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San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
November 2010 review
December 2010 preview
It's no secret that interdisciplinary performance and I don't always get along. But even a skeptic and cynic like me knows that every once in a while, this genre gets it right -- well-researched pieces with formal and narrative cohesiveness, favoring collaboration and cooperation above randomness and mismatching. In November, I saw three such programs where the integration of elements had been afforded the necessary time and energy. It is not enough to just throw things together (and so many of today's choreographers do that), relativity must be the primarily goal in order to achieve any level of artistic depth.
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San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
October 2010 review
November 2010 preview
The Bay Area is full of rich diversity and as one might expect from such a unique region, its dance scene also enjoys significant range. The four performances featured here demonstrate this vast breadth in performance genre: modern, classical ballet, dance-theater, contemporary ballet and jazz. Yet, despite the extensive scope, a shared commonality was present in all the productions – that of newness. This month brought fresh vision, world premieres, unfamiliar companies, season openings and cutting edge approaches.
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Mao's Last Dancer





Fall for Dance

Program 4 - Tero Saarinen, Dresden Semperoper Ballett, American Ballet Theatre and Ronald K. Brown
by David Mead
October 8, 2010 -- City Center, New York

The last of this year’s four Fall for Dance programmes certainly packed in variety with a European contemporary and very theatrical solo, followed by two ballets, quite different in nature, before rounding things off with a popularist piece of American modern dance that sent most of the audience home happy.

Opening Program - Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Gallim Dance, Madhavi Mudgal and Miami City Ballet
by Jerry Hochman
September 28, 2010 -- City Center, New York

Of the Fall for Dance performances that I’ve been able to see over the past years, last night’s opening night program was the most successful in terms of the quality and variety of the works on the program, and the execution of these pieces by the dancers.


2010 Met Season

Sweet Sorrows: 'Romeo and Juliet'
by Jerry Hochman
July 5, 7 mat, 7 eve, 10 eve, 2010 -- Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York

While Shakespeare and Prokofiev have a little something to do with it, it is a tribute to Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography for “Romeo and Juliet” that I cannot recall seeing any portrayal of MacMillan’s Juliet that was less than stellar. You do the steps competently, you show the emotion sufficiently, you get a standing ovation. Guaranteed.


'Romeo and Juliet' - Natalia Osipova's debut
by Colleen Boresta
July 10 Matinée Performance, 2010 -- Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York

The audience at American Ballet Theatre’s July 10th matinee at the Metropolitan Opera House saw another packed house. This time ABT was performing a perennial favorite, Kenneth MacMillan’s version of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” “Romeo and Juliet” is a ballet which took a while for me to get into. There is not a lot of dancing in the usual ballet sense. Once I accepted, however, that dance can be any type of movement set to music – even sword fighting – I began to really enjoy the ballet.


'Romeo and Juliet' - Natalia Osipova's debut
by Jerry Hochman
July 10 Matinée Performance, 2010 -- Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York

Ashton Program
by Colleen Boresta
June 12, 2010

Two great choreographers were born in 1904. One of them has had his ballets danced by companies both large and small all over the world. The other choreographer’s works are performed sporadically at best, especially in the United States. The first choreographer is, of course, George Balanchine. The other is Frederick Ashton. Fortunately, American Ballet Theatre is presenting a wonderful Ashton mixed bill at the Metropolitan Opera House this season. Anyone who loves poetically dreamlike ballets should not miss ABT’s All Ashton Program.

'Sleeping Beauty'
by Jerry Hochman
June 14, 16 evening, and 19 evening

'Don Quixote'
by Jerry Hochman
June 1, 2 (eve) and 3, 2010

'Don Quixote'
by Colleen Boresta
May 29, 2010 matinee

'Lady of the Camellias'
by Jerry Hochman

May 26, 2010

'La Bayadere'
by Colleen Boresta
May 22, 2010 matinee

'La Bayadere'
by Jerry Hochman
May 18, 19, 2010


Genée International Ballet Competition Final
by David Mead
That there were no gold medals awarded at the final of the 2010 Genée did not come as a surprise. Although the sell-out and enthusiastic audience had an enjoyable evening, no dancer really stood out as being exceptional. But after a very close competition, especially among the girls, Judges Antoinette Sibley (Royal Academy of Dance), Monica Mason (The Royal Ballet) and David Nixon (Northern Ballet) awarded silver medals to British dancers Francesca Hayward and Sean Bates, both 18 and both studying at The Royal Ballet School.

Anne Bogart and Martha Graham Hand in Hand Across America
by Rosella Simonari
For its 2010 New York season, the Martha Graham Dance Company embarked on a collaboration with theatre director Anne Bogart and her SITI Company. The idea was to recreate Graham’s landmark 1938 piece, “American Document”, a work that represented a radical change in Graham’s dance approach, both in terms of form and content. In the 1930s, Graham’s style was abstract, synthetic, and her Group was made of women only. With “American Document”, it became more theatrical and men were welcomed in the Group.


Grand Rapids Ballet: 2010-11 Season Opener - 'Who Cares?' concert version, 'Sense of Doubt,' 'Compulsive,' 'Le Corsaire' pas de deux and 'Raymonda' pas de dix
by Azlan Ezaddin
October 24 & 25 -- DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids, Michigan
To say that Interim Artistic Director Barker's artistic choices led to success is an understatement. With the 2,400-seat DeVos theater impressively filled (preliminary reports indicate attendance figures among the top five of all shows, including “The Nutcracker”), walk-up sales numbering in the hundreds and multiple standing ovations at each performance, the Ballet has in its hands what those on Broadway would term a runaway hit.

Diablo Ballet - 'A Tribute to Lena Horne', 'Valse Fantaisie' and 'Lady of the Camellias'
by Toba Singer
October 16, 1010 -- Dean Lesher Center for the Performing Arts, Walnut Creek, California
Diablo Ballet reached out to its audience with a three-piece program built around and culminating in “A Tribute to Lena Horne,” a jazz ballet by Tina Kay Bohnstedt, set to songs in the musical repertoire of the legendary 1950s-era singer.

New York City Ballet Gala - 'I'm Old Fashioned,' 'Plainspoken,' 'Tarantella,' 'Western Symphony'
by Jerry Hochman
October 7, 2010 -- David H. Koch Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York
New York City Ballet held its first fall season gala last night. The evening was also the occasion for the New York premiere of Benjamin Millepied’s “Plainspoken.” The gala was the more significant event.

Raimund Hoghe with Faustin Linyekula - 'Sans Titre'
by Mark Franko and Juliet Neidish
September 18, 2010 -- Dance Theater Workshop, New York
Raimund Hoghe’s second appearance in New York City (Dance Theater Workshop, September 18, 2010) remains as vibrantly in memory as the first (see criticaldance.com December 2009). The magic of Hoghe’s work is that with extreme quiet and spareness he is consistently able to provoke layers of meaning and expressivity both specific and poetic.

Joe Goode Performance Group - 'Traveling Light'
by Heather Desaulniers
July 8, 2010 -- Old San Francisco Mint, San Francisco
Joe Goode Performance Group's presentation of "Traveling Light" was a site specific tour through a theatrical wonderland. The scenes of the piece unfolded in five different rooms of the Old San Francisco Mint building; each weaving together the dramatic fibers of several interdisciplinary elements.

Napa Valley Festival Del Sole: Stars of American and Russian Ballet
by Catherine Pawlick
July 23, 2010 -- Lincoln Theatre, Napa, California
For political and financial reasons, the days of East Coast or European ballet companies visiting the Bay Rea are fewer and further between than they were in the 1980s. Then, in the heydey of touring companies, we witnessed the Joffrey, ABT, the Kirov or Bolshoi (or both) on an annual basis, and at the War Memorial Opera House.

KUNST-STOFF Arts/Fest 2010
by Catherine Pawlick
June 26-27 and July 3-4, 2010 -- KUNST-STOFF Arts Studios
A cozy brick-lined loft space in the heart of downtown San Francisco is now home to Yannis Adoniou’s company, KUNST-STOFF, an eclectic group of dancers, media artists and choreographers from all around the world. KUNST-STOFF’s four weekends of dance, beginning June 26th, feature four different programs that explore philosophical and social themes through various forms of music and movement.

'Billy Elliot: The Musical'
by Elizabeth McPherson
June 26, 2010 -- Imperial Theatre, New York
“Billy Elliot” is an engaging, full-spectacle Broadway production. Dancing, elaborate costumes, song, heart-wrenching story – all of the elements are there. In that, it is successful, and will probably continue to be for some time.

New York City Ballet Gala - 'Prodigal Son,' 'Mirage,' and 'The Concert'
by Jerry Hochman
June 23, 2010 -- David H. Koch Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York
I confess that, of the works of his that I've seen (not including the full length pieces), I've had difficulty with Peter Martins's choreography. Being plotless is not the issue – being no more than intellectually interesting is. So it was with considerable apprehension that I prepared to watch Mr. Martins's new piece, "Mirage."

les ballets c de la b - 'Out of Context' - for Pina
by David Mead
June 17, 2010 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London
Alain Platel’s work usually includes detailed sets and classical music, so “Out of Context”, played out on a stripped back stage and without a classical note in sight, is just that. The “for Pina” addition to the title was added as recognition of her influence on his work.

Richard Alston Dance Company - 'Something to Do,' 'Lie of the Land,' 'Light Flooding into Darkened Rooms' and 'Even More'
by David Mead
June 19, 2010 -- Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, London
It is always a pleasure to watch Richard Alston’s work. He has been at the forefront of British contemporary dance for nigh on 40 years. It’s easy to see why. Alston does more than create movement. As this programme showed, he not only makes dance of unusual richness but, as an intensely musical choreographer, makes dance that really gets at the essence of the music.

National Ballet of Canada - 'Onegin'
by Kate Snedeker
June 19, 2010 -- Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
On a lovely late-spring evening, the National Ballet of Canada opened the final production run of the 2009-2010 season with a glorious performance of John Cranko's “Onegin”. The evening was full of balletic highlights, the primary being the full-length lead role debut of the company’s newest principal dancer Jiri Jelinek.

Mark Morris Dance Group - 'Visitation,' 'Empire Garden' and 'V'
by Carmel Morgan
June 12, 2010 -- George Mason Center for the Arts, Fairfax, Virginia

Jose Vidal Company - 'Loop'
by David Mead
June 12, 2010 -- Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, London

AXIS Dance Company - 'Vessel' and 'Light Shelter'
by Carmel Morgan
June 11, 2010 -- Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre, Washington, DC

Spinning Yarns Dance Collective & Robin Anderson with RE|Dance - 'Standing In The Current'
by Heather Desaulniers
June 5, 2010 -- Dance Mission Theater, San Francisco, CA

Oregon Ballet Theatre - 'Raymonda,' 'Hush' and 'Bolero'
by Dean Speer
June 5, 2010 -- Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon

Liss Fain Dance - 'How It Ends' and 'Speak of Familiar Things'
by Heather Desaulniers
June 18, 2010 -- Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

Alwin Nikolais

The Joffrey Ballet - 'Pas des Déesses,' 'Monotones,' 'Confetti,' 'Light Rain'
by Dean Speer
July 22, 2004 -- Reno Hilton Theatre, Reno, Nevada
Presenting excerpts from its current touring repertory, including the complete Alwin Nikolais masterwork from 1951, "Tensile Involvement," plus lively and brief commentary on partnering, which showed the Romantic as opposed to more “bravura” styles, types of tutus, and pointe work. Questions from young audience members concluded the bill. Kinetically exciting, Tensile’s principal male, Michael Smith, made a very impressive debut in this part. Great attack and passion.

Nikolais Dance Theatre - Crucible,' 'Lythic', ' Blank on Blank,' ' 'Liturgies 'Finale,' 'Noumenon Mobilus,' ' Mechanical Organ,' ' Tensile Involvement'
by Toba Singer
October 24, 2003 -- Memorial Auditorium, Stanford, California
There is a medium-sized list of choreographic works that you should see if you want to make friends with modern dance. Of those that played a pioneer role in the establishment of the art form that continues to inspire audiences today are the works of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais in collaboration with Murray Louis. The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s Nikolais Dance Theatre brings the genuine Nikolais-Louis article to its audiences. There is nothing of the no-commitment, audience-impervious, self-conscious, navel-gazing stuff that shrieks “experimental,” and yet puts you right to beddy-bye. Every moment of the Murray Louis-Alwin Nikolais choreography is experimental and committed. It draws the audience into a support system for a completely mesmerizing integration of ingenious lighting, costuming and manipulation of dancer bodies into currents of motion that you didn’t know could really happen quite like that.
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editors' choice

· American Ballet Theatre's World Premiere of Alex Ratmansky's "The Nutcracker"
Dec 22, 2010 - Jan 2, 2011, BAM, Brooklyn, NY
Performed with a live orchestra, together with extraordinary sets and costumes by Tony Award-winner Richard Hudson (The Lion King), Ratmansky’s new version of Tchaikovsky’s classic unites more than 100 superb performers for a sublime retelling of the beloved story.

· Dance Chicago 2010
October 22 - November 21, Chicago
Dance Chicago will be featuring over 250 individual acts and over 2,500 artists in three great new theaters.

For ballet-dance magazine

Executive Editor
Kate Snedeker

Executive Editor 2003-2005
Mary Ellen Hunt

Focus and Photo Editors
Elizabeth McPherson, Dean Speer

Associate Editors & Compositors
Francis Timlin, Holly Messitt, Lori Ibay, Lisa Claybaugh, Azlan Ezaddin, Jerry Hochman


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