Tag: DANCE

8 Dance Performances to See in N.Y.C. This Weekend

AMERICAN BALLET THEATER’S NEW YORK SUMMER INTENSIVE at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (July 26, noon and 2:30 p.m.). Curious about the next generation of dancers? Two afternoon performances wrap up Ballet Theater’s 24th annual training program, directed by Kate Lydon, for dancers ages 12 to 20. Students of the five-week intensive, under the instruction of former company members including Cynthia Harvey, Leslie Browne, Lupe Serrano and Cheryl Yeager, will perform selections from “Coppélia,” “Don Quixote,” “Giselle,” “La Bayadère,” “Swan Lake,” “The Sleeping Beauty” and August Bournonville’s “Le Conservatoire.”
212-477-3030, ext. 3416; abt.org

BOY BLUE at Gerald W. Lynch Theater (Aug. 1-3, 7:30 p.m.). This East London hip-hop group, last seen at the 2018 White Light Festival, returns to Lincoln Center for an encore of its acclaimed political and virtuosic “Blak Whyte Gray.” Presented this time by the Mostly Mozart Festival, the company explores themes of oppression, identity and transcendence. Michael Asante (also known as Mikey J) is credited with creative direction and music, while Kenrick Sandy (who goes by H2O) is the piece’s choreographer.
212-721-6500, lincolncenter.org/mostly-mozart-festival

YOSHIKO CHUMA AND THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS at the Invisible Dog (July 26, 7 p.m.). Chuma, a veteran experimental choreographer and conceptual artist, presents the final presentation of “My Diary: Secret Journey to Tipping Utopia.” In it, musicians, dancers and designers interact, but never directly as fragments of sound, text and action — a metaphor for the cycle of life — fluctuate between states of utopia and war. Chuma has been in residency at the Invisible Dog since July 1.
theinvisibledog.org

COMPAGNIE HERVÉ KOUBI at Prospect Park Bandshell (July 27, 8 p.m.). For the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, this company led by Koubi, a French-Algerian choreographer, presents his evening-length “What the Day Owes to the Night.” With a cast of 12 French-Algerian and African dancers, this vibrant production combines capoeira, martial arts, hip-hop and contemporary dance; it’s Koubi’s signature work and his second collaboration with street dancers from Algeria and Burkina Faso.
718-683-5600, bricartsmedia.org

JACOB’S PILLOW DANCE FESTIVAL in Becket, Mass. (through Aug. 25). This weekend, the festival hosts the Paul Taylor Dance Company in repertory works and the tap choreographer Caleb Teicher with the composer and pianist Conrad Tao for their collaboration “More Forever” (both performances run through Sunday). In the coming week, “The Day,” an anticipated piece by the cellist Maya Beiser, the dancer Wendy Whelan and the choreographer Lucinda Childs, has its premiere; the production, which features music by David Lang, explores memory and resilience (Wednesday through Aug. 4). Also, A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham offers a mixed repertory program, which includes his own works as well as one by Andrea Miller (Wednesday through Aug. 4).
413-243-0745, jacobspillow.org

MADE IN N.Y.C. 2.0: NEXT GENERATION TRADITIONS at Hearst Plaza (July 28, 1 p.m.). As part of its Heritage Sunday series, Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents this free, mixed bill featuring Redobles de Cultura, a collective of three New York City Afro-Puerto Rican bomba practitioners; Sri Lankan Dance Academy of New York, an intergenerational group based in Staten Island; Michael Winograd & the Honorable Mentshn, a Brooklyn klezmer group; and Inkarayku, an Andean band that performs Quechua folk songs and dance music. This presentation highlights the art and culture of first- and second-generation New Yorkers.
212-721-6500, lincolncenter.org

92Y MOBILE DANCE FILM FESTIVAL at the 92nd Street Y (July 27, 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m.). How often have you lost track of time watching dance videos on your smartphone? Here’s an opportunity to see three programs’ worth — 48 films in all — at the 92Y’s second annual festival celebrating works shot on mobile devices. Its international jury considered more than 100 submissions from 14 countries, including Argentina, Cuba, France, Greece and Japan. The selected films include David Fernandez’s “The Clock,” Rebecca Gillespie’s “The French Girl,” and Roma Flowers and Nina Martin’s “Secondary Surfaces Redreamed.”
212-415-5500, 92y.org

YOUNG DANCEMAKERS COMPANY at various locations (July 26, 7 p.m.; July 28 and 31 and Aug. 1, 2 p.m.; July 30, 1 p.m.; through Aug. 3). This dance ensemble, which comprises students from New York City public high schools, continues its 24th annual touring season, taking place at different locations across four boroughs, from the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan on Friday to the Kumble Theater in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Since the end of June, the young dance artists have developed original choreography under the guidance of Alice Teirstein and Jessica Gaynor, as well as the 2019 guest artist John Heginbotham, and now present the end result in these free public showings.
youngdancemakerscompany.org

Review: New doc shows how Beyoncé changed Coachella, forever

Beyoncé is extremely private, and only lets you know what she wants you to know, when she wants you to know it — typically, in a surprise post be it on her website or Instagram.
But throughout the years, she’s slightly cracked open her door to reveal parts of her life and personality — apart from what she gives through strong singing and extraordinary dance moves — to help remind us that though she is epic and flawless, she is still mortal.
“HOMECOMING: A film by Beyoncé,” which premiered Wednesday on Netflix, captures the human side of the superstar singer with behind-the-scenes, intimate moments of a mother, wife and artist tirelessly working on what’s already become one of most iconic musical performances of all-time: Beyoncé’s headlining show at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The performance marked the first time a black woman headlined the famed festival and made Beyoncé just the third woman to score the gig, behind Bjork and Lady Gaga. Beyoncé took on the role seriously — as she does all live performances — giving the audience a rousing, terrific and new show highlighted by a full marching band, majorette dancers, steppers and more that is the norm at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The film takes it a step further to showcase what was happening to get to the historic moment: you see a mother bouncing back from giving birth to twins via an emergency C-section; an African American woman embracing her family’s history and paying tribute to black college culture and honoring black art; and the world’s No. 1 pop star defying the odds yet again and pushing herself to new heights, creating an even wider space between herself and whoever is No. 2.
Simply put, Beyoncé changed Coachella — forever — and performing after her is like trying to out-ace Serena Williams or dunk better than Michael Jordan: You won’t win.
Woven into the film are audio soundbites from popular figures to help narrate the story: Nina Simone speaks about blackness, Maya Angelou talks about truth, and Tessa Thompson and Danai Gurira explain the importance of seeing people who look like you on large screens.
Beyoncé speaks, too, saying that she dreamed of attending an HBCU, though she explains: “My college was Destiny’s Child.”
She also says the importance of her Coachella performance was to bring “our culture to Coachella” and highlight “everyone that had never seen themselves represented.”


So many people were represented during those performances last April — her stage was packed with about 200 performers, from dancers to singers to band and orchestra players. Beyoncé kicked of the performance dressed like an African queen, walking up the stage as the jazzy, soulful big band sound of New Orleans is played. After letting her dancers and backing band shine, she emerges again, this time dressed down — like a studious, eager, hopeful college student.
The musical direction and song selection flows effortlessly and was purposely crafted to tell a story: the first song is 2003’s “Crazy In Love,” a massively successful No. 1 hit and her first apart from Destiny’s Child. It also was Beyoncé’s first of many collaborations with Jay-Z. But then comes “Freedom,” representing the Beyoncé of today, unconcerned with having a radio or streaming hit, but more focused on the art, and the message.
And her message was loud and clear on “HOMECOMING”: Her performance is a homage to the culturally rich homecoming events held annually at HBCUs, but also showcases Beyoncé’s own homecoming — her return to her roots, and how she’s found a new voice by reinterpreting her music through the lens of black history.
Young, gifted and black, indeed.

“HOMECOMING: A film by Beyoncé,” a Netflix release, is rated TV-MA. Running time: 137 minutes. Four stars out of four.

Brown Point Shoes Arrive, 200 Years After White Ones

ballerina

Ballet dancers of color have long painted, dyed or covered point shoes in makeup to match their skin. Could this small barrier to inclusion finally be disappearing?

For nearly her whole career, Cira Robinson has — like many ballet dancers of color — performed a ritual: Painting her point shoes to match her skin.

She did it first in 2001, when she was 15, at a summer program with Dance Theater of Harlem. The company said her shoes needed to be brown, not the traditional pink, but she couldn’t find any in stores, so she used spray paint. “It made them crunchy and just … ew,” she said in a telephone interview.

When she joined Dance Theater a few years later, she started using makeup instead. “I’d go to the cheapest stores and get foundation,” she said, the kind “you’d never put on your face as it’d break you out. Like, $2.95 cheap.”

She’d go through five tubes a week, sponging it onto 12 to 15 pairs of shoes — a process known in ballet circles as pancaking. It took 45 minutes to an hour to do a pair, she said, because she wanted to make sure the foundation got into every crevice and covered every bit of ribbon.

Did she find these steps annoying? “I didn’t know any different,” Ms. Robinson, 32, said.

But now, Ms. Robinson — a senior artist at Ballet Black, a British dance company — is no longer obliged to do so. In October, Freed of London, which supplies her shoes, started selling two point shoes specifically for dancers of color: One brown, the other bronze.

Freed is not the first firm to make point shoes for dancers of color — the American company Gaynor Minden has been producing some more than a year — but the new shoes from Freed, a large supplier in the ballet world, highlight one of the stranger rituals that dancers of color have to perform.

It’s also a reminder that black dancers — especially female ones — are still a rarity in ballet. They remain barely represented at the top of the field, despite some signs of change and an increased awareness of the need for diversity at the schools feeding professional companies.

Shoes aren’t the only costuming reminders of the lack of diversity in ballet. In September, Precious Adams, a first artist at English National Ballet raised the issue of pink tights. “In ballet people have very strong ideas about tradition,” she told London’s Evening Standard newspaper. “They think me wearing brown tights in a tutu is somehow ‘incorrect.’”

B.O.B. TALKS ‘HIP-HOP DANCE EXPERIENCE,’ NEW MIXTAPE, WORKING WITH TAYLOR SWIFT

The ATLien B.o.B. has landed. After taking his fans through the Adventures of Bobby Ray andStrange Clouds, the Grand Hustle signee is throwing his middle fingers in the air on his new mixtape Fuck Em We Ball. The newly turned 24-year-old chopped it up with VIBE about working with Taylor Swift, tackling new genres, dancing to his own songs on the video game The Hip Hop Dance Experience. and more.

VIBE: Congrats on being the only artist to place two tracks “So Good” and “Airplanes” on the The Hip Hop Dance Experience. Have you tried dancing to them in the video game?
B.o.B.: I’ve tried to “So Good,” but haven’t to “Airplanes” yet. I actually watched two of my dancers perform to “Airplanes.”

Were you able to get through it?
I scored, let’s just say that.

Does the game make it easy to follow along with or do you need Michael Jackson skills?
Nah, You don’t need to be a Michael Jackson or a Chris Brown to play this game but I would say it really makes you feel like you’re in a music video, like you’re performing it for real. They really took the time to pay attention to the artists and their videos for the songs they put in the game.

Were there other songs that you tried to dance to?
Yeah, I tried dancing to Chris Brown “Look at Me Now.”

You were being overambitious huh?
(Laughs) It was on rookie mode. It really looked like the set on the video. It’s pretty accurate.

Serious question. Do you know how to “Gangnam Style?”
(Laughs) No I don’t. I don’t know how to Gangnam Style. I’ve been seeing the phenomenon take the world by storm. I’ve never tried it myself but I’m gonna have to check that out.

This past summer, you collaborated with Taylor Swift. How did that come about?
Taylor Swift was on tour and she invited a lot of her hip-hop friends on stage with her. She stopped in Atlanta and invited me, Grand Hustle and Usher, but I wasn’t there. She still wanted to reach out and she brought me out to Dallas. I just had a record that was good and I thought, ‘Let me just play this for her and see of if she likes it.’ I played [“Both Of Us”] for her and before the verse even dropped, her eyes were watering up. She was like “Yes, I wanna be a part of this song.” And the rest is history.

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