Mae G. Banner
year was the centennial of George Balanchineís birth and the
near-demise of his New York City Balletís association with
the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. SPACís president and
board, in a fatal combination of arrogance and ignorance,
claimed insufficient ticket sales were forcing them to banish
NYCB after their 39th season here. They found out you donít
mess with ballet fans.
A grassroots movement dubbed Save the Ballet took their fury
to the community, the relevant state legislators and the New
York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation,
which launched an audit that uncovered years of sloppy business
practices, mismanagement and outright deception regarding
SPACís stated reasons for axing the ballet. Details of the
audit are now being examined by the attorney generalís office.
The ballet will be back in 2005, and SPAC will soon have a
Dance lovers have been stressed by SPACís actions from Valentineís
Day to Christmas, but, worrying about the fate of NYCB at
SPAC made us appreciate all the more the amazing variety of
dance we get to see all year round at regional venues. Among
them, the Egg, Proctorís, Jacobís Pillow and SPAC presented
dance from every continent and in a myriad of body languages.
New York City Ballet
Performing Arts Center Week 2, July 13-17
principals to corps, they were all dancing out of their minds,
as if it were their last day on earth (which, politically
speaking, it nearly was). Superlatives in an outstanding week:
James Fayetteís mating dance in The Four Seasons, Sean
Suozzi as Melancholic in The Four Temperaments, and
firebrand Teresa Reichlen, who stole the show in the Rubies
section of Jewels.
and severe: Peter Boal & Company.
Peter Boal & Company
Pillow, Aug. 8
Sublimely poetic and keenly intelligent, Boal and three pals
from NYCB (Wendy Whelan, Suozzi, and Benjamin Millepied) danced
a program of severe and quirky modern works. We may have to
wait some time to see Boal again. Heís just been tapped to
lead the Pacific Northwest Ballet; heíll retire from NYCB
in June 2005 and head for Seattle.
Savion Glover in Improvography
Egg, Oct. 29
A jazz player whose instruments are his feet, Glover, along
with his combo, laid down scintillating grooves in a wise
and generous concert that drew from the whole history of tap.
Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
Egg, April 17
The Flight Project, DCDCís celebration of the centennial of
the Wright Brothersí first flight, included newly commissioned
dances from Bebe Miller and Bill T. Jones, but the pinnacle
of the evening was Sir Warren Spearsí On the Wings of Angels,
a tribute to the Tuskegee airmen of World War II. Pain, pride
and comradeship shone through this all-male dance.
Les Ballets Trockaderos de Monte Carlo
In this sterling drag troupe, all the women are strong, all
the men are good-looking, and all the choreography is above
average. Dancing under stage names like Ida Nevasayneva and
Tamara Boomdeay, these gentlemen are parodists of high skill
and deep commitment to classical form.
Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company
Egg , May 1
Always game for the next step in a steadily building regional
presence, Sinopoli shared the stage with jazz singer Laurel
Masse and her quartet, giving us two fine shows in one. The
bill included a premiere, Jamminí, that mixed í40s
swing with modern dance; and Rising Low, an earthy
dance for a sisterhood of lonely, gutsy women.
Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company
Brilliant costumes of red, green, white and black; dance patterns
as intricate as the designs on Orthodox Easter eggs; and,
above all, an indomitable spirit make this 85- member ensemble
a joy to watch.
Doug Varone and Dancers
Egg, June 11
Varone is to dance what Raymond Carver is to the short story.
Collisions, separations, entanglements, and small, telling
gestures keep us guessing, keep us involved.
Pillow, July 1
A Brazilian carnaval of slinky, repetitive movement, this
thoroughly communal troupe manages to be sexy, soulful and
satiricósometimes, all at once.
Rennie Harris Puremovement
Egg, Feb. 13
Heroic male dancing/rapping from the streets of Philadelphia,
soaked in tragedy, glinting with anger, crowned with hope.