California women of dance recognized

Dance · Language & ideas
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It took a New Yorker, dance writer Wendy Perron, to draw attention to an interesting phenomenon … In her recently published essay, Wendy notes the surplus of women holding leadership roles in California dance across the board:  management, production, presentation, talent representation, criticism and, indeed, as artists. Read Wendy’s blog item here. The story includes ...

Breaking news: Los Angeles, 1984

Dance
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It was thirty years ago today, not that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play, but that a bunch of untrained dancers in South Central Los Angeles, utterly unimpeded by lack of dance pedagogy, or even the need to stand on their feet, brought to the West Coast, break dancing. The enduring street dance was ...

Los Angeles (architecture) in the looking glass

Architecture & Design
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An interesting architecture talk on tap this week at LACMA concerns seventies-era reflecting glass architecture as it developed in Los Angeles, and then became a corporate vernacular through the 1980s. In the 1960s and ’70s, Los Angeles was home to an era of experimentation and new advances in art and technology. The Light and Space ...

Strong women of European dance at Biennale Festival

Dance
Maria Munoz & Raffaella Giordano's "In contro,": brilliant improvisations as dancing Vladimir, Estragon
Attending one week of the recently concluded Biennale Dance 2014 in Venice, I was struck and impressed by the strong roster of female dancers and choreographers on display. A critical round-up of the Festival just published on The Huffington Post.

‘Solo for Two’ in steady preparation at Segerstrom Center

Dance
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It’s a pretty big stage — that’s why we love watching the great ballet companies of the world bourée and jeté across it. So let’s see how two of our best, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, succeed in riveting our attention over their full-evening performance “Solo for Two.” The showcase by the diminutive Russian duo, ...

Ivan Kirov, the dancing star of “Specter of the Rose”

Dance · Film
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Ivan Kirov In 'Specter Of The Rose'
“I’m no good. I’m just some muscles that can dance. The rest of me is rubbish — broken glass and rubbish.” So self-describes the lead character, Andre Sanine, of “Specter of the Rose” (1946, Republic Pictures). He’s mouthing writer-producer-director Ben Hecht’s lurid and kitsch-adjacent movie dialogue. Hecht created “Specter” in a couple of weeks, for ...

Review: National Ballet of Canada’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the Music Center

Dance · Reviews
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Alexei Ratmansky’s infusion of ballet classicism with inventive, sometimes quirky, contemporary dance movement reinvigorated “Romeo and Juliet” for a new generation last night at the Los Angeles Music Center. The National Ballet of Canada‘s compelling opening-night performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was further enlivened by live orchestral delivery of the Prokofiev score. Despite minor fits ...

Specter of Nijinsky haunts Republic Pictures’ “Specter of the Rose”

Dance · Film
specter of the rose (republic, 1946)
The photo captures the marvelous opening scene of “Specter of the Rose,” a ballet movie from 1946 and a precious artifact of high-Hollywood dance-schmaltz. Dame Judith Anderson, seated at left, knitting, plays “Madam La Sylph,” the ballet mistress whom Ben Hecht, in his at-once overheated and acerbic screenplay, refers to as “the remains of a ...

Italian choreographer Dewey Dell’s “Marzo” smartly advances dance

Architecture & Design · Dance · Language & ideas · Visual arts
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At long last, something new, thank God. It took a cluster of young Italians to inject pop and sizzle into dance’s tired traditional proscenium-arch format, creating a “screen” inside the frame, replicating the tiny rectangles into which most audience members gaze much of their day. And I think “Marzo” (Italian for “March”), a super flamboyant work ...

Phoenix arisen: visiting Venice’s historic La Fenice opera house

Architecture & Design · Music
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So thrilling to tour Teatro La Fenice, the historic opera house that sits at the center of the Italian arts city … and then to attend a wonderful, rocking Baroque music concert by the Festival Baroque Orchestra, performing under vigorous direction by violin virtuoso, Stefano Montanari, in one of the theater’s lovely music salons. Group ...