A weekly, highly personal and subjective list of performances and artists we want you to know about:
For the fourth year, tool around the world on World Ballet Day, Thursday, October 5. But you’re not just driving, you’re getting to look under the hood. Five renowned companies (The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet) offer behind-the-scenes glimpses at their classes and rehearsals throughout the day. Start with The Australian Ballet at 9 pm on October 4 – that’s NY time. It will be October 5 in Australia – taking class and rehearsing “Swan Lake” and “Spartacus” (Aussies doing Spartacus? Who knew!) Next up will be the Bolshoi, with “Etudes” and “La Bayadere,” then the Royal (its schedule isn’t finalized), and on to the National Ballet of Canada going through works by Justin Peck, John Neumeier and Christopher Wheeldon. Completing the circumnavigation will be San Francisco Ballet, showing us rehearsals of new ballets from their “Unbound” festival of 12 commissioned works to bow next April and May. You can find all the information here.
The Bessies – the New York Dance and Performance Awards – have moved downtown, and the ceremony at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Arts looks to be a sell-out. Once a small and informal way of recognizing the creativity of dance and performance arts in New York City, the Bessies has become the go-to event for celebrating performance, with respected presenters (this year including Yanira Castro, Tommy DeFrantz, and Cassandra Trenary, among many), and a wide roster of emerging and well-established contemporary artists being honored as nominees and award winners. Choreographer/dancer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar will be honored with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement in Dance and will offer an excerpt from her 1987 solo “Bitter Tongue” as one of the evenings performances; the evening will also show an excerpt from Trisha Brown’s “Groove and Countermove” (2000). Writer Eva Yaa Asantewaa is being awarded the 2017 Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance, and a wide array of awards will be presented for top performers and performances of the past year. It’ll be a lively evening, hosted by the wild and wooly Lucy Sexton, this year joined at at the podium by Shernita Anderson and James Whiteside, and topped off with dancing at the Bessies After-Party, held this year next-door at Judson Memorial Church. Join the fun on Monday, October 9 at 7:30 pm.
It’s worth seeing anything Bill T. Jones choreographs. The power that underlies his fluid movement and the shapes and architecture he creates tell a deep story of what Black Power actually means. His work is also increasingly text-based: this man has things to say, in every vocabulary at his disposal. In “A Letter to My Nephew,” Jones sounds both a full-throated political message, and a very personal one. The work doesn’t shy away from the harsh fight that galvanizes this country and the world, and, on many levels, Jones’ voice is a clarion. Opens at BAM Next Wave Festival, in the Harvey Theater, on Tuesday, October 3 at 7:30 pm.
Cover: Maria Kochetkova in rehearsal, from San Francisco Ballet’s broadcast during World Ballet Day, 2014. Photo © Erik Tomasson.
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