Archive for March, 2012

A — dare I say — radiant new facility for dancers, aerialists, pole aficionados and fitness buffs is beaming away in southwest Las Vegas. Shine Alternative Fitness, owned by “Zumanity” assistant company manager Russ Petroni and “Zumanity” solo artist Dima Shine, opened at the end of February and offers classes in things like ballet, contemporary dance, pole dance and antigravity yoga. The place has a Cirque-ish vibe, with artists working out and intermingling pleasantly, trading tricks and chatting.

For aerialists that need a place to train, point rentals are available for $15 a day. The space is appropriately open and high-ceilinged, with a dance floor and mirrors at one end and aerial points clustered above a spongy mat floor at the other. Shine is located in the Loftworks complex near Rainbow Boulevard and I-215, an area that has shown signs of arts life in the past. (Click here for a review of “Financial Groove Presents,” an aerial, dance and vocal show that transpired at Loftworks last year.)

For more information about Shine, including location, directions, and schedule, check out the studio’s homepage here. And keep checking back here for updates: a retelling of my first experience with antigravity yoga is coming soon!

If you missed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the newly opened Smith Center on March 20 and 21, never fear! You can see some great photos from the Las Vegas Sun at the Sun’s website here. Alvin Ailey is movin’ on, but the Smith Center remains, and it will be playing host to a veritable feast of talent for the arts center’s dynamic inaugural season. Find out more about upcoming shows at the Smith Center here.

A group of highly innovative garbagemen rocked the South by Southwest Music Festival with a film centered on the balletic movement of, wait for it, garbage trucks. If that sounds like a totally whacky, off-the-wall take on performance art, then you’re right on the money. It is fabulously entertaining, though, and there’s quite a story behind it.

Choreographer Allison Orr demonstrates in the film that inspiration is everywhere. Filmmaker Andrew Garrison followed Orr through her sojourn with sanitation workers, which ultimately culminated in 24 garbage trucks dancing. If that’s not fit for the title of extreme creativity, then little else is.

Dance Magazine wrote about the film’s screening at SXSW; read the blog post here. Roll on over to the Trash Dance homepage for information about the film and where it will be screening next. And, next time you’re setting your garbage out on the curb, keep in mind that the fellow in the fluorescent vest picking it up just might be a closeted choreographer.

Giulio Scatola, Cirque’s talent scout, will be at the Rock Center for Dance from 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. today for an artistic master class designed to demonstrate what, exactly, Cirque is looking for at annual auditions. Don’t let that motivation fool you, though. The workshops tend to have an intimate, intensely creative feel and Scatola makes it difficult to remember that he was recently one of the intimidating faces sitting on the panel for the January and February auditions.

Come prepared for a good warm-up, contemporary and jazz choreography and some acting exercises thrown in for good measure. (More information is on the flier.) Mostly, though, come with your game face and an open mind and prepare to be inspired.

Stars like Jennifer Hudson, Carole King, Martina McBride and Merle Haggard turned out in their black-tie finest with many others in the valley to christen the opening of the much-anticipated Smith Center on March 10. Philanthropists from throughout the city joined Smith Center president and CEO Myron Martin for the reception in an evening that, Norm Clarke of the R-J said, no one wanted to end.

The whole setup looks poised for a spectacular first season. For a rundown of the opening gala, check out Norm Clarke’s column here. A great video from the Las Vegas Sun is here. For show information, visit the Smith Center homepage here.

Photo by Julie Aucoin

The show that’s been in Las Vegas for nearly two decades just added two new high-flying aerial acts, one featuring flying trapeze artists and one with a fabulous aerialist on silks. If you haven’t seen the show, there is no better time. If you have, you should go again.

I was fortunate enough to get to see the revamped “Mystere” when it premiered on March 3, and it rocked my dance-bloggin’ world. The classics are still there: the semi-creepy, bottle-toting baby, the mischievous clowns, the squawking hand puppet and its pompous animator, the hand-to-hand balancers that will give you chills, and the big, mysterious inflatable snail. The show is classic Cirque at its finest, showcasing Chinese pole acts, Korean plank posses, incredible acro stunts and captivating characters.

Throw in 20 new cast members and a renovated set and it’s difficult to go wrong. I spoke with head coach Karl Abraham and artistic director David Gomez about what it’s like to have 1/3 of the cast learn the show from scratch in a few short weeks, as well as the logistics of replacing massive pieces of equipment and breathing life into a show that’s been performed more than 8,500 times.

Check out the full story on the Best of Las Vegas site here, and be sure to catch the live version if you can!

What would you do for tuition money? A Penn State student cruises around New York subways with a pair of tap shoes and makes more money than at his job near the university. Dance pays, ladies and gents! Check out the short video from the New York Times here. The full story is available here.

Any thoughts on what kind of shoes he’s sporting? The video shows Bloch taps. If you have an idea, feel free to share below!