Dance Reviews

Over the decades, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) has presented music and dance events in the East entrance’s Great Stair Hall as well as in its other spaces. In 2022, the PMA used the new cantilevered Gehry staircase for dance and music. It replaces the small auditorium where I...
As I watched this evening of works made by 13 choreographers who grew up in the NYC-based after school dance program run by Ellen Robbins, I couldn’t help but think of a heated debate the dance community took up sometime in the aughts over the question, can choreography be taught?...
The big news before the start of New York City Ballet’s winter season was the announcement that the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky would be joining the company as artist in residence (in September) after the conclusion of his contract with American Ballet Theater (in June). As many will remember, this was...
Penn Live Arts’ Dance Theatre of Harlem program this past weekend at Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center braided together an historical, social, racial, cultural, and artistic event. The relationship between the late Dance Theatre of Harlem’s founder, African American dancer Arthur Mitchell (d. 2018) and his mentor and benefactor, choreographer George Balanchine...
Elongated bodies meticulously keep time stepping on demi-pointe to the hard driving techno-beat. They crisscross the stage in various groupings from different directions with their prissy steps sporting opaque nylon knee socks, bare limbs, and nude colored leotards. The costumes by Rebecca Hytting amplify the picture of constricting uniformity; at...
It is always interesting to see what a famous ballerina does when given the freedom to program her own show. On Saturday, Natalia Osipova, the Russian-born superstar (who has been a principal with the Royal Ballet since 2013), brought her much-hyped and sold-out extravaganza, “Natalia Osipova: Force of Nature,” to...
The New York City Ballet opened its Winter Season with a wonderful all-Balanchine program, which I caught on the second night.  Not only was the lineup of ballets interesting and well-balanced, there were excellent performances in leading roles throughout the show, by dancers in various stages of their careers—including the...
If an evening of dances from Ronald K. Brown/Evidence could be said to leave me wanting, it is surely only because the dynamic and spirited dancers in Brown’s rousing compositions leave me wanting more. On Tuesday evening at the Joyce Theater, this was the case once again. I would have...
Geometrically speaking, a line is a symbol of freedom: A figure formed between two points, the ends are limitless, extending to infinity. In Baye & Asa’s “HotHouse,” lines are binding rather than liberating. The duo Sam “Asa” Pratt and Amadi “Baye” Washington are stuck in a large, rectangular plexiglass structure....
House lights are still up as Tommie-Waheed Evans’ “Bodies as Sites of Faith and Protest” begins. A group of dancers in all black step on stage, marching and clapping in time. Facing in toward each other, they are unified and mission-driven. Suddenly, a single dancer emerges from the group singing...
As “’lectric Eye” opens, a group of 14 bursts onstage, stepping in formation as runway fashion model swagger meets drill team precision. They criss cross the stage, arms swinging, hips gyrating, assorted gold and coppery mylar apparel flashing. It’s sexy, glitzy and mind-boggling in its intricate unison. As a group...
The stage is an orange box, with three simple long benches pushed against the walls. A dancer enters in silence, barefoot, dressed in a dark tunic with a collar that stands up at the neck and a bulbous skirt resembling petals of a flower. Other dancers arrive, men and women...
“Call it culture.” This short phrase acted as the backbone of “Curriculum II,” a new work from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Uttered as a satirical refrain or in bold type, floating in the numerous screens as a reprimand, this barb reappeared continually like so many tiny vertebrates supporting...
After the comfort-food programming of December, January tends to kick off with prestige offerings and new works. So it was unusual that the first dance show I saw in 2023 featured timeworn ballet standards like “The Dying Swan” and “Paquita.” These warhorses were being performed by the Les Ballets Trockadero...
Not satisfied with the lone “Nutcracker” I saw in New York a few weeks back, and finding myself in Florida, I decided to pay a visit to Miami City Ballet’s “Nut” at the Arsht Center in Miami. (After Christmas, the production moves on to West Palm Beach.) The company, whose...

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