Posted by: trailerpilot | 01:22::2009

NYT Weekend Roundup: Wednesday Evening Edition

I think I’ll ask Roz to kick things off this week:  She waxes wonderful about the example she hopes freshly-anointed Sadler’s Wells AD/CEO Alistair Spalding is setting with his approach to the position.  I have to say I’d be fine with what he’s doing setting off a storm of imitators:  High-profile regular-season engagements for front-of-the-book modern companies and a return to the tradition of ye olde impresario, someone who actually uses his connections and reputation in the performance field to suggest and support collaborations among artists who, as institution-level successes, too seldom return to cooperative work.  Although the stable of associate artists he’s assembled is heavy on the male side–exclusively male, rather–it’s a nice concept and, depending on the length of their “terms,” may open up in the future to more diversity (UPDATE: It already has, with the addition to the group of Sylvie Guillem and Jasmin Vardimon).  Among his other projects, his April/May Focus on Forsythe multi-venue blitz is exactly the kind of thing I would freak out about, had I the occasion to be in London this spring.  I remember meeting him briefly when I performed at Sadler’s Wells waaay back in the day–according to Sulcas’ profile he would have just been starting out at the time.  I sometimes wonder about the integrity of closed-door meetings between big-budget presenters; a lot of what gets cash thrown at it is a debacle, and I have to part ways with Spalding when it comes to his advocacy of Christopher Wheeldon’s work–but in general, hell, I’m sure he’s doing much more with the position than I would be able to accomplish.  Hats off to you, you foxy thing.

The Anglophilia continues with Alistair Macaulay’s profile on Hester Santlow, occasioned by Company XIV’s Judgment of Paris (reviewed elsewhere in the section).  It offers up a neglected corner of dance history via the discussion of Santlow’s role as muse for the early 18th Century choreographer John Weaver.  He also segués via personal anecdote into a review of Santlow expert Moira Goff’s recently-published book on the subject, The Incomparable Hester Santlow: A Dancer-Actress on the Georgian Stage. Closing out the piece is an interesting tidbit on what became of Santlow’s line by way of her daughter Harriot.

From the West Side, Sulcas goes into why her walk in the cold to see Boston’s Kelley Donovan & Dancers was worth it.  It gathers momentum into what amounts to a very positive review and invitation to return to New York, although she throws in a blanket statement (“developing a movement vocabulary isn’t much of a concern among contemporary choreographers right now”) I’m not so sure I agree with, and makes a point of saying that Kelley Donovan isn’t thin, which kind of tidbit I’ve been through with as pertinent information for a very long time.

I can’t tell from A-Mack’s review of Alexei Ratmansky’s 2008 Concerto DSCH (nor from anything else about the choreographer’s work) whether I would enjoy it, but it certainly sounds interesting.  He also gives it good, as he did last week with Ailey, with the open question “Is there any good reason City Ballet’s audience is being fed revivals of these wholly forgettable items?” in reference to Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Chiaroscuro and Peter Martins’ Papillons (which I’m sure is as awful as it sounds).  Zing!  He’s in a different mood after Guillermina Quiroga’s Tango, Historias Breves, namely grumpy; it’s chock-full of choice Macaulisms, and has some unexpected historical trivia tucked into the middle.

Roslyn Sulcas interviews Edward Villella ahead of Miami City Ballet’s first (wha’?) Manhattan season, which is opening at City Center as I write this.  Their discussion is short but substantial and, like everything else these days, all about mo’ money, mo’ problems.  It certainly sounds like it’s getting real down there:  They’ve cut live music and new works entirely for the next season.  I was shocked to read that presenting a company the size of MCB in New York costs a million dollars a week.  On the other hand, that’s how it goes, and I’m sure the company will be fine.  I haven’t seen them dance much–I did spend a few days in the studio auditioning when it was still just a few years old–but I think they are a vital part of the worldwide how-do-you-dance-Balanchine? conversation, and wish them toi-toi for their debut in the Big Apple.

Copied into the dance section is an installment from the Real Estate section’s Habitats series, and as such is predictable fluff.  Nicola Curry’s a Coloradan (holler), but if you’ve been to a ballerina’s apartment ever, or if you’re a ballerina that lives in an apartment, there’s not much need to skim this filler for a look into what it’s like for a member of ABT to have her own condo in NYC that her parents helped her buy for half a million dollars.  (Her bathroom is cute, though.)

OK, at this point I’m guessing anyone who’s not Alistair Macaulay or Roslyn Sulcas had the week off.  Ally is back with yet another NYCB review, this one of an all-Robbins program.  He engagingly gets into just why he’s a fan of Four Bagatelles, but it sounds like the other three pieces suffered a bit in the review due solely to the fact that Miss Mac has seen them all ten too many times.  I like The Cage, dammit, and I don’t care who knows it (although I’ve only seen it once).

Oh but wait!  It’s Gia Kourlas!  What’s she been up to?  Reviewing Jeanine Durning’s latest at Danspace Project, which in Ex-Memory: waywewere has the sort of über-downtown title that it’s safe to say has become an unintentionally hilarious cliché.  Hyphen?  Check.  Colon?  Check.  Run-on-imaginary-compound-word-as-all-lowercase-ominous-subtitle-slash-pop-cultural-reference?  Yeeah.  Anyway, Kourlas enjoys it, or at least appreciates the intent.  In all honesty, it sounds very Chicago in a way.

Of something like local interest, there’s an obituary for Gage Bush Englund, who was répétitrice for the entirety of the Joffrey second company’s short life (albeit before the company moved here in 1995).  She was also at ABT II (née ABT Studio Company) in the nineties.  I had no idea Rachel Rutherford was her daughter.

To quote the sorely-missed Elsa Klensch, Claudia La Rocco’s review of D D Dorvillier/human future dance corps’ Choreography, a Prologue for the Apocalypse of Understanding, Get Ready! is all about color and fun, fun, fun!  Read it.  And to wrap up, Kourlas and Sulcas double-dutch on capsule reviews of Yoshiko Chuma and Shirotama Hitsujiya’s X2, Gallim Dance at Joyce SoHo (where Molly Shanahan will be performing My Name Is A Blackbird April 10 and 11), and Body Cartography Project at PS 122.

Phew.  To quote Miranda Priestly, that’s all.

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  1. […] not convinced net-hosted dance events are the new black? Consider this: Stalwart London venue turned tastemaking presenter Sadler’s Wells is less than a week away from launching Global Dance Contest 2009, an open […]


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