Polina Semionova, one of seven powerful female dancers of “Reflections” 1

Dance · Reviews
Just back from “Reflections” at Orange County’s Segerstrom Center, a beautifully performed showcase for the spectacular skills of seven Bolshoi Academy-trained ballerinas and four of their male counterparts. Lots of vibrant creativity on display here — in a regrettably overly long program. (I never thought I’d write the words, ‘Cut the Balanchine,’ but here they ...

Robyn Gardenhire’s garden of riches

Dance · Reviews
In the video, artistic director Robyn Gardenhire rehearses her wonderful troupe, City Ballet of Los Angeles, which just delivered a mightily entertaining evening of dance at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in central Los Angeles. Gardenhire’s diverse dancers bring fine integrity to her vivid, high-energy dance works. She has two strong prima ballerinas: the ...

Angelin Preljocaj’s “Empty Moves”

Dance · Reviews
I loved this thoughtful, high-quality dance work presented at the Irvine Barclay Theatre this week — found it smart and profound. Having sat through another entire dance concert since, I’m still pondering this one. Read my review in the Los Angeles Times.    

Fear & loathing at the Met: Rene Pape as Boris Gudonov 1

Music · Reviews
Read this story on The Huffington Post. Opera goers didn’t so much descend the Metropolitan Opera House’s red staircase late Friday night as fled the house after a challenging four-hour encounter with “Boris Gudonov,” Modest Mussorgsky’s sprawling recitative-driven opera from 1869. Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Theater conductor whose advocacy for “Boris” may have spurred the ...

Our shared racist past surfaced in “Neighbors”

Reviews · Theater
People can be color-blind when it comes to race. In fact, skin color doesn’t even matter. Based on that idealistic credo — the legacy of the civil rights movement and ’60s egalitarianism — Richard and Jean Patterson, an interracial couple who are the subject of a brilliant new play, “Neighbors,” marry. He’s black, she’s white. ...

Classical theater, California-style

Reviews · Theater
Two wonderful recent theater outings in L.A., both highly recommended. There’s only one more weekend to skedaddle to the delightful 24th Street Theatre for final performances of “Anton’s Uncles,” which the effervescent creative team of Debbie Devine and Jay McAdams co-produced with Theatre Movement Bazaar‘s ex-Mummenshantz word-and-movement mavens, Tina Kronis and Richard Alger. I had ...

Merce’s marvelous Irish jig 3

Dance · Reviews
Co-published on Huffington Post arts page “It was unutterably moving to watch,” said long time company archivist David Vaughan of the historic reconstruction of “Roaratorio” (1983) that graced Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s fare-thee-well performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall this weekend. “We all feel Merce in the dance.” Indeed, watching company elder Robert Swinston, 60, ...

Lionel Popkin, elephantine

Dance · Reviews
We all know it's a jungle out there. Especially now, with oil gushing into the Louisiana Wetlands, we're sincerely grateful to choreographer Lionel Popkin for inverting the familiar man-destroys-nature theme. Popkin transforms a downtown Los Angeles performance space into an urban jungle of lush mystery in his marvelously inventive "There is an Elephant In This ...

The eyes have it …

Dance · Reviews
Indian dancers dance with their eyes. They train them too. That’s evident in this image of the great Indian classical dancer Uday Shankar (Ravi Shanker was his little brother and Jack Cole was his student). Modern-dance choreographer Yvonne Rainer wisely reminds us that the mind is a muscle. So, too, are the eyes. The pedagogy ...

Heidi Duckler’s sudsy classic

Dance · Reviews
The Echo Park lavanderia (“SpinCycle”) where choreographer Heidi Duckler is reprising her 1988 site-specific work “Laundromatinee” stands next door to a Los Angeles bagel factory. Yeasty baking odors waft into the laundromat where her whimsical dance unrolls. We’re in the inner city. That makes sense because Duckler, a long-time contributor to the local dance scene, ...