Return to ballet world for Rahm Emanuel?

arts•meme gets hits from all around the world, every single day. But Thursday September 30, we had a particularly unusual visitor. Perusing the site’s analytics (the statistical breakdown of the website’s visitors by network, geography, and other variables), my eye tripped on the following “network location.” This is a direct lift from the statistics: executive ...

Start ’em young 1

Jack Cole dancer Nita Bieber coaches her nephew, Christopher, in ballet at an early age. From Life Magazine in 1949.

“Ballets With a Twist” serves drinks all around 3

It was one of those magical Los Angeles evenings. In a location as romantic as its name – Rustic Canyon – the New York-based Ballets with a Twist made its local debut Friday night. The forested glen, tucked about a mile inland from the Pacific Ocean, provided a fantasy setting for the choreography of Marilyn ...

Michelle Obama expands White House dance card 2

arts·meme guest writer Lisa Traiger contributes this report from D.C. The White House billed it as the first dance event. Yet, the gilded East Room has hosted its share of dance over the years, including performances by American Ballet Theatre and Jerome Robbins’ Ballets: USA during the Kennedy Administration; Patricia McBride and a chandelier-grazing Mikhail ...

First lady of nation recognizes first lady of dance

Dance · Film · Music
The freewheeling creativity that flourished in 20th century America spawned three indigenous art forms: film, jazz, and modern dance. The first two on this list (in descending order of magnitude), have functioned relatively adeptly in the market economy. Why? Because entrepreneurs recorded them on celluloid and disc, then packaged, promoted and distributed movies and records. Poor ...

Natalia Osipova’s ethereal “Giselle” 1

I met and briefly interviewed the phenomenal 24-year-old Bolshoi and ABT ballerina Natalia Osipova yesterday, in rehearsal for an upcoming performance in Orange County next January. She struck me as a magnificently moody Russian. Read my L.A. Times article here. This Russian television broadcast shows Osipova’s unearthly technique, particularly her jumps, and there is something so ...

Jack Cole bangs the drum, but not slowly 1

Norton Owen, Jacob Pillow‘s wonderful Preservation Director, gave kind permission to publish this extraordinary photo of Jack Cole teaching class at the rustic dance retreat in 1971.  (Click photo for detail.) A Jack Cole dancer, Rod Alexander, once described how the ferociously intense choreographer would give his drum as much of a beating as he ...

Kyle Abraham makes it or breaks it

Dance · Music
“I got really frustrated when a good song got ‘broken,'” says the soft-spoken young choreographer, Kyle Abraham, chatting over breakfast at Jacob’s Pillow this past weekend. “I’d call the station many times to vote in support [of cutting-edge music the audience didn’t like.]” During my three-day visit to the historic summer dance venue, I enjoyed ...

arts•meme at the Pillow

I am in an arts paradise called Jacob’s Pillow. It’s my first visit to the Pillow, the hallowed Berkshire Mountain birthing ground of modern dance dedicated to preserving, nurturing and presenting dance of every idiom — contemporary, jazz, ballet and ethnic. Last night at the Pillow’s summer dance festival, I saw a wonderful performance by ...

Kenneth Anger recalls blacklisted Jack Cole dancers 1

Dance · Film
The first time I heard the name Jack Cole was not from a dance person but from experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Upon hearing that I am a dance critic, Anger, 83, said: “Someone needs to write about Jack Cole.” Kenneth Anger has distinct memories of hanging out with Jack Cole dancers in Paris: “Hollywood was ...