Why is James Cameron so happy? 2

Dance · Film
Is it the $1.8 billion his film has garnered in world-wide box office receipts? Pish-tosh! All in a day’s work! James Cameron is a happy man because he stands surrounded by beautiful modern dancers: choreographer Lula Washington and her troupe’s two leading ladies, Christa Oliver and Tamica Washington-Miller. Lula, truly the Queen of Crenshaw Boulevard, ...

Sir Frederick Ashton. Genius. Cigarette smoker. 1

Dance
“He smoked like a chimney. He would always have a cigarette in his fingers. He would walk up to you and he would want to tilt your head for the correct épaulement. I always thought he would burn my ear with his cigarette.” This memory of Frederick Ashton comes from Ashley Wheater, the 50-year-old artistic ...

Moira Shearer in Ashton’s Cinderella 1

Dance
I’ve been researching “Cinderella,” Frederick Ashton’s fairy tale ballet for adults choreographed for Sadler Wells Ballet (precursor to the Royal Ballet) based on Prokofiev’s score. The Joffrey Ballet is bringing its production of this gem to Los Angeles at the end of January. “Cinderella” was the first full-evening ballet Ashton, or any British-born dance maker, created. He made the work ...

Twenty-ten

Dance
Happy New Year from arts•meme!

Rambova’s Aztec costume for Kosloff 2

Dance · Fashion · Film
Ballets Russes dancer Theodore Kosloff and his protegee Natacha Rambova pose at left, costumed for their Aztec dance number on the Keith Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Kosloff brought to the stage the role in which he made his cinematic debut  — Guatemoco, the Aztec prince, in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Woman God Forgot” in 1917. Here’s a ...

Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh 2

Dance · Film
Come on, home town! What’s this I hear about twenty years of fruitless effort to erect a statue of dancer Gene Kelly  — in a city where bridges, steel mills, skyscrapers, and sports stadia get built with ease? In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, retired entertainment columnist Barbara Cloud gripes that she’s grown despondent waiting ...

Not the Nutcracker 1

Dance
By now many of you will have seen the film from which this marvelous image is plucked — a mash-up of mesdemoiselles pounding the floorboards in Frederick Wiseman’s ballet documentary “LA DANSE.” They’re Paris Opera Ballet dancers hoofing it in Rudolph Nureyev’s version of Tchaikowsky’s “Casse-Noisette” or “The Nutcracker.” It’s my favorite scene in the movie. You gotta see these ...

The astronaut and the ballerina 1

Dance
Weightlessness has its rewards. In 1950, the ballerina was a featherweight slithering down her partner’s body and marching on her highest pointes as Balanchine’s snaky Siren in “The Prodigal Son.” In 1969 the astronaut, seen at right, clocked in at 35 pounds while padding around the moon’s soft terrain like a stuffed doll. Los Angeles County ...

Anna Halprin, Bill T. Jones, Hofesh Shechter

Dance · Reviews
The big event of a busy fall season has been the historic reconstruction of Anna Halprin‘s “Parades & Changes,” an influential landmark of postmodern dance dating from 1965-67 featuring a soundscore by electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick. The piece builds on improvisation on a set of movement  “scores” — a Halprin key word that she ...

“La Danse” discount tix 2

Dance · Film
Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles offers arts•meme subscribers a generous discount for  “La Danse,” Frederick Wiseman’s acclaimed ballet documentary. Film is now playing at Laemmle Theaters in Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Encino. Read the interview with director Frederick Wiseman. Update: Sorry, no more discount coupons. This once in a lifetime opportunity has expired! Maybe in your ...