Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ArtsPreview 2010-11: The season in dance

A scene from‭ ‬Barak Marshall‭’‬s Monger.

By Sharon McDaniel

There‭’‬s dance in a variety of styles,‭ ‬stars and stripes this season.

The mix runs from modern dance to Irish,‭ ‬contemporary ballet to tango,‭ ‬flamenco to Philippine.‭ ‬A dance fan can catch a Russian ballet classic‭—‬featuring a cast of Russians to the ballet born‭—‬then make tracks for really rad,‭ ‬cutting-edge dance theater.

Incoming to South Florida are popular touring companies we‭’‬ve watched over the years‭ (‬such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,‭ ‬Feb.‭ ‬17-20,‭ ‬Adrienne Arsht Center‭)‬.‭ ‬Plus there‭’‬s a local newcomer that we can watch as it grows ‭ (‬O Dance,‭ ‬April‭ ‬2,‭ ‬Duncan Theatre‭)‬.‭

Take your pick of the controversial or the classical‭ (‬State Ballet Theatre of Russia in‭ ‬Giselle,‭ ‬Jan.‭ ‬5,‭ ‬Sunrise Theatre‭)‬.‭ ‬Choose among today‭’‬s internationally renowned celebrities or the stars of the future‭ (‬Florida Classical Ballet in‭ ‬Don Quixote,‭ ‬March‭ ‬25-26,‭ ‬Eissey Campus Theatre‭)‬.

Plus there‭’‬s film:‭ ‬the world-premiere screening of a PBS documentary focused on a celeb of our own‭ (‬spotlighting‭ ‬dance artistry and photographic creativity in‭ ‬Steven Caras:‭ ‬See Them Dance,‭ ‬Feb.‭ ‬24,‭ ‬Kravis Center‭)‬.‭ ‬There‭’‬s even a deluxe package:‭ ‬Miami City Ballet,‭ ‬the only area company to dance to live orchestra accompaniment‭ (‬Programs I-IV‭)‬.

Ballet Arabesk:‭ ‬Two enormously popular concert works crossed over into the dance realm in this Bulgarian company‭’‬s extensive repertoire.‭ ‬Here is an entirely new perspective on Ravel‭’‬s‭ ‬Bolero,‭ ‬famous as a prism of orchestral color,‭ ‬as well as Carmina Burana, Carl Orff‭’‬s setting of rowdy medieval poetry for chorus,‭ ‬soloists and orchestra.‭ ‬Modern,‭ ‬unconventional stagings are the norm for the‭ ‬33-year-old Arabesque Contemporary Dance Company‭ ‬— Ballet Arabesk,‭ ‬for short.‭ ‬And‭ ‬Bolero‭ ‬and‭ ‬Carmina Burana have not been seen in the United States since the troupe‭’‬s North American debut in the‭ ‬2005-06‭ ‬season.‭

Artistic Director Boriana Sechanova created‭ ‬Carmina,‭ ‬an hour-long,‭ ‬contemporary one-act for the‭ ‬16-member company.‭ ‬Bolero,‭ ‬in the style of a Spanish dance,‭ ‬blends a folk‭ ‬idiom into modern technique.‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬10,‭ ‬FAU/Boca Raton‭; ‬Feb.‭ ‬11,‭ ‬Eissey Campus Theatre,‭ ‬Palm Beach Gardens‭)

Barak Marshall‭’‬s‭ ‬Monger:‭ ‬Intense,‭ ‬athletic dancing and surreal dramatic scenes form‭ ‬Monger,‭ ‬an evening-long work‭ ‬by‭ ‬Los Angeles-born choreographer Barak Marshall.‭ ‬Both dramatically provocative as well as entertaining,‭ ‬Monger weaves together Marshall‭’‬s highly original contemporary dance with humorous dialogue in much the same way as Jean Genet's‭ ‬The Maids‭ ‬and Robert Altman's award-winning film‭ ‬Gosford Park.‭

It is the story of a handful of servants who find themselves trapped in the basement of their abusive employer‭’‬s house. Their struggle to survive raises issues of power,‭ ‬free will and compromise.‭ ‬The work for‭ ‬10‭ ‬dancers is further heightened by music by Balkan Beat Box,‭ ‬Handel,‭ ‬Verdi and‭ ‬National Public Radio's‭ ‬The Yiddish Radio Project.‭ ‬Commissioned by the Suzanne Dellal Centre,‭ ‬the dance-theater work premiered in‭ ‬2008,‭ ‬afterward opening the International Tel Aviv Dance Festival.

Marshall,‭ ‬who studied social theory and philosophy at Harvard University,‭ ‬emigrated to Israel in‭ ‬1994,‭ ‬and is a former resident choreographer of Batsheva Dance Company.‭ ‬Following the performances are‭ ‬behind-the-scenes discussions with the performers.‭ (‬April‭ ‬8-9,‭ ‬Duncan Theatre,‭ ‬Palm Beach State College,‭ ‬Lake Worth‭)

Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg in Miami City Ballet's Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet:‭ ‬Many ballet lovers would agree that the best‭ ‬Romeo and Juliet is the version by John Cranko.‭ ‬The South African choreographer,‭ ‬who died in‭ ‬1973,‭ ‬created a full-length staging for his own Stuttgart Ballet in‭ ‬1962.‭ ‬And its emotional depth,‭ ‬sensitive characterizations and large scale quickly made it an audience favorite wherever classical ballet is admired.

Miami City Ballet will perform the company premiere in Program IV of its‭ ‬25th anniversary season.‭ ‬And,‭ ‬as with Programs I-III,‭ ‬it will be accompanied live by Opus One Orchestra.

Cranko‭’‬s version requires not just star-quality soloists,‭ ‬but also a strong overall company.‭ ‬His group scenes‭ ‬— townspeople,‭ ‬party guests,‭ ‬family members‭ ‬— are as colorful and picturesque as the intimate scenes of the lovers are tragic.‭ ‬This full-evening version of the most famous love story is of course combined with the exceptional,‭ ‬sweeping ballet score of Sergei Prokofiev.‭ ‬The Miami company‭’‬s four-performance weekend schedule is Fridays and Saturdays at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.,‭ ‬and Saturdays and Sundays at‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬(March‭ ‬25-27,‭ ‬Adrienne Arhst Center‭; ‬April‭ ‬1-3,‭ ‬Kravis Center‭; ‬April‭ ‬29-May‭ ‬1,‭ ‬Broward Center‭)

The Nutcracker: There are holiday‭ ‬Nutcrackers‭ ‬galore,‭ ‬each with a special element to recommend it.‭ ‬But here are some of the super surprises‭ ‬— and even a spinoff:

Miami City Ballet:‭ ‬Now celebrating its‭ ‬25th anniversary season,‭ ‬the Miami company‭ ‬brings‭ ‬the family classic back to the Kravis Center for the first time since‭ ‬2007.‭ ‬And of course,‭ ‬this is not just any‭ ‬Nutcracker:‭ ‬Miami‭ ‬is our‭ ‬chief exponent of the George Balanchine‭ ‬Nutcracker,‭ ‬specially‭ ‬designed by the great Russian choreographer in‭ ‬1950s for his New York audiences.‭ ‬Balanchine‭’‬s version‭ ‬is the reason‭ ‬that‭ ‬Americans‭ ‬associate this ballet‭ ‬— and its ever-popular Tchaikovsky score‭ ‬— with the‭ ‬Christmas holiday.

The four performances‭ ‬at the Kravis Center‭ ‬are‭ ‬Friday and Saturday,‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬3‭ ‬and‭ ‬4‭ ‬at‭ ‬7:30‭ ‬p.m.,‭ ‬and‭ ‬Saturday and Sunday,‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬4‭ ‬and‭ ‬5‭ ‬at‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬The production travels next to the Broward Center‭ (‬four performances in Fort Lauderdale,‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬10-12‭)‬,‭ ‬then home to the Adrienne Arsht Center‭ (‬seven performances in Miami,‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬17-23‭)‬.‭

Boca Ballet Theatre:‭ ‬If your visions of sugar plums lean to the Russian variety,‭ ‬don‭’‬t miss ballerina Irina Dvorovenko and her husband,‭ ‬Maxim Belorsokovsky,‭ ‬as‭ ‬extra-special guests‭ ‬of‭ ‬Boca Ballet‭ ‬in November.‭ ‬Mega-star principal dancers of New York‭’‬s American Ballet‭ ‬Theatre and‭ ‬Dance Magazine cover artists,‭ ‬the two made their regional debut in March at the Festival of the Arts Boca.‭ ‬Now they‭’‬re‭ ‬returning‭ ‬in two of‭ ‬Nutcracker‭’‬s most popular roles‭ ‬— Sugar Plum and her‭ ‬Cavalier‭ ‬— for three performances with the‭ ‬now‭ ‬10-year-old‭ ‬youth company:‭ ‬Saturday,‭ ‬Nov.‭ ‬27‭ ‬at‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬and‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬and Sunday,‭ ‬Nov.‭ ‬28‭ ‬at‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬It‭’‬s at‭ ‬the‭ ‬University Theater‭ (‬Griswold Hall‭)‬,‭ ‬Florida Atlantic University.

A pair of Russian-based troupes may be‭ in Florida,‭ ‬but they‭’‬ll still be on their home turf with the‭ ‬Nutcracker:

Moscow Classical Ballet is one of the few ballet companies still supported by the Russian government.‭ ‬You might remember it from last year‭’‬s performance of the classic‭ ‬Giselle at the Kravis Center.‭ ‬This year,‭ ‬the company brings The‭ ‬Nutcracker‭, ‬with which it has been touring for the last nine years.‭ ‬It is again at the Kravis Center,‭ ‬for three performances:‭ ‬Wednesday and Thursday,‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬22‭ ‬and‭ ‬23‭ ‬at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.,‭ ‬and Friday,‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬24‭ ‬at‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭

State Ballet Theatre of Russia is‭ ‬the touring name of the‭ ‬Voronezh State Theatre of Opera and Ballet,‭ and ‬is slightly older than Moscow Classical,‭ ‬but it didn‭’‬t begin North American tours until the‭ ‬2006-07‭ ‬season.‭ ‬The company of‭ ‬54,‭ ‬led by Artistic Director‭ ‬Lyudmila Sycheva,‭ ‬presents‭ ‬The Nutcracker at the Sunrise Theatre,‭ ‬Fort Pierce,‭ ‬on Sunday,‭ ‬Dec.‭ ‬26‭ ‬at‭ ‬3‭ ‬p.m.‭

Nutcracker‭ ‬is the first of two productions by the State Ballet Theatre.‭ ‬It also stages the great classic‭ ‬Swan Lake on‭ ‬Sunday,‭ ‬Jan.‭ ‬2‭ ‬at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬at‭ ‬the Kravis Center.

Oh,‭ ‬but wait‭; ‬there‭’‬s more,‭ ‬as in another‭ ‬Swan Lake coming‭ ‬this spring,‭ ‬staged by yet another Russian troupe.‭ ‬The‭ ‬Moiseev Russian Classical Ballet‭ ‬– formerly the Russian Ballet‭ ‬– will bring‭ ‬Swan Lake and Tchaikovsky's‭ ‬great music to‭ ‬two South Florida halls.‭ ‬Artistic Director Evgeny Amosov‭ ‬and his company of young soloists,‭ ‬ages‭ ‬17-25,‭ ‬are here for two dates:‭ ‬Thursday,‭ ‬March‭ ‬10‭ ‬at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.,‭ ‬the‭ ‬Carole‭ & ‬Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium,‭ ‬Florida Atlantic University,‭ ‬Boca Raton‭; ‬Friday,‭ ‬March‭ ‬11‭ ‬at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.,‭ ‬the Eissey Campus Theatre,‭ ‬Palm Beach State‭ ‬College,‭ ‬Palm Beach Gardens.

Savion Glover.

Savion Glover:‭ ‬Remember‭ ‬Bring in‭ '‬da Noise,‭ ‬Bring in‭ '‬da Funk‭? ‬If not,‭ ‬it‭’‬s OK.‭ ‬Because the‭ ‬most memorable‭ ‬hero of that‭ ‬1996‭ ‬Broadway musical‭’‬s success story‭ ‬has moved on,‭ ‬stretching the boundaries of tap dance again in his newest show,‭ ‬ ‬Solo in Time.‭ ‬From funk‭ ‬more than a decade ago,‭ ‬Glover has explored musical styles from classical to jazz to rap.‭ ‬His latest concert in rhythm pairs tap with flamenco.

‭ Glover and his dance team interpret Spanish-inspired music,‭ ‬embellishing it with his‭ ‬mesmerizing agility and‭ ‬celebrating the fiery passion that tap and flamenco share in common.‭ ‬It‭’‬s‭ ‬Wednesday and Thursday,‭ ‬Feb.‭ ‬23‭ ‬and‭ ‬24‭ ‬at‭ ‬7‭ ‬p.m.,‭ ‬the Lyric Theatre,‭ ‬Stuart.‭

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