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

Dance · Reviews
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
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
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 ...

Steve Paxton lionized in Venice 3

Architecture & Design · Dance
In an incredibly generous and appropriate act of recognition, the International Dance Festival of the Venice Biennale last week honored American modern dancer Steve Paxton with one of the art world’s greatest accolades: the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance. The Biennale dance division, under the directorship of Virgilio Sieni, offered the following in praise ...

Somi aces Ace Hotel Shoreditch

Music · Reviews
I’d never heard of her but liked her look on the press announcement: the youthful but knowing joy of her open smile, the color riot of her wax print dress celebrating the burnished brown of her skin. Tickets only £10 (in Shoreditch?)The London launch of Lagos Music Salon, her new cd from Okeh. I remember ...

Frutti di danza italiano

The boy in the front a real dancer in Cristina Rizzo's "Bolero," set to Ravel and staged in magnificent former palace hall of Ca Giustinian
I’ve been dining on Italy’s delightful frutti di mare dishes – pasta, pizza – since arriving in Venice Tuesday to attend the second and final week of BIENNALE DANCE 2014. The dance on offer in the Festival strikes me as rich and abundant as that hearty Italian seafood mix … so, then, a tour of DANCE ...

Dance Biennale 2014: Marina Giovannini meditates on beauty

Dance · Reviews
photo by Ilaria Costanzo
The second week of BIENNALE DANCE 2014, an ambitious urban festival showcasing contemporary choreography whose tag line, “Gesture, Place, Community,” reflects curator Virgilio Sieni’s high aspiration for the art form, got off to a particularly strong start Tuesday evening in Venice. Among four vivid presentations by choreographers Sieni, Roy Assaf and duo Raffaella Giordano/Maria Muñoz, a ...

Biennale Dance Festival finds new humanity for art form

Architecture & Design · Dance · Language & ideas
Venice’s enchanting waterways have given rise, lately, to political discord, when on June 4, Mayor Giorgio Orsoni and 30 fellow government officials were charged with corruption related to flood-control project Mose. But the converging Po and Piave Rivers will soon revert to a more customary role – acting as a fluid crossroads for a vanguard of ...

Dada Masilo does Swan Lake @ Sadler’s Wells

A bare stage, the backdrop awash in pale blue light as a wedge of dancers in elaborate fluffy tutus process elegantly from the wings to a recording of Tchaikovsky’s overture. Their costumes’ snowy white makes striking contrast to the various browns of their complexions. The men are bare-chested; the women are not.  A flute of white feathers ...