Friday was National Tap Dance Day, and to mark the occasion, we're taking a look at yours, and our, favorite dance experts on Twitter.
The Art of Dance
21st Century Dance and Issues in the Performing Arts
Curated by Susan Davis Cushing
"The dance company, founded by a Walmart heiress, abruptly announced its closure in March after 12 highly visible years."
Full story here:
A tragedy in the dance world, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is nevertheless one of the most prominent examples of a sad inevitabilities in the arts community: the need diversify your funding resources. Oh. and perhaps one other: excellence is not enough to keep an institution alive. ~ sdc
‘Line and power’: Sylvie Guillem bids farewell in Mats Ek’s Bye. Photograph: Bill Cooper
The French ballet star has redefined the technical boundaries of her art, and inspired female dancers the world over to confront a culture of compliance
from the article by Luke Jennings
"...Born in 1965, Guillem trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School. She joined the Paris Opera Ballet at 16, and three years later, fast-tracked by artistic director Rudolf Nureyev, became the youngest star in the company’s history. From the first, her dancing was astonishing. Long, slender arms and legs, while beautiful, can be hard to control, which is why the most technically assured dancers are often built along more compact lines, like the Royal Ballet’s Natalia Osipova. But the willowy Guillem could place her limbs precisely where she chose. She would rise on to pointe, float a leg up to the side with her foot winging high above her head, hold the position for a long, insolent beat, and swing into the next step not because she had to, but because she chose to. It was the counterpoint that was so breathtaking. The interplay between her ravishing souplesse and her cool, implacable will." (more after the click)
In a year of impossible farewells to ballerinas, Luke Jennings handles this retirement in lovely prose and a sweet review of a long, formidable career.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive is an extensive archive of dance videos from the renowned festival. Barrel worked with Jacob's Pillow to design and develop the new video collection site.
And today they won a design award! Woot! For several years, Jacob's Pillow has been honing their stand-alone platform for learning about dance and it's history. Check it out; have it bookmarked for continuous use!
PHILADELPHIA — Though “Dance: Movement, Rhythm, Spectacle” occupies just one large room (arranged to feel like three) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it seems to open windows in many directions. Its exhibits range from the 1890s to the 1980s, vividly demonstrating how radically that century brought change to social dance, dance theater and ideas of dance in art. Diversely diverse, the show, which opened this month, offers a panoply of artistic media (photographs, paintings, watercolors, prints, woodcuts, etchings, graphite drawings, lithographs and film), dancers of various races and a huge assortment of dance costumes. Its binding thread? The depiction of movement. (more)
“Dance: Movement, Rhythm, Spectacle” continues through Aug. 2 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway; 215-763-8100, philamuseum.org. The article (click through) in the May 19th NYTimes by Alastair Macaulay and accompanying tease paintings have me ready to hop in the car to Philly this AM. :)
While Trisha Brown is best known for her innovative choreographies, drawing has long featured prominently in her maverick practice, at once a tool for schematic composition and a component of her ongoing investigation into the limits of her own body. Written to accompany the artist’s 2008 Walker survey exhibition, this essay by curator Peter Eleey presents necessary historical and critical context for the artist’s signature work IT’S A DRAW – FOR ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG (2008) and other works on paper in the Walker’s collection.
Let's be real: modern dance is a lot like cats—fickle, often obtuse, and not always for everybody. Sometimes it's something you have to learn to love, and sometimes even that just doesn't work out. But even for the most ardent dog lover, if the simile follows, these 8 digital projection-mapped performances have the potential to make your cold, dance-and-tech culture-starved heart race.
Click through to a great selection of movement and projection- based videos!
Ric Burns’ documentary on the 75-year history of the preeminent ballet company combines rehearsal footage, virtuoso performances and interviews with ABT's key figures including Alicia Alonso and the late Donald Saddler and Frederic Franklin; Susan...
Time Sensitive: Don't miss this while it is still streaming!
Julie Kent, Principal dancer with @ABTBallet. Not only a beautiful dancer but also a mom. #HappyMothersDay #Ballet pic.twitter.com/052LvX9ut7
Photo of the day. From the Spectacular NYC Dance Project.
The Ziegfeld Club, founded in 1936, helped women in theater who had fallen on hard times. The club is remaking itself with a new mission to support creative women on Broadway.
From the Moulin Rouge and Loîe Fuller to the Pussycat Dolls, woman have walked the precipice between spectacular dance shows, creativity, and survival. Their story rarely makes it to the press, yet it is is part of the peripheral history of dance, stardom - and forgotten legends.
Legendary dance choreographer Bill T. Jones and TED Fellows Joshua Roman and Somi didn't know exactly what was going to happen when they took the stage at TED2015. They just knew they wanted to offer the audience an opportunity to witness creative collaboration in action. The result: An improvised piece they call "The Red Circle and the Blue Curtain," so extraordinary it had to be shared ...
Bill T. Jones at his finest. The dance master of our time. I am happy to see that 142k others have agreed over the past 6 weeks. This is as good as it gets.
The Times’s chief dance critic reflects on how the varied dance forms of India have extended his idea of dance itself, what it can be and signify.
Profoundly well-written, this is Alastair Macaulay's journey through indian dance. Whatever your level of knowledge on the subject, It will make you want to dig much more deeply into the country's dance rituals.
"Spring is a time for change, for jumping up and heading out. As effective social action becomes increasingly more difficult in a society that is deeply divided, unjust and often toxic, it's urgent to question our direction and ethics. I am both excited and honored to be collaborating with Live Arts.” ~ Laurie Anderson
"Curated by world renowned visual artist, inventor and performer Laurie Anderson in conjunction with New York Live Arts’ Artistic Director Bill T. Jones, the 2015 Live Ideas festival combines the arts and social issues in synergistic ways. Featuring five days of musical performances, lectures, original dance works, panels, a late-night lounge and more, S K Y – Force and Wisdom in America Today will bring together some of the world’s most celebrated innovators and provocateurs to build an explosive meeting of contemporary art and ideas. Join us as we creatively examine the most important political, social, environmental and artistic issues facing society today." Starts Wednesday, April 15" Click through for ticket availability. Serious Creative Forces at work here
“I like the piece,” Mark Morris said of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” a few weeks back as he sat in his papaya-green office at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. “But I’m tired of the mythology, that runic Madame Blavatsky kind of stuff. I’m not interested in a virgin dancing herself to death, you know?”
Wonderful article by Marina Harss, who pokes around in the lyrical mind of choreographer Mark Morris.
For centuries, ballet was all about presenting its glittering, performance-ready side. Then came Instagram.
Social Media, meet ballet. Ballet, social media. Oh, you know each other? Great read from Pia Catton at the WSJ.
'It's been nearly a century since the Bauhaus Ballet, more commonly known as the Triadic Ballet, was first developed by Oskar Schlemmer. In 1916, the notion of avant-garde was also in its infancy, thus the two came of age together. The ballet toured all during the 1920s, helping to spread the philosophy of the German art school — that is, extreme minimalism and functionality — throughout Europe and the world.'
Jin Young Lin performing as part of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. Credit Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
"Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet was the envy of many in New York’s dance world: It had a wealthy patron who loved dance, provided good pay and benefits to its dancers, built the troupe a chic Chelsea home and almost single-handedly bore the brunt of the company’s costs.
"But the perils of relying on a single donor became clear this month when Cedar Lake’s founder and benefactor — Nancy Laurie, a Walmart heiress — had a change of heart and announced that she would close the company after performances in June at the Brooklyn Academy of Music."
(more after the click)
History repeats Itself: "With a wealthy patron, the company had been the envy of many in New York’s dance world. Then its benefactor had a change of heart."
If Neil deGrasse Tyson's version of "Cosmos" hasn't convinced you of the beautiful drama hidden within the scientific community, perhaps this dance opera -- filmed inside CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland -- will twist your arm in the right direction.
"Symmetry" - new new collision of science and art - assembles as a film. Click through to see the teaser on Vimeo.
The choreographer and Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich, a professor of biology, collaborated on this work about climate change, set to premiere March 25, at the American Museum of Natural History.
It is oddly disquieting to think of the 20th-century's leggy punk-rock ballerina (then musician's Rhys Chatham's counterpart) as being an activist for climate change.
This article details that almost inevitable path towards environmental awareness so many of us are experiencing.
"For Dr. Ehrlich, collaborating with Ms. Armitage and the museum is a way to reach the public on a personal level. “One of the things that we’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt is that telling people what the science is doesn’t change their behavior,” Dr. Ehrlich said. “What we need is to change attitudes.”
Merce Cunningham performs in his 'Antic Meet,' 1958. (Photograph: Richard Rutledge / Merce Cunningham Trust)
"...In a rather Buddhist-like aside — and his other half, as we know, was a wholehearted practitioner of Zen — Cunningham adds:
Falling is one of the ways of moving.
The human body moves in limited ways, very few actually. There are certain physical things it can’t do that another animal might be able to do. But within the body’s limitations, I wanted to be able to accept all the possibilities.
In reflecting on his work as a teacher, Cunningham champions the idea that we find ourselves by getting productively lost:
My hope is that in working the way I do, I can place the dancer (and this is involved in my student work too), in a situation where he is dependent upon himself. He has to be what he is. He has as few guides or rules as need be given. He finds his way. It’s concerned with his discovery. I think a good teacher keeps out of the way. That’s why, in the classwork, although there are certain exercises which are repeated every day, they are not exact repetitions. They are varied slightly and radically. Each time the dancer has to look again. The resourcefulness and resiliency of a person are brought into play. Not just of a body, but of a whole person.
Later in the interview, Cunningham recounts his own upbringing and one can’t help but trace the origin of this philosophy to his own formative years — to the idea that, like a good teacher, a good parent “gets out of the way” and that sometimes, even when active encouragement isn’t present, the mere absence of discouragement is enough to let genius take its course:
My family was never against my wanting to be in the theater. My father was a lawyer, and my mother enjoyed traveling. But they had no particular awareness of the arts. They didn’t stop me from tap-dancing when I was an adolescent. My father said, “If you want to do it, fine. All you have to do is work at it.” There was no personal objection. It is curious perhaps, since my two brothers followed him, one being a lawyer, the other, a judge.
But perhaps his most poignant point goes to the heart of creativity — the notion that we are the combinatorial product of everything we ever read, saw, heard, and otherwise experienced, which William Faulkner elegantly articulated and which accounts for the perilous psychology of “cryptomnesia.” Beyond the influence of Cage and “his ideas about the possibilities of sound and time,” which Cunningham readily acknowledges, he speaks to the impossibility of tracing, or even registering, the myriad external ideas that leave an impression on us and shape our own:
An excerpt from a Maria Popova article about Merce. It begins,
"A good teacher keeps out of the way."
Nothing is impossible, it seems, not even levitation. Photographer and dancer Mickael Jou appears to levitate, magically hovering over the ground, in his pictures, which are taken while leaping through the air. Using a remote and tripod, Jou captures his photographs at the perfect moment mid-jump, making it appear as though he is actually suspended […]
Dancers have of course, been capturing themselves in this manner even before David Parson's legendary "Caught" http://youtu.be/UB1ZnvCuXzg . Both Parsons and Jou stand on their own artistic statements. And it's lovely to have an excuse to remember how "Caught" shifted our capacity to see movement. I've included a brief excerpt.
The early works of modern dance are in danger. The danger is neglect.
This is an opinion piece worthy of discussion in modern dance circles. #sundayreading
"Kylli Sparre first came under our radar in September 2013, when we noticed that the fine art photographer's stunningly surreal scenes were inspired by ballet. Trained as a ballet dancer, the photographer seamlessly incorporates dance into her photos through the graceful movement of her subjects.
#As she states, 'I spent years training to become a professional ballet dancer. When the studies were over, I realized it wasn't the path for me.' "
And yet every one reflects her dancer background.
Thanks to reality-augmenting editing techniques, Julie Gratz's dancers exist simultaneously in Brooklyn and Martha's Vineyard.
Click though to video (Corrected Version)
Bonus: The video features Sergei Polunin, also known as the "bad boy of ballet."
Interestingly, the first time this video of Polunin has been written about with grace and sensibility. Thanks Sarah Karlan!