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L.A Dance Project
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

Energy to Burn

When it was founded in 2012 by Benjamin Millepied, L.A. Dance Project was touted as some kind of second coming for the dance scene in Los Angeles. It’s too bad, then, that the 9-member troupe is rarely in town and that its home, the Theatre at Ace Hotel, a refurbished United Artists movie palace originally co-founded by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith, has extremely bad sight lines and a small stage for dance. That the audience can also bring in food and drink (popcorn, wine and whatever), is another reason the venue is a less than...

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Tale as Old as Time
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

Tale as Old as Time

Forget crooning crockery; it’s waltzing pigs and jazz-dancing ravens in David Bintley’s “Beauty and the Beast,” a glittery production with a green twist. Bintley’s version reframes the fairytale as a pro-conservation allegory: an arrogant prince with a heartless hunting habit is cursed into living as a beast himself among the very animals he once targeted. The eco slant calls to mind Bintley’s excellent “Still Life at the Penguin Café” in its manifest respect for the natural world, though “Beast” is less of an admonitory tale than one focusing on personal redemption.

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Matthew Bourne's New Adventure
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

From Civil to Savage

Equal parts dystopian horror show and raucous romp, Matthew Bourne’s “Lord of the Flies” is a firecracker of a production. Over two acts, nine members of Bourne’s New Adventures and 22 locally sourced teenagers retell William Golding’s allegorical tale of marooned British schoolboys and their atavistic descent.

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Compagnie Mossoux-Bonte
REVIEWS | By Gracia Haby

Magnetism and Symmetry

The ritual began the moment I entered the upstairs studio at Dancehouse. Correction, the ritual began before that. As befits a work which looks at the liminal space between states, and between performer and audience, unbeknownst to me, it began in the series of actions I undertook to dress and walk around the corner to Dancehouse, ready to fill my agreed role as ‘audience member’ awaiting ‘a performance.’

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Garth Fagan Dance
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

Lightning Rod

After an inexplicable 10-year absence from the City of Angels, this 44-year old, Rochester, N.Y.-based troupe roared back into town with power, grace and its unique brand of high-octane ebullience, courtesy of Ebony Repertory Theatre’s Wren T. Brown. The timing, as it were, couldn’t have been more propitious: It was recently announced that the smash Broadway hit, “The Lion King,” choreographed by Tony award-winning Garth Fagan and directed by Julie Taymor, had become the most successful work of entertainment in history. Besting the box office of films including Titanic and Avatar and stage shows such as “Phantom of the Opera,”...

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The Nutcracker
REVIEWS | By Gracia Haby

Not Too Sweet

Flourishing his sword in the air, the Nutcracker cried aloud, “Crack—crack—crack—stupid pack—drive mouse back—stupid pack—crack—crack—mouse—back—crick—crack—stupid pack.”[note]E. T. A. Hoffman, Nutcracker and Mouse-King, trans. Mrs. St. Simon, (New York, 1953) 36. Viewed online at American Libraries archive.org.[/note] In the beginning, in the words of E. T. A. Hoffmann, there was a “hateful” Mouse-King with fourteen eyes and seven heads who gnawed with sharp teeth at the gingerbread and sugar-plums. In the beginning there was a Mouse-King and his ragged army to defeat. A dancing cast, there on the page, their actions written as sounds, ripe for musical translation and, arguably, the...

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The Summit is Blue
REVIEWS | By Gracia Haby

The Summit is Blue

In 1924, Captain John Noel, with the aid of his hand-cranked camera (and steel nerves, I wager) captured footage of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine’s infamous attempt to climb Everest in all its beauty and brutality. The footage, recently restored by the British Film Institute National Archive in The Epic of Everest: The official record of Mallory and Irvine’s 1924 expedition (with a score composed, orchestrated and conducted by Simon Fisher Turner), saddles a backpack to the shoulder of the viewer even by today’s standards, and leaves me in little doubt as to the majesty of such an environment. Alongside...

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BalletBoyz
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

Old Wounds

The billing for “Young Men,” Iván Pérez’s contribution to NOW's WW1 Centenary Art Commission, features an up-close shot of a man’s grimy, tear-stained face alongside a quote from Jose Narosky: “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” The ad speaks to the hushed, harrowing sense of violence Pérez endeavours to capture and shape in his forthcoming piece, which is due to premiere in January and meditates on the psychological reverberations of wartime bloodshed.

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Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

Give and Take

There are few dancers who can reconcile vigour and grace as seamlessly as Sylvie Guillem, she of Paris Opera and Royal Ballet fame. The French superstar teamed up with the acclaimed Russell Maliphant to create “Push” back in 2005, and nine years, dozens of performances and a handful of awards later, the programme feels fresh as ever as it returns to London for its final run.

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Wendy Whelan
REVIEWS | By Sara Veale

Something different, something new

In a recent conversation with the Royal Opera House, Wendy Whelan compares “Restless Creature” to a flower blossoming, explaining “at the beginning it is a tight bud ... but as the programme goes on the movement unravels.” To take her analogy further, I’d liken the bill to a romantic relationship unfolding, one that blooms in the wake of desire and fights to flourish, despite losing a few petals to the tribulations of couplehood. This interpretation may represent but a personal take, but there's no denying the four duets at hand—each of which features a young male choreographer who doubles as...

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Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev
REVIEWS | By Victoria Looseleaf

Solo for Two

Today’s dancers are getting younger and more technically dazzling, coming from the jump-higher-turn-faster school of ballet. Indeed, So You Think You Can Dance, where the 90-second “contemporary” swaggerfest lives, springs to mind.  But the question remains: Are these brave young terpsichores also more artistic or is it merely a surface thing?

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