Peggy Jarrell Kaplan, Portraits of Choreographers
Chez Bushwick Presents Salon @ Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
Chez Bushwick is the presenter of the future. A cooperative formed by necessity, it has presented young choreographic talent at a loft in industrial Bushwick, Brooklyn, lately borrowing other spaces around the city. It is nimble, quick to change, and fueled by tireless organizers (led by Jonah Bokaer) and selfless artists hungry for an audience. On three nights in December, in conjunction with an exhibition of portraits of choreographers by Peggy Jarrell Kaplan, Soho’s Ronald Feldman Fine Arts hosted Chez Bushwick’s Salon, which featured thirteen wide-ranging artists/companies. Seth Williams elbow-sawed his way through a spirited male duo clog dance with undercurrents of repressed homoeroticism; Yvonne Meier’s hilarious Hefty bag monsters received kinetic directions by cell phone; and Juliette Mapp performed a tender paean which acknowledged the pantheon of talent represented on the walls in Kaplan’s portraits — members of Pina Bausch’s company, Baryshnikov, Yvonne Rainer, and many of Salon’s other performers. Viewers sat on the weathered maple floors for the free performances. It evoked what Soho might have been like a generation back, and what will be to come.
New York City Ballet, The Nutcracker
State Theater at Lincoln Center
Sure, George Balanchine’s Nutcracker is on the tourist treadmill, but as we all know when relatives breeze into New York and take us to Broadway shows or the Empire State Building, there’s often a reason why. First of all, the tree, which grows steadily to what seems an impossible height, making one of our most nostalgic symbols even more mythic. Second, the rats and mice, poor corps members and SAB students paying their dues, albeit in adorable, fat grey costumes. And third, the smorgasbord of dancing in Act 2, which is only more rewarding after a mostly dance-free first act (exception: Dance of the Snowflakes). Oh, and of course the score — familiar, magical, magnificent.
Thomas Joshua Cooper, Ojo de Agua
Pace Wildenstein Gallery
Since 1990, Cooper has been photographing where the five continental land masses meet the Atlantic Ocean. In this latest group, some photos show the ocean stormy and roiling, others foggy and contemplative. Land takes form in lustrous dark sand, pocked volcanic rock, or smooth magma flows. It is rare to produce such ravishing art from such a rigorous concept, which involves methodical site determination; extensive journeying to unknown, hostile locales; and being flexible enough to accomplish the task in at times tempestuous conditions. The photos are also a reminder that despite the world’s vastness, we are bound by one body of water.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Joyce Theater
Like the Nutcracker, if you’ve seen the Trocks (or even if you haven’t), you might think you know what you’re getting. And yet they offer a bounty of surprises –amazing technique on pointe, surprisingly tender (and butch) performances, and rejuvenating adrenaline. Their audiences are devoted, whooping as if on cue and leaping to their feet for ovations. Although The Cage (choreographed by Robert LaFosse after Jerome Robbins’ bizarre original) fell short as in retrospect, it was impossible to spoof what already approached a parody, what with fright wigs and strangulations-by-thigh. But Raymonda’s Wedding was what the Trocks do best… tweaking traditional roles and lovingly taking ballet as close to Vaudeville as possible.