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Welcome To The Dance Season 2015-16

Welcome To The Dance Season 2015-16

Published on September 10, 2015
(Ruven Afanador / Twyla Tharp Dance Company)

Things We Are Enthused About...

Photo by Jordan Matter

Christine Jowers, Editor: Huzzah, summer is over and another season of moving art and dance coverage is upon us. I am enthusiastic about The Dance Enthusiast turning 8 years old and hope you can make it to our Enthusiastic Event! birthday bash celebration on October 13th. (Click here for more info). Indeed, there are many notable birthday/ anniversaries being celebrated: DanceNOWNYC, an 'institution' in our city, renowned for wit, inventiveness, and offering artists a creative platform to "dream big", is celebrating its 20th season; Danspace Project, an incubator for experimental dance in NYC is finishing its 40th anniversary; Twyla Tharp is celebrating her 50th; the Limón Dance Company turns 70 and moves to Harlem, and the Martha Graham Dance Company will be 90 in April! On the younger side, Triskelion Arts will be celebrating its first full season at its new home on Calyer Street in Greenpoint.

Many of our TDE writers have returned to cover the dance community and I am thrilled to welcome new voices to the fold. From our home city, Susan Reiter shares her wealth of experience as a freelance arts journalist, and Sydnie Mosley, Melanie Greene, Ali Rosas Salas and Jonathan Matthews offer their fresh perspectives. Clifford Eberly and Jean Lenihan will write about the fertile Los Angeles dance scene; Naomi Orwin joins us to discuss dance in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, and Diane Dunbar will bring some sunshine from Miami. Henning Rübsam and Deirde Towers aren't only writing this season but performing--can't wait to see what they've been up to. Deirdre's Cross Currents will premiere in the Soaking Wet Series at the West End Theater, September 24-27 while Henning's company SENSEDANCE will perform And There Was Morning at The Kaye Playhouse, November 2-4. Did anyone see Henning dancing on Wall Street this summer? He's busy.

Raja Feather Kelly, Photo: epfalck

I am excited to see old friends and new ones at work. The prolific, unstoppable Raja Feather Kelly is continuing his Warholian investigations with Another 37 Reasons To Cry at the edgy JACK theater in Brooklyn; the wildly imaginative Sarah A.O. Rosner expands her queer, futuristic Etle Universe with ETLE and the Anders--a work that features time-travel and feminist revolution (I think there will be cyborgs); Miguel Gutierrez, will be at New York Live Arts, challenging and intriguing us with his Age & Beauty three-parter; Joanna Kotze, Stuart Singer, and Netta Yerushalmy, all gorgeous artists and frequent collaborators, look at interrelationships between dance and visual art in FIND YOURSELF HERE at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Camille Brown; who has been winning awards all over the place, is at The Joyce world-premiering her BLACK GIRL:Linguistic Play, a deeply personal piece; and, because I adore musical theater, I can't wait for American Dance Machine 2Ist Century at The Joyce. Heginbotham, Keigwin, Francesca Harper, Durning, Barnett, The Bang Group, SITI Company. City Center, Gibney Dance, Chocolate Factory, Roulette, etc., etc. (sorry guys can't name you all.) Then there is BAM (that's the Brooklyn Academy of Music to you) everything is beautiful at BAM. I wish I could clone myself to attend all the great happenings this season, but if I miss something, I know I will be able to read about it on The Dance Enthusiast.

Now, check out our dance listings, figure out what you would like to see (or if you are performing, list your event with us) and #getenthused about this jam-packed season. Don't forget to share your Audience Reviews here--the more vibrant voices involved, the more meaningful the conversation.

Photo by Christopher Duggan

Robert Johnson: Better to ask, what am I NOT excited about? Really, I am feeling way too excited at the start of this season, and eventually someone is going to have to slap me down. At the top of the list comes Twyla Tharp’s 50th-anniversary celebration, because it features two premieres by this choreographer who happens to be brilliant. Tharp has created Preludes and Fugues, to Bach, and Yowzie, to a jazz compilation. Her pick-up group is touring the country with this rep, but local audiences will get to see them do their thing, Nov 17-22, when the Joyce Theater presents them at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

And speaking of Lincoln Center, I’m excited because that institution has gone all Hollywood and finally is showing dance---DANCE, not just opera---in movie theaters all over the place for $19 a pop. That means even poor people (or “les misérables,” as they say at Lincoln Center) can get in. Anticipating huge demand from whoever the hell those people are, the organizers of “Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance” have arranged for television personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan to host (OK, that’s going a bit far). Anyway, the point is the series looks golden, with pre-recorded performances by San Francisco Ballet (Sept. 24), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Oct. 22), Ballet Hispanico (Nov. 11) and New York City Ballet (Dec. 5 and 10). If I mention that Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker will also be appearing with Boris Charmatz, Oct. 29-30, as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, that’s giving too many props to Lincoln Center. But is The Chocolate Factory presenting Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker this season? No! So, suck it up, Chocolate-Factory regulars.

Did that exhaust my excitement? Not in the least. But, before they drag me out of here, I’d like to mention Mark Dendy’s Whistleblower at Dixon Place; Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and the Paris Opera Ballet at the Park Avenue Armory; the many-splendored Fall for Dance Festival; the José Limón International Dance Festival, Aparna Ramaswamy and Garth Fagan Dance at the Joyce Theater; Kenneth Kvarnström, Sankai Juku and Urban Bush Women appearing at BAM; Mark Morris’ new work for American Ballet Theatre; the Alvin Ailey season at New York City Center with multiple premieres; the Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema series (like Sputnik, the Russians got there first); Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts; Janice Ross’s panel discussion on sex and Soviet ballet—honestly—at the 92nd Street Y; the eventual return of Farruquito; and a gazillion other things including (gasping for breath) some stuff you can ONLY see in New Jersey, like Pat Graney at Peak Performances in Montclair, and Savion Glover’s holiday show in Englewood and Morristown, and that’s just a taste of it...Wow! The Fall Season is starting!

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo: Paul Kolnik



 Naomi Orwin (Philadelphia Contributor): I'm excited about getting to see even more of Philadelphia’s 200 dance companies, especially ones I haven’t seen before; The Annenberg Center’s African Roots, American Voices including the Urban Bush Women troupe; FringeArts commitment to becoming a center for contemporary dance presenting local companies like Kun Yang Lin/Dancers as well as national and international artists Miguel Gutierrez and Michal Zadara; What new changes artistic director Angel Corella will bring to the Pennsylvania Ballet company; and so much more. 





Erin Bomboy: I'm deeply excited about the season New York presenters and choreographers have lined up. In September, I'm looking forward to Cloud Gate Theatre’s Rice at BAM. This Taiwanese company brings a distinctively eastern sensibility to a western discipline. Tree of Codes, the collaborative effort of choreographer Wayne McGregor, artist Olafur Eliasson, and producer/composer Jamie xx (whose new album is on heavy rotation at my home), at the Park Avenue Armory showcases a cross pollination of prescient voices. I'm always interested in the line-ups at Gibney Dance, Triskelion Arts, and The Chocolate Factory, which highlight fresh, compelling artists who revel in stretching and redefining dance's possibilities. I’m eager to see the José Limón International Dance Festival—it’s the Company’s 70th anniversary!— at The Joyce in which they will intersperse pivotal company works with performances from guest companies such as the Royal Danish Ballet and the Bavarian State Ballet. Danspace at St. Mark’s Church is one of my favorite New York venues for dance; I’m particularly interested in the works of Mina Nishimura and Jean Butler, two bright, thoughtful dancers and dancemakers. New York Live Arts has assembled an intriguing season, and I’ve got my eye on Pavel Zustiak’s Custodians of Beauty. Lastly, I’m both sad and thrilled to catch a farewell performance of rock star ballerina Sylvie Guillem. In a field where so many dancers follow the music, she’s written her own to fashion a singularly distinctive career.

Photo: Gerry Eastman

Nia Austin-Edwards: This season I am excited to see the writing of new TDE contributors and how their voices shift the lenses through which we see dance and movement. I am excited about broadening and challenging the definition of enthusiasm. Just because we are enthusiastic about dance doesn't mean that we love everything, it doesn't mean that we stroke egos, it doesn't mean we don't ask questions - it means we're excited about the role of movement in cultural legacy.

I am excited to find where current socio-cultural-political movements align with movement on stage and in studios. I am excited to talk about the movement that is not on stages nor in studios. Movement is universal and specific. It is personal and cultural. And I am excited to see a broader spectrum of movement stories told through our platform. 



Anabella Lenzu DanceDrama

Jonathan Matthews: I am THRILLED to be starting my work with The Dance Enthusiast by picking the brain of Anabella Lenzu. I’ve been home in Memphis doing a musical, so interdisciplinary collaboration has REALLY been on the brain lately.

As a working performer and choreographer in the City, it is sometimes awkward to critique your colleagues or people you hope to one day work for. With The Dance Enthusiast, I am excited to be relieved of solely writing critiques and getting closer to my fellow artists in a different relationship and context. By the same token, I am eager to read what my expanding network of writing brethren have to say about shows of mine I am sure they will be attending.

When I was at Springboard Danse Montreal in June I had the honor to take classes with Margie Gillis, who is currently launching a Legacy Project in which she has passing her methods and pieces to a select group of performers. I volunteered to write some features of some of the beginning events of the Project that were taking place at Springboard for Eye on Dance, and am hungry to continue to keep up with how Margie is literally packaging herself to project her methods into the future.

Clifford Eberly (LA Contributor):For the Fall Season in Los Angeles, I am most excited about  seeing and covering Twyla Tharp: 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on October 1. Why? Because I have never seen a Twyla Tharp production LIVE!!  Thus, I think the occasion itself is worth covering for The Dance Enthusiast.

I am also looking forward to hopefully meeting(fingers crossed!) and interviewing Oguri, the legendary dancer and choreographer based here in Venice, CA at the Electric Lodge.  I want to write about his Body Weather Laboratory project for September release and reveal how he came to find the Electric Lodge his creative home.

In November at the Center for the Art of Performance at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker will be delivering her Rosas Fase, Four Movements to the music of Steve Reich.  In my young dance goers life, I have not heard nor seen Keersmaeker's choreography live.  I am very curious to find out and document if there is a difference betweem how her work is perceived in Royce Theater versus a more social and in the round space like the Tate with no seating other than a floor.
In between these three biggies, I will go to dance events that I find out between now and then and send you more ideas!  One venue I especially enjoy going to is pieter performance which features less established artists in an intimate loft space. Unlike the larger venues, the programming at pieter is less arranged in advance.  But, I've seen some of the most memorable pieces at pieter.

DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion™; Photo: Kenneth Mucke


Jean Lenihan (LA Contributor): (Obviously I second Clifford on Tharp and de Keersmaeker.)

Other notable events --

ABT moves its Nutcracker from BAM to the luxe Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, a deep-pocketed arts complex 40 miles south of LA. that has been bringing ABT here for decades and serving as a venue on which the company can have a full week onstage to mount a new production (at the Met they get a DAY). All of Ratmansky's large scale ballets have debuted there before NYC: Firebird, The Sleeping Beauty, etc. 
So now, Costa Mesa & ABT are deepening their relationship by opening a school in September and installing their heralded Ratmansky Nutcracker into the theater every December. It's a big deal.

Some local troupes that are producing concerts this fall that will draw LARGE enthusiastic audiences here include the two below. I am "excited" that they booked such great halls and will expose more and more audiences to dance.

On Sept. 19 & 20, the Valley Performing Arts Center (a fabulous new facility built on the CAL Northridge campus after the earthquake that is showing a real commitment to dance) will present a live dance & music event featuring a longstanding local troupe called DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion™ (Diavolo Dance is their spoken name). Founded by Jacques Heim, a CAL ARTS grad, Diavolo uses these incredibly large and manipulable stage sets that really appeal to non-dancer types ("Calling all thrill seekers!" is their promo opening.) Kind of a Cirque-like feel. This concert features the North American Premiere of a triology entitled L'Espace du Temps with live music (Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams and Philip Glass) played by the New West Symphony.

Shaping Sound, a buzzed-about company run by Travis Wall (familiar to audiences of SYTYCD), is launching a significant national tour of his high-octane contemporary dance company out here in CA in the fall. The Oct 23 + 24 dates at the Broad stage would be the one to catch for great seats and sightlines.

I am downright excited about, the West Coast Premiere of Hubbard Street + The Second City’s The Art of Falling on Nov. 6-8 at the Music Center in downtown L.A. It sounds fascinating and well-fed from all sorts of creative sources -- could be fabulous, or a clunky meal. It's exciting to watch that kind of experiment. 

New York City Ballet; Photo: Paul Kolnk


Nicole Dekle-Collins: In the ballet realm, I am most excited by the return of Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee to the repertoire at American Ballet Theatre after an absence of 13 years. Fille may be the wittiest full-length ballet ever-created, filled with memorable characters. It tells a story of young love in the countryside that feels strikingly authentic; a welcome antidote to contemporary cynicism. I am also looking forward to the return of Twyla Tharp's The Brahms-Haydn Variations at ABT, and to seeing the new works Tharp is presenting in her company's 50th anniversary tour. We have seen too little of this master choreographer's work in recent years. 

At New York City Ballet, I am keen to see the premieres by Justin Peck and Christopher Wheeldon and to a new work by corps member Troy Schumacher, who has a gift for making ballet dancers look natural and down to earth in a way that reminds me of Jerome Robbins. I am also looking forward to following the careers of the dancers there in the new season, as recent years have brought new heights of dancing in the principal ranks and revealed a wealth of talent at the corps level.

In the contemporary realm, I am most excited about Pam Tanowitz's Joyce season in February. I love Tanowitz's work for the way she captures the beauty of line and complexity of rhythm of Merce Cunningham's choreography while creating pieces that are distinctly her own and endlessly inventive. 


Theodora Boguszewski: I am super excited about Dance Heginbotham's inaugural season at The Joyce in October. Heginbotham has a kooky, unique mind and a star cast of dancers, and I can't wait to see what he's come up with next. I'm excited about Helen, the 5th installment of the Pharmacy Project's female celebrity series. Nora's work really embraces the art of storytelling, and she has a great group of smart, insightful dancers.Triskelion's new space is fil. Triskelion always offers very diverse programming, which I look forward to experiencing in this more intimate space. I think the new space has an amazing future as a home for dance.

I'm jazzed that The Hard Nut is back in NYC this year! I've been seeing this since I was a kid, so it has a very nostalgic connection for me, but it's equally delightful as an adult. 


Heginbotham Dance; Photo: Julieta Cervantes




Diana Dunbar (Miami Contributor):For the fall season in Miami, I am very excited about seeing and covering the 30th anniversary of the Miami City Ballet. Program One ( Oct. 23- Nov. 15) will consist of Balanchine's Swan Lake, Viscera (Scarlett), and Fancy Free ( Robbins).  I am also looking forward to the 20th anniversary of the International Ballet Festival ( Aug. 29- Sept. 13) which brings together top ballet companies from around the world. In addition, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa will be presenting Ritmo y Passion, with guest artists from Spain. Finally, Momentum Dance Company will once again present the Miami Dance Festival, which includes a variety of local and national dance companies. Miami is set for a wonderful season!


Photo by Alison Domzalski


Trina Mannino: I'm looking forward to spreading the word about The Dance Enthusiast along with my performance work at my Alma Mater, the University of Michigan's Department of Dance, during the Dance Master Class Repertory Series this October. Jeanine Durning at The Chocolate Factory, Anneke Hansen at Irondale Center and the hilarious Raving Jaynes top my "must see" list this season! I hope to catch at least one event of the Sundays on Broadway series which feature film screenings, performances and discussions at the SoHo loft of the choreographer and video artist Cathy Weis.



Limón Dance Company; Photo: Joseph Schembri

Susan Reiter: I'm excited about: ABT's fall season. The repertory is terrifically varied and al high-caliber -- from a Mark Morris world premiere, to the revival of Twyla Tharp's majestic Brahms-Haydn Variations. Also there are company premieres by Ashton and Balanchine, plus the return Taylor's Company B and Jooss' The Green Table. I want to be at every performance!

Twyla Tharp's 50th-anniversary performances. NYC is the last stop on the tour, so we have to wait longer than other cities to see two brand-new works Tharp has made for a new ensemble of dancers. But it should be worth the wait! Jose Limon International Dance Festival.The company's reviving many of Limon's works in honor of its 70th anniversary, and the programs include dancers from an international array of companies as well as many university dance programs.Should be a fascinating opportunity to re-evaluate Limon's work and experience how it's danced today in many different settings. Troy Schumacher's BalletCollective. His program there last year was terrific. He'll once again have dancers from NYCB and live music; can't wait ot see what he comes up with next.

Juilliard New Dances program, which includes four premieres, one for each of the Juilliard Dance Division classes, by a fascinating group of choreographers: Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Zvi Gotheiner and Helen Simoneau.


Ann Moradian (Paris Contributor): I am excited to see Marie-Agnès Gillot, the most powerfully expressive Etoile (Star) of the Paris Opera Ballet I have ever seen -- join forces with Blanca Li, whose work I have yet to see. They will be performing together in their new co-creation:  Déesses et Démones (Goddesses and Demonesses -- or She-Demons) at the Théatre des Champs Elysées in Paris in December. I have never seen Gillot do anything but make magic with the choreography she has performed, and I do not expect to be disappointed here.





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