California Literary Review

Profile of Hanna Oldsman


Hanna studied dance at a small dance school in Massachusetts and at
the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. before heading to New
York to attend Barnard College. While at Barnard she studied English
literature and wrote dance reviews for two campus publications, the
“Columbia Spectator” and the “Barnard Bulletin.” She is currently working
in publishing.

Email Address:

holdsman [at] gmail [dot] com

Articles written for the California Literary Review:

  • Dance Review: NYCB Offers Wheeldon’s Les Carillons and DGV
    Posted on 15 Feb 2012 in Dance, Performing Arts

    The ability to enjoy DGV seems to me largely dependent on how irritating one finds Michael Nyman’s driving minimalist score. The piece (MGV: Musique à Grande Vitesse) was composed at the request of a European railroad company; and if Nyman’s music may at first express the ratcheting excitement of being propelled forward at high-speeds, it soon comes to convey instead the tedium of a long train ride.

  • Review: Fall for Dance
    Posted on 01 Nov 2011 in Blog-Dance, Dance

    Mark Morris Dance Group in All Fours. Photo by Stephanie Berger. The appeal of New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, which engages 20 dance companies over a period of ten days, was perfectly apparent in Lil Buck’s The Swan, a solo dance performed on opening night. This reimagining of the eponymous variation from […]

  • Dance Review: NYCB, Works by Jerome Robbins
    Posted on 05 Oct 2011 in Dance, Performing Arts

    Lauren Lovette, in particular, is fascinating to watch in this piece: she almost passively lets the music and choreography move through her body, and yet imbues all of her movements with quiet conviction. With her light touch, she makes even the most artificially passionate steps – as when she collapses at the waist and her fingers thread down her face as if weeping – seem natural.

  • Dance Review: NYCB, Paul McCartney’s Ocean’s Kingdom
    Posted on 01 Oct 2011 in Dance, Performing Arts

    But as Ocean’s Kingdom joins a growing pile of choreographic train wrecks (a drab revival of Seven Deadly Sins and the vapid For the Love of Duke were last years’ attempts to bring in new audiences), it seems NYCB is more concerned with ticket sales than artistic integrity. There are certainly many composers and choreographers, young and established, who are doing exciting work, and looking for work. Why not give them, and the audience, a chance?

  • Dance Review: New York City Ballet, ‘Balanchine Black & White’
    Posted on 27 Sep 2011 in Dance, Performing Arts

    Though the hype surrounding the New York City Ballet’s fall season has lately concerned a new ballet composed by a certain former Beatle, the company has continually impressed with its performances of repertoire by its founding choreographers. On Tuesday, a program of three early Balanchine works – the ballets presented were all choreographed before 1960 – showed just how modern his ballets seem half a century later.

  • Dance Review: The Royal Danish Ballet in New York
    Posted on 26 Jun 2011 in Dance, Performing Arts

    As the New York City Ballet has become a steward of ballets by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine, so the Royal Danish Ballet is the chief caretaker of August Bournonville’s work. At the Saturday matinee performance by the Royal Danish Ballet in New York, we were treated to two ballets that are staples of the Bournonville repertoire: La Sylphide and the third act of Napoli.

  • Dance Review: American Ballet Theatre’s Coppélia
    Posted on 24 Jun 2011 in Dance, Performing Arts

    Osipova dances on a similarly grand scale: her buoyant leaps seem disproportionately large for her small frame (and appear nearly effortless), and her expressive face and upper body register to the whole theater. Her Swanhilda is entirely delightful: canny and curious, charming and occasionally petulant.

  • Theater Review: Spider-man: Turn off the Dark
    Posted on 20 Jun 2011 in Performing Arts, Theatre

    Despite the fact that the producers of this spectacle have been changing their minds for months now, throwing out directors and story lines, reworking songs and dance numbers and dialogue, the heart of this superhero musical flutters weakly, pumping worn out clichés—and millions of dollars—through its veins. As the Green Goblin croons cannily at the beginning of Act Two, in a rare moment of clarity, this is a “65 million dollar circus tragedy.”

  • Dance Review: New York City Ballet Opens Its Spring Season
    Posted on 10 May 2011 in Dance, Performing Arts

    As anyone who has seen the New York City Ballet can attest, George Balanchine hardly stuck to one dance style. Yet the ballets for which he is most well-known are his “black and white” ballets, works in which he stripped ballet to its essence — movement, and music, and the ways in which the two illuminate each other. Gone were elaborate costumes and sets, replaced with practice clothes (leotards and tights, sometimes accompanied by short dance skirts or belts) and an empty stage. NYCB has devoted the first week of its spring season to a dozen such ballets.

  • Review: Boston Ballet’s Bella Figura
    Posted on 06 May 2011 in Blog-Dance, Dance

    When the curtain rises on The Second Detail, the stage looks leeched of color: the leotards worn by the dancers are an icy, bleached blue, the walls are muted gray.  Along the back edge of the stage is a row of simple black stools, where throughout the piece dancers perch to rest.

    It feels both stylish and vaguely unformed — an aesthetic that runs through the piece, from the attitude of the dancers to the block-lettered “THE” placed challengingly on the lip of the stage. 

  • Review: Dance Under the Influence at MAD
    Posted on 13 Apr 2011 in Blog-Dance, Dance

    Last month, in the second performance of the series, the relationship between the two art forms was not particularly explicit. Of the three choreographers (Miro Magloire, Ben Munisteri, and Michelle Wiles), only Munisteri cited particular works that inspired his piece. What emerged instead — in both the dance works shown and the discussion after the performance — was a reflection on space in dance and and other visual and performing arts.

  • Review: Mark Morris Dance Group
    Posted on 25 Mar 2011 in Blog-Dance, Dance

    In the last section of Mark Morris’ Festival Dance, one dancer picks up his partner and spins around so that her legs fly out with centrifugal force, and just when it seems he will put her down (she’s been up in the air for quite a while and the musical phrase is coming to a close), she hitches her arms more securely about him and they continue on. It’s a bit like someone who won’t stop talking though short of breath, too giddy to stop the flow of words.

  • Review: Buglisi Dance Theatre and Paul Taylor Dance Company
    Posted on 20 Mar 2011 in Blog-Dance, Dance

    The dancers of Buglisi Dance Theatre are perhaps the chief reason to see this company, which performed at the Joyce last week. These remarkable dancers have formidable technique (many are trained in the Martha Graham style), and they are capable of infusing their dancing with drama, humor, and wit. Their gifts were particularly evident in Requiem, the first piece on the program. In this work, the gravitas of Fauré’s score flows up their straight backs and out through their eyes; there is conviction in every contraction of their spines, every movement of their hands and arms.

  • Interview with ASFB’s William Cannon
    Posted on 27 Feb 2011 in Blog-Dance, Dance

    I recently had a chance to talk with dancer William Cannon of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, currently performing at the Joyce in New York City. Below are some of his responses to questions about contemporary ballet, working on new choreography, and the pieces that ASFB is bringing to New York — Jorma Elo’s Red Sweet, […]

  • Dance Review: New York City Ballet’s Swan Lake
    Posted on 15 Feb 2011 in Dance, Performing Arts

    The dual-role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake is well-known — probably more now than ever, thanks to the Black Swan phenomenon. Odette is tragic and pure; Odile is darker, seductive, evil with a capital “E.” Sara Mearns, who danced the parts in New York City Ballet’s production of Swan Lake on Sunday, has passed over this truism for a far more interesting interpretation.

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