Transported Through Dance

At Miki Orihara’s solo concert last Friday, part of the La MaMA Moves! Dance Festival, each short work was like a world of its own. In the intimate space of the Ellen Stewart Theatre, flanked by large staircases on either side, Ms. Orihara created an entire mood and atmosphere, giving us a brief glimpse into each of these rich environments before leaving us to imagine so many potential stories.

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Small But Mighty

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All photos by Eduardo Patino, courtesy Ballet NY

In their annual New York City season at the Ailey Citigroup Theater last week, Ballet NY, the company founded by Judith Fugate and Medhi Bahiri, presented three company premieres and revisited work from their current repertory. No small feat for the group of only eight dancers, several of whom performed in three of the program’s four works.

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Paul Taylor Dance Company

Originally published on 3/18/14 on, in response to Paul Taylor Dance Company’s 3/14/14 performance 

Watching Paul Taylor’s work is often like being transported through American history, one decade, idea or dance trend at a time. Not that the movement is necessarily following a linear progression. But elements of American social dance, and of traditionally American character, are woven through Taylor’s diverse repertoire, making his work easily recognizable to those who have experienced it before. 

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An Old Friend, Back On Broadway

Les Misérables, needless to say, has been around a long time. But it is for good reason. The Imperial Theatre on a recent Saturday night is packed to the rafters, and the excitement in the audience is palpable. Perhaps because the show only opened a couple weeks ago, most of the audience members appear to be seasoned Les Mis fans who have eagerly anticipated the show’s return to Broadway and are ready to welcome it back. Though I am familiar with the musical, this is my first time seeing it live, and compared to them I am a rookie. Continue reading

What is a Recreational Dancer?

Originally published on 2/23/14 on

I don’t know how to answer the question “Are you a dancer?” “Yes” seems like a lie somehow. After all, I’m not a professional, nor am I “advanced” by anyone’s definition. I don’t attend class regularly, nor is there a style that I specialize in. Doesn’t “yes” imply that I should at least be able to touch my toes without bending my knees? To say “no,” though, also feels wrong. Because I do have a dance background, and, most importantly, I find that dance is a significant part of my life. So usually, I just mumble something about being a recreational dancer, and let the question pass. The question-asker nods in understanding. But in reality, I’m not sure either of us knows what a recreational dancer is.

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Signs of Spring


Between winter and spring at Lincoln Center, March 23, 2014

A Fairytale For All Time

On a Wednesday afternoon, at a matinee for Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the lobby of the Broadway Theatre is packed with children: little girls dress up in ball gowns and put glitter in their hair, summer campers file in together in a line, and families hold hands on the way to their seats. At intermission, the line for the restroom is so long that barely half the people in it are relieved before the 15 minutes is up. For a story as popular and widely known as Cinderella, it makes sense. Many people in the room have grown up knowing at least one version of the story (probably more), and some of them have seen at least one version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical (originally created for television in 1957).  Continue reading

Speaking in Taps

Last month at the Joyce, Savion Glover directed and choreographed STePz, a program featuring himself, Marshall Davis Jr., and the tap trio 3 Controversial Women, or 3CW (Robyn Watson, Ayodele Casel, and Sarah Savelli). With a series of numbers and sketches, the program paid homage to some of the greatest tap artists and musicians, from Sammy Davis Jr. to Chuck Green to many others, as well as celebrating and sharing the joy of tap with an enthusiastic and receptive audience. Continue reading

Celebrating the Power of Dance

There’s no contest: the most fun dance performance of the summer is consistently National Dance Institute’s Event of the Year, held at LaGuardia High School. Established in 1976 by Jacques d’Amboise, NDI brings dance into the lives of public school children through free classes and programs that build self-confidence and a love and appreciation of the arts. Led by Ellen Weinstein’s artistic direction, they currently partner with 31 schools in the New York City metro area, working with around 5000 kids every week, and recently led a cultural exchange in China. Continue reading

Beyond the Razzle Dazzle

Led by director Diane Paulus, American Repertory Theater’s revival of Pippin at the Music Box Theatre admirably takes on a musical theater classic, while also managing to bring fresh perspective to it.  Continue reading