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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Elizabeth Streb: the INDY interview

Posted By on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

STREB Extreme Action’s company name is truth in advertising: a group of seven superbly-trained athletes who propel themselves into harm’s way, repeatedly—against walls and floors, off of trampolines and multi-story trapeze-like platforms, into and out of close encounters with a spinning industrial I-beam as it careens across stage, and much, much more. In our Feb 17, 2010 story on the CHAT Festival at UNC-Chapel Hill, I described their edge-of-your-seat maneuvers, set to a pulsing techno soundtrack and accompanied by live and digitized video, as “a highly caffeinated remix of death-defying circus acts, gymnastics, motion-picture stunt work and modern dance." I...

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Relevance, and a cloud of dust

Posted By on Sat, Feb 8, 2014 at 7:39 AM

In order for a dance company to keep moving forward after 30 years, it has to balance tromping on the accelerator with checking its mirrors. Urban Bush Women, opening its 30th season with Duke Performances at Reynolds Industries Theater Friday night, might not be hurtling into new territory anymore, but it keeps its mission of racial and gender activism, as well as its straightforward storytelling method, firmly in view in its rear-view mirror. And, after a two-week residency at Duke, this might be more important. Courtesy of Urban Bush WomenUrban Bush Women perform at Duke's Reynolds Industries Theater, Feb. 7...

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Emerging artist Christiana Barnett-Murphy transforms trauma into dance

Posted By on Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Christiana Barnett-Murphy's Burning Durham Arts Council Oct. 12 I arrived at Christiana Barnett-Murphy’s Burning to find myself in an “installation”: a scatter of seating areas each adorned with a cluster of balloons bearing questions I was to discuss with a stranger, another dance-goer. I was late; my newfound partner had “to pee”; so we rushed through the questions. “What keeps you hopeful?” one balloon asked. “That assumes something,” my partner said. I judged I didn’t have time to tell her my life story, so we skipped it. Take that starry-eyed question as an index to the sort of viewer Barnett-Murphy...

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gaspard Louis unveils new work and old in two shows at Duke's Reynolds Theater

Posted By on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Gaspard&Dancers Reynolds Industries Theater Oct. 18–19 A shaft of light breaks through darkness and smoke, illuminating a heap of bodies. Still for a moment, soon they shift and roll over each other, roiling like the vanishing smoke. They help each other up, weighted bodies rising smoothly as if on a film wound in reverse, and they start to dance. Muscular whirlwinds, they whip through space in swooping turns and athletic sprints, leaping only to fall, falling only to spring again. They touch and lift each other almost by instinct, colliding in quick ecstatic bursts, propelling each other up and then...

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Israeli dance company L-E-V, Eyal and Behar bring the Gaga to the House

Posted By on Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 8:14 PM

L-E-V WITH SHARON EYAL AND GAI BEHAR – HOUSE Memorial Hall, UNC Campus Oct. 9, 2013 The curtain opens on a dusky cloud—one writhing figure showing only from the shimmer on her black leatherette body. Now liquid, now lurching, she winds through twilight towards us, clawing and morphing. With her oil-slick catsuit and her angular, broken gestures, she’s a vogue queen—or a drowning bird from the Exxon Valdez. More dim light blooms and she fades into a crowd in nude bodysuits, who flex in low second-position plie, their bony pelvises jutting, shifting in and out like pistons in a machine....

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Monday, September 16, 2013

North Carolina Dance Festival spotlights dancers rather than the dance

Posted By on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 1:36 PM

The North Carolina Dance Festival opened its 23rd season this past Friday and Saturday at Meredith College. NCDF presents itself as a celebration of and introduction to the state’s companies and dance-makers, but this year, the festival highlighted dancers more than dances.  In particular, NCDF was awash in modern movers, dancers smooth and powerful as waves and rooted like trees, with whiplash extensions and zero-to-60 dynamics. So many accomplished dancers in this style shared the stage that it’s hard to single any one out. Natalie Morton’s tensile strength shone as she arced back from a deep lunge in Black...

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

ADF Critical Remix: Human Digital Editing with 605 Collective

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Grant Halverson605 Collective's AUDIBLEAUDIBLE605 COLLECTIVEAMERICAN DANCE FESTIVALREYNOLDS THEATRE Painter Robert Longo, motion picture special effects designer John Gaeta, UNC defensive line coach Keith Gilmore, martial arts choreographer 袁和平 (Yuán Hépíng) and cyberpunk novelist William Gibson got thrown out of a tec bar the other night... In its past, even among its most refined practitioners, hip hop choreography has been a signifier set that frequently has pointed back to little more than itself. Stipulate that such is an inevitable stage in the evolution of any human behavior that emerges from pastime to trick to technique to style to substance as an...

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Friday, June 28, 2013

ADF Critical Remix: COLLECTIVE MEASURES shows LIMITED progress

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM

COLLECTIVE MEASURES SHEN WEI DANCE ARTS AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL DURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER As mentioned in our previous Critical Remix, Shen Wei regularly revises earlier works. Less regularly, however, does he change their titles while keeping much of their content the same. That gives us pause about the putative world premiere of COLLECTIVE MEASURES. By my reckoning, at least half of its contents were viewed, more or less verbatim, in a lengthier world premiere at the 2011 ADF called Limited States. Shen references the work in the playbill. No doubt he should. Sequences in which dyads made exaggerated fingertip...

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ADF Critical Remix: Shen Wei Returns to Forever in NEAR THE TERRACE

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

NEAR THE TERRACESHEN WEI DANCE ARTSAMERICAN DANCE FESTIVALDURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER By now, we’ve come to expect choreographer Shen Wei to revise earlier works when he restages them, as the prerogative of an artistic intellect that is never still. Those changes have ranged from the subliminal tweaks we’ve witnessed in versions of Folding to the overt makeover which suggested that, in the first section of his famous trilogy, the incomplete title Re— actually stood for rewriting. (Or, possibly, redaction, when the shattered floor-length mandala which clearly symbolized the Tibetan Buddhist diaspora in the first version of that work was...

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Exclusive video preview: Shen Wei's "Collective Measures" world premiere at 2013 ADF (NSFW)

Posted By on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Video clip contains partial nudity and is not safe for work. Viewer discretion is advised. Exclusive video footage from the world premiere of choreographer Shen Wei's Collective Measures at the 2013 American Dance Festival. The company performs at the Durham Performing Arts Center, Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14, 2013. Video preview produced by Byron Woods....

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Rites without seasons: Bill T. Jones and Anne Bogart's A Rite at Memorial Hall

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Paul B. GoodeListening, up: Will Bond as the infantryman in A RITEA RITEBill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance CompanySITI CompanyMemorial Hall, UNCClosed January 26 Some rites are seasonal. It's a fact those who've spent any part of their lives in close contact with the land know, intimately. Plant tomatoes in the spring under the sign of Scorpio; set potatoes in the dark of a Cancer moon. Feed a pig generously—until the last week of its life. Then, at the first hard frost, gather family members or neighbors. Shoot it in the head, hang it by its heels and slit its throat....

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

The minimalist, highly personal multimedia pioneer Meredith Monk at Duke; final performance tonight

Posted By on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Photo by K. Scott SchaferMEREDITH MONK Nov. 2-3Duke Performances, Reynolds Industries Theater Multimedia mama Meredith Monk has been at Duke on a residency for two weeks, and last night presented a show in Reynolds Theater that brought her past into the present. The show repeats tonight—who knows when you might have another opportunity to see and hear the woman so important to the beginnings of a strain of art that we take for granted today. Monk isn’t for everyone, and this work will appear dated in some ways—because it is. You will probably feel more satisfied by if you realize...

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

ADF 2012: Mark Morris offers fitting finale to this summer's festival, which closes Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUPAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACJuly 27-28 The American Dance Festival closes its 2012 performance season this weekend at the Durham Performing Arts Center, with two nights of the Mark Morris Dance Group, accompanied by the fine trio of the MMDG Music Ensemble. Compared to some of the ferocious, rowdy and ridiculous programs preceding it, this one is a rather mild-mannered—but it is such a treat to have live music for the dancing that one simply revels in the pleasurable experience. The evening opens with the highly amusing 1982 dance, Canonic 3/4 Studies, set to “Piano Waltzes” by...

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

ADF 2012: Paul Taylor's flawed program

Posted By on Sat, Jul 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Photo by Paul B. GoodeBig BerthaPAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANYAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACThrough July 21 The Paul Taylor Dance Company took the stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center last night for their annual visit to the American Dance Festival, which concludes this evening. The mainstay company brought out a crowd expecting to see virtuosic performances from the principal dancers, and Michael Trusnovec, Amy Young and Michelle Fleet didn’t disappoint them. The real star, however, was the flawed program. A bit long with four pieces and two intermissions—and lengthened more by a curtain mishap that required repairs—the program spanned a half-century...

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

ADF 2012: Shen Wei paints himself out of a corner

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Photo by Grant Halverson/ American Dance FestivalShen Wei Dance Arts' "Undivided Divided," as performed at the North Carolina Museum of Art UNDIVIDED DIVIDEDShen Wei Dance Arts@ North Carolina Museum of ArtThrough July 19 "In the end, you deliver some of your energy to another human being." —Shen Wei Our eyes met for half a moment. Smeared in pink from eyes to toenails, she turned her head aside. That panning motion continued into a casual tumble onto her back, sliding through the tempera paint that covered the floor of the Plexiglas box that contained her. Twirling upon shoulder blades and spine...

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

ADF 2012: Vertigo Dance and the clarification of presence

Posted By on Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Vertigo Dance Company - Images by Independent WeeklyVERTIGO DANCEAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACJuly 13-14 You can tell it’s an election year because of the dualities in the air. “I’m for doing this, but that guy is for doing that.” It’s obvious why political discourse is so full of these statements of polar opposition. Opposites are simple. Even babies get “either/or.” This is why there are nearly as many “opposites” books in the toddler section of the bookstore as there are those listing colors or letters of the alphabet. Something is either in or out, black or white. It’s either day or...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ADF 2012: Ragamala Dance's intense, hypnotic ritual

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Photo courtesy of Ragamala DanceSacred EarthRAGAMALA DANCEAmerican Dance Festival@Reynolds Industries TheaterThrough July 12 I just saw something beautiful, although I had to forget myself to see it. Ragamala Dance, a company of six women under the artistic direction of mother-daughter team Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy, opened a three-night run of their evening-length work Sacred Earth at the American Dance Festival in Duke’s Reynolds Industries Theater. Thematically, Ragamala portrays man’s inextricable connection to nature through a rich combination of traditions such as Indian classical dance and music, Tamil Sangam poetry, Warli mural painting and Kolam floor painting. OK. That’s the straight...

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Coming of age in the era of Marilyn, Eisenhower and the Beats in 1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Photos by Eric WatersGlenn Gould (Matthew Young), Grace Kelly (Elisabeth Johnson) and Allen Ginsberg (Derrick Ivey)1*9*5*6 Degrees of SeparationOther Voices@ Manbites Dog TheaterThrough June 24 All art is to some degree autobiographical. Any creation tells us something about its creator. But some art is more explicit, depicting or revealing the artist as she sees herself, or in the case of Killian Manning’s new work, exploring the milieu that shaped her. Manning was born in 1956; she is 56 this year. Her age makes looking back and taking stock almost inevitable, and the numerology makes the undertaking feel cosmic and lucky....

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

People-watching at the club, with Twyla and Frank:
Come Fly Away at DPAC

Posted By on Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Cody Green and Laurie Kanyok in COME FLY AWAYCOME FLY AWAY4 stars out of 5Durham Performing Arts CenterThrough Oct. 2dpacnc.org It’s understandable that modern dance aficionados might have paused when considering the touring version of COME FLY AWAY, choreographer Twyla Tharp’s evening-length tribute to musical legend Frank Sinatra which closes a stand at Durham Performing Arts Center on Sunday. As mentioned in our preview, Tharp had already gone to the well three times with Ol’ Blue Eyes between 1976 and 1983, reconfiguring various groupings of his hits that she’d choreographed into what ultimately became one of her most widely interpreted—and...

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Friday, July 29, 2011

ADF 2011 Season Wrap II (Extended Dance Remix):
When the Music Takes Control. And Then Doesn't Give It Back.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 6:26 PM

NOTE: As happens every year, we had a lot more to say about the AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL than we could ever fit into the print version of the INDEPENDENT. Thus these expanded essays, which delve more in depth into some of the issues that came up—plus one or two that didn't—during the season: our extended dance mixes for the 2011 ADF. IN THIS REMIX:THE ALTERNATIVE HERSTORY OF ANNE TERESA DE KEERSMAKER CRASH-COURSE BUTOH CRASHES ONCE AGAINMUSIC TO, THROUGH, AND AT TIMES IN LIEU OF DANCING: HUBBARD STREET, SHEN WEI, EMANUEL GAT, DOUG VARONE, RON K. BROWN, PILOBOLUS & OK GO...

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

ADF 2011 Season Wrap I (Extended Dance Remix):
Dear Science

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 5:19 AM

NOTE: As happens every year, we had a lot more to say about the AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL than we could ever fit into the print version of the INDEPENDENT. Thus these expanded essays, which delve more in depth into some of the issues that came up—plus one or two that didn't—during the season: our extended dance mixes for the 2011 ADF. THE YEAR IN SCIENCE, GAME (AND CHOREOGRAPHY): SHEN WEI, EMANUEL GAT, THOMAS DEFRANTZ, PILOBOLUS What has taken the place of conventional (or even unconventional) narrative, so devalued among some contemporary dance artists? One answer: the scientific and mathematical frames...

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cirque du Soleil's Alegria soars

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Cirque du Soleil’s AlegriaRBC Center, RaleighEvening and matinee shows through July 10 The fabled Cirque du Soleil, based in Montreal, but now a world-wide performing institution, has brought its light-hearted Alegria to Raleigh for a run that includes shows well-timed for children, who will especially appreciate the silly clowning in this confection that lauds the spirit of youth. Alegria is a Spanish word for the bubbly condition of joy, and the Cirque brings it physical reality with their extraordinarily strong circus techniques. Alegria premiered in Montreal in 1994, and has become a Cirque classic, having been viewed by more than...

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Exclusive video preview: Tao Dance Theater at ADF

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Exclusive video footage of TAO DANCE THEATER at the 2011 American Dance Festival. The company performs June 20-22 at Reynolds Theater at Duke University. Produced and narrated by Byron Woods....

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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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...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

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