Arthur Mitchell delights in his ballerinas

Dance
“I love to partner,” admits the great pioneering African-American ballet dancer Arthur Mitchell who joined New York City Ballet in 1955. In conversation he shares affectionate sound bites about the ballerinas he partnered when dancing for choreographer George Balanchine at New York City Ballet, 1955 – 1966. On Allegra Kent: “Otherworldly. A real creature, there was nothing she ...

Jane Russell remembers “Gentleman” Jack Cole 2

Dance · Film
“Yes,” answered Jane Russell last Wednesday evening, nodding emphatically when asked if choreographer Jack Cole had directed the dance sequences in Howard Hawks’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953). Russell’s brown eyes flashed and she became animated on hearing Cole’s name. The brunette bombshell of the 1940/50’s, appearing at a Hollywood Heritage event this past week, chatted ...

Legendary dancer/director Arthur Mitchell visits L.A. 1

Dance · Visual arts
In tandem with the soon-to-close “40 Years of Firsts,” a loving and comprehensive art gallery retrospective of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Arthur Mitchell, the troupe’s artistic director emeritus, will appear at the California African American Museum the evening of June 30. The multimedia exhibit, organized by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, ...

Baryshnikov backstage at REDCAT

Dance
Monday evening saw Russian-born ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov join the great Merce Cunningham Dance Company on stage for a fundraiser at REDCAT performance space in downtown Los Angeles. Beneficiaries: MCDC’s “legacy” project and REDCAT. After the show … Barysh & the Merce’ites click for better view Marisa Meets Misha click for better view Mark Murphy, Executive Director, REDCAT, ...

merce misha mashup 2

Dance · Visual arts
“Farewell Merce Cunningham Dance Company” weekend in Los Angeles was capped by a bonus performance in which Mikhail Baryshnikov appeared with the company. It was a fundraiser for the Cunningham Dance Foundation’s “Legacy Project” and REDCAT. Charles Atlas, with whom the choreographer collaborated on multiple video projects over thirty years, presented his film homage to Merce — ...

Merce’s marvelous Irish jig 3

Dance · Reviews
Co-published on Huffington Post arts page “It was unutterably moving to watch,” said long time company archivist David Vaughan of the historic reconstruction of “Roaratorio” (1983) that graced Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s fare-thee-well performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall this weekend. “We all feel Merce in the dance.” Indeed, watching company elder Robert Swinston, 60, ...

Neil Greenberg chats about Roaratorio

Dance
“You really see people dancing. It’s especially clear that this was a concern of Merce’s. There’s a lot of humanity in this work.” Thus choreographer Neil Greenberg remembers Roaratorio, the Merce Cunningham work dating from 1983 that will be restaged at Disney Concert Hall next weekend.  A member of Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1979 ...

Lionel Popkin, elephantine

Dance · Reviews
We all know it's a jungle out there. Especially now, with oil gushing into the Louisiana Wetlands, we're sincerely grateful to choreographer Lionel Popkin for inverting the familiar man-destroys-nature theme. Popkin transforms a downtown Los Angeles performance space into an urban jungle of lush mystery in his marvelously inventive "There is an Elephant In This ...

Pina Bausch films at Dance Camera West

Dance · Film
Kudos to hardworking impresario Lynette Kessler on the launch of the ninth annual installment of Dance Camera West, the month-long series celebrating the best-of-the-best of the filmed dance experience. Here is Dance Camera's West's full schedule. I'm particularly drawn to Lynette's June 12 symposium on German choreographer Pina Bausch, a great force in dance who died ...

L.A. Music Center co-commissions revival of Merce Cunningham work

Dance
It gave me pause to learn that the Los Angeles Music Center had co-commissioned the revival of Roaratorio, a major work dating from 1986 that Merce Cunningham Dance Company will soon present in L.A. That’s really cool. I had to read it twice. Choreographer Neil Greenberg, who performed in the piece while a Cunningham dancer, ...