Tag Archive: dance

New York City Ballet alluded to the unseasonably toasty season in a sunny program choreographed entirely by Jerome Robbins. Decked out in simple costumes reminiscent of sandy shores and bygone days, dancers embodied Robbins’ familiar motif of fanciful youth.

The show included “In G Major,” “In Memory Of … ” and “The Concert.” Brian Seibert wrote a great review of the show for the New York Times, available here. If you’re just in the mood for eye candy, click here for the multimedia slideshow. Whether you’re shivering through the drafty season or basking in winter warmth, both are worth a look.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal sent a dynamic duo of a reporter and photographer to cover the latest audition for Don Arden’s “Jubilee!” at Bally’s. For anyone that wants to see the experience from somewhere other than the stage, check out the photo gallery here and another one here.

And the audition was Fluffless: it turns out the Vegas entertainment legend was laid up with bronchitis. Find out more here. Any photos or comments from the audition? Feel free to share below!

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.

Cross-training is often lauded as vital for the health of dedicated athletes. We’ve heard the lengthy list of benefits before: stronger joints, better cardiovascular endurance, well-rounded strength and fewer injuries.

However, a guest contributor on DanceAdvantage explored another benefit of physical activity that doesn’t involve a barre or a marley floor. Backpacking, she said, has an interesting relationship with dance, and the benefits aren’t unidirectional. For Melanie Doskocil, a retired dancer and the director of the School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, dance helped with bush-whacking as much as the other way around.

Spatial awareness was the key to this, as she detailed in her post. She cited dancers’ tendency of comical clumsiness in day-to-day activities, tempered by the ethereal grace and subtlety onstage. It’s a weird dichotomy that many of us are familiar with and Doskocil proposes an interesting hypothesis: first, that spatial awareness can be honed and second, that this skill can be useful in more situations than just performing.

Check out Doskocil’s post here for the full story, some great photos and a new alternative to your Zumba class at the gym. Do you have a non-dance workout that helps with your performing? Leave details in the comments below!

Erotic physics

The link between the principles of physics and the practice of movement has long been established. Dance, obviously, would fall under the jurisdiction of both.

Books—good ones—have been written on this relationship, but a piece performed at the 2010 World Science Festival in New York was created from a different perspective.

Photo courtesy of Dbenbenn on Wikimedia Commons

Choreographer Karole Armitage crafted the piece “Three Theories” to abstractly illustrate the principles of relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory. Armitage cited her father’s work as a biologist as inspiration to explore the world in general.

Check out the review here and see what Armitage means by “sexy” physics. Maybe it will change the opinion of science you had in high school.

A tap dancer, a hand percussionist and a human beat box walk into a bar. The bar has no stools  and the wall behind it is covered with cryptic graffiti in gratuitously bright colors. Oh, and it’s on a stage. Did I forget to mention that?

Welcome to the Insurgo Bastard Theater and a Molodi show, complete with unpredictability and a nod to the avant garde.

Molodi, a group of performers specializing in extreme body percussion, was started in 2000 by Jason Nious and is a diverse faction to begin with. However, the one-night performance on May 20 showcased more than their classic “Raw Footage” showcase. (Their signature show had been performed early that night.)

Also featured was the group’s experimental dive into the world of collaboration through a show called “Molodi Presents,” showcasing the work of other performers throughout Las Vegas.

Guest artists included Harmony Costa’s group Soul Steppers, specializing in house and featuring members with such credits as “Stomp,” “Stomp Out Loud,” and Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE.”

Hand percussion, audible (and visual) tap, beatboxing, a vocal performance and a stint of acting games lent the show a vibrant and multi-faceted personality. Themes ranged from the chill grooves of house to the competitive edge between tap and percussion to the simple thrill of listening to a skilled beat-boxer jamming in the dark.

The program for “Molodi Presents” outlined a seemingly sparse three pieces, but the show itself was riddled with Easter eggs of an endearingly miscellaneous nature.

Antwan Davis’ fierce beatboxing segued into “The Footprints,” a piece performed by Chris Rutledge that made use of the mysterious blue tarp and sheets of white paper that had been situated in front of the stage since the top of the show.

Temporarily deepening the mystery, two paper plates were added to the strange set, acting as vessels for paint in Rutledge’s signature color scheme of green and black. Rutledge cleared up the confusion in short order, dipping his taps into the paint intermittently, then finger-painting tap-style on the sheets of paper.

Rutledge’s sharp personality and wicked grin sparkled for the audience seated not ten feet away as he illustrated the pleasant dissonance of sophisticated rhythm paired with a gritty upper body.

Can you do single wings on a square of paper in paint-covered tap shoes, doubled over at the waist with your hands nearly touching the floor? I can’t. Chris Rutledge can though, and he’ll make it look easy.

“Man vs. Machine,” the second piece in the showcase, armed three different instruments with rhythmic weapons and pitted them against one another, acting out the classic struggle between human nature and simulations of the same.

Davis appeared again, illustrating his body percussion chops against Cayce Andrew’s nonchalantly blitzing hand percussion. Rutledge, still in paint-spattered shoes, joined the fun midway through the piece, adding a higher pitch and quirky syncopations.

Contrary to the oppositional title, the number couldn’t help but demonstrate the complexity of rhythms, and performers, working together, and how truly stunning this can be when done well.

The Soul Steppers kicked off the last piece with an unassuming entrance from the back of the house, grooving through the audience and increasing the camaraderie felt between artist and observer.

Distinct house-style music pulsed through a piece of turn-taking, with each performer soul-stepping forward and showing the personalities that mingle in the group.

Members Harmony Costa, Ricky Barraza Jr., Tal Iozef, Louross Edralin, Lamont Thomas and Christine Delota emphasized the versatility of house-style dancing, often melding it with personal strengths like locking, b-boying and hip-hop.

Interspersed throughout “Molodi Presents” were vignettes of acting games, improvised on the spot, always humorous and often bordering on inappropriate.

Take “Stand, Bend and Sit,” for example, in which each of the three actors must be performing one of the movements in the title while improvising a real-life scene. The context for the game? The set of a porn film which, given, is probably a real life scene for somebody. Fair enough.

These are the kids that were staging shows in their backyards and tapping the grade-school cafeteria table in time with the music in their heads. Strangely, the same atmosphere still persists: the performance proves to be not only a collaboration between the artists onstage but a conduit of energy between the performers and the audience as well.

It helps that the first row of seats is about ten feet away from the edge of the stage, close enough to see nuances in a performer (and, unfortunately, to hear the slide and click of the rag-tag lights’ mechanisms, one of the very few flaws of the show.)

A slightly nervous vibe prevailed during some of the acting games as the audience was drawn into the “who will be next?” environment familiar to performers asked to improvise.

Overall, cardinal sins of dance concerts were avoided: “Molodi  Presents” was under an hour and a half and the audience was very much included in the show,  side-stepping the common phenomenon of “fish-tank” performances  (where the audience merely watches.) A sense of candidness and experimentation prevailed, making the experience endearing and delightful.

My advice for any stomp-style show at the Insurgo Theater?

Watch your toes.