Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ballet Dancers take to the Stage -- "Doing it Their Way"

The New York Times, and Pointe magazine have recently run articles on ballerinas in their thirties, forties or fifties who are crafting and shaping their own careers, taking on a variety of projects and working with artists outside their specific discipline. It’s exciting to watch these fascinating performers who are not retiring from dance to teach (although they are doing that too) but are delving into new and diverse ventures and recreating themselves as artists.

ID thought it was time to put the spotlight on three of these artists who are exploring the postmodern dance scene and dance-theater work in this next phase of their performing careers.

Wendy Whelan

Alessandra Ferri

and Diana Vishneva

Read on for this tiny tribute to the changing, ever sparkling, face of Dance.

Wendy Whelan says ballet feels like her child. “This is the one thing I’ve cared for, cultivated, and thought about for my whole life. It’s not something I can imagine throwing away. I can only imagine cultivating it more in a different way." That “different way” is an evening of duets created by four postmodern choreographers for Whelan this summer at Jacob’s Pillow.

Whelan calls the four pieces “Restless Creature” which premiered at the Pillow in August and will continue to cities across the county into 2014.

Aleksandra Ferri a "prima ballerina assoluta" had actually retired from the stage but was lured back by several new projects. Most notably Cheri by Martha Clarke.

“I felt like a fish out of water for most of it,” she said. “When I saw the way everybody else moved around me, I thought, ‘I will never do that.’ But I was open. Who knows?”

Ms. Ferri said in an interview at the Signature Theater, where “Cheri” is playing through Dec 29, "We often think of dance as being the ballerina,..You think, ‘Oh, I cannot do that anymore,’ or ‘I do not want to do that anymore, so stop.’ But no: There’s a huge world out there that is dance that we don’t look at when we are in our tutu world. I freed myself of that tradition and of that costume, and I am ready to look around.”

In “Cheri”  Ms Ferri combines her flawless balletic technique with an innate and equally riveting dramatic ability. One NYT reviewer glowingly commented that in Ms Ferri's perfomance "fleeting emotion is captured in precise, illuminating movement."

Diana Vishneva is pushing dance's boundaries while still performing classical repertory internationally.

“I am always aiming at a discovery in terms of my personal history, my personal career," she said. "For me, the process of my development is very important — what I experience, what I feel, what I achieve with each new endeavor, especially when I undertake something completely or especially new."

In her Performance, Vishneva on the Edge at the Segerstom Center for the Arts in LA

"Given my new experiences, I can now come back to breathe some new life into [classical] productions. But I will never allow myself some free interpretation of a classical role. I should be very cautious not to retreat from 'Giselle's' romantic style, its beauty and aesthetics. It is a challenge for me to preserve my old school and at the same time to enrich it with something new."

Here's to the New Year and everything New and Interesting!




Thursday, December 5, 2013

ID finds some great dance books, a DVD, and even a dance-movie-trailer to inspire

It's definitely winter now in Northern California, and its time to snuggle up fireside with some good books, a DVD or two, and maybe a cool performance. ID has some thoughts below:

 For local dance interest, see Alonzo King's LINES Ballet luxurious new dance photography book with "never before published photos of the Company created by photographer RJ Muna as well as several by Marty Sohl. Designed by Company Co-Founder and Creative Director Robert Rosenwasser, the book includes text by Alonzo King."

For an international view, don't miss the "beautifully produced new book by Royal Ballet dancer Andrej Uspenski's  collection of exclusive photographs which shines the spotlight on the Royal Ballet..bringing the reader into the magical world of ballet."

Dancers: Behind the Scenes with The Royal Ballet

Long time dancer, teacher, choreographer and Dance Magazine Editor, Wendy Perron has compiled a book of her essays:
“I’ve never read a collection like Perron’s engrossing Through the Eyes of a Dancer. She reviews and ponders four decades of developments and enduring values—both in dance and in the life of her performing-choreographing-writing self. Currently editor-in-chief of Dance Magazine, Perron displays an uncanny ability both to view art works from a distance and to burrow into their hearts.”—Deborah Jowitt, author of Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance

For an in-house-dance-night check out:


The Dance Goodbye, a documentary on the 31 year career of dancer and Balanchine muse, 
Merrill Ashley.

Trying to decide whether to go our or stay in?  Stacey Printz Project: Soul Mates, The Video

 jenni hanging off couch 3 by 5.5 higher res (1).jpg

is so intriguing you might just have to see it Dec 4-7 at Z Space in San Francisco



Monday, November 25, 2013

Loving Le Barre--IE checks it out

Remember the Days?

IE is always on the look out for new and fun workouts here in Marin. Le Barre is her latest discovery. It’s the brainchild of former dancer Jenn Hall, an international fitness and dance presenter who after retiring from dancing professionally with popular artists like Beyoncè, and Jay-Z, decided to focus on dance and fitness choreography and instruction. 

Le Barre class at Body Kinetics in Novato has teacher Debbie Gleeson A Le Barre and Flirty Girl certified instructor. Debbie has us moving quickly through the barre sequence building up from squats, aka plies, to toe taps, aka tondues, to leg swings that become  arabesques and panches.(Kinda--you get the idea) 

All this without stopping class and with everyone smiling and having a great time. 

The barre itself is this funny little gizmo called a "Lebert equalizer."
166069_462152593870289_1199704308_n.pngIt’s lower than a real ballet bar so it’s not a tool that creates balance but rather assists in stabilizing the body for movement. Translation: it's not going to do the work for you, but it will help you learn your own body's individual balance weaknesses and strengths.  

What's also cool about is it's portable, so you can pick it up to do the left side. This is a subtle thing but it means that not only are you not glued to your barre, you are not glued a certain part of the room. 

So when Debbie tells us to chasse' around it it's no big deal because we are already in the center of the room and ready to move. It eliminates that dance-class-phobia where you get planted at "your spot" on the barre and forget that all these exercises are so you can move in the center freely! 

This brings me to the barre's other use: an 8 pound free weight bar that Debbie has us rotating around our shoulders in controlled circles.

Then we go to the floor for some neat assisted body-roll-up-Pilates-type exercises. It’s great to really stretch your spine as you hold onto it and do the "roll down." It's a little like the
Pilates springboard class  but the barre is not as solid when you hang from it. It actually becomes more of a play instrument.

Check out classes of LeBARRE with Debbie At Body Kinetics in Novato!

See you in class


Friday, November 15, 2013

Brazilian Sportswear hits Marin

Ready to rock from Rio with Miado Athletic
Photo: Beautiful Miado Athletic Store in Corte Madera. So proud of my friend Patricia!!!!

Miado Athletic is the newest Pop-up store in Corte Madera Town Center. It's a great place to find unique dancewear that's eclectic and definitely "hot." 

Miado in Brazilian means the cry of the Gato do Mato or Wild Cat. Owners Brain and Patricia Wolf have a great eye for making fun and high fashion togs. Their creations will definitely go with Lululemon duds. Best of all it gives us all another option to stay ahead of the pack in style. 

Check out this Samba video for a little taste of Rio

Happy Weekend!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Physical Graffitti--ID checks out the College of Marin Dance Concert

There is a moment before the dance begins. You are sitting in the dark. There is a lone dancer on the stage whose body begins to move and you think: there will be no words, there is just this body, joined by more as the lights and the music are layered in.

It’s a rush for ID: knowing that the body will carry this incredible weight. The whole evening will have just the body to make the shapes, to talk to us, to tell the story. You can turn off that something in your brain that thinks, listens, reads, evaluates, and turn something else on.

It opens another door, and I walked thru with Physical Graffitti.
This concert was a mix of pure dance and theater pieces. A favorite was Sandra Tanner Mack's, "Bereft. " 

This piece was in my young daughter's description, "not really a dance but more of a story." There were no words and the movement though spare told the story better than any words could. PIna Bausch in Wim Wenders, Dance Dance Otherwise We Are Lost says:
"I never thought of it as choreography but as expressing feelings. Though every piece is different, they are all trying to get at certain things that are difficult to put into words.."
Pina Bausch and
Pina's Rite of Spring

When I first began choreographing, I never thought of it as choreography but as expressing feelings. Though every piece is different, they are all trying to get at certain things that are difficult to put into words. In the work, everything belongs to everything else - the music, the set, the movement and whatever is said.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/pinabausch538675.html#ffCPShiFeMRscpQh
The piece began with a family of five
dressed in village peasant costumes and sitting on chairs. The music was Yiddish, Fiddler-on the Roof-ish.The movement was light, joyful as the girls spun around the around the chairs and father and mother watched, and joined them dancing as a couple. They created a feeling of a close and loving family.

The harmony was interrupted as the first act ended in silence and a dark stage with the dancers looking out, seeing something that made them gasp in terror.

The second act used contracting and releasing movement: floor to standing rolls and twists, wide leg reaches that all evoked a sense of fear, flight and inner conflict. The movements were simple but executed with great force and engagement by the dancers. It gave each gesture weight and gravity as if it was the only thing that could be done. 

As Pina Baush has said, " To understand what I am saying, you have to believe that dance is something other than technique. We forget where the movements come from. They are born from life.."

The music changed into the soaring and mournful violin strings of Schindler's List. The dance continued in that vein as they came in from the wings carrying suitcases. The family split apart with the three young women huddling together, and the man and woman trying to hold everyone together but unable to. The piece ended in gradually increasing darkness, first the couple offstage, then the three girl’s downstage and finally the suitcases in a solitary pool of light.

It’s a risk to end a piece with darkness and uncertainty, but from the notes, "For my mother: To honor the memory of our relatives who perished at the hands of Hitler's Third Reich." 
We knew what would happen. Did it work?

For ID it did because it gave us the sense of loss, and longing, a shape that while it may not be exactly the same for each of us, is known to all of us. 

"Love is so short, forgetting is so long." Neruda wrote. Sandra's piece gave us a snapshot of life before and life during, but life after? There is no shot, no dance for the dancers, because there is no way to say, to show how we live though loss. We simply do. We don’t know why or how. We just do. We make the dance. We see it. We remember it. That is perhaps enough. 

That will have to be enough.

Friday, November 1, 2013

we are officially in love

Remember Leotard Longings? Well now we have something that blows that away on virtually every level: style, functionality, and price.

Introducing Live the Process 

a chic couture exercise wear site--its not just clothes its the "process" creativity, health, wellness, and looking fabulous on so many levels.

Love this one especially--the corset style leotard
corset leotard   

Ready to go!!


 ID and IE

Sunday, October 27, 2013

College of Marin Dance Performance--ID cant wait!!

 The College of Marin Concerts are a great place to see the" nuts and bolts"  of what it takes to create a dance and to make a dancer. Its been a thrill to watch several of these young artists grow into skilled performers. Its also inspiring to watch "first timers" go through unique experience of rehearsing within the choreographing process, and finally performing.

My guess is that these individuals, whether or not they go on to become "professionals,"  will be an important part of the next generation of dance and theater viewers; makers; and shapers.

Fall 2013 Dance Concert
November 1, 2, 8 and 9, 8 PM
James Dunn Theatre, College of Marin, Kentfield Campus
(Corner of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and Laurel Ave.)
Choreography: College of Marin Dance Faculty
Production design: e.”Ernie” Ernstro
Featuring Guest Performers:
11/1, 11/2
Branson Dance Performance Ensemble, directed by Georgia Ortega
11/8, 11/9
San Domenico Dance Ensemble, directed by Erica Smith
11/1, 11/2, 11/8, 11/9
Primus Ballet Theatre presents the world premiere of Allegory of the Cave choreographed by Cole Companion
Box Office 415.485.9385
$15 general; $10 students/seniors