The haute joaillerie house Van Cleef & Arpels has a long history of supporting dance, since Louis Arpels attended the Paris Opera Ballet in the 1920s. In the 1940s, the company began producing jewel-encrusted ballerina clips. When Claude Arpels met George Balanchine in 1961, it led to the New York City Ballet’s first abstract full-length ballet, “Jewels,” in 1967. Since 2012, the house has sponsored the L.A. Dance Project, and, in 2015, they began awarding the Fedora–Van Cleef & Arpels Prize for Ballet. Winners include Alexei Ratmansky, William Forsythe, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. So it was fitting that VC&A commissioned a new dance to be performed during its second annual Fifth Avenue Blooms festival, an outdoor celebration of spring running along NYC’s Fifth Ave from 50th-59th Street throughout the month of May. What was less fitting was the choice of downtown experimentalist choreographer Pam Tanowitz to headline this floral-festooned uptown stretch of consumerism—and the incongruity was a delight.
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