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

Dance
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

Dance
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

Dance
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 ...

Mitzi Gaynor fabulous in Jack Cole’s “I Don’t Care” 1

Dance · Film
I love everything about this amazing, high-spirited dance sequence choreographed by Jack Cole for The I Don’t Care Girl (1953). “I don’t care. I don’t care. What people think of me. I’m happy, go-lucky, men say that I’m plucky, so jolly and carefree!” From the first frames — the camera shooting upward through a mirror ...

Merce Cunningham’s Beach Birds (1993)

Dance
It’s August. Let’s go to the beach . . .

Jack Cole to be celebrated at Jacob’s Pillow 2

Dance · Film
arts·meme‘s Debra Levine is proud to announce her participation, on Saturday, August 14, at 4 pm, in “Jack Cole, Unsung Genius” a celebration of the innovative jazz choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the summer dance camp for grown ups in Becket, Massachusetts. The Cole commemoration fits surprisingly well with Jacob’s Pillow history. In his ...

A real city ballet for a real city 1

Architecture & Design · Dance
Los Angeles — a patchwork of suburban satellites stitched into a megalopolis — felt urban Thursday night. A smart young contemporary ballet company, City Ballet of Los Angeles, performed downtown using our handsome cityscape as a backdrop. Robyn Gardenhire, the group’s go-get-’em artistic director, a veteran of Cleveland Ballet, Karole Armitage, American Ballet Theatre, and ...