Horses for courses, courtesy of The Lucinda Childs Dance Company


My favorite work of the first program (“Lucinda Childs, A Portrait 1963-2016”) of a two-part Lucinda Childs retrospective now on at the Joyce Theater was Radial Courses (1976), a hugely fun, tongue-in-cheek, pretzel-puzzle of a dance.

Promenading at a clipped pace, four tidily attired male dancers circumscribe a large oval shape. As the British love to put it: horses for courses.

Slowly slowly, bit by bit, in pops an embellished phrase, like a hiccup, but it adds syncopation and form. Then we’ve got some major lucinda-mens-dance-backsidelooping going on, with subtle changes of direction and pairing. It’s seductively rhythmic, tortuously long, and beautifully delivered by a quartet of Childs dancers Lonnie Poupard Jr., Matt Pardo, Vincent McCloskey, and Patrick John O’Neill. The guys nary miss a beat — and it looks really hard to remember! Enduring its pleasures, you’re tempted to march right out of the theater and, at a clipped rate, proceed in formation up Eighth Avenue.

More Childs works will be on view at the Joyce in part two of the retrospective, “Dance,”  through next weekend. Going!

photo credit: John Sisley

The Lucinda Childs Dance Company | Joyce Theater | thru Dec. 11

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Ticket to dance, courtesy of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Dance · Featured

During the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater‘s winter season in New York, ticketed dancegoers should hang onto their ducats! For 60 days following the Ailey performance you attend, your stub will be good for one free class at the Ailey Extension program. Those classes happen in the company’s glam, window-walled, mid-Manhattan building.

You’ll get to choose among 25 dance traditions and styles, among them:

  • Lester Horton technique (used by Alvin Ailey in Blues Suite and Revelations;
  • classical ballet (used by Ailey in The Lark Ascending and by Billy Wilson The Winter in Lisbon, revived this season;
  • Afro-Cuban (used by Ronald K. Brown in Open Door,
  • Jazz, Salsa, Zumba, Samba/Afro-Brazilian, and House dancing.

Unlike Ailey’s pre-professional and professional technique classes, Ailey Extension, founded in 2005, bills itself as offering “real classes for real people.” Some of the faculty come from the regular school but many of the teachers are exclusive to the Extension program.

You also might improve your health: A recent story in The New York Post relates that two Brooklyn psychotherapists in a life partnership have so far lost a total of 160 pounds between them by taking an regimen of five Ailey Extension classes per week in Hip Hop and other aerobic dance practices.

But the best reason to take a class is for the joy of dancing, which animates the Ailey company’s theatrical performances and much of its repertory. During the Ailey company’s five-week season, now on at New York City Center, the programs include beloved older repertory by Ailey and others and the world premieres of Untitled America, Kyle Abraham‘s three-part suite about the effects of prison on African-American families, and company member Hope Boykin‘s r-Evolution. Dream., “inspired by the sermons and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and set to original music composed by Ali Jackson (of Jazz at Lincoln Center) and the historic and original writings narrated by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. of Hamilton.

Mindy Aloff‘s books on dance include “Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation” and “Dance Anecdotes: Stories from the Worlds of Ballet, Broadway, the Ballroom, and Modern Dance.” She teaches dance history, literature, and writing at Barnard College and in the Macaulay Honors College program at Hunter College in New York City.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater | New York City Center | Nov 30 – Dec 31

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‘Dance Masters’ Chakiris & Chase in ‘An Evening at the Barn’

Dance · Featured · Film

Two great dancers. Two beautiful people. Both with Los Angeles dance roots. Both gypsy dancers in the great decade of movie-musicals, the 1950s. Between them, their titles include: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There’s No Business Like Show Business, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Meet Me in Las Vegas, The I Don’t Care Girl, Daddy Long Legs, Silk Stockings, Pal Joey, and Les Girls. Both crossed paths in Brigadoon and White Christmas

George Chakiris and Barrie Chase will join us at the Barn for “Dance Masters,” January 11, 2017, honoring a king and queen of Hollywood dance royalty.

As the fifties swapped to the sixties, the duo separately surfaced as American dance icons. Chakiris garnered both Oscar and Golden Globe for his triple-threat turn as Bernardo in West Side Story. Chase, who danced with God, was the final dancing partner of Fred Astaire in a quartet of award-winning television specials stretching from 1958 – 68.

In this clips-and-conversation event moderated by dance critic Debra Levine (Los Angeles Times, artsmeme), two cultural treasures will tell tales of their careers as consummate Hollywood dancers. Audience q & a will close the evening.

‘Dance Masters’ | An Evening at the Barn | Jan 11, 2017, save the date

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Lichtenstein’s lingerings in Los Angeles

Featured · Visual arts
Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A., an art exhibit now running at The Skirball Center through next March, explores how the artist, a vanguard of the Pop Art movement buoyed by a renaissance in printmaking, made fine art accessible to the American public in ways that had not been achieved before. The Skirball ...

Dance on, three nymphs, at Hollyhock House!

Architecture & Design · Dance · Featured · Visual arts
Don’t these girls deserve a rest? Apparently not! We recently announced the joyful homecoming of a reaaaaally old work of art — a first-century Roman bas relief still in stunning condition. A high-tech replication of an original tableau of three dancing girls lives once more on Olive Hill, a hilltop retreat dedicated to the arts ...

Aline’s nymphs to prance once more on Olive Hill

Architecture & Design · Dance · Visual arts
It’s the thing I most love, except for my relatives. I need this marble when I arrive home from a day of shopping or business. And I recover immediately when I look at those three maidens. They sooth me with their rhythm, that balance of movement, so charming, so pitre … This marble is already ...

Martha Graham Dance Company dances for Haiti

The Martha Graham Dance Company was scheduled to perform in Haiti at the end of October 2016, but the devastation caused by Hurricane Mathew earlier in the month postponed the performance. The Graham Company dancers decided to take action and help Haiti. Viewers can attend a live benefit performance at the company’s Westbeth studios or for ...

All is golden in the Golden Nautilus, says Catherine Turocy

Architecture & Design · Dance · Language & ideas
The structure of the Nautilus is considered sacred geometry, the Golden Mean, represented by the Greek letter phi, one of the mysterious natural numbers that seems to arise from the basic structure of our cosmos. “Baroque Dance and the Golden Nautilus” is a lecture/performance by Baroque expert Catherine Turocy.  The artistic director of the New ...

Pasta & moving pictures: Cinema Italian Style 2016

It’s that time again … for the cinema of charisma and Chianti. Now in its 12th annual edition, Cinema Italian Style, a joint festival hosted in tandem by a whole roster of Italian movie-loving people — American Cinematheque and Luce Cinecittà, under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, ...

Chita Rivera conquers Carnegie Hall

Dance · Music · Reviews · Theater
With thanks to Broadway World for the use of photos of the superb “Chita Rivera: Nowadays,” a hearty arts·meme appreciation for Broadway legend in her Carnegie Hall debut. Holding court on the historic stage Monday evening, she gave gobs of pleasure and a pre-election-day boost to a very well-sold house. Prior to the show, a ...