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La Bayadère
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

Shades of Beauty

American Ballet Theatre’s “La Bayadère” has just turned 35 years old, standing as one of the most enduring of the nineteenth century classics in the company’s repertory. Such impressive longevity can be attributed to the uniqueness of the current staging, mounted for the company in 1980 by Russian prima ballerina Natalia Makarova, who danced the ballet, originally created by Marius Petipa, during her years with the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg (then called Kirov Ballet). Makarova acquired her knowledge of the interpretive nuances of the choreography as a manner of genuine artistic succession, learning the role of Nikiya, the ballet’s...

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Flower of the Season
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

Flower of the Season

In an astonishing display of courage, fortitude and wit, three dancers performed solos and with each other to a packed house in “Flower of the Season,” a series now in its 12th year presented by Body Weather Laboratory. B.W.L., a forum for investigating kinesthetic and movement research that was initiated by dancer/farmer and improvisateur, Min Tanaka, and is offered by exponents worldwide, is led in Venice by Oguri, the Japan-born performer who goes by one name only.

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New York City Ballet
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

Square Dance

The third—and final—instalment of the New York City Ballet’s “Balanchine Black & White” festival offered three abstract ballets: “Square Dance,” “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” and “Stravinsky Violin Concerto,” in a program dedicated to Balanchine’s famed minimalist aesthetics. If the costumes of the dancers were simple and stage décor was absent, the stylistic and dramatic variety of the choreography was rich, vibrant and powerful.

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Guillaume Côté
REVIEWS | By Penelope Ford

In the Light

Guillaume Côté's new ballet, “Being and Nothingness” made its premiere alongside two-thirds of Alexei Ratmansky's “Shostakovich Trilogy.” Two quite different pieces to put together and yet the bill was a success. Côté's existential mood allowed the dancers to explore darker shades in vingettes, while Ratmansky's “Shostakovich Trilogy” kept a steady flow of movement.

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Apollo
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

Stravinsky + Balanchine

The second program of the New York City Ballet’s “Balanchine Black & White” festival was dedicated exclusively to Balanchine-Stravinsky ballets, honoring the most extraordinary creative partnership in twentieth century arts. Balanchine was Stravinsky’s most devoted advocate and promoter; like no other choreographer he respected, understood and adhered to the composer’s musical philosophy and values. “Balanchine employed his choreography as a conduit through which the message of Stravinsky’s music could be clarified and strengthened,” wrote Charles M. Joseph in his book Stravinsky’s Ballets, describing this unique artistic alliance.

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Los Angeles Ballet
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

Los Angeles Ballet Brilliant

Bubbles at the ballet! And what a fantastic way to end a program, which is precisely what Los Angeles Ballet did by presenting Jiří Kylián’s deliriously witty, “Sechs Tänze,” a 1986 bauble set to Mozart that should be required viewing for those who think ballet is a mysterious and elite art form.

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Rambert
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

Dramatic intent

Rambert's newest bill promises a lot of excitement: it kicks off with the London debut of Alexander Whitley's 2015 work “Frames,” then moves on to a revival of Lucinda Childs' simple but celebrated “Four Elements,” commissioned in 1990. The headline act is a world premiere from artistic director Mark Baldwin that features 20 dancers swishing to the on-stage syncopations of a 32-piece brass band, the musicians' gleaming instruments shielded from the action by perspex armoury and art deco-inspired scaffolding.

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Monumentum pro Gesualdo
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

Balanchine in Black & White

“Balanchine Black & White,” a three-program celebration of the great ballet master’s most exalted and extreme aesthetics, offered a unique opportunity for ballet-goers to appreciate and experience anew the breadth, depth and extraordinary invention of Balanchine’s trademark style of neoclassical ballet. The festival, which opened New York City Ballet’s spring season, featured twelve abstract one-act ballets, stark and minimalist, entirely liberated from any kind of stage décor, theatrical pantomime or elaborate attire, with the dancers wearing stylized practice costumes predominantly in black and white. In each of these ballets only music and movement create a nucleus of the action, expressing...

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An American in Paris
REVIEWS | By Madison Mainwaring

Innocent Abroad

When the American is in Paris he undergoes an education. Sure he arrives in ill-fitting clothes, pronouncing "coin" as if it were currency, but when he leaves he is a Man of the World. So we will forgive Jerry Mulligan, the ex-G.I. played by Robert Fairchild in “An American in Paris” at the Palace Theater, for appearing a little shallow. He's in the works. And underneath those clipped lines and long silences there is probably a fine mind; he is just more reserved, that’s all, and it serves the French—who tend to sound much smarter than they are—right.

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Sydney Dance Company
REVIEWS | By Gracia Haby

Physical Framework

“The impulse to feel, experience and understand a dance work in the theatre should be an individual one—beginning in the heart and contemplated in your mind. It is your frame of mind which colours your world, and the same should be true of art. When all explanations have been exhausted and you find yourselves outside of definition but immersed in sensation—the only thing left is to feel.”[note]Rafael Bonachela, Sydney Dance Company “Frame of Mind” programme, Southbank Theatre, Melbourne, Australia May 7 2015, 14[/note]

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James Wilton
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

Mortal Coil

There's a strong element of isolation to James Wilton's “Last Man Standing,” a moody two-act work that ruminates on mortality and the existential crises it inspires. The choreography constantly links the six dancers together in tight-grip grasps only to dismantle their connections, a reminder that death is never anything but an individual journey. It's a dark piece to be sure, made even more so by its soundtrack, a tempestuous medley of Tool songs, but the six-strong group (which includes Wilton himself) breathes an indelible radiance into it, lifting the mood out of desperation and into quiet introspection.

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JV2
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

On Verve

Last month Hofesh Shechter, Akram Khan and Lloyd Newson—three giants of the UK's contemporary dance scene—issued a damning edict on the quality of British contemporary training, claiming they regularly struggle to recruit home-grown talent “of sufficient calibre.” Their criticism raises some interesting questions about how we measure quality in the contemporary sphere, where technique is not codified as definitively as it is in ballet, and valuable performance skills can range from improvisation to gymnastics to vocals. What makes a good contemporary dancer? Is it strength? Precision? Versatility? Emotion? Intent?

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