Swan Lake mania hits the San Fernando Valley 2

Dance
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Marvin Hamlisch, Shirley Maclaine, Joan Rivers, kindly step aside. Proud though you may be to partake in the opening season roster of the brand new Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), look who’s the first to sell out the 1,700-seat house on February 8. The Russian National Ballet! Um, what’s that? Not ...

The dignity of ballerina Natalia Makarova 8

Dance · Film
I was struck by a passage in Natalia Makarova‘s biography, “A Dance Autobiography,” (Knopf, 1979) edited by Robert Gottlieb (“What did ballet ever do to deserve this?”) when he was editor-in-chief at the New York publishing house. The text recalls an indignity Makarova suffered at the Kirov Ballet soon before she defected to the West ...

Aronofsky’s BLACK SWAN: Raw deal for Odile 6

Dance · Film
Seconds into Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller BLACK SWAN, the hyperkinetic camera zooms in on a pink pointe shoe. A woman is dancing, but we don’t see her. We see only the impeccable chop-chop of her shoes. It’s a smart directorial move. Cinephiles and foot fetishists are primed for a good time, but dance lovers’ hearts ...

Ballet is dead. Long live ballet. 1

Dance · Film
In the October 13, 2010 issue of The New Republic, dance critic Jennifer Homans queries, “Is Ballet Over?” In her essay, Homans notes: “Ballet has always and above all contained the idea of human transformation, the conviction that human beings could remake themselves in another, more perfect or divine image. It is this mixture of ...