Tidbits from Robert Redford at the AARP Awards 2

Dance · Film
It was interesting to see Robert Redford honored for “Life Achievement” at the AARP “Movies for Grownups Awards” Monday night. Redford is an ambiguous player in this town. A star among stars, one of the last of the old-school movie actors, he stepped into the breach, launching the Sundance Institute and its independent film festival. ...

To Ann Arbor for Merce Cunningham concert

Dance
We’re very excited about our visit to University of Michigan Power Center to see Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform next Saturday night. The program includes the marvelous “Split Sides,” made in 2003 to a rock score by Sigur Rós and Radiohead. I wrote about “Side Splits” in La Opinión at the time. Read it here. ...

Sydney Skybetter: from living room to living art

Dance
In a living room audition for “A Chorus Line,” the young dancer, Sydney Skybetter, brings enviable energy to his task. It’s not surprising that the twig grew to a tree, choreographing this lovely solo to Schubert lieder for dancer Bergen Wheeler. [Music:  Schubert’s Schwanengesang, D.957 (Cycle): Ständchen “Leise Flehen Meine Lieder, Fritz Wunderlich tenor.] In ...

Music and dance contribute to early Disney animation

Dance · Film
In this clip from a talk at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival last summer, the amazing Marge Champion, 91, chats with the Pillow’s Director of Preservation, Norton Owen, about her participation in Walt Disney’s Snow White (1937). The occasion was the publishing of Mindy Aloff’s super book, “Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation.” Mindy, ...

Rare 1928 Ballets Russes film footage found

Dance · Film
From Corriere della Serra, via arts•meme‘s good friend Stefano Tomassini, a dance historian at University CaFoscari in Venice: the only film to date of the Ballets Russes. The footage portrays Michel Fokine’s Chopin ballet “Les Sylphides,” and features principal dancer, Serge Lifar. It seems to have been filmed in 1928 at the Fête des Narcisses in ...

Lorenz Hart taught Balanchine English 1

Dance · Language & ideas · Music
Chatting by phone with George Balanchine’s longtime assistant, Barbara Horgan, I learned an amusing story about the great expatriate choreographer. “Balanchine was rather reserved,” noted Horgan. “But he adored Lorenz Hart [the brilliant but troubled lyricist of Rodgers & Hart songwriting team]. “Balanchine always used to say that ‘Larry taught me how to speak English.'” ...

Swan Lake mania hits the San Fernando Valley 2

Dance
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Marvin Hamlisch, Shirley Maclaine, Joan Rivers, kindly step aside. Proud though you may be to partake in the opening season roster of the brand new Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), look who’s the first to sell out the 1,700-seat house on February 8. The Russian National Ballet! Um, what’s that? Not ...

Bodacious Brazilian bodies of Grupo Corpo

Dance · Reviews
If you don’t speak Portuguese, but do speak slithering, sinuous, samba sensuality, you’re in good stead at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles this weekend. Contemporary dance troupe Grupo Corpo, visiting from Brazil, is in the house. Grupo Corpo’s red-hot, audience-pleasing performance is part of the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music ...

Virginia Johnson remembers her path to Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance
Dance Theater of Harlem Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, once the company’s tall prima ballerina — and she still has gorgeous gams — spoke today to a group of African-American dance students at the annual conference of the International Association of Blacks in Dance at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The classy Manhattan-ite told ...

Polina Semionova, one of seven powerful female dancers of “Reflections” 1

Dance · Reviews
Just back from “Reflections” at Orange County’s Segerstrom Center, a beautifully performed showcase for the spectacular skills of seven Bolshoi Academy-trained ballerinas and four of their male counterparts. Lots of vibrant creativity on display here — in a regrettably overly long program. (I never thought I’d write the words, ‘Cut the Balanchine,’ but here they ...