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Monday, June 27, 2016

Dance Review: Kate Weare Sculpts With Bodies in the Premiere of Marksman at ADF

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Kate Weare Company: Marksman ★★★ Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Kate Weare’s Marksman, an American Dance Festival commission that premiered at Reynolds Theater last week, is a molded and folded dance. The six dancers act as architects: They build houses, live in them, and vacate. They sculpt their bodies into notches for others to push and pull through. A bent leg folds perfectly over a crouched back; an arm pierces the negative space between other limbs. The performers greet one another in undulations; they unfurl and then halt. Eventually they part, dissipating. Most often the sextet...

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Dance Review: Sara Juli Will Tickle You at Motorco. No, Actually Tickle You.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 11:54 AM

Tense Vagina: an actual diagnosis ★★★★★ Wednesday, June 22–Friday, June 24, 7 & 9 p.m., $20  Motorco Music Hall, Durham You can read our interview this week to catch up on the background of Sara Juli’s Tense Vagina: an actual diagnosis, which finishes its three-night stand in ADF at Motorco tonight. Basically, it’s a dance-theater-comedy show about postpartum urinary incontinence, pelvic floor rehabilitation, and the madder side of early motherhood. It’s OK if you need a moment to take that in. The first performance on Wednesday night left the whole audience tickled, and not always metaphorically. At several points...

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dance Review: Tap Genius Michelle Dorrance Brings It Home at the NC Rhythm Tap Festival

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 2:12 PM

NC Rhythm Tap Festival: “The Greatest Tap Show Ever” Saturday, June 11, 2016 The ArtsCenter, Carrboro Fans of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Gregory Hines, Eleanor Powell, and other hoofers might disagree that last Saturday's performances by the faculty artists of the 2016 NC Rhythm Tap Festival at The ArtsCenter deserved the title of “The Greatest Tap Show Ever," but it was indisputably among the best presentations of state-of-the-art tap anyone is likely to see anywhere. Sure, Savion Glover, America’s reigning king of tap, will appear later this month courtesy of Duke Performances and the American Dance Festival, and Michelle Dorrance, who was...

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dance Review: In Feature Presentation, Anna Barker and Leah Wilks Comedically Remind Us of a Harsh Fact: Art Hurts

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 4:04 PM

real.live.people.durham: Feature Presentation ★★★★ Friday, June 10, 2016 The Trotter Building, Durham A high school teacher of mine had many quotations painted in purplish blue on the cinderblocks outside her classroom, but the one I remember best is by the poet Gwendolyn Brooks: “Art hurts. Art urges voyages—and it is easier to stay at home.” I left real.live.people.durham’s Feature Presentation thinking of that quote. It’s not that the performance hurt or upset me—on the contrary, it was bitingly clever and gorgeously, generously executed—but that it placed me and, I suspect, others in unusually close proximity to difficult artistic labors...

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Video: Durham dance artists discuss the provocative Compagnie Marie Chouinard

Posted By and on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 7:37 AM

Compagnie Marie ChouinardUNC's Memorial Hall Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 Carolina Performing Arts has presented two provocative co-commissions from the French-Canadian dance ensemble Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Orpheus et Eurydice in 2009 and Gymnopédies this month. The INDY sent two dance artists, rather than dance critics, to the latter, on a bill that also included an older Chouinard piece, Henri Michaux: Mouvements. They came back with a lot to say. Anna Barker is the founder of the company real.live.people.durham, which had its local debut in 2014 with the sold-out Motorco performances, presented by Durham Independent Dance Artists, of it's not me it's you, a...

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dance review: What Doesn't Work sets an allegory of striving and failure on the brute fact of the body

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 1:03 PM

What Doesn’t Work★★★★ The Carrack Modern Art, Dec. 19, 2015 Often I go to see dance to lose myself in a beautiful or terrifying (ideally, both) fantasy world where sets, costumes and music are at least as prominent as movement. The dancers can shrink to mere moving parts in an intricate mechanism. But I was excited to go to the Carrack the weekend before Christmas because I knew I was going to see something else entirely—something raw, corporeal and purifying, all seething disgust and primitive slapstick.  No one who has followed the performances of Culture Mill directors Tommy Noonan and...

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Dance review: The Department of Improvised Dance puts props through the paces in Stations

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 8:07 AM

The Department of Improvised Dance: Stations Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 Durable Durham Warehouse When the set is cluttered with props, you can expect the performance to be weighted toward the “theater” side of dance theater. That was the case in The Department of Improvised Dance’s new show, Stations, last weekend, which also kicked off Durham Independent Dance Artists’ second season. But almost all of the props were at the service of the movement, not the other way around. In a new, low-ceilinged warehouse space on Ramseur Street, the set included a wire-frame bathtub with a light-fixture showerhead, a jammed-full clothes...

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Durham Independent Dance Artists reveals its second season of local indie dance

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 1:00 PM

After an impressive 2014–15 debut season that significantly raised the profile of local independent dance, Durham Independent Dance Artists returns with an exciting lineup for 2015–16. Running from October to May, the nine shows include six premieres, seven artists not previously seen on DIDA stages and, for the first time, an international guest. DIDA bundles works by local independent artists into a season that tracks with the academic presenters' schedule, helping them build the surface area required to attract audiences. It paid off with many sold-out houses in the first season—no small feat in a region where indie dance more typically attracts...

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Performance review: Drowning, arson and other enchanting dangers in the debut Trust the Bus

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 9:14 AM

Trust the Bus Private residence of Mary Harwood and Lori Oshrain, Orange County 8:15, Saturday, Aug. 1 A cheer goes up on the Blue Bird bus as it pulls away from the Saxapahaw General Store. It’s almost dusk. Families with kids in dripping swimsuits wave from the roadside when the bus rolls by, as if it were embarking on a foreign voyage. And in fact, it is, if you measure the term by its quotient of mystery rather than distance. No one knows where the bus is going or what’s in store there. In boarding, they've accepted Culture Mill’s invitation—or is...

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dance review: This American Life meets dance-theater in a worthy experiment at ADF

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 11:57 AM

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Saturday, July 18 As the lights dim at DPAC, the disembodied voices of radio host Ira Glass and choreographer Monica Bill Barnes ponder how to begin: with an idea or with movement? “Perhaps the idea is movement,” Glass suggests. The lights come back up on a miniature proscenium arch with a tiny red curtain and flashing lights. Barnes and dancer Anna Bass enter through the stage within a stage, beginning a jazzy dance routine to the sound of recorded applause. Though Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ADF Journal: Searching for dance amid all the dance-theater

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 9:07 AM

As the American Dance Festival nears its end, you feel as though you’ve been running a marathon. But when you stop to catch your breath, you realize this year’s festival has been a substantial look at the current dance scene, with few disappointments. One exception was Dynamic Duos (Reynolds Theater, July 1). Its four duets seemed too academic, and dance took a secondary role to theater—something that has been true of much of the festival. It makes you wonder whether dance in its purest form can survive. The funkiest offering so far was Awkward Magic (June 30, Motorco Music Hall),...

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dance review: The articulate passion of Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca's Antigona

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca Durham Performing Arts Center Saturday, June 27 The Spanish colloquialism tener duende means to have a certain magic; to have soul. But these are just words doing their best to capture what the body can say in a single step or look. Soledad Barrio, star of Noche Flamenca’s Antigona, has duende—so much of it that it’s difficult to tear your eyes from her. In front of an American Dance Festival crowd at DPAC, Barrio’s steps escaped uncensored from her heart—from the eye of the storm.  Barrio plays the title role in this production, directed by...

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ADF Journal: Worlds collide in shows by Pilobolus, BODYTRAFFIC, Heidi Latsky Dance and N.C. choreographers

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 11:18 AM

The American Dance Festival is in full swing, with performances across Durham, outdoor yoga on Duke’s East Campus, young students riding the psychedelic ADF bus and audience members showing the festival spirit. At the Pilobolus performance at DPAC on June 19, I spotted one man with a shaved head in a beautiful, flowing, flowered skirt and combat boots, and another dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with binoculars held to his eyes. You’d have thought it was a rock concert. This was appropriate, as an emerging theme of the festival is how other worlds, such as film, video and television—the virtual...

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ADF Journal: A look back at Shen Wei's "delicious" American Dance Festival opening

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 10:05 AM

Shen Wei Dance Arts Thursday, June 11 Durham Performing Arts Center In this case, we're not talking about food or sex when we say “delicious.” We're describing the dance works of Chinese-born choreographer Shen Wei. He presented Untitled No. 12-2 and the reconstructed Map for the kick-off of the American Dance Festival on Thursday, June 11, at the Durham Performing Arts Center, and both works were not only highly pleasing to the senses but also delightful. This deliciousness is why the choreographer and painter has risen to such heights: Shen Wei Dance Arts has garnered enough awards to impress even the...

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Carolina Ballet closes its 2014/15 season with a graceful, humor-laced Cinderella

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2015 at 10:52 AM

Cinderella Saturday, May 16 Carolina Ballet at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium “The shoes make the woman,” Carolina Ballet’s playbill boasted of Cinderella. Margaret Severin-Hansen, who played the title role, lived up to the statement with her bedazzled pointe slippers. To close its 2014/15 season (see the 2015/16 schedule), Carolina Ballet delivered its rendition of the well-known fairytale at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, and it did not disappoint. The show adhered to the familiar storyline, albeit with a few embellishments in plot and character development. Starting with a prologue, the audience sees Cinderella mourning over her father’s tombstone. Following after her are the...

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

American Dance Festival's 2015 season: Familiar faces and a few big surprises (Ira Glass?)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 3:28 PM

Some new names, but mostly new combinations of familiar ones: That’s the quick take on the American Dance Festival’s 2015 season, which was announced Tuesday. The season is dedicated to African American Dance Ensemble founder Chuck Davis, an ADF institution, with a ceremony at the Durham Performing Arts Center June 11. At the same time, another ADF fixture goes missing this summer: For the first time since 2002, ADF will not confer its Samuel H. Scripps award for Lifetime Achievement in Choreography (or its $50,000 honorarium, one of if not the largest in modern dance) to anyone, for reasons not...

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dance review: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater still suspenseful and dynamic

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 11:40 AM

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Carolina Performing Arts Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015 Despite heavy snowfall, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was on fire at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall, performing LIFT, Bad Blood and Revelations. The performances were dynamic and bold, soulful and experimental. The high-contrast movement ranged from clustered to spread-out formations; from dancers acting light-footed to presenting the illusion of weight; from sustained to sudden motions. In duets and large groups, the choreography was equally vibrant. The late Alvin Ailey was a disciple of Lester Horton, and the Horton Technique’s emphasis of clean extensions and a holistic awareness of...

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dance review: Nrityagram Dance Ensemble's Songs of Love & Longing

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 9:34 AM

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble: Songs of Love & Longing Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Thursday, Jan. 22, 8 p.m. At Reynolds Theater, courtesy of Duke Performances, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble’s Songs of Love & Longing enticed a sold-out house with alluring movement and arresting facial expressions from the Indian classical dance style Odissi. The 85-minute production by the world-class company consisted of five sections, all based on verses from the Gita Govinda. A well-known work by the 12th-century poet Jayadeva, it depicts the various moods of a lovelorn heroine. Specifically, the verses focus on the mercurial feelings of the milkmaid Radha towards her...

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Dance review: A brutal, moving Brother Brother in its U.S. premiere

Posted By on Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 3:18 PM

Tommy Noonan and Clint Lutes Brother BrotherThe Carrack Modern Art, Dec. 20, 8 p.m. Tommy Noonan and Clint Lutes emerged from a closet wearing white terrycloth bathrobes, then stripped down to black briefs and tennis shoes. They stood side by side, an arm’s length away from the audience, staring at us. Their almost affectless expressions held a subtle challenge, which slackened into what has to be described as malevolent stupidity. Then they started cracking up. Their doltish laughter kept resurfacing during Brother Brother, their 50-minute duet of brutality and tenderness, and gradually gave way to screams of raw animal...

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Dance review: Justin Tornow's COMPANY gets territorial in The Weights

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 10:25 AM

COMPANY: The Weights The Carrack Modern Art, Durham Sunday, Dec. 14 “Site-specific” is a watered-down term. Plenty of choreographers and installation artists pay it lip service, dragging a hand along a wall or hauling a bunch of stuff into a room and claiming to be engaging with the space. But when I sit on my couch to watch TV, I’m engaging with the space of my living room. Can I have my MFA now? But Justin Tornow’s evening-length dance work The Weights offered a terrific example of site-specificity in its DIDA premiere the weekend before last. Tornow and four dancers...

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Dance review: Did the first show from Durham Independent Dance Artists fulfill its promise?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM

real.live.people.durham it’s not me it’s you Motorco Music Hall, Nov. 8–9 Durham Independent Dance Artists is a new organization designed to consolidate the energies and the audiences of local indie dancemakers, who have been an increasingly strong presence in Triangle nightclubs as of late. Its first season, comprising nine performances, kicked off the weekend before last with real.live.people.durham’s Kickstarter-funded it’s not me it’s you at Motorco. A duet between company founder Anna Barker and the ubiquitous Leah Wilks, the deceptively anarchic but carefully scripted program of linked vignettes set a high standard of quality and vibrancy for the remainder of the...

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dance preview: Lucky Plush Productions’ The Queue

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Lucky Plush Productions: The Queue Titmus Theatre at N.C. State Friday, Oct. 24–Saturday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m. $28 In its new dance theater work The Queue, Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions creates a poignant farce where private lives spill over into the uniquely public and transitory space of an airport. As this funny, novel production heads for a two-night stand at N.C. State, with live music by neo-Vaudeville group The Claudettes, we spoke with Lucky Plush Artistic Director Julia Rhoads to learn about the origins, underpinnings and themes of the piece. INDY: Could you tell me about Lucky Plush Productions? JULIA...

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Dance review: Science, anatomy and comedy merge in Namely, Muscles at Duke

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Namely, Muscles The Ark at Duke University Saturday, Oct. 4 “Muscles are not much different than poems. They both move you,” recited Dr. Kate Trammell, a dance professor at James Madison University and an anatomy faculty member at Cedar Stone School of Massage, as she performed Claire Porter's Namely, Muscles at Duke. Having learned under Porter herself, Trammell ensured that her adaptation stuck to the script but found freedom in small choreographic changes. In a piece that employed just the right amount of slapstick humor to tickle one’s “punny bones,” Trammell deftly turned an anatomy lesson into an entertaining dance demonstration. Namely, Muscles...

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Dance review: Meghadootam: The Cloud Messenger finds contemporary resonance in an ancient Indian poem

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 2:28 PM

You may associate the feeling of being "on cloud nine" with thinking of your love interest. It evokes the flamboyant gesture of skywriting a proclamation of love. This association between the endless sky and the depths of love goes back a long way. Kālidāsa, often referred to as “The Shakespeare of India,” was a Sanskrit scriptwriter in the 5th century A.D. who made such connections between clouds and love. One of his most famous lyric poems, Meghadootam (literally translated: Cloud Messenger), has been adapted into a touring dance-drama by the prestigious Cleveland Cultural Alliance. The performance on Aug. 30 at...

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

American Dance Festival 2014: The Takeaway

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 4:27 PM

AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL June 12-July 26 americandancefestival.org In a good year, the American Dance Festival changes at least some part of our thinking about modern and contemporary dance. That’s a tall—and standing—order, each season: to find and present artists whose works are exploring and redefining the boundaries of the art form, as well as the masters who have brought us to this point. The takeaway from 2014? Mission largely accomplished. After Emanuel Gat’s recent work seemed a sociological experiment in overcrowding set to specific protocols, the choreographer announced a potentially significant divorce following the perplexing world premiere of Ida? with...

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Awesome summation of the beauty and skill surrounding this tap festival! Great Job Dan!
Annabel's mom💕 …

by Dcable on Dance Review: Tap Genius Michelle Dorrance Brings It Home at the NC Rhythm Tap Festival (Arts)

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