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 ...

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 ...