111 posts

Dance Review: San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

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For sheer production values, though, the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker remains at the top of the list. The latest incarnation of the classic, choreographed by SFB Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, debuted in 2004. It shifts the focus from the nineteenth-century Biedermeier period seen in past productions and brings the story forward to Edwardian San Francisco during the time of the Panama Pacific International Exhibition. Capitalizing on the distinctive architecture of the city, Tomasson has presented a Nutcracker that is uniquely San Francisco.

Dance Review: Alvin Ailey Offers Anointed, The Hunt, Cry and Revelations

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Luckily, Robert Battle needs no anointing. His choreography speaks for itself. In the company premiere of Battle’s The Hunt, the choreographer proved himself capable of the shifts and subtleties in tone that make Ailey’s pieces so memorable—think, for example, of the final movement of Revelations, in which the gossiping church-goers are both amusingly irritable and filled with inner-light.

Movie Review: Black Swan

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Darren Aronofsky’s films (which include Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler) roil with striking, horrific imagery and raw performances. They’re movies that even movie buffs can’t watch frequently because they burrow between your ribs and clutch your heart.

Book Review: Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans

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Homans’ concluding remarks, cogent and powerfully expressed like the rest of Apollo’s Angels, are going to send some powerful shock waves through an arts community content to let ballet companies limp along on the receipts of last year’s Nutcracker performances.

The Dancer Within: Intimate Conversations with Great Dancers by Rose Eichenbaum

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In fact, the only one who doesn’t fall in with this uplifting sentiment is, God bless her, Shirley MacLaine. With a fabulous display of grande dame orneriness, she even takes Eichenbaum to task for trying to make something monumental out of the whole idea. Exploring the dancer within? Bah humbug.

Remembering Nureyev by Rudi van Dantzig

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More intimately, van Dantzig shows us the idiosyncratic human being that powered the death-defying leaps and diamond-cut footwork. Paranoid about the KGB and Scotland Yard, perennially late to any rehearsal or engagement, often rude to his female partners, free with his sexual life at dinner parties, Nureyev comes across as a royal pain in the ass.