California Literary Review

Dance

Dance Review: San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

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December 13th, 2012

Instead of whipping out a small nutcracker that Drosselmeyer later makes big, the nutcracker should be at least as dramatic in its appearance as Drosselmeyer himself, so that the child from Pacific Heights in the third row, dressed in velvet togs from a Sacramento Street boutique, isn’t tempted to think, “Big deal—I’ve got a better nutcracker at home!”

Diablo Ballet’s Newest Member and Comeback Kid, Aaron Orza

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November 23rd, 2012

I would say that compared to the what the women face, competition is not so ruthless for men. We are all in it more for each other, a positive, friendly competition thing. That is how I was trained to view it by my teacher at San Francisco Ballet, Jorge Esquivel.

Diablo Ballet’s Swingin’ Holiday

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November 21st, 2012

This small company has bagged a big quotient of ballet artistry thanks to intelligent and sensitive leadership by Diablo’s artistic director, Lauren Jonas.

LEVYDance 10th Anniversary: Who’s in Charge of the Smoke and Mirrors and Where’s the Occasional Music?

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November 19th, 2012

Substantial funds were raised and spent several years ago to improve the performance space at ODC Theater, but for “artistic reasons” related to retaining its exposed-brick open ambience, no curtain was installed. This is problematic when for artistic reasons, a program requires a curtain.

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet’s Constellation: Ballet in Bright Lights

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November 6th, 2012

Strings of LED lights take the form of square panels, and dancers wear or carry them like accessories. They bounce individual lights, or dance on a darkened stage with only the lights they hold in their hands visible as they move, so that their sparkle competes with feet as focal points.

Russell Maliphant’s Afterlight Folds Time Into Space at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

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October 31st, 2012

After a piano intro, a spot opens up a space on the dark stage and in it is the dancer, Thomasin Gülgeç. He is dressed in a purple top. He is revolving, and then begins a series of stretches that segue into a port de bras as he inclines toward the blush of white light.

9 Questions with Artistic Director and Choreographer Bruce Steivel

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October 24th, 2012

Being an Artistic Director of two companies an ocean apart is certainly an interesting assignment. I plan to incorporate the dancers from both countries into several productions. I already have brought one male dancer from San Mateo to perform with the company in Belgrade and intend to bring three dancers from Belgrade to San Mateo to perform this season. It will be an interesting cultural exchange and benefit both the dancers and the companies.

Shaping Flamenco: An Afternoon with Cristina Hall

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October 21st, 2012

“The head follows the hand.” Now smiling broadly, she demonstrates slamming the back foot onto the floor behind her, then in front, so that we hear the stamp each time. The hand slaps the thigh, though the elbows stay softened. The hip movement isn’t perfunctory: It’s sustained.

Mariinsky Ballet: Swan Lake

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October 16th, 2012

Asked why there were no secondes, the general director gave the curious response that “not everyone can do that step.” We scoured our memory to come up with a major company where that is the case—and couldn’t!

9 Questions with Choreographer Adam Hougland

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October 5th, 2012

Smuin Ballet, as part of its opening program for the 2012–2013 season, is presenting the West Coast premiere of Cold Virtues by the exciting young choreographer Adam Hougland. Popular with audience and critics alike, the work is set to Philip Glass’s haunting Violin Concerto and features fourteen dancers, whirling and leaping against a mesmerizing backdrop of spinning fans. The Louisville Courier-Journal described the ballet as “beautifully bleak, honest in unflinching fashion.”

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Speaks Ballet In a Dialect All Its Own

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October 4th, 2012

Appearing at the Cullen Theater in Houston’s Wortham Center on September 29, the small but sturdy company of eleven dancers met and surpassed the high expectations of a full house audience studded with ballet aficionados and the most urbane of dance critics.

How Social Media Has Energized Small Arts Organizations — An Interview with Diablo Ballet’s Dan Meagher

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September 20th, 2012

For small companies like Diablo Ballet, social media has come into the forefront as a cost-effective vehicle to get audiences involved in the arts in a new and interactive way. In the past, marketing personnel for arts organizations had to navigate the expensive ad formats in print, television, and radio to get their message out. Often, local media would donate print space or airtime as part of their public service commitments, but this tended to be an unpredictable delivery method, dependent on too many variables, including space availability and the personal commitment of individual station managers.

Interview with the Late Mirta Hermida, Headmistress of the Cuban National Ballet School

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August 30th, 2012

Understanding that dancers’ careers had a limited time span and usually ended at the age of 30, Fernando and Alicia taught us how to teach, even as we learned. And so, by the age of 19 I had begun teaching.

Summertime Digital Dance Quiz

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August 26th, 2012

Which was more important to you in Billy Elliot—the dancing or the plot?

Six Days in Santiago with Richard Cragun

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August 12th, 2012

I wrote to Luz Lorca, Marcía Haydée’s assistant to ask whether Ricky happened to be in Santiago to help coach the company’s upcoming Mayerling. Just a few days later, Luz wrote back, “I am sorry to have to tell you that Richard Cragun died this morning in Rio. Marcía is devastated.”

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