January has been a rush of performance – theater and dance, uptown and downtown.
My roommate and I started the New Year by taking in Katie Holmes in Dead Accounts on Broadway. I really just wanted to see Ms. Holmes in action doing her thing. Her presence is quiet but palpable; her child-like quavery voice, willowy stature, and doll eyes make her refreshingly unique from her peers. Being “unique” by nature does not automatically attribute value, but it is of note. I found Holmes appearance genuine and authentic if a bit tapered. Her costar, Norbert Leo Butz, however, drove the night with his egomaniac desperation. Butz pit-bulled his way through; arrogant and rough but still garnering empathy. His brief moment with ex-wife played by Judy Greer was endearingly painful. Butz and Holmes chemistry was poignant even if imbalanced. The point: Holmes is legit, but perhaps better suited to supporting roles.
Thanks to a friend, I got into Rashaun Mitchell & Silas Reiner’s encore performance of Nox at Danspace. By far the most captivating moment of dance in a long time for me. My seat was on the floor, seated behind Mitchell for his opening floor meditation. Mitchell & Reiner’s explorative use of the space breathed life into the walls of St. Mark’s. I so appreciated the simple complexity of the work: Reiner’s shadow moving across the stained glass windows; the duet phrase of their repeated head-lead falling collapses; the Cunningham-reference with the freehand marker drawing projections onto their bodies one with the sanctuary wall; Reiner’s frantic running and breathing in the balcony; Mitchell’s peacefully powerful gaze; and simply, that I escaped into another world.
As part of my birthday shenanigans, my friend and I attended Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis featuring Betsey Johnson. Yes, I wore my new Betsey dress in honor of the occasion! Johnson is cuckoo. She is also sincere, full of life, honest, and a performer. Mallis spent most of her talk wrangling Johnson back into her seat from performing her signature cartwheels, splits, and high kicks. Johnson revealed that all she wanted to do growing up was cheer, aha! Mallis led Johnson through talking about her picturesque upbringing, academic path, and struggle to create. Johnson playfully threw in anecdotes and asides about her tumultuous marriages, professional ups and owns. Johnson’s quirky humanity is a struggle to elucidate at times, but what she loves most are her family (daughter & grandchildren) and creating. For all the pizzazz and flair, Johnson really quite focused – she barely skipped a beat when a member of audience chose to flash us all in support of Betsey’s breast cancer platform.
I purchased a last-minute TDF ticket to see America Ferrera in Bethany at New York City Center, but due to the whirlwind birthday weekend, totally forgot. It still stings.
Also, the whirlwind rush kept me from taking advantage of Broadway’s 2-for-1 special or any 20at20 offerings. It’s a hard life, I know.
I don’t see much ballet any more (shocking!), but I received tickets for NYCB twice in one week! I attended a performance of
- Robbins’ Glass Pieces-Robbins sends his dancers happily criss-crossing the stage, setting off a frenzy fourth-position lunges.
- Peck’s Year of the Rabbit – Ashley Bouder devilishly commanded the work (I always feel like she’s laughing at us a bit, as she whips her way through the choreography) while Robert Fairchild dashingly presented Teresa Reichlen in two duets. I enjoyed Peck’s work but mostly since it brings a much-needed younger generation into play.
- and Balanchine’s Vienna Waltzes-every Balanchine first is so special to me. Megan Fairchild’s overflowing rapture with ballet and the stage charmed away a lousy day at work. She is pixie-sprite who appears to eat and drink only of good ju-ju.
- as well as Saturday evening’s program of Peck’s Paz de la Jolla-we visited the Hamptons in this premiere courtesy of Amar Ramasar and Sterling Hyltin’s fantasy date. Tiler Peck gathers calls us to attention, ushering in an array summer vacation adventures and episodes. Peck is on a roll.
- Balanchine’s Graham-ian love child Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir-Ms. Kowroski threatened to envelope the entire audience in her web-like train, whether she would suffocate or seduce, unknown.
- closing with Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH-welcome back, Ms. Bouder who bounds through the movement as she were cart-wheeling on a trampoline. Janie Taylor sweetly romances, and Angle fathers the company through.
Be sure to enjoy the les Ballets de Faile exhibit interspersed throughout the theater!
Split bill at The Joyce: Working Women and Sean Curran Company. In the first, Monica Bill Barnes continues to seriously schtick her way along highlighted by Loni Landon and Kate Weare’s smoky pieces. Mr. Curran appears in a brief, improvised solo that displays his lightning-fast feet and bravado humor. Curran’s final tableau scene in Fireweather heart-piercingly drapes his nude dancers across each other.
I attended Program C of the Cool NY festival at White Wave in DUMBO to support a couple friends. I love these kinds of festivals because the performers feel more “real” to me – they’re doing what they do because they want to, because they have to, and they do it themselves, costumes, props, everything. You can still feel the earnest desire to create. Grandmother Clock by Nehara Kalev absorbed us into her spiraling exploration.
That’s all for now, folks.