A highlight of my week was seeing Alvin Ailey during their annual December run at City Center. Talk about inspiring. Whenever I see the company, I’m reminded of how my friend/former co-worker, Ted, once described them to me: “They’re like the dance gods.”
They really are. The beauty—and power—of professional dancers is how easy they make everything look. Every Ailey dancer has that ability to a ridiculous degree. Each of their moves is executed flawlessly, weightlessly and with incredible athleticism and grace. It’s hard not to be blown away during a performance.
On Sunday, I saw a program I was particularly looking forward to. It included Ronald K. Brown’s “Grace” (a contemporary/West African/hip-hop piece that astounded me the first time I saw it performed in Boston) and, of course, Ailey’s signature “Revelations.”В В But the piece I was most looking forward to was JiЕ™Г KyliГЎn’s “Petit Mort,” which ended up being my favorite. This contemporary ballet has amazing, sensual partnering, as well as some playful props—you can’t help but smile when the black dress forms roll onstage! I’d love to see it again, live, but for now, I’ll have to be content with looking at these photos and short trailer:
Have you seen Ailey perform? What’s your favorite piece in their rep?
Yesterday, I stumbled across a post on Joycreation that made my day. It featured Dancers Among Us, a photography project and book by NYC photog Jordan Matter. He shoots dancers in street clothes in various locations around the country—but in every shot, they’re captured in the middle of a move, a jolting contrast to everything/everyone around them. Many dancers are soaring mid-air in Russian pas de chats, attitudes and jetes; you can’t help but feel a little exuberance and joy while looking at them!
I got sucked into looking at all the photos on the Dancers Among Us site, but was particularly impressed with the range of locations for the NYC shots. Some of my favorites:
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some downtime this weekend! …though I do have a few things planned. Tonight, my mom and I are catching the last program of City Center’s annual Fall for Dance Festival, which includes Shen Wei’s “Rite of Spring,”В a piece I’ve been wanting to see. (I’ve been making an effort to see more dance, this year—there are always so many great shows and I learn a lot from watching the pros.) And tomorrow I’m going to a dinner party and planning to make this.
Happy Friday! I won’t be having a relaxing weekend, but I’m excited for it, nonetheless. I’ll be performing in three shows at Ailey, as part of a showcaseВ that features small companies and Ailey’s adult students. (My awesome ballet teacher, Kat Wildish, produces it.)
As someone who never had–or will have–a professional dance career, I love having the opportunity to perform. Until a few months ago, I hadn’t been onstage in eight years, since college. I’d forgotten how much fun it is! Plus, it’s nice to put all my classes to use.
We’ll be performing the waltz from “Les Sylphides.” Here’s ABT’s 1973 version:
I’m a big fan of the “Where the Hell Is Matt?” videos. The first one, which Matt Harding, then a backpacker, put on his blog in 2005, shows him dancing in different places around the world. His signature move is delightfully amateurish–it looks like a goofy mash-up between a flailing Irish jig and running in place. But he’s so exuberant and the backdrops are intriguing and the soundtrack is infectious. You can’t help but grin when watching. Not surprisingly, it went viral.
Matt’s latest video, which just came out, still manages to top that one. It follows the same format, but with one big difference: Instead of Matt doing his trademark moves, locals teach him dances native to each place. This time, he created it without a sponsor and it’s clearly a labor of love. Check it out–and be prepared to smile:
Yesterday, a friend sent me a link and said, “You might like this video.” That was a total understatement because I absolutely love, love, love it. I’m a big fan of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic ZerosВ and I’ve been listening to their new album, “Here.” But I didn’t know they’d created such a brilliant video to go along with their gorgeous song, “Man on Fire.”
The lyrics are about the desire to dance, and the video, filmed in NYC, celebrates movement in various forms: dance, stepping, cheerleading, tumbling. I love how they’re mostly everyday New Yorkers doing their thing in school gyms, small studios and local sports fields. And (spoiler alert) I really loved the end where a dressed down City Ballet dances in a vacant lot.
Check it out (and watch it over and over–I already have):