Gia is the dance editor at Time Out New York. She bows down to Terpsichore, Rei Kawakubo and running. Follow her on Twitter at @giakourlas
Check out shots of the Mark Morris Dance Group
The Mark Morris Dance Group—Brooklyn's finest!—performs two programs at BAM, featuring classes like Grand Duo; the jazzy new Spring, Spring, Spring; and Whelm, pictured.
See shots of David Neumann's latest dance-theater work
Inspired by a chain of events in his personal life—his parents died on either side of Hurricane Sandy—David Neumann rides the line between fiction and truth in I Understand Everything Better.
David Hallberg talks about his LEGACY program at Lincoln Center
How does an injured ballet star kill time? In David Hallberg’s case, you curate a program of dances. “David Hallberg Presents: LEGACY” offers an intimate look at the ballet companies he has forged relationships with over the years: the Mariinsky Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, Australian Ballet and Tokyo Ballet, as well as ABT Studio Company. The lineup includes Bhakti III, a work by Maurice Béjart, along with dances by Pierre Lacotte, Stephen Baynes, Jean-Christophe Maillot and Yuri Smekalov. Presented in conjunction with Youth America Grand Prix—the finals are April 15 and the “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” program is on April 16—Hallberg’s gala night is set for April 17 and will be sprinkled with his own commentary. Here’s a sneak preview.How did you come up with this idea? Was it something you wanted to do for a while?No. Larissa Saveliev [of YAGP] came to me and said, “There’s a second evening that we haven’t planned for YAGP, and I know you’re injured and you might have the time—do you want to plan anything?” I was intrigued, but I knew I couldn’t just put on anything. It had to be appropriate for YAGP and for the Koch. For me, what was most important was to involve the competitors, so that they could learn from this experience. I decided to feature the five companies that I’ve danced with more than once around the world. I wanted to do something not gala evening. I felt like the competitors could learn, and New York audiences even, from more substantial pieces
Take a look at Ballet Hispanico's new dances
Ballet Hispanico unveils new works by Rosie Herrera, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano and Miguel Mancillas as part of its New York season.
Check out Gillian Walsh's new quartet
Choreographer Gillian Walsh presents the premiere of Scenario: Script to Perform, in which she showcases her formal take on scores.
Choreographer Gillian Walsh talks about her first evening-length work
Gillian Walsh is not anti-dance. What is off-limits is artifice. Her unflinching choreographic approach, in which movement is developed through a written score of language and numerical codes culled from mass-produced sources like Hasbro’s Twister Dance Rave, is a love letter to form. In her first evening-length work, Scenario: Script to Perform, featuring Maggie Cloud, Nicole Daunic, Mickey Mahar and herself, Walsh highlights structure over effect. Curated by Sarah Michelson, Scenario is transformative but not glossy, going beneath the surface to absorb the space it inhabits. “I’m kind of a structure pervert,” Walsh says. “I’m always going to see form first.” Be patient; the rewards will come. Your title is great. How did you come up with it?It took me ages. There’s a book called Scenarios: Scripts to Perform. All the material in it is mass-produced or mass-circulated. We were interested in mass dance or corporate choreographies. It’s just a book of scores. I love it because of how nondidactic it is and because of its commitment to the score in the abstract. How did this start?Maggie Cloud and I did a piece at Judson, where we first decoded the base material. We wanted to do a noncreative Judson [piece] where I wouldn’t choreograph anything. And the base material was from the Hasbro game?Yes. It is really what the movement is. We talk a lot about seeing what’s generated from form without super visual theatricality. Any time there’s a technique, there is artifice. But there’s
Check out these shots of the Stephen Petronio Company
Stephen Petronio unveils Bloodlines, a five-year project showcasing works by American postmodern choreographers. This year, he presents his group in Merce Cunningham's RainForest (1968), along with his own two-part Locomotor Non Locomotor.
Take a look at Pam Tanowitz's PLATFORM 2015 event
Choreographer Pam Tanowitz works with six dancers—Devin Alberda, Jenelle Manzi, Russell Janzen, Gretchen Smith, Dylan Crossman and Melissa Toogood—to create a dance in a day (a dance a drift in the cosmos). The open rehearsal and performance, captured March 23, is part of PLATFORM 2015: Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets.
Leanne Cope trades in the Royal Ballet for Broadway
Leanne Cope, who stars as Lise in Christopher Wheeldon’s anticipated production of An American in Paris, is feeling some pressure, and it’s not just about trying to live up to the cinematic memory of Leslie Caron. “I’m not a name,” she says of her standing at the Royal Ballet. “I’m one of many swans, one of many snowflakes.” But for this gamine 31-year-old dancer, the part of Lise is as nuanced as the dramatic-ballerina roles she most treasures. Plus, she gets to dance with New York City Ballet’s Robert Fairchild. She’s having her moment, and it’s just wonderful.What made you want to take a leave from the Royal Ballet for this show?It wasn’t like I thought I need a new challenge, I want to find something. It just happened. I got a message from Chris saying, “I’m doing a musical and I heard that you used to sing in the choir at school. Would you like to sing for me?” It was between a double show of Swan Lake that I sang for him in the shower room at the Royal Opera House. What did you sing?“The Man I Love.” I didn’t think anything of it at the time. A couple of months later I got an email from a casting agent saying that Chris wanted to see me again. At the top of the email, it said, “American in Paris.” I was like, Oh! How did you get the part?The final auditions were in New York. It was like I was in my own movie. I turned up at this place and there’s Sound of Music in one room and Oklahoma! in the other. I danced with Robbie. I didn’t recognize him; even though I’m from th
Rashaun Mitchell goes the distance in his new dance
For his latest work, Rashaun Mitchell is focusing on choreography with, as he puts it, “a capital C.” Text, visual design, collaborators—they’re all off the table this time around. “They started to feel a little like crutches,” he says, “and I wanted to see what it would be like for me to focus on making a dance in a more traditional sense.” He removed himself as well. Light Years, featuring Hiroki Ichinose, Cori Kresge, Silas Riener and Melissa Toogood, marks the first time he’s not dancing in one of his works. Instead, his aim is to show off his cast: “I wanted to make something for them.”What is your vision for Light Years?I have four dancers in front of me, and it’s made me consider why we’re doing this together and why we’ve chosen to work with each other. I wanted to make something for them. I wanted to work with people I knew really well. Because I was taking myself out of the picture, I felt like I needed to examine my own history a little bit. For the most part, we’re all from a Cunningham background. I felt like I needed that kind of support system around me to experiment more fully.Initially you created solos for each dancer. How did you start?I took various pieces of text—I was working with James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and Samuel Delany’s Nova—and asked the dancers to create responsive gestures to them. When you’re working with one person at a time, certain questions come up about their preferences, their restraints, their lineage, their training, their history
Check out Karole Armitage's On the Nature of Things
The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life is transformed by choreographer Karole Armitage in her extravagant premiere, On the Nature of Things, which explores climate change with the help of Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich, a professor of biology and population studies at Stanford University.
The New York Dance and Performance Awards are held
The 30th annual New York Dance and Performance Awards—also known as the Bessies, named after dance educator Bessie Schonberg—were held Monday night at the Apollo Theater. There was a rather sad red carpet, thank-yous to God, emphatic speeches about why dance matters, frequent use of the word community and an appearance by New York City's first lady, Chirlane McCray, who said, "I believe dancing is the most beautiful of all the arts." RECOMMENDED: See more on the Bessie Awards As you may imagine, that line went over pretty well even though it wasn't entirely appreciated by Lisa Kron, the witty actor and playwright who hosted the ceremony. Her grown-up commentary and humor were much appreciated throughout the night. It wasn't enough, however, to make the evening sing. Despite efforts to be more inclusive—nominees span many categories of dance—the Bessies are alienating and unsatisfying; there's no point of view. Rather than a celebration of the dance world, the awards are an excuse for a dance assembly in which winners seem to randomly be chosen from a hat and ballet dancers are trotted out for some extra glamour. The performance footage looked like what you might find on a public-access video. Too many presenters didn't know to whom they were presenting awards or, more important, why. Finally, it's not the wisest idea to email a list of the winners to the press during the show. Takes what little fun there is out of it, don't you think? Arthur Mitchell and Dr. Chuck Davis were
The Bessies announces nominees for outstanding emerging choreographer award
On July 16 at 6pm, the Bessies will select the winner of its outstanding emerging choreographer award from the following dance artists: Rashida Bumbray, Jessica Lang, Jen Rosenblit and Gillian Walsh. As usual, this is a somewhat confusing list: Lang, who recently formed her own company, spent years creating dozens of dances on the regional ballet circuit. What’s emerging about that? In any case, along with the announcement, the press conference—open to all—will also include the unveiling of 2013-14 Bessies nominees in categories of outstanding production, outstanding performer, outstanding visual design, outstanding composition or sound design and outstanding revived work. Those on hand for remarks and presentations include Lane Harwell, Lucy Sexton and Annie-B Parson. The conference will be held at Gibney Dance Center’s Studio H Theater, 280 Broadway (enter at 53 Chambers St between Broadway and Elk Street). RECOMMENDED: See more on the Bessie Awards
The Bessies announces all nominations—and as for outstanding emerging choreographer? It's a tie
The Bessies—or the New York Dance and Performance Awards—announced the winner of its outstanding emerging choreographer award on Wednesday night, and it's a puzzler. Well, that's a kind way to put the result: It's actually a tie. The award will be split between Jessica Lang, "for the formation of her own company and its impressive inaugural season" (I beg to differ) and Jen Rosenblit, "for a confident voice investigating the fluidity of identity, the pulse of time, and the nature of what it is to dance in a Natural dance."RECOMMENDED: See more on the Bessie Awards The 30th annual Bessie ceremony takes place Oct 19 at the Apollo Theater. Here are the rest of the nominations, many perplexing (wow!—visual design for Vectors, Mary, and Snow by Brooklyn Ballet?) and others warranted (Sarah Michelson's 4, Twyla Tharp's Bach Partita and Linda Celeste Sims of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, pictured). The problem, increasingly, is that it's hard to take any of it seriously. With 38 people on the nominating committee (and that's only because two dropped out), the awards are mired in compromise. Outstanding Performer Maggie Cloud in Passagen by Pam TanowitzSean Donovan in the work of Witness Relocation, Jane Comfort, Faye Driscoll, and othersJulia Hausermann in Disabled Theater by Jerome Bel and Theater HORASean Jackson in Rhythm in Motion by Lisa LaToucheMickey Mahar in the work of Miguel Gutierrez, Adrienne Truscott, Ryan McNamara, and Gillian WalshAngela "Angel" McNeal, for her
See choreographer Pam Tanowitz create a dance at PLATFORM 2015
What Pam Tanowitz loves most about being a choreographer is making a dance—the process, the back and forth with her dancers and the invention of steps. As part of PLATFORM 2105: Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets, curated by Claudia La Rocco, Tanowitz unveils a day in a dance (a dance adrift in the cosmos), in which the public can watch as she choreographs and presents a new work March 23 from 1 to 8pm. For it, she's using dancers from New York City Ballet (Devin Alberda, Jenelle Manzi, Russell Janzen and Gretchen Smith) alongside her own (Dylan Crossman and Melissa Toogood). Set to music by Dan Siegler, the work incorporates movement from a solo by Viola Farber, the former Merce Cunningham dancer and Tanowitz's influential teacher. "When Claudia asked me to do this, I knew I didn’t want to put up a finished work," she says. "I knew I didn’t want to be interviewed or give a lecture or talk. I thought, Why don’t I make a dance in a day and be transparent about my process? This whole platform is about the meeting of ballet and Cunningham and Judson; for me, it’s not so separate. I’ve been working with an interest in where ballet and modern touch upon each other for 15 years. It’s not about what happens when they meet—it’s more about a synthesis." Here, she shares her notes about starting the dance: Showings are planned for 6, 7 and 7:30pm. Tickets are $20, and you may come and go as you please.
Dressing-room playlist: Robert Kleinendorst
For Robert Kleinendorst, a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company since 2000, music matters. He started out singing and playing guitar and didn't catch the dance bug until college. Of his playlist, the Minnesota native, who still performs in a few bands around New York City when he's not on the road, says, "This list has a lot of rock & roll. More often than not, I use my music to get my blood up for a show. There are a few trancey ones in there for the few times I just need to relax." The strapping Kleinendorst, shown here in Taylor's classic work Company B, performs in the newly named Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance at the David H. Koch Theater through March 29. ￼ 1: "Molly's Chambers" by Kings of Leon "My favorite band of all time. This song has a slinky guitar rhythm with slurring vocals that mellow me out while getting me jazzed up at the same time. A drugged-up sexy song."￼ ￼ 2: "Wasted" by Mona "Off of their second album Torches and Pitchforks, this song is a straight-up rock anthem that gets my blood pumping. His raspy vocals are so passionate that he sometimes crosses the line into screaming which I love." ￼ ￼ ￼3: "End of Line" by Daft Punk "This is from the Tron soundtrack. The steady, driving, electronic beat of this song focuses me like a laser."￼ ￼ ￼4: "Party Poison" by My Chemical Romance "I love this song for its punk simplicity. I'll put this on at the end of my warm up when I'm going to dance a tough opener. There's also a girl shouting Japanese thro
Former NYCB member Vincent Paradiso says dance inspired him to launch a start-up
Have you ever fantasized about booking a private jet? Vincent Paradiso certainly has. For the former New York City Ballet member, life is about going Dutch. Sharing means everything to him and his partner, Debora McCleary, who have just launched their website Du+ch. Think of it, he says, as a community marketplace that allows people to team up to cover the cost of an experience. Here’s a luxurious example: “Let’s say you want to book a private jet from New York to Miami,” Paradiso says. “This is going to run you $20,000, but if you had a way to find 11 other people to share the cost, suddenly it’s not nearly as expensive. It’s a way for people to pull their funds together to pay for group experiences.” Du+ch The mind reels when one start to consider the possibilities: yoga retreats, extreme sports, bottle service at a club, spa packages, cooking classes, winery tours, surfing lessons…. The website works a bit like Airbnb, which Paradiso readily admits has influenced him. Experiences are free to list; a 10 percent fee is then added to the price of the event, which is split among the participants. “I really think the ballet world really got me ready for the sharing idea,” Paradiso says. “When we would go on tour, a bunch of us dancers would essentially do things that we wouldn’t have done individually. We would lay our credit cards down and go Dutch on a fancy dinner or once, when we were in Hong Kong, we went to see the Big B
David Hallberg withdraws from ABT's Met season
In ballet, injuries have a way of dragging on. David Hallberg, American Ballet Theatre's most princely principal, has announced that he will withdraw from all 13 performances he was scheduled for this spring at the Metropolitan Opera House due to a persistent foot injury. "It is with great regret that I must cancel the ABT spring season, but my complete recovery is of utmost importance," Hallberg says in a statement. "I greatly look forward to when I am back onstage and ready to dance with ABT once again." Of course, artistic director Kevin McKenzie has turned to Russia for guest artists. Gotta sell those tickets! Vladimir Shklyarov, a principal with the Mariinsky Ballet, will perform on May 23 as Albrecht in Giselle; Leonid Sarafanov, a principal with the Mikhailovsky Ballet, undertakes Solar in La Bayadère on June 3 and 6 and Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty on June 10. The circumstances are unfortunate, but the long-awaited ABT debut of Sarafanov is most welcome: His dancing, his demeanor, his pristine technique add up to loveliness supreme.
Dressing-room playlist: Marika Anderson
As New York City Ballet heads for the final stretch—the company's season closes on March 1—Marika Anderson, a busy member of the corps de ballet, shares her most inspirational songs. In a twist on our classic dressing-room playlist (here's one with her colleague Devin Alberda), she includes the music she listens to before a show and after. See Anderson dance at the David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center). Pre-show playlist:1–3. Odesza from In Return"Say My Name" "White Lies" "Sun Models" "I recently discovered Odesza within this past year and haven’t been able to get enough of it. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight are a DJ duo from Seattle that have created a unique electronic sound that is mellow yet driving. The constant flow of rhythm helps me settle into a zone and focus on the upcoming performance." 4, 5. Skrillex from Recess"Ease My Mind" "Stranger" "Similar to the driving nature of Odesza, Skrillex provides intense and powerful rhythmic changes, delivering his traditional dubstep sequences. I like to listen to these before the show because the beats are mesmerizing and meditative, as well as energizing." 6. Chase and Status from No More Idols"Hocus Pocus" "Finishing out my pre-show playlist, I’ve chosen Chase and Status, a U.K.-based DJ duo that deliver even headier beats than the previous artists. While preparing for the performance, I enjoy listening to something that creates a continuous pulse because it is something that I don’t necessarily need to pay atte
Catch a free tribute to dancer Alyssa Stith at Ice Theatre of New York
Ice Theatre’s Skate Concert Series at the Rink at Rockefeller Center kicks off with a free performance on February 25 that pays tribute to the skater, dancer and choreographer Alyssa Stith. A member of Ice Theatre for nearly ten years, Stith took her life on November 30. She was 40 As a black figure skater, Stith was an anomaly, but it was her soulful performances that made her stand out even more. The Ice Theatre program highlights a reprise of Once Again, which was choreographed for Stith and Tyrell Gene by Heather Harrington. (Here, it will be skated by Elisa Angeli and Gene.) Moira North, Ice Theatre’s founder and artistic director, says after leaving Ice Theatre, Stith married and moved to Denmark; she later separated from her husband and relocated to the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area. There are a lot of questions, because her personality over the ten years that I worked with her was very upbeat and very funny and happy,” North says. “The irony is that several of the pieces that she’s most known for are kind of dark, especially Heather’s piece—it has to do with dominance and yearning and letting go. It ends up being the perfect piece in terms of the repertory that she had skated. The program also includes Journey to Solace choreographed by Deneane Richburg and notably performed by Rohene Ward, Jason Brown’s much-admired choreographer. Remember his “Reel Around the Sun” number? If not, watch it immediately: It will cheer you up. (Sorry about Scott Hamilton’s commen
Claudia La Rocco talks about PLATFORM 2015: “Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets”
Inspired by critic and poet Edwin Denby, this season’s Danspace Project platform explores the overlap of ballet, modern and postmodern dance. On February 19, the performance component of the series begins with pairings of Kaitlyn Gilliland and Will Rawls, and Silas Riener and Adrian Danchig-Waring. Here, curator Claudia La Rocco shares some thoughts. What was the spark for this idea?It was a set of ongoing conversations with Judy [Hussie-Taylor, Danspace Project’s executive director]. I don’t think there was one, This is what it’s going to be. The closest was coming across a paragraph on the Poetry Project’s history page, which talks about three nodal points [Balanchine, Cunningham and the Judson Dance Theater] and Denby as someone who taught people how to look. She and I had been talking about two things and for me at the beginning, they felt super separate. I was talking about the poet-critic tradition and about other modes of being a critic. At the same time, we were also talking about this stubborn gulf between various worlds within the New York dance world. I thought, Critics are not embedded in any one area if we’re surveying the field. So we don’t know anything as deep as the practitioners, but what we do see is how there could be connections and how what somebody is experimenting with at New York Live Arts could make sense with what somebody’s doing at Ballet Theatre. Could we talk about the pairings?I wanted people who were really grounded in particular worlds, so pe
Free events at A Bailar: Dance at the Center
In conjunction with A Bailar: Dance at the Center, a three-week Latin dance festival, New York City Center hosts an array of pre- and post-show events—free for ticket holders—including lessons in flamenco, mambo, salsa and tango; an exhibit of contemporary Cuban and Cuban-American art; a panel discussion; and a tango dance party. The festival begins February 18 at 6:15pm with Havana Rakatan, a lively showcase of Cuban music and dance. Preceding the performance is “U.S.-Cuban Policy: The Artist Perspective,” a timely discussion focusing on the affect of the arts in lieu of the recent changing relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Participants include Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director of Ballet Hispanico; Rachel Weingeist, a visual-arts curator; and Pedro Ruiz, a former dancer with Ballet Hispanico who is now the associate artistic director of Endedans—the Contemporary Ballet of Camaguey. Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas moderates. Other highlights include “Transitions: A Snapshot of Contemporary Cuban & Cuban-American Art” (February 18–March 7), an exhibit featuring Brooklyn artist Emilio Perez, Leslie Sardinias, Glenda Leòn, Alexandre Arrechea and Roberto Diago. How about digging your heels into tango or flamenco dance? Classes for all ages will be held 75 minutes before performances. Along with Havana Rakatan, the season features Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's milonga (February 26–March 1) and Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras (March 4–7). Don't forget your to bring your fan. Performance tickets start
Andrew Veyette's injury forces a choreographer to step in
On the evening of his latest premiere for New York City Ballet, Justin Peck went into emergency mode. Before the curtain could raise on Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes on Wednesday, the choreographer appeared onstage, a sweat jacket zipped over a beige costume. (It was the first sign something was up.) He explained that one of his leads—Andrew Veyette, featured in last week's Time Out—had suffered an injury the previous night in Donizetti Variations. In order to show the ballet in its complete form, he had a plan. Replacing Veyette? Peck himself in the first episode; Sean Suozzi in the fourth. Even with the drama, response to the rambunctious work was exuberant; set to Aaron Copland's score, the dance for 15 men and one ballerina (Sara Mearns) hints at male camaraderie, ballet boys becoming men. "Wish us luck!" Peck announced to the crowd. Here's wishing Veyette a speedy recovery.