I must admit my long lapse from here. I blame this semester, part one of my senior year. The joys of being a full-time student and full-time worker (unofficially) caught up with me, and thus, I disappeared for a bit. But I’m back and shall try my luck with posting more during mid-semester. This musing is going to be a mixture of topics that I have been collecting during my absence, but I’ll try to keep a thread of connection between them. Enjoy!
First off, I want to extend my appreciation for the day that was World Ballet Day Live. In particular, The Australian Ballet did a superb job in all areas. This company, with all their dancers and artistic staff and orchestra, is not only reaching a wide audience but it is leading the entire ballet world as a company of diversity, uniqueness, and contemporary works.
I must point out their 2015 campaign “A Year of Beauty.” This campaign expresses and exemplifies that age-old philosophical question, of course using the positives of ballet to promote themselves. But it is not at all smug or egotistical- they aren’t implying that they are the most beautiful of ballet companies or that ballet is the most beautiful- because they use the public through social media to generate answers.
The Australian Ballet doesn’t know the simple answer to beauty, they are looking to the audience for a bouquet of answers. And the ballets which will be shown during this “Year of Beauty” are highly exciting and, well, beautiful. Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, Giselle, Ashton’s The Dream, Ratmansky’s Cinderella, Mixed Bill of Modern Beauty 20: 21, ending with artistic director David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty. What a season! (I must draw connections to my hometown Houston Ballet, which has connections to AB via Staton Welch and other important dancers.)
Everyone has a different definition of beauty, and Facebook or Twitter or Youtube or Instagram are all the best ways to get a response, an unique response. So, I salute you Australian Ballet! And this gorgeous video. I look forward to the day I can travel across the globe and become an audience member.
Next, BAM. I love BAM and I wish I could go be around the electricity of contemporary dance that BAM helps foster.
“BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) is a multi-arts center located in Brooklyn, New York. For more than 150 years, BAM has been the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas—engaging both global and local communities. With world-renowned programming in theater, dance, music, opera, film, and much more, BAM showcases the work of emerging artists and innovative modern masters.”
This year BAM welcomes back Tanztheater Wuppertal with Bausch works and dancer talks and embraces contemporary Chinese choreographer Wang Yuanyuan who uses Lu Xun’s poetry as inspiration for her piece. BAM is in retrograde in the dance world, featuring dozens of important and unique dance experiences, something that New York City Ballet is struggling to hold on to with their numerous fashion connections and art world elitism.
But, most prominently featured- due to the start of his reign at Paris Opera Ballet and illusive marriage to actress Natalie Portman- Benjamin Millepied gets to showcase his LA Dance Project and have a dance talk with the legendary, and my personal heroine, Deborah Jowitt.
I’m not even half way though and I love this artist talk so much. The Guggenheim famously includes dance in live streams and artist talks (I’ll post on them soon, it’s on my long list), but this is more intimate and almost normal. Almost like a dance version of Inside The Actors Studio.
Regardless of my personal feelings and fears of Millepied and his POB reign, I believe he is a phenomenon to the ballet world and an enigma to the contemporary world. I am always reading up on his many dance ventures. I am glad he is living his art. He is promoting his dance company and himself in a humble way. And he carries himself as a dancer linked to his past and looking towards the future, in an interesting way.
Third, a digression into flamenco. Something I welcome almost as happily as modern dance; flamenco is a dance form that is in my blood- my great aunt from my mom’s Guatemalan/Spaniard side of the family was an accomplished flamenco dancer for her entire life.
This article struck me because it featured dancer Rocío Molina and her choreographic expansion from flamenco into contemporary dance. While she heads Theatre de Chaillot, she also uses her notoriety towards performing and teaching in festivals. She is much like my previously featured dancer and choreographer, Shantala Shivalingappa. I love women of talent that help dance thrive, who continuously live their art to positive, just means.
“It is freer than classical ballet in terms of what women can do,” she says. “There’s no code to say a woman can’t lift a man or grab him, like I do in my new work. That gives you courage to do what you want, to be authentic to yourself.”
Her featured concert, Bosque Ardora, is thrilling. Utter art and sensation. She has a delicacy that is neither male nor female. In the videos I’ve seen of her, she demands the stage and audience and performers around her to pay attention to the art, the dance. She is not the focal piece, and as an artist she is the host for her deepest passion.
Molina has a residency at the Sadler’s Wells Theater in 2015, and I am thrilled that she has successfully linked such a historic, important dance form to the world of contemporary dance. Neither dance forms will ever be the same after this century; this dipping and diving of forms is imperative.
This is the end to this musing, but I have a ton more to dump out later.