Ballerina’s beautiful beach birthday bash 1

Dance · Film
Last year I wrote an article about former New York City Ballet ballerina Yvonne Mounsey coaching a young dancer, Melissa Barak, in the lead role of George Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son.” Mounsey danced the role in the early 1950s. By all accounts, she was an amazing, full-blooded dancer. She went on to become a great ballet ...

Yvonne Rainer, filmmaker 1

Dance · Film
As a dance writer, I approached Yvonne Rainer, filmmaker, with trepidation. But she is as highly regarded in the experimental film world as she is in dance. My apprehension was for naught having attended the first of an eight-part retrospective of Rainer’s film work at the L.A. Filmforum at the Egyptian Theater. The films are marvelous, even ...

Marilyn dances . . . 1

Dance · Film
The first man to impersonate Marilyn Monroe may well have been her dance coach, Jack Cole. Anticipating the iconic Marilyn, he brought out her exceptional femininity through dance. Monroe copied him in return. A star was born. Monroe’s six-movie collaboration with Cole began with 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” the breakthrough film that made her a ...

Merce Cunningham (1919 – 2009)

Dance
It’s difficult to select a photo of Merce Cunningham. They are all so fabulous. Here’s an Annie Leibowitz portrait from 1994. Although I reviewed the company several times, I published only two feature pieces on Merce, one in 1984 in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, and another in La Opinion in 2005. I first studied ...

Twyla, Laura, and me 7

Dance · Reviews
When American women demanded, and then seized, social and sexual liberation in 1970, I was an intense 15-year-old high-school girl in suburban Pittsburgh. Feminism hit me hard and it formed me. I entered young womanhood with the lovely delusion that life would deliver every achievement and pleasure I sought. Five years later, having already burned through ...

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Dance · Reviews
The golden light in which gifted choreographer Ohad Naharin bathes his all-female quintet in “Decadance” is Mediterranean. It brings to mind the color of the air when frenetic Tel Aviv calms itself in the withering heat of the afternoon sun. Visions of Israel inevitably surface while watching “Decadance” Naharin’s perennial greatest-hits collection of choreographic output ...

Death of a great dancer 3

Dance · Music

Emanuel Gat, cool choreographer 3

Dance · Reviews
Two similar-looking guys .. black tee-shirts and trousers … dance on a stage. Together. For an hour. That’s the Tweet on Monday night’s world premiere of choreographer Emanuel Gat’s “Winter Variations” at the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. [I am attending the ADF as part of a three-week long Dance Criticism Institute run ...

arts•meme to attend summer dancefest 3

Dance
Big news for arts•meme  . . . and an honor. I am joining one dozen dance writers from across the country as a fellow at the 2009 National Endowment for the Arts “Dance Journalism Institute” held at the American Dance Festival at Duke University. Starts 20 June. Over the course of the three-week in-residence program, I expect to view and write about ...

Diaghilev’s five great choreographers

Dance
We celebrate the exquisite legacy of the Ballets Russes, a phenomenal ballet troupe that debuted in Paris one hundred years ago. Theodore Kosloff, my subject in the Los Angeles Times and on arts•meme, was a first-generation member of Ballets Russes. Kosloff’s story piqued my interest (a polite way of saying “I’m obsessed!”) to attend the “Spirit of ...