eloquently about rhythm, art, politics, culture and math as well. To listen to the story, click on the link here for the APM podcast. (Skip to about 31:45 for the Smith/Dash interview.)

Smith and Dash will be collaborating on a show called “India Jazz Suites” this weekend at the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater in Los Angeles. Follow the link here for more information about the performances.

Penny Saunders and Pablo Piantino of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago perform Jiri Kylian's "Petite Mort." Photo by Todd Rosenberg

It’s Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 40th season this year and the company is joining hands with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to kick it of properly. “Dance Dance Dance!” opens at Paris Las Vegas on Oct. 29 and 30 and will include George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Jirí Kylián’s”Petite Mort,” Sharon Eyal’s and Gaï Behar’s “Too Beaucoup” and James Canfield’s “Up” and “Cinq Gnossiennes.”

For single tickets to “Dance Dance Dance!,” give the Paris Theatre Box Office a ring at 702-946-4567 or click here. Catch the show on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. or Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. An opening night special offer is available; $40 buys a ticket to the Oct. 29 show and a front-of-the-line, no-cover pass to Chateau Nightclub and Gardens. Click here for the moolah-saving details.

But (and I’m risking sounding like a used car salesman here, but bear with me) that’s not all! Hubbard Street artistic director Glenn Edgerton will teach a professional-level master class from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 27 at NBT’s Summerlin studios. $75 nets the master class and a ticket to “Dance Dance Dance!” on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. or Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. Walk-up registration is available the day of the class for $50, but space is limited. To save a spot, call 702-243-2623 to register.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Yo-Yo Ma. Savion Glover.

If this role cale is part of your list of must-see performers, you’re in luck. They’re going to be at the Smith Center in 2012, and it’s gonna be great.

These artists will be presented in conjunction with many others as part of the Smith Center’s Design Your Own series, which boasts a 5, 10 or 15 percent discount based on the number of shows bundled. These performances will also be sharing the stage with such productions as “Wicked,” “The Color Purple,” “Memphis” and “Million Dollar Quartet” as part of the Smith Center’s Broadway Las Vegas series. (Season tickets start at $139.)

So feed those piggie banks and invest in a good pair of opera glasses, because Las Vegas is getting a new buffet … and this one isn’t edible. However, it will be just fantastic to look at.

More info on the Smith Center is available here.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

Steve Jobs addressed this statement to Stanford’s graduating class of 2005 in a commencement speech that has accrued more than 10 million hits on YouTube since Jobs’ death on Oct. 5.

I got a notification of Jobs’ death on my iPhone from a mobile news app. I switched to Twitter to confirm the news, then flipped to my messages to contact fellow Apple enthusiasts concerning the announcement. This all took place in about three minutes and everyone seemed to have the same reaction: Wow. I can’t believe it.

Since then, the outpouring of Mac love has been rolling in from all channels. The #thankyousteve hashtag popped up on Twitter almost immediately. The Apple homepage, along with myriad other sites, commemorated the tech visionary with graphics and memories shared by the likes of Bill Gates and President Barack Obama. Samsung and Google canceled an event, citing Jobs’ death and acknowledging that it’s not the appropriate time to launch a new product. One of my professors brought a copy of Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech to class and read it aloud, opining that Apple has impacted every single one of us students in one way or another.

Apple fans are invited to email thoughts and memories to rememberingsteve@apple.com. For dancers and pop-culture hipsters, though, email might not be the best way to say something.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story in June about the Apple Store Dance, a phenomenon centered on users that boogie down in Apple stores and post footage online. The story featured 12-year-old Trevor Moran, a shaggy-haired, charismatic kid with a webcam.

Quick note about the video below: if you’re not cool with seeing a munchkin lip-syncing to a song with, er, not-quite-age-appropriate lyrics, roll over to the Wall Street Journal link above.


A cursory YouTube search reveals that there is more to this than a preteen with a video-sharing account. Moran is not the only Apple store dancer and, while Apple employees don’t necessarily encourage the behavior, they tolerate it quite well. (And some of the Geniuses even join in.)

This adds to an oft-expressed opinion about Steve Jobs and his iconic company: it’s not just about the technology. Apple products have a particular, prominent niche in pop culture that extends beyond computers and smartphones. Mac users really will break into song and dance in retail stores. Apple, being the company it is, stalwartly refuses to see a problem with this.

For a great wrap-up of the social media tributes to Jobs, check out Wired’s aggregation here. Text and video of Jobs’ commencement speech is available from the Stanford site. Follow Trevor Moran on Twitter here. And, if you want to put your inner voice to work and bust a move in an Apple location near you, click here to find a store.

Athletes will swear up and down that endorphins generated by exercise can yield a high akin to the effects of chemical substances. For a group of dancers in northwest England, though, dance really has taken the place of such drugs as heroin and cocaine.

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre is a group led by artistic director Paul Bayes-Kitcher, who has previously performed as a soloist with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Bayes-Kitcher started the group after working in a drug rehabilitation center. Now, he mixes professional dancers with recovering addicts and stitches the conglomeration together with the discipline of dance.

FADT just finished its first run of public performances, called “Chapter One: Battle for the Soul,” which was performed in Liverpool and Salford through the month of September. The program, however, continues. For more information, check out FADT’s page on Facebook and a story here from BBC News.

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