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[updated January 2, 2012]

San Francisco - Bay Area Columns

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
December 2012 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
Fall 2012 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
September 2012 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
Summer 2012 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
June 2012 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
April 2012 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
Winter 2012 Reviews Part 2

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
Winter 2012 Reviews Part 1

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
December 2011 Reviews

Nutcracker 2012

New York City Ballet - George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker'
by Jerry Hochman
December 23, 2012 (m) -- David Koch Theater, New York, NY
In a review of Lauren Lovette’s performance as Calliope in Apollo in June, 2011, after noting that she nailed the role, I wrote that to a long established balletomaniac the anticipation of being able to witness Ms. Lovette grow as a dancer is intoxicating. Following her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy in yesterday afternoon’s performance of George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’, I probably should give up driving – I wouldn’t be able to pass a sobriety test.

English National Ballet - 'The Nutcracker'
by David Mead
December 13, 2012 -- London Coliseum, London, UK
When you sit through as much dance as I do, it is sometimes easy to forget just how magical it can seem. And so far as the over 200 primary school children from Danesfield Primary School in Eltham, South-East London, I sat among at this performance of Wayne Eagling’s version of “The Nutcracker”, magic was certainly in the air.
read more..

Ballet San Jose - 'Nutcracker': Interview with Karen Gabay and Review
by Heather Desaulniers
December 8, 2012 -- San Jose Performing Arts Center, San Jose, CA
Ballet San Jose has had an incredible year of change and transition. And through all the drama, rumors and media scrutiny, the company has remained true and committed to its vision: bringing professional quality ballet to the Bay Area. This December, they are proud to premiere a new “Nutcracker”, choreography by Karen Gabay.

American Ballet Theatre- ‘The Nutcracker’
by Jerry Hochman
December7, 2012 -- Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
Compared to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, which is continuing its New York City Ballet run until the end of the year, Alexei Ratmansky’s version for American Ballet Theatre, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music until December 16, looks like a poor cousin. But looks are deceiving.

New York City Ballet - George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker'
by Jerry Hochman
November 23, 2012 -- David Koch Theater, New York, NY
Amidst the production-wide stellar performances (on and off stage) by both company members and apprentices, as well as the young dancers from the School of American Ballet, there were two that were truly memorable – Tiler Peck’s star turn as ‘Dewdrop’; and the thrilling orchestral leadership provided by NYCB’s outstanding conductor, Clotilde Otranto.


An Interview with Chop Shop founder and director Eva Stone
by Dean Speer and Francis Timlin
December 31, 2012

In a warm café in a seaside town north of Seattle, we sat down on the last day of 2012 to chat and hear about Chop Shop, one of the region’s most exciting modern dance festivals from its founding director and guiding light, Eva Stone.

An Interview with Oregon Ballet Theatre's Brett Bauer
by Dean Speer and Francis Timlin
October 13 2012

I’ve always been fascinated with “Apollo” and the legacy. It’s a hard ballet – you’re on stage the whole time, except for a brief bit – and need to show character development; how the character grows from an adolescent to a god who leads muses. Francia [Russell] came in for several rehearsals and gave many good ideas. The process has been very rewarding!

An Interview with Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater
by Dean Speer
November 2012

Having worked as dancer, ballet master and ultimately assistant to the artistic director with Helgi Tomasson at San Francisco Ballet, I was able to watch and learn from one of the best. I think I was relatively well-prepared for my role as artistic director. Having said that, there have been surprises, good and bad.  I arrived at the Joffrey Ballet in September 2007, and the country dived into recession in 2008. We had to find creative ways to do more with less, to advance our artistic goals while monitoring the bottom line.



OBT's Brett Bauer in "Apollo"
Photo © Andy Batt


Code f.a.d. Company and Human Landscape Dance
by Carmel Morgan
December 9, 2012 -- Dance Place, Washington, DC

Code f.a.d. Company (the f.a.d. refers to “film, art, dance”) and Human Landscape Dance teamed up at Dance Place in a joint show with an intriguing title, “American Gods: Contemporary dance mythology and divine fashionistas.” The title was the one thing that both halves of the dance concert actually had in common. Otherwise, the respective companies, dancers, and choreographic styles were really quite different.

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty
by David Mead
December 12, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK

Many choreographers have reinterpreted Petipa’s “The Sleeping Beauty” over the years, and as the title suggests, this is very much Matthew Bourne’s version rather than the original. Although he has tweaked both the story and the music, significantly in places, it has to be said that this is one of the more coherent reworkings.

Dance Performance Group: 'Gathering Light'
by Carmel Morgan
December 8, 2012 -- Josephine Butler Parks Center, Washington, DC

On December 8, 2012, choreographer Nancy Havlik’s Dance Performance Group (“DPG”), along with the Arts for the Aging Quicksilver Senior Dance Company, in “Gathering Light,” infused the Josephine Butler Parks Center, a mansion at the foot of Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC, with music and dance that indeed did light up the majestic space magnificently.

Birmingham Royal Ballet: 'Cinderella'
by David Mead
November 23, 2012 -- Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham, UK

Injuries are a real bane for an artistic director. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s men are experiencing something of a spate of them at the moment, leading to more than one reworking of the planned casting for the “Cinderella” season, the latest of which threw together Iain Mackay and Nao Sakuma.

Lostwax: 'Particular'
by Natasha Brooks-Sperduti
October26, 2012 -- Providence, RI

Company E: 'Next: Spain' by Carmel Morgan November 17, 2012 -- Lansburgh Theatre, Washington, DC The answer to the question, "What's next?" for DC's Company E always involves another country. And that's purposeful. Company E's focus is "international collaboration," and the company achieves this by working closely with the diplomatic community in the nation's capital to gain access to the rest of the world. read more...

Company E: 'Next: Spain'
by Carmel Morgan
November 17, 2012 -- Lansburgh Theatre, Washington, DC

The answer to the question, “What’s next?” for DC’s Company E always involves another country. And that’s purposeful. Company E’s focus is “international collaboration,” and the company achieves this by working closely with the diplomatic community in the nation’s capital to gain access to the rest of the world.

Batsheva Ensemble: 'Deca Dance'
by David Mead
November 16, 2012 -- The Curve, Leicester, UK

Turning to the stage, “Deca Dance” is very much a cabaret-style evening made of excerpts from eight of Naharin’s works. It does feel like that sort of show. Jasmin Vardimon did something similar in “Yesterday” but there the patchwork came together rather better than here.

Alias: 'Sideways Rain'
by David Mead
November 15, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theate, London, UK

Sixteen dancers cross the stage, left to right, again and again. It starts with them on all fours. Every so often there is a change, but each time there’s an overlap. They spin on hands and feet. They slither, they slide on one leg, they roll foetus-like… Sometimes people are overtaken by the flow.

Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company: 'Freedom'
by David Mead
November 14, 2012 -- The Castle, Wellingborough, UK

That no-one is ever really free is one of the great truisms. We are all bound by conventions, rules and restrictions, all largely unwritten, but all hugely influential on the way the act and think. That was the starting point for Jasmin Vardimon’s latest creation, “Freedom”.

San Francisco Ballet: Quadruple Bill
by Carmel Morgan
November 13, 2012 -- JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC

The end of the 2012, just prior to Nutcracker season, brought the San Francisco Ballet (“SFB”) to DC’s Kennedy Center. It was nice to see this company on the East Coast, and especially nice to be treated to a mixed program featuring diverse works, including three DC premieres that had debuted in San Francisco in 2011.

Philippe Decoufle Company DCA: 'Panorama'
by Charlotte Kasner
November 2, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK

Philippe Decouflé’s “Panorama” is 100 minutes of sheer delight. A series of amuses bouche from the early 1980’s onwards. Old friends appear in new guises to amuse, amaze and tantalise. The opening spills out into the foyer, when a parade of whacky majorettes lure the audience to their seats wearing bright orange...

Rosas: 'En Atendant' and 'Cesena'
by David Mead
November 5& 8, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK

“While waiting, I must suffer grievous pain and languishing live; such is my fate…”  So begins the translation of the song in “En Atendant”, the first half of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s dance diptych. Looking round the audience during the first ten minutes, it looked like that was precisely what was going through quite a few minds. There was lots of looking around aim heads strained towards the ceiling, while the man right in front of me pulled his coat around him as if settling in for a long night.

The Royal Ballet: 'Viscera', 'Infra', 'Fool's Paradise'
by David Mead
November 7, 2012 -- Royal Opera House, London, UK

It only takes a few seconds of “Viscera” to see why Liam Scarlett, appointed only last week as The Royal Ballet’s first Artist-in-Residence, is so much in demand. It is a well-crafted ballet of contrasts; opening and closing sections packed with velocity and attack bookending a cooler second movement adagio.  “Viscera” has more than a few nods to George Balanchine.  Indeed, for the first few seconds I thought I had stumbled into a New York City Ballet performance by mistake. That is probably no surprise.

Alberta Ballet: 'Othello'
by Kate Snedeker
November 2, 2012 -- Northern Jubilee Theatre, Edmonton, AB

Welcome to the Kelley McKinlay show! Kirk Peterson’s production of “Othello” may be less than memorable, but on Friday evening it served as a perfect vehicle to display the unforgettable talents of Alberta Ballet’s leading man, Kelley McKinlay. From his moody opening solo, McKinlay , as Iago the ensign whose jealous machinations result in murder, heartbreak and suicide, became the electrifying centerpiece of the ballet. This was not “Othello”, but “Iago”.

Vincent Dance Theatre: 'Motherland'
by David Mead
November 1, 2012 -- Patrick Centre, Birmingham, UK

Charlotte Vincent’s new “Motherland” is a challenging, multi-layered and often thought-provoking journey through motherhood, women’s choices and image. Much of the time that journey is messy. A recurring scene sees Aurora Lubos walk on in an elegant black evening dress and high heels,
red wine bottle in hand.








New York City Ballet
Fall 2012

'Apollo', 'Agon', 'Rubies'
by Colleen Boresta
October 14, 2012 -- Koch Theater, New York, NY
New York City Ballet ended its fall 2012 season on Sunday, October 14th, with three George Balanchine/Igor Stravinsky ballets. New York City Ballet has been highlighting the Balanchine/Stravinsky relationship this whole fall season. The works on Sunday afternoon were ‘Apollo’, ‘Agon’, and ‘Rubies’.

'Danses Concertantes', 'The Cage', 'Andantino', 'Symphony in C'
by Colleen Boresta
October 13, 2012 -- Koch Theater, New York, NY
New York City Ballet’s 2012 fall season has been devoted primarily to the collaboration between George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky. The October 13th matinee features one Balanchine/ Stravinsky work,’Danses Concertantes’, and one Jerome Robbins/Stravinsky ballet, ‘The Cage’. The other pieces on the program are ‘Andantino’ with music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Robbins and ‘Symphony in C’, a Balanchine ballet set to Bizet’s score of the same name.

Mixed Bills - September Stravinsky Trio
by Jerry Hochman
September 22 and 29, 2012 -- Koch Theater, New York, NY
It is tempting to describe the series of Balanchine/Stravinsky collaborations as displaying a creative evolution, and it is a creative evolution - to an extent. But to this viewer, Balanchine was a musical explorer, seeing music and applying movement to it, rather than imposing movement on it. So although one way to view this series of performances is as a Balanchine/Stravinsky timeline of sorts from “Apollo”

Mixed Bills - Balanchine & New Choreography
by Jerry Hochman
October 2 and 6, 2012 -- Koch Theater, New York, NY
These two performances further demonstrate where NYCB is as a company, and where it can go. A new ballet that gives hope of stellar choreographic efforts to come. A classic ballet, danced superbly with new legs and faces And dancers being given opportunities to grow, and audiences given opportunities to watch them live up to, and exceed, expectations.

Gala - Honoring Valentino
by Jerry Hochman
September 20, 2012 -- Koch Theater, New York, NY
If you’re into haute couture, last night’s New York City Ballet Fall Gala performance at the David H. Koch Theater was your cup of asti spumante. The gala was billed as ‘celebrating legendary fashion designer' Valentino Garavani, and the house was filled to virtual capacity with patrons who either wear, or aspire to wear, Valentino...

editors' choice

· New York City Ballet: Tschaikovsky Celebration
January15-27 and February 13-24 , 2013 -David Koch Theater, New York, NY
The New York City Ballet celebrates the music of Tschaikovsky during the company's winter and spring seasons. Performances include 'The Sleeping Beauty' and a world premiere by company member Justin Peck.

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, Lori Ibay, Azlan Ezaddin, Jerry Hochman, Carmel Morgan, Heather Desaulniers

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