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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This Week at the ADF: Bill T. Jones and Tao Dance Theater

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM

Lois Greenfieldfrom the 1989 production of "D-Man in the Waters"BILL T. JONES / ARNIE ZANE DANCE COMPANYD-MAN IN THE WATERS, SPENT DAYS OUT YONDER, CONTINUOUS REPLAYDPAC Thursday-Saturday, June 16-18 at 8 p.m. A busy year for Bill T. Jones? You decide. His incandescent musical on the life of Nigerian Afropop composer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, FELA!, closed this January after 13 months on Broadway and a no-brainer Tony Award for choreography. By then, the musical’s world tour had already opened at London’s National Theater, before dates in Fela’s native Nigeria this spring. The tour continues: FELA! opens tonight (June 15) in Amsterdam,...

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Week at the ADF:
In-depth previews of ADF Gala 2011, Rosas Danst Rosas, & Animal Lost

Posted By on Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 8:32 AM

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Ohad Naharin's THREE TO MAXADF GALA 2011: AFRICAN AMERICAN DANCE ENSEMBLE MARTHA CLARKE MARK DENDY HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGOSCOTTISH DANCE THEATREDPAC, June 9 at 7 p.m. You understand, this just doesn’t happen. After a certain point in their careers, two dance headliners just don’t share the same stage on the same night. Five? Fuggedaboutit. But the occasion isn’t just the opening evening of the 2011 AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL. It’s something of an early retirement bash honoring director Charles Reinhart, whose long and storied career draws to a close this season. The night’s also a benefit...

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Narcissus and Terpsichore (partially obscured):
Nederlands Dans Theater review

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Nederlands Dans TheaterMemorial HallThrough March 30 You can tell Memorial Hall Box Office tries to be forthright about the merchandise it sells. Across the face of my front row balcony ticket for the performance by the Nederlands Dans Theater, a big black box is printed. In it, the words “Possible Partial View” appear, in white. But since no similar warnings were printed on what were my original tickets for the show — fifth row from the front of the orchestra — this review necessarily begins with something of a consumer advisory. If your tickets for tonight’s performance are in the...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ADF Announces 2011 Season — and the departure of co-director Charles Reinhart

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM

ADF Co-director Charles ReinhartThe American Dance Festival announced the lineup for their 2011 season this afternoon. While longtime dance goers will hardly be shocked at the number of usual suspects listed among its 14 mainstage presentations between June 9 and July 23, the news that, after 43 years, this summer will be co-director Charles Reinhart’s last with the festival should raise at least a few eyebrows across the dance world. So, for that matter, might the festival’s choice for the 2011 Samuel H. Scripps Award: choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Despite an internationally celebrated career that has spanned 30 years...

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Tarot deck of dances? Doug Varone's Chapters from a Broken Novel, tonight at NC State

Posted By on Sat, Feb 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM

from Doug Varone's "Chapters from a Broken Novel"A person who sits for a conventional tarot reading knows several things. If that Rider-Waite deck hasn’t changed in the century since it was crafted, the archetypes depicted in its major arcana have basically been fixed for a half-millennium. No one snuck a card in last week depicting your favorite uncle or your most detested boss; a photo of your first love, your first car, or your first beer isn’t going to dramatically appear face up as the cards are dealt. And yet. A finite cast of characters and symbols set on 78...

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A bittersweet homecoming for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Posted By on Sat, Feb 5, 2011 at 1:40 AM

MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANYPresented by Duke Performances@Durham Performing Arts CenterFeb. 4-5 The Durham Performing Arts Center was energized Friday night with the North Carolina homecoming of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Cunningham founded the company in 1953 at Black Mountain College in western North Carolina; he died a year and a half ago, and his will outlined plans for a final two-year tour for his company, which will disband for good in December. Though turnout on Friday night was modest, those who did turn out were treated to a spectacular farewell for the storied troupe, which will perform one...

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

From the archives: Merce Cunningham—an interview and review

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Two stories from the archives, before this weekend's performances by the MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANY on its farewell "Legacy Tour," for those seeking further background on his work: a revealing interview from last summer with Cunningham dancer and dance reconstructor JEAN FREEBURY, followed by an earlier critical review from his company's last appearance at the American Dance Festival. Cunningham dancer and reconstructor Jean FreeburyLast summer, ADF belatedly asked Freebury to place his ISLETS 2 on students over six weeks. After dancing with Merce’s company from 1992 to 2003, she has taught his work now for 15 years. In our July...

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Theater & Dance Week: Lives, live on stage

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 2:24 PM

mural of Pauli Murray by Brett CookIt’s the week regional theater takes a turn to the biographical—sometimes even performed by the original cast. At UNC-Chapel Hill, the SOLO TAKES ON festival returns for its second season of striking autobiographical solo shows, before a Duke Human Rights Center contingent in cooperation with the award-winning regional theater troupe Hidden Voices unearth one of the most famous and influential Durhamites in recent history—and the one you've most likely never heard of—in TO BUY THE SUN: THE CHALLENGE OF PAULI MURRAY. Jeffrey Blair CornellWe’re particularly interested in seeing Jeffery Blair Cornell’s take on the...

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

red, black and GREEN: a blues redefines environmentalism in hip hop culture

Posted By on Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 3:18 PM

photo by D.L. AndersonMarc Bamuthi Joseph, in "red, black and GREEN: a blues," in the Process Series at UNC-CHred, black and GREEN: a blues (rbGb)Marc Bamuthi JosephThe Process SeriesGerard Hall, UNC-CHJan. 22, 8 p.m. Multi-media artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph noticed that there wasn’t a lot of overlap between the environmental movement and the people actually living in some of the most compromised environments in America. It got him to wondering why—and wondering if increased communication, exchange and cooperation between these populations were possible. “Obviously, folks of color and folks in low-income communities have had survival practices for generations that have...

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shaolin Riverdance? The amazing Mr. Cherkaoui and Sutra at Carolina Performing Arts

Posted By on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Andree LanthierSIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI/ SADLER'S WELLS LONDON: SUTRA Carolina Performing Arts@Memorial Hall, UNC CampusNov. 10-11 Belgian choreographer-performer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has one of the most graceful, flexible and articulate bodies on the world stage. His aesthetic—at least as expressed in Sutra, an hourlong entertainment created with the support of British dance presenter Sadler’s Wells—doesn’t bother to temper this facility with subtlety or nuance. “I feel like I just saw a Chinese version of Riverdance,” one theatergoer was overheard to say at Wednesday night's show. As the performance concluded, the audience rose up for a noisy standing ovation. Popping out of...

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Monday, November 8, 2010

How can you stay in the house... and how can you leave? Ralph Lemon at Duke

Posted By on Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Photo by Frank OudemanRalph LemonRalph Lemon: How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?Duke PerformancesReynolds Industries Theater Nov. 6 “We had a lot more walk-outs last night than usual,” said lighting director and production manager Christopher Kuhl prior to the Saturday night performance of New York-based choreographer Ralph Lemon’s How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? “Ralph is interested in it. He likes to track when people leave, when they start texting.” The evening began whimsically enough with a video piece featuring 102-year old Walter Carter—Lemon’s muse and mentor,...

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Departing ADF Dean Donna Faye Burchfield:
The Independent Interview

Posted By on Sun, Jul 25, 2010 at 10:29 PM

photo courtesy Christy PessagnoDeparting ADF Dean Donna Faye BurchfieldRelating a conversation with Donna Faye Burchfield, Dean of the American Dance Festival, without audio and video footage—or Labanotation, for the dance transcriptionists in the audience—is, to some degree, an exercise in frustration. Even when seated, her hands and body frequently work through and illustrate the concepts we’re discussing. Her speech is peppered with sudden stops for reflection, followed by equally sudden surges of insight. Pensive murmurs contrast with full-bodied laughs as she contemplates the absurdities and deeper implications of her craft. As the festival’s Dean since 2000, and in other roles...

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shen Wei artistic associate Sara Procopio at ADF:
The Independent Interview

Posted By on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Artistic associate Sara ProcopioFor most American Dance Festival students, it’s the stuff of dreams: After an enigmatic young choreographer spots you in an audition, you work for six weeks on what becomes the standout of the season. Then he says he wants to start a company, with you, in New York. That company rises quickly to the heights of modern dance, with seasons at home and performances in cities and festivals around the world. When your choreographer creates dances for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, your work is viewed by billions of people when it’s broadcast across the...

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cunningham reconstructor Jean Freebury at ADF:
The Independent Interview

Posted By on Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Jean FreeburyIn my first experiences with modern dance, thirty years ago, there was everyone else—and then there was Merce Cunningham. Though dance innovations abounded in the ‘80s, inevitably the other choreographers I recall encountering would use dance as narrative—to achieve theater by other means.But not Merce. Or, at least, not then. By that time, Cunningham’s theatrical experiments of the ‘40s and ‘50s had ceded to works considerably more abstract, but no less intellectual. Theater by other means? No. Think architecture, instead. Or abstract expressionism, for that matter, with more than an occasional diversion into the world of nature—seemingly, at times,...

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Choreographer Rosie Herrera at ADF:
The Independent Interview

Posted By on Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 2:58 PM

After five full weeks of dance, it was hard to shake the inaccurate sense that we’d already seen it all. But when a dapper young man shot a young woman sitting across from him at a café table in the face, without warning, with a high-power water hose on stage during the final week of last year’s American Dance Festival, it was a wake-up call, to say the least. Then, just to make sure we got the point, he did it again. And again, as the stunned party crowd on stage went as still as the audience. from Rosie Herrera's...

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Choreographer Martha Clarke at ADF:
The Independent Interview

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 1:15 AM

It’s been a whirlwind of a year—but it’s not at all clear that MARTHA CLARKE would have it any other way. In February she workshopped a new arrangement of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess for a Broadway producer. She also learned two bits of news: She’d won the Scripps/American Dance Festival award for Lifetime Achievement, with an honorarium of $50,000. Plus, she’d received a commission for a new work to premiere at this year’s ADF. The result, ANGEL REAPERS, is based on the history of an obscure New England sect: The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing—better known as...

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Preview: Pilobolus and Art Spiegelman's
"Hapless Hooligan in 'Still Moving'"

Posted By on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 2:39 PM

The news is already breaking on the new Pilobolus Dance Theater collaboration with cartoonist Art Spiegelman, creator of In the Shadow of No Towers and the ground-breaking graphic novel, Maus. Laura Collins-Hughes' June 20 article in the Boston Globe first tantalized us with descriptions of the working process and still images from the work. Then Dartmouth, where the ADF co-commission work premiered, released three juicy minutes of highlights from the work, on YouTube: About the same time, Pilobolus published a ten-minute featurette on the work, including behind the scenes intervews with Spiegelman, chhoreographer Michael Tracy and animators Dan and Jason...

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Eiko & Koma: 36 Works

Posted By on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Eiko & KomaIf you couldn't make the screening of Eiko & Koma: 36 Works this week at ADF, the film is also viewable on the web, here. Created as part of their Retrospective Project (2009-2012), and edited by Eiko Otake Yamada with assistance from designer Tara Kelton and videographer Shoko Letton, the 37-minute film "shows the trajectory of Eiko & Koma's career through short excerpts" from works created since the duo moved to the United States in 1976....

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

RUBBERBANDance Group's Victor Quijada at ADF:
The Independent Interview

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Choreographer Victor QuijadaRUBBERBANDance Group choreographer Victor Quijada has truly walked between the worlds. After growing up in the hip-hop culture on the streets of Los Angeles (which gave him the nickname Rubberband in description—and honor—of his moves) and transformative teenage years at the L.A. County High School for the Arts, Quijada danced with Twyla Tharp and Eliot Feld in New York. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens called, and he moved to Montreal.Then a choreography workshop Quijada took with Les Grands suggested that he might have even more to offer dance. Though his frustrations with the limitations of street dance made him...

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jonathan Wolken, Pilobolus co-founder, dead at 60

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Jonathan WolkenThe Hartford Courant is reporting today that Pilobolus Dance Theater co-founder and co-artistic director Jonathan Wolken has died. Wolken died Sunday night at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York at the age of 60. The Courant article by Frank Rizzo reports that Wolken had suffered for years from myelofibrosis, a serious bone marrow disorder that disrupts the body's normal production of blood cells. Pilobolus has been a long-time fixture at the American Dance Festival. Local audiences saw the world premiere of Wolken's Redline last summer, a work in a similar vein to his 2004 high-energy piece, Megawatt. In recent...

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Choreographer Kate Weare at ADF: The Independent Interview

Posted By on Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Leslie Kraus & Douglas Gillespie in "The Bridge of Sighs"At one speed, the gesture is a caress: a familiar transfer of warmth between lovers of long duration. But at a different velocity, the same move registers as impact—either in bewildered self-defense or with malice aforethought. What have our eyes just seen?Audiences will likely ask themselves that question at a number of points during The Bridge of Sighs, which choreographer Kate Weare's company performs during the showcase her group splits with Monica Bill Barnes & Company, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 15 & 16, at the American Dance Festival. (A video excerpt...

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Monica Bill Barnes at ADF: The Independent Interview

Posted By on Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Anna Bass & Deborah Lohse in "Another Parade"Well, something makes them do it: the dancers who walk—not just once, but repeatedly—out upon a empty, darkened stage, in front of hundreds of strangers who’ve paid money to see what they can do, before the first gestures provide the confirmation: Yes, they are the evening’s entertainment.On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 15-16, New York choreographer Monica Bill Barnes shares a showcase with Kate Weare at the American Dance Festival. Barnes’s company performs excerpts from Another Parade, a work that investigates, with wit and poignancy, what makes performers perform, and what exactly our relationship...

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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Independent Review: Gaspard&Dancers

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 5:50 PM

It’s easy enough to say that Gaspard&Dancers posted the strongest opening bid of any regional dance company in recent years in their Sunday, December 6 company premiere at Reynolds Theater.  In a region where dance in general and modern dance in particular has waned over this decade, there’s been precious little competition for such a superlative. Still, if a Durham audience gave their opening work, Anemone, a somewhat subdued response, by evening’s end the crowd was on its feet in support of choreographer and dancer Gaspard Louis and his new modern dance group. And yet, for a dance critic—and, I...

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The last time we saw Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca...

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Tonight, Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca take UNC's Memorial Hall through a passionate tour of this Spanish dance and musical form. The name should be familiar: the group closed the American Dance Festival in 2006 -- with a vengeance. Here's what we found in our July 26, 2006 review: "At the end of the first act, we'd been all but catapulted out of Page Auditorium on the bravado and the daring of dancer Juan Oglalla's "Maria - Alegrias." His solo was equal parts psychodrama and dance, as it deceptively swayed from cool disregard to laser-like insistence. We watched as...

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Urban Bush Women at Duke

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 12:41 PM

The Nov. 12 performance by Urban Bush Women at Duke’s Reynolds Theater began with a lone dancer, her arms and shoulders rippling with muscles, standing under a misty spotlight as someone offstage read the names of African-American leaders and activists from Sojourner Truth to Malcolm X. It set the tone for the evening. Though Urban Bush Women performances are ostensibly a form of modern dance, they’re more Toni Morrison than Martha Graham. The troupe’s six dancers avoid nearly any hint of classical ballet forms, focusing on athletic, dramatic stomps, slaps and chest bumps. Troupe founder and choreographer Jawole Willa Jo...

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