Friday, March 20, 2009

Bill T. Jones' A Quarreling Pair at The Kennedy Center Next Week

Bill T. Jones' is my favorite choreographer. And I know this even after only seeing his company perform live twice. The strength, concentration and determination of his dancers is beyond comparison to any other group. His theatrical, multi-media work, such as "Chapel/Chapter", drives me to tears. 

Next week, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will perform "A Quarreling Pair" at The Kennedy Center on March 24 and 25 at 8pm. He also will hold a master class on March 23 at 7pm. 

Here is the information about the company and the performance from The Kennedy Center's Website:

Founded in 1982, the company that emerged from a longtime collaboration between Bill T. Jones and his late partner Arnie Zane brings together movement, music, and the spoken word to articulate compelling perspectives on the major issues of our times. The singular style of Bill T. Jones, the 2007 Tony Award winner for Choreography for the musical Spring Awakening, is instantly recognizable: Provocative partnering and body juxtapositions. Arms and legs propelled with explosive energy. Soaring leaps and daring lifts.

Nearly four years after its last full engagement at the Kennedy Center, his Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performs
A Quarreling Pair, which the New York Times calls "a funny, almost painfully tender theater-dance piece." The work is the result of Bill T. Jones's 15-year fascination with Jane Bowles's four-page puppet play of the same name. In this hour-long production, Jones begins with the apparently simple story of two sisters: Rhoda, a depressed and tired introvert, and the pragmatic and self-contented Harriet. Jones uses these interconnected polar opposites as a point of departure for a multi-layered theatrical rumination on the question: "is temperament destiny?" 

If you have not seen this captivating company perform, I promise you will be amazed if you go. 
Hope to see you there! 

PS: Bill is on Twitter. 
Want to read other posts about Bill T. Jones?  Click here. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Kennedy Center Arts in Crisis Webinar: "Marketing in DIfficult Times"

Tomorrow from 10-11amEST, I'll be listening to The Kennedy Center's VP of Marketing and Sales David Kitto discuss marketing for the arts during these challenging economic times. 

Check it out: 

Marketing in Challenging Times

Online chat Hosted by:  David Kitto, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, The Kennedy Center

Friday, March 20, 2009

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EST

Arts in Crisis organizations and mentors can discuss their marketing questions live with David Kitto. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dancing With the Stars Season 8, Week 2

Believe it or not, Fox News has a detailed post of last night's DWTS.

I'm glad to see Belinda Carlisle go home. Her performance last night didn't look full out at all. Plus, she doesn't have the personality or celebrity factor of the other contestants to really compete. 

And, does anyone know why Lacey Schwimmer looks so irritated all the time? She's got to lighten up and show us her fun side. I don't care how bad your partner is, we don't want to watch a pouty face all night long. She needs some lessons from her brother, Benji. 

Besides the cute cowboy, Ty, and Gilles, I was rather bored with the entire event. DWTS needs some frivolity and powerful performances in the next weeks to keep my attention. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Live Blogging, No Inhibitions: Dancing With the Stars, Season 8, Day 1

I'm excited to see our poor jilted bachelorette on the show. Kick it Melissa! You deserve so much better than the the Dancing With The Stars shiny trophy!  

Kim and Derek: She looks good, nice legs and nice performance quality. I found that rather impressive for the first go. Refinement is key here, she needs to overcome the tough, rap quality and soften throughout her body. I can not believe she's promoting her time spent at the detention center by dedicating her performance to the girls there. She needs a new image and publicist. 

BRUNO! I've miss you. So happy to see the judges looking healthy and happy.

Lets see what Belinda has to offer.  She looks refined, even though a little awkward. Not light on her feet at all. Ohhh very strange front arabesque promenade....oh my. Jonathan put in too many turns for her this time. You could tell she was nervous, and it had to do with the choreography. Yes, Bruno's right, very heavy footwork. 

Lawrence...don't feel uncoordinated. Take some ballet like other football players. All people who play sports should take ballet. Aww...what a cutie. He needs to loosen up and stop looking down, but definitely has potential. Unfortunately, most of it looked like Edyta was simply dancing around him...we've all seen that before. 

Steve-O time. Perfect pair. Talk about redefining your image in front of the world. Jackass to gentlemen...lets see. So mechanical in his movement. Worse so far. Its too bad Lacey won't be on the show for too long because she's great. Okay...he's gone just b/c of his line..."Wants to put my foot in the waltzes butt." Blah. bye bye Steve-O. 

Gilles...I already love you. Adorable. Please be able to dance! He's got the performance quality down. Nice. Love the faces he makes. Oh man he's a natural...smooth. Love it! My favorite...and it's not just because he's hot! :~) YEAH

It's cute that they paired Julianne with Chuck (girlfriend/boyfriend)...but I hope this doesn't hurt their relationship in the long run. It's difficult working with your partner. What a cheesy smile he gave while he dipped her! But he looks light on his feet and rather graceful. Awww. She looks like Grace Kelly--gorgeous.  I think we'll see more of them.

Holly and Dmitry. She's definitely winging it. This is beyond awkward. She's more walking than dancing. I feel bad she only had five days to practice, but there's just no initial dancing talent there. 

YEAH! GO MELISSA GO!!! I really, truly want her to succeed at this!

Okay, but we must watch Ty first. How cute, it's Chelsie! I had no idea she would be on this show.  It's my So You Think You Can Dance chica with her cute cowboy. Go cowboy go! He looks nervous, but he's grooving. Loosen up cowboy and you'd get it. He'll be here for another week, despite the hands mess up. 

Okay, here is who I expect to's Shawn. Emotion is weakness? Really, that's what they teach in gymnastics? Come on Shawn. You can tell she has grace but does hit the hand movements like a gymnast...a little too hard. I Can't wait to see more from her! Love the pairing between her and Mark. 

Its the Apple dude, Steve. You can tell from the video he's going to need a lot of work. Nerds Can Dance? Maybe. Oh a pink boa. Yikes. This is how you dance around someone.  As Bruno said, "It was like watching a Teletubby going mad." But he stays positive, good attitude Steve. 

Next...David Alan Grier--"Fightin' Dirty" with a waltz. He's rather graceful. Too stiff in the arms, but pleasant to watch. Opps stumble, spoke too soon. It went worse at the end, but he did a decent job. The judges are right...the faces need to be tamed. 

Has Glen seemed more forgiving with his scores than normal? I think so. 

Max and Denise. He's just pulling her around the floor, which is a lot better to watch then when she's on her own. Unfortunately, she has no sense of rhythm. Carry Anne is right...she did look scared. I would be too with a tough guy as a partner. 

Alright, Melissa I'm ready, please be able to dance! THAT"S RIGHT "Two Words Jason, People Skills." Ahh she's good, very graceful. Lovely attitude turn. I knew it Melissa, the cheerleader can turn dancer. You can tell she's good by her arms.  Hurray!

My 1st Week Guesses:
-Who Will Win: Shawn
-Who Will Go Home: Steve-O

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dance in Musicals: Part 6—Bob Fosse & The Modern Musical

Where have I been? I started a new job last month and have been working 10 hour days, so it has become difficult to find time to write. But with the start of Dancing With The Stars tomorrow and slowly getting used to my new schedule, I hopefully will be finding more time to blog.

Dance in Musicals: Part 6—Bob Fossee & The Modern Musical

Bob Fosse started in vaudeville and later became a ballroom dancer in nightclubs. He was featured in MGM films such as Kiss Me Kate (1953). When he returned to the stage as a choreographer, he won recognition for his work in Abbott's The Pajama Game (1956) and Damn Yankees (1957), for which he won a Tony. His choreography thrived with sexuality, putting an edge into these musicals. He created much of his choreography for his third wife, Gwen Verdon who was the prototypical “Fosse dancer,” long, limber and sexy. For Pippin (1972), Fosse won Tonys for both choreography and direction. On film, Fosse directed three musicals: Sweet Charity (1968), the Academy Award winning Cabaret (1972) and All That Jazz (1979). In 1972, he became the only person in history to win a Tony, Emmy and Academy Award in the same year. In 1975, he appeared with Chicago, one of the best concept musicals, which was overshadowed on stage by A Chorus Line. However, the show was rediscovered on Broadway in 1996, and on film in 2002 (Kenrick, “Dance in Stage Musicals”).

In 1978, Dancin’ appeared as an all-dance hit. Without a script, this show was an evening-length series of unrelated dance sequences that relied on a non-theatrical musical score. After its success on Broadway, small companies found it hard to recreate the demanding choreography and the show never reopened (Kenrick, “History of The Musical Stage 1970s”).

Cats (1982) was the only British-born musical of the time that stressed dance. Gillian Lynne’s feline choreography used acrobatics and gesture that complimented Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score. The musical, based off of T.S. Eliot’s Book of Practical Cats, packed in audiences in London and New York (Kenrick, “Dance in Stage Musicals”).

Tommy Tune countered traditional musical “razzmatazz” from the history of American entertainment with his own energy and surprises (Everett 211). For Grand Hotel (1989) and The Will Rogers Follies (1991) he won Tonys for direction and choreography. Over his successful career, he won nine Tonys for acting, choreography and direction.

The first original dance show to win a Tony for Best Musical was Contact (2000). Choreographed and directed by Susan Stroman, the show was divided into three dance pieces set to pre-recorded classical and popular music. Stroman’s inventive use of props in choreography, while maintaining the show’s dramatic integrity, is her trademark, inspired by her idol Fred Astaire (Kenrick, “Who's Who in Musicals”). Her next smash hit was The Producers in 2001, for which she again won Tonys for direction and choreography, making her the only person to ever win this combination of Tonys two years in a row.

On screen, Moulin Rouge (2001) used the MTV music video style to create a spectacle musical. It used rapid editing styles and accelerated camera motion to create a blur of can-can and tango dance sequences.

In 2002, Chicago hit the screen and was the first musical to win the Academy Award for Best Picture in 35 years (Kenrick, “Dance in Screen Musicals”). Choreographed by Rob Marshall, the large ensemble dance sequences continued the trend of quick on screen edits, making it hard to distinguish the amateur dancers from the veterans.

That same year, Twyla Tharpe’s Movin’ Out was another dance musical, with music by Billy Joel. “Movin’ Out mixes up a heavy combination of rock concert and ballet performance,” said Terry Byrne of the Boston Harold in 2005 (News Reviews). Tharpe, of the modern company Twyla Tharpe Dance, is known for making technically demanding choreography audience-friendly. She won a Tony for her athletic choreography in Movin Out.

In 2004, director Joel Schumacher and producer Webber brought the musical Phantom of the Opera to film for the third time. Choreography was by Lynne, who is best known for the development of British jazz dance and her work on Cats. Using fans, masks and a large staircase, Lynne smoothly blended ballroom dance and gesture phrases to Webber’s song “Masquerade” to create a stunning affect. However, the film could not top the show in theaters on Broadway and in London. The musical holds the record as the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time, grossing $3.2 billion worldwide (“The Phantom of the Opera”).
Today, Lynne continues work on Broadway with musicals such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2005). 

Musical theater continues to attract the attention of families looking for an escape. Although the golden golden age of musicals has ended, a new period of fast-paced, MTV-style, accelerated motion musical films is beginning. With these musicals comes an increasing demand for athletic and technical dance.