Big Apple Bites April 07

Written by:
Theodore Bale
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Big Apple Bites:

On and Off the Beat of a New York Critic

April 2007

View of Leno Levy and Shelby White court, Roman Sculpture. First Century, B.C.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New Greek & Roman Galleries

The classics have been fished out of the gutter at the Metropolitan Museum, or more literally, the hallway to the old restaurant. In fact, what used to be the airy café has been given over to the new Greek & Roman galleries, called the Leon Levy & Shelby White Court, stunning and ample enough to be a stand-alone museum. Familiar sculptures look fresh in a new context. Mezzanine galleries overlook the main gallery atrium as well as Central Park and house “study galleries” with cases of artifact collections by group, plus some key treasures such as the Etruscan bronze chariot. It’s a great chance to revisit old favorites given re-found dignity.

Keigwin + Company

Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

Larry Keigwin is such a phenomenal performer (particularly in Mark Dendy’s “Dream Analysis”) that it didn’t seem possible that he could also be a good choreographer. But he has developed into a creator of exciting work, from visceral pure dance (“Natural Selection”) to surprisingly sophisticated group works such as “Caffeinated “– a hyperactive drill squad exercise set on a group of students, and “Bolero,” featuring a red-clad cast of nearly 50 in carefully planned, yet dizzying, pedestrian movement sequences. It is no small feat to keep such a crowd (largely untrained in dance, it would appear) orderly while moving them about the stage in patterns. Keigwin shared the program with Chris Elam/Misnomer Dance Theater, whose slow-paced mimetic dance theater proved a gruelling exercise in endurance for the audience.

La Mama Moves!, “New Virtuosity

La Mama ETC

Nicky Paraiso and Mia Yoo have curated an unbelievably dense festival, La Mama Moves!, featuring more than 50 companies grouped under ten loose titles. I caught a night of “New Virtuosity,” which true to its name featured highly challenging, physical, complex choreography. CorbinDances led off, followed by the similarly titled Dance Theaters of Dusan Tynek, Nicholas Andre, and Ko-Ryo. (Battleworks performed on another night.) These troupes make drama not through obvious narrative, but primarily through propulsive movement, interaction, and proximity. The works were so thoroughly physical that the issue of exhaustion arose… does a move performed by the same dancer – starting fresh, and becoming increasingly depleted — change, and how? For sure, their shared sense of crazy exhaustion lends an undeniable camaraderie.

Stephen Petronio Company

The Joyce Theater

It’s always exhilarating, if somewhat exhausting, to see Steve Petronio’s company perform. The dancers offer nothing less than total commitment to the choreographer’s highly demanding, unique style of whipping turns and slashing limbs. He often brings in well-known, cutting-edge collaborators. This year, one is musician Antony, whose tremulous falsetto instantly created a melodramatic setting for segments of “This is the Story of a Girl in a World.” The highlight was Gino Grenek in a black beaded dog collar and skirt – a large, muscular man improbably and convincingly portraying a bird. Leading off the program was a powerful new duet, “Without You II,” in which a man and woman in casual fatigues and dog tags conveyed the absurdity, and certainty, of war fatalities. The overstuffed program also included some older work—“ReBourne,” “Bud Suite,” and “Prologue.”

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