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Beauty Sleep
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

Beauty Sleep

Contrary to Mae West’s delicious quip, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful,” choreographer and ABT Artist in Residence, Alexei Ratmansky, whose interpretation of the iconic fairy tale landed in Orange County stuffed with ballet stars, sequins and sky-high wigs, this over-the-top world premiere is somewhat of a snooze. Blame, too, must be placed on Richard Hudson’s elaborate sets and costumes, which, although inspired by Léon Bakst’s 1921 Ballets Russes production,“The Sleeping Princess,” might be better suited to Las Vegas or Macao, where spectacle is the norm but taste is generally tossed aside.

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Martha Graham Dance Company
REVIEWS | By Madison Mainwaring

Comic Relief

Martha Graham’s legacy remains something of a problem for the company she founded in 1926, which continues performing her work today. Review after review will tell you that her seminal works feel outdated, even kitsch. Isamu Noguchi’s sets, with their mobiles and stylized sculptures, look like relics of an old avant garde. The women interpreting roles Graham originally created for herself end up looking a lot like Graham, with heavy makeup and strange, angular buns. The audience laughs at moments which are supposed to be serious, as when the “Creature of Fear” (aka the Minotaur) menaces the female version of...

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Sara Mearns
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

Mercurial Manoeuvres

“New Combinations” was an apt way to describe the outstanding triple bill that featured “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Alexei Ratmansky, “‘Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes” by Justin Peck, and “Mercurial Manoeuvres” by Christopher Wheeldon. All works were specifically created for NYCB in the 21st century; all three choreographers have close artistic and collaborative ties (past and present) with the company.

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Harlequinade
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

Harlequinade

It’s been a decade since New York City Ballet staged George Balanchine’s vibrant ballet-comedy “Harlequinade,” and the current revival of this sparkling gem comes just in time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original production.

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Justin Peck Rodeo
REVIEWS | By Madison Mainwaring

The Frontier Revisited

The American sensibility has a lot to do with a sense of the space. This might be why theaters in the US started making their stages wider and more expansive than their European counterparts, as if trying to match the topography outside. In 1942, when Agnes de Mille choreographed “Rodeo” (pronounced “ro-day-o”) to a commissioned score by Aaron Copland, she worked with this idea of the expanse, its limitlessness, the way in which it can intoxicate its inhabitants with aspirations and anxieties.

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Crystal Pite
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

Modern Landscapes

Sadler's Wells first started appointing associate artists a decade ago, and the prestigious title has evolved into a distinct badge of influence: Sadler's associates don't simply add to the landscape of contemporary dance; they decide where its borders will extend to next. This bill features new commissions from Kate Prince, Crystal Pite and Hofesh Shechter—three current associates whose bodies of work vary wildly in tone but each place a premium on wit and seeking out the humanity in the subjects they cover. The showcase is an illuminating snapshot of the mutable nature of contemporary dance and the diverse territories the...

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Kyle Abraham
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

In the Name of Freedom

He’s racked up some of the arts’ most prestigious awards, including the MacArthur “genius” grant in 2013, a “Bessie,” and in 2012 he not only received the Jacob’s Pillow prize, but was also named the newly appointed New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012–2014.

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Serenade
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

Dark Angel

Saturday, January 24, was a big day for New York City Ballet as they held their annual birthday celebration for George Balanchine, called “Saturday at the Ballet with George,” which concluded with an evening bill that featured three timeless works from the great ballet master—“Serenade,” “Agon” and “Symphony in C.”

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La Valse
REVIEWS | By Oksana Khadarina

La Valse

On Saturday, January 24, New York City Ballet celebrated in style the 111th anniversary of company co-founder and choreographer George Balanchine, who was born on January 22, 1904. This was NYCB’s fifth annual birthday celebration for Mr. Balanchine, dubbed “Saturday at the Ballet with George,” and the festivities featured two all-Balanchine programs (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.) as well as other events, including live music performances by members of the NYCB orchestra and movement workshops for adults and children.

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Onegin
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

The Superfluous Man

With its tortured romance and soaring choreography, John Cranko’s “Onegin” feels right at home on the Royal Opera House stage. Cranko famously toyed with Pushkin’s plot when adapting the poet’s nineteenth-century verse-novel into a ballet back in 1965; even more famously he passed over Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin” when choosing his score, instead setting his work to a mish-mash of lesser-known Tchaikovsky variations. An element Cranko preserved from both works, however, was the pathos that cloaks Tatiana’s eventual rejection of Onegin—something the Royal Ballet takes to new heights here with an inspired and heart-wrenching final scene.

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K-Arts Dance Company
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

A Warm Welcome

Gymnastics, silk fans, cups of tea, creepy masks—there's a slight whiff of performance art to this eclectic triple bill, which marks the first ever UK performance for K-Arts Dance Company, the Korean National University of Arts' resident professional troupe. The approach is more playful than pretentious: you get the sense there's an implicit wink accompanying the antics here, one that invites the odd laugh and seeks to endear rather than distance the audience.

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Laurel Jenkins
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

Small Steps Giant Leaps

Los Angeles, a town that loves the business of movies, television, pop music—and now art, with high-end galleries and museums flourishing—has a reputation for being notoriously inhospitable to homegrown concert dance. Presenters and venues are sorely lacking, and, indeed, the paper of record, the Los Angeles Times, rarely covers the local dance scene anymore.

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