A chat with Ralph Lemon

Dance
“How do you watch something kind of unwatchable? How do you hear something unlistenable?” asks Ralph Lemon, multi-media choreographer, addressing no one in particular. Talkative in a cross-country phone interview, he’s musing on his latest dance work, How Can you Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? It’s a good title for ...

Cannibals found in New Zealand! 1

Dance
I read with interest the news that Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy, two of America’s strongest home-grown ballet talents, got plucked by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Stiefel as artistic director. A nice move for a gifted and beautiful couple. Even more delighted by the way Kiwi journalistTom Cardy cannibalized my descript in the L.A. Times of ...

Ruth Page’s Pavlova passion

Dance
Ruth Page, seeing the Russian ballerina perform in Indianapolis in 1914, was not the the only American girl of her generation to be transfixed by Anna Pavlova. The same thing happened to Agnes DeMille in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Ballet is dead. Long live ballet. 1

Dance · Film
In the October 13, 2010 issue of The New Republic, dance critic Jennifer Homans queries, “Is Ballet Over?” In her essay, Homans notes: “Ballet has always and above all contained the idea of human transformation, the conviction that human beings could remake themselves in another, more perfect or divine image. It is this mixture of ...

Choreographer Kyle Abraham, Pittsburgh homeboy, BESSIE awardee

Dance
Gifted dance artist Kyle Abraham, whose “The Radio Show” just won a Bessie Award, and who I immensely enjoyed meeting at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in August, is my homeboy from Pittsburgh. Never mind that I’m a good twenty years older than Kyle — a full generation. He and I share a few Pittsbuggian, er ...

Ballet’s Angel Corella looks ahead … and back

Dance
“Dance is a way of connecting with people. When you play classical roles, you use your technique to express something, to make the audience part of what you’re doing,” says veteran ballet star Angel Corella, who as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theater for 15 years has played serious dudes with names like Siegfried, ...

Bessie Awards honors west coast choreographers 1

Dance
In a joyous ceremony that ended only one hour ago at Symphony Space on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, two West Coast choreographers were among those honored with Bessie dance awards. The awards returned with a vengeance following a one-year hiatus. Faye Driscoll of Los Angeles was recognized for her dance-theater piece “837 Venice Boulevard.”  Accepting ...

Jerome Robbins’s “Glass Pieces” at NYCB

Dance
Program opener “Glass Pieces” was a standout at the final performance of New York City Ballet’s fall season Sunday afternoon. Jerome Robbins made the piece in 1983, a bit of a late comer to the music of minimalist composer Phillip Glass who had long been the darling of the downtown world. The Robbins validation was ...

Great Los Angeles-born ballerina Cynthia Gregory returns to West Coast 1

Dance
This Martha Swope photo of Cynthia Gregory with the Hungarian, Ivan Nagy, was published in a dance book I pored over as a teenager. The image had a huge impact on me — it was a proto-feminist portrait of a powerful, free young woman. Boy, did I ever want to be her. I enjoyed a ...

Fred Wiseman, documentary film’s wise man

Dance · Film
Last fall, we were spared the euro:dollar exchange rate and whisked back stage at the Paris Opera Ballet via Frederick Wiseman’s glorious — and rigorous — documentary “La Danse.” Months later, I saw Wiseman’s “Meat” at REDCAT. Amazing. Mr. Wiseman will be honored with a lifetime achievement award from Loyola Marymount College’s School of Film ...