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[updated December 7, 2011]

San Francisco - Bay Area Columns

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
November 2011 Reviews
"Light Moves", the newest piece by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, premiered early in the month to a packed house at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. A collaborative project, featuring choreography mixed with video, text and an original music score, this evening-length work celebrates the best of today's modern dance scene.

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
September - October 2011 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
May and June 2011 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area

by Heather Desaulniers
April 2011 Reviews

Further Features

Moving Portraits From Querétaro
by Toba Singer
A light rain dampens the cobblestones on the evening of the July 10 Mexico vs. Uruguay soccer match, but by 8:30, about 800 spectators have gathered in Querétaro’s Plaza de Armas because the ProArt Festival Iberica Contemporanea opens with a public performance by the Spanish flamenco company, Mariemma de Madrid.

DVD Review: 'Class with Yannick Boquin'
by Toba Singer
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of observing Yannick Boquin give company class to a major U.S. company. ... I was able to interview Boquin shortly thereafter, and he mentioned that he was working on a DVD. After some false starts, the DVD has been released, and I had a chance to view it.

Blast From the Past...

Due to an unexpected publishing hiatus in late 2010 and early 2011, we ended up with many excllent, but out of date submissions.  As we have time, we'll link to them below.

A Remembrance of Uwe Scholz
by Saul Marziali
November 2010

Ballet Nice: Preview of 'Marco Polo'
by Saul Marziali
November 2010

Ballett Basel: 'One of a Kind'
by Saul Marziali
Octoeber 10, 2010, Basel Opera House, Basel, Switzerland

English National Ballet: 'Romeo and Juliet'
by David Mead
November 2, 2010, Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes, UK

Tanztheater Wuppertaal Pina Bausch : 'Iphigenie auf Tauris'
by David Mead
Octoeber 27, 2010, Sadler's Wells Theater, London, UK

Wayne McGregor/Random Dance: Far
by Lauren Butler
November 17, 2010, Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK

Oregon Ballet Theatre - 'Sleeping Beauty'
by Dean Speer
October 9, 2010, Keller Auditorium, Portland, OR

Hoghe and Linyekula - 'Sans titre'
by Mark Franko and Juliet Neidish
September 18, 2010, Dance Theatre Workshop, NY, NY

SITI Company and Martha Graham Dance Company - 'American Document'
by Rosella Simonari
June 11, 2010, Joyce Theater, New York, NY


Book Review: Body of a Dancer
by Heather Desaulniers
D'Aoust chronicles her time in New York as a pre-professional modern dance student at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance with humor, honesty and heart.  D'Aoust's writing style is witty and engaging, so much so that this reader couldn't and didn't want to put the book down.

Book Review: Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear
by Dean Speer
For those who secretly wish for carte blanche access to shadow and observe all of the inner and outer workings of a major ballet company, then Stephen Manes’ new volume, “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet” is for you. Author Manes was allowed full access for one year (2007-08) to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s inner circle, including board meetings, Company and School classes...

Interview with Oregon Ballet Theatre's Xuan Cheng
by Dean Speer and Francis Timlin
I had wanted to see the world and being with La La La Human Steps helped fulfill that dream. The company is bilingual, being based in Montréal. I was cast in “Amjad,” a full-length, contemporary ballet with live music. And I did get to do a world tour, mostly in Europe and Canada but also to New York, LA, Philadelphia, Mexico, Tel Aviv, Japan, Singapore. I really got to see the world!  

Nutcracker Round-Up


Synetic Theater : 'Romeo and Juliet'
by Carmel Morgan
November 25, 2011 -- Synetic Theater at Crystal City, Arlington, VA
The final installment of Synetic Theater’s three-part “Speak No More” Silent Shakespeare Festival was “Romeo and Juliet.” I admit that I was living in Washington, DC, when Synetic’s “Romeo and Juliet” debuted in 2008, but when I saw an advertisement for it, I balked.

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker & Jerome Bel: '3 Abschied'
by David Mead
November 21, 2011 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK
Is it possible to choreograph to “Der Abschied” (“The Farewell”), the final part of Mahler’s “Song of the Earth”? That is the question that set Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker off on a journey of discovery that is retold in a fascinating, absorbing and very special evening’s theatre that is part discussion, part concert, part dance performance. It’s also full of the unexpected as we learn as much about her as we do about the music itself.

Christopher K. Morgan & Artists: 'Reveal'
by Carmel Morgan
November 18, 2011 -- Music Center at Strathmore, CityDance Studio Theatre, Bethesda, MD
On November 18, 2011, a special performance titled “Reveal” at the Music Center at Strathmore, in Bethesda, Maryland, featured two debuts at once: the opening of the new CityDance Studio Theater and the first concert of Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, the inaugural resident professional dance company of CityDance.

Diablo Ballet: Triple Bill
by Toba Singer
November 19, 2011 -- Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA
Diablo Ballet hits the ground running in their 18th season opener. While the company of eight retains a shank of veteran dancers: Edward Stegge, Erika Johnson, Mayo Sugano, and David Fonnegra, it has made some new and promising additions to its roster.

Rambert Dance Company : Triple Bill
by David Mead
November 15, 2011 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK
Of the two world premieres on Rambert’s latest London programme it was Javier de Frutos’ “Elysian Fields” that took the honours, the title being a reference to the New Orleans street in the Tennessee Williams classic “A Streetcar Named Desire”, from which liberal use is made of the text, spoken by the cast.

Tao Dance Theatre: 'Weight x3' and '2'
by David Mead
November 11, 2011 -- Patrick Centre, Birmingham, UK
According to Tao Ye, artistic director of Tao Dance Theatre, art in Chinese contemporary society has stagnated in kitsch and stereotype, something, it has to be said, that Western audiences with their all too often set expectations of East Asian art must also bear some responsibility for.

by Carmel Morgan
November 12, 2011 -- Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre, Washington, DC
Suppose someone told you that they planned to produce an evening-length work combining music, dance, theater, and SLAM (slide animation movie) multimedia focusing on, as the press release states, “the issue of impermanence and all the ways we long for things, people, and life to simply ‘stay.’” Would you think they were being overly ambitious, maybe biting off more than they could chew?

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre: 'White'
by David Mead
November 6, 2011 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK
The opening section of Lin Hwai-min’s “White” was made back in 1998 for the Taipei Crossover Dance Company, a troupe founded by four former Cloud Gate dancers in their early 40s. As the programme notes, they were not too keen on running and jumping, and “White I”, as it is known, is indeed full of the slow, sustained tai-qi influenced dance London audiences have come to expect from him.

Ballet Cymru: 'Beauty and the Beast'
by Charlotte Kasner
November 12, 2011 -- Lilian Bayliss Theatre, London, UK
There can be few companies so deserving of decent funding than Ballet Cymru. For more than a quarter of a century, they have struggled against the odds to bring top quality productions, each one different form the other and each showcasing the solid ensemble work that has become their trademark.

Random Dance: 'Entity'
by Toba Singer
November 11, 2011 -- Novellus Theater, Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Turning the word “entity” over in my head before the show, I thought, “I hope this isn’t so abstract a piece that the choreographer (Wayne McGregor) couldn’t think of anything more specific to name it.” I had just read an interview with Jiri Kylian, in which he had offered the opinion that there is no such thing as “abstract” when it comes to dance

Pacific Northwest Ballet: 'Love Stories'
by Dean Speer
November 5, 2011 -- McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington
Let’s cut right to the chase and answer the question that's really on people’s minds: Yes, she did all of the fouettés in the ‘Black Swan’ pas de deux from “Swan Lake.” And then some. Not only that, Laura Gilbreath – in her debut as Odile– inserted several doubles early on.

Scottish Ballet: 'Kings 2 Ends', 'Song of the Earth'
by David Mead
November 3, 2011 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK
Jorma Elo’s “Kings 2 Ends” is an idiosyncratic piece typical of the Finnish choreographer, these days much in demand across Europe and America. Created for the company earlier this year, and premiered at the Edinburgh Festival, it is full of his usual mix of sometimes true to the form and sometimes subverted classical ballet, and eccentric and eclectic dance.

Six Degrees Dance Company: 'Michael in Motion'
by Jerry Hochman
November 3, 2011 -- Merce Cunningham Studios, New York, NY
In its simplicity, its honesty, and the evident love and care that permeate it, “Michael in Motion” honors not only Ms. Placenti’s father; it honors her family, her dancers, her audience, and Ms. Placenti herself.

William Forsythe: 'I don't believe in outer space'
by Tom Ferraro
October 29, 2011 -- Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York
Europe’s postmodern darling, William Forsythe, returned to BAM with a vengeance this week to give us the bewildering ballet, “I don’t believe in outer space.” This is best characterized as yet another one of Forsythe’s struggles with the idiom of ballet. But to call this a ballet is really a stretch. It contains no narrative story line, no music and not many ballet steps either.

Darshan Singh Bhuller: 'Caravaggio: Exile and Death'
by David Mead
October 27, 2011 -- Patrick Centre, Birmingham, UK
As the title suggests, “Caravaggio: Exile and Death” is inspired by the life and work of the 17th-century Italian master. Sadly it only occasionally even comes close to matching the artists’s vivid work and the dramatic, tempestuous nature of his life. Bhuller opens with Caravaggio in the throes of death as he returns from exile. Lee Clayden’s body reflected not only the pain of death, but also the ravages of his dramatic, and all too often violent, life.

Slower is Faster: Miami City Ballet on PBS
by Dean Speer
October 28, 2011 -- PBS
The ascendancy of Miami City Ballet in its relatively short life span has been remarkable, no doubt due in large measure to the personality, drive, and vision of Mr. Villella but also ,I am sure, of its team of artists, staff, and supporters who have helped put MCB on the ballet cultural map. There have been some troublesome growth spurts along the way, particularly during the company’s “teen” years, but things seem to have settled down and now they are planning for the future – Mr. Villella’s announced retirement and the hiring of a new Executive Director.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company - Farewell Tour
by Dean Speer
October 29, 2011 --Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
With some of the best dancing to be found anywhere – certainly for the modern dance, it was a very enjoyable evening, somewhat bittersweet with the knowledge that seeing an MCDC performance will never happen again. Not with his dancers within the setting and context of his company and his overall guiding vision. Future performances of Merce’s work will be licensed, so there is hope that his deep legacy will continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Suzanne Farrell Ballet - Mixed Bill
by Colleen Boresta
October 23(m), 2011 --Joyce Theatre, New York, NY
The Suzanne Farrell Ballet has over 50 ballets in their repertoire, including works by Farrell’s mentors, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Maurice Bejart. Farrell’s company has received great acclaim for reviving many Balanchine ballets which have not been seen in years.One of these works is Haieff Divertimento, which was choreographed by Balanchine in 1947, but has not been seen on a New York stage since New York City Ballet revived it during their 1993-94 season.

Lucinda Childs Dance Company - 'Dance'
by David Mead
October 18, 2011 --Barbican Theatre, London, UK
Made in 1979, “Dance” was the first of Lucinda Childs’ large-scale collaborations with noted composers and designers, in this case Philip Glass and visual artist Sol Le Witt. Revived in 2009, it remains incredibly beautiful and, given that it relies on little more than half a dozen basic phrases, for the most part quite spellbinding.

Richard Alston Dance Company - Richard Alston at Home
by David Mead
October 19, 2011 --The Place, London, UK
These days, Richard Alston is very much seen as a contemporary classicist among British dance makers. As the opening part of his always excellent company’s latest programme showed, though, it was not always so. “Early Days” is a compilation of excerpts dating back to 1969 and all taken from his first ten years choreography.

Merce Cunningam Dance Company - Legacy Tour
by David Mead and Charlotte Kasner
October 5-8, 2011 --Barbican Theatre, London, UK
When it came to the final night of this final ever London season by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company there was bound to be something of a sense of sadness that we would never see the company again. But the three programmes spread across four days were also very much a celebration of Cunningham’s work in all its guises..

Rambert Dance Company - Season of New Choreography
by David Mead
October 12, 2011 -- The Place, London,,UK
Ten out of ten for Rambert Dance Company continuing to encourage the budding and sometimes more experienced choreographers among its members in its annual season of new works. This year’s programme featured five very different pieces and some excellent dancing.

Beijing Dance Theater - 'Haze'
by David Mead
October 14, 2011 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, ,UK
In three sections, “Haze” takes the audience on a journey that starts with figures being drawn through a dark world, through a confused and seemingly violent cityscape, to dreams of a distant future and a bright new world. If that is not a metaphor for today’s world, economically and environmentally, I’m not sure what is!

Oregon Ballet Theatre - 'Petrouchka' and 'Carmen'
by Dean Speer
October 8, 2011 -- Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon
Iconic in the ballet canon, the Fokine/Diagheliev/Stravinsky 1911 production of Petrouchka is the one I’m familiar with and so had to re-tool my thinking in viewing Oregon Ballet Theatre’s newly-conceptualized production with choreography by Nicolo Fonte, as I found myself in my seat at intermission pausing and realizing I had virtually no reaction to it at all.

Birmingham Royal Ballet - Autumn 2011
by David Mead
September 29 and October 7, 2011 --Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham,UK
David Bintley’s ballet of the classic “Beauty and the Beast” story is a grand sight indeed. Philip Prowse’s glorious set, all burnished gold, red and black, rises over everything, opening and closing like a child’s fold-out book. It is all very Harry Potter.  The stage converts cleverly from forest to castle interior, outside becoming inside in an instant.

Pacific Northwest Ballet - All Wheeldon Program
by Dean Speer
September 23, 2011 -- McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington
Like everyone, Christopher Wheeldon has his strengths and weaknesses. His creative and choreographic strengths are the ones that we celebrate, such as really good choices of music, staying away for the most part from faddish composers and styles, to fresh concepts and ideas that make their way up onto the stage in ballets that tend to be bright, light, lively

National Ballet of Canada - Western Tour Mixed Bill
by Kate Snedeker
September 19, 2011 -- Jubilee Auditorium North, Edmonton, AB
The casting inserts may have gone AWOL between Calgary and Edmonton, but the dancing certainly did not! Returning to Alberta’s capital city after a long absence, the National Ballet of Canada presented an evening that showed off the company’s classical and modern ballet talents.


2011 at the Mariinsky

For a selection of images from 2011 performances at the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, please click here.

Fall at ABT


American Ballet Theatre- Mixed Bills
by Jerry Hochman
November 11-12, 2011 -- NY City Center, New York, NY
There were at least four significant developments at the two performances of American Ballet Theatre that I was able to see during ABT’s brief fall season at City Center. First, at both performances, the house was nearly sold out. So much for rep programs being a tough sell.

American Ballet Theatre- Triple Bill
by Colleen Boresta
November 13(m), 2011 -- NY City Center, New York, NY
American Ballet Theatre’s return to City Center ended on quite a high note. Unlike ABT’s Spring seasons at the Metropolitan Opera House there are no stars. Principal dancers, soloists and corps members alike share the stage and dance in glorious harmony.

American Ballet Theatre- Quad Bill
by Colleen Boresta
November 10(m), 2011 -- NY City Center, New York, NY
For the first time in three years, American Ballet Theatre is back at New York City Center for a one week Fall season. ABT’s City Center seasons give the company a chance to dance works beyond the full length classics they perform at the Metropolitan Opera House every Spring. The younger dancers also get a chance to shine, as many of ABT’s renowned principals only appear during the Spring season at the Met.


editors' choice

· National Ballet of Canada: Romeo and Juliet
November 16-27, 2011, Toronto, ON
The National Ballet of Canada presents the world premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's new 'Romeo & Juliet' at the Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Ontario

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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