“Fiddler on the Roof” returned to Broadway this month, with London-based choreographer Hofesh Shechter maintaining most of the original steps but relaxing the dancers’ postures and loosening the dances’ spacing for an effect of chaotic feeling erupting at ritual moments that I suspect Robbins would have loved. In any case, it seemed like a good moment to reprint a short Newsday feature as well as uncut interviews with some of Robbins’ favorite dancers, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Wendy Whelan and Damian Woetzel, conducted on the occasion of an exhilarating and comprehensive Robbins Celebration at New York City Ballet in 2008. All three of these brilliant dancers were incredibly generous with their time and memories.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Alicia Makarova rehearsing “Other Dances” with Jerome Robbins. Photograph by Brownie Harris
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading