Theatre and Dance

Three Dancers Seek To Redefine The Contemporary Form Of Their Art In “Dan-su Series 3”

Contemporary dance seemed to enter the wider arts consciousness in Japan around the turn of the century when there was a pronounced upsurge in the number of performances, festivals, and competitions. Reflecting that rising enthusiasm, Takao Norikoshi published the encyclopedic Contemporary Dance Thorough Guide in 2003, which gave a further boost to the art form. Fast forward 15 years from then, to one delightful spring evening last month, and a lucky few dance enthusiasts could be found mingling with art lovers in the spacious entrance of the Yokohama Museum of Art to witness a one-off curatorial tour de force titled Dan-su/Nude....

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Backstage Stories From The Mariinsky Theater Told By A Photographer

Mark Olich has been snapping the repetitions and backstage life of the famous theater for many years. He tells Russia Beyond’s Elena Bobrova about what the audience can’t see in St. Petersburg’s main theater. “Extraordinary things happen behind the curtains. An ordinary ballerina (let’s call her Masha Ivanova) can be speaking with a friend, thinking about her problems and then, taking a step forward, she stops being Ivanova and becomes the Lilac Fairy or another unearthly character. This transformation can clearly be seen in the photographs. I think this is what inspires people to become dancers and artists, this...

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Women Dancers In India and UK At A Glance

Katerina Valdivia Bruch was in India as a bangaloREsident at Natya & STEM Dance Kampni. During her stay in Bangalore, she was able to attend the BENCH India, a conference on gender inequalities in the performing arts, held on February 7, 2017, at Alliance Française de Bangalore, as part of the Attakalari India Biennial. What follows is a short survey on the current situation of women dancers in India and UK, the challenges they face in their practice and the projects and/or initiatives they are involved in. Tamsin Fitzgerald How did you start with The BENCH? What moved you to create this initiative? The...

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Ballets Russes: Who Made The Russian Ballet World-Famous?

Celebrating 2018 as the Year of Ballet in Russia, it’s worth paying homage to the outstanding people who devoted their lives to the exceptional art of Russian ballet, and who spread its glory across the globe. Many Russian dancers, composers, artists, choreographers, and entrepreneurs worked for the Ballets Russes, the Russian enterprise that conquered Europe in the early 20th century. These immensely talented people spread the fame of the Russian ballet around the world, making Russian culture fashionable. Sergei Diaghilev, ballet impresario and founder of Ballets Russes Extremely talented as a ballet impresario, Sergei Diaghilev played the greatest role popularizing Russian...

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Macedonian Message For International Dance Day – By Ballet Dancer Marko Micov

The dance is an eternal expression of the human necessity and a wish to communicate, to express mutual feelings through movement of the body, and through the music. The dance, as well as the dancer, are inseparably integrated as one body. The dance is an inexhaustible river of emotions, love, positive energy. It has a soul that is incorporated with the dancer, and it knows nothing of boundaries. It knows nothing of race, age, gender, skin color, sexual orientation, religion; it simply has the power of magic, of the eternal fluid that connects and unifies. The dance gives meaning to life, it reflects inexhaustible energy, it motivates the creation of new deeds that generate...

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“Without Damage” Gets A Ground-Breaking Debut At Egypt’s D-CAF

People may or may not be familiar with contemporary art, but it involves no damage to the audience to watch the amazing performance by contemporary dancer Mohamed Fouad and see for themselves what the performance has to say; to construct their own meanings. The 45-minute world premiere contemporary dance show is performed by Mohamed Fouad, designed by Saber El Sayed, and its music is by Ahmed Saleh. Early on in the show, Fouad declares that the performance is not about “the economic crisis, terrorism, or the new rising fascism in the world” or many other pressing issues he mentions....

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“Betroffenheit:” An Emotional Spectacle Which Transforms The Power Of Dance

Betroffenheit, a creation by renowned Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite and writer Jonathon Young, is at once a powerful visual and emotional spectacle. A well-executed combination of dance and theatre, the production explores the difficult subjects of trauma and addiction through searing and imaginative physical manifestations of one’s inner demons. A co-production between Pite’s (also the director) Kidd Pivot group and Young’s Electric Company Theatre, Betroffenheit has received critical acclaim since it premiered at Panamia in Toronto three years ago. Indeed, it’s a pity that it played at the Babs Asper Theatre in the NAC for only two nights (April 6 and...

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Dramatic Soundscapes

Rather than experimental theatre, it is the realm of dance works that is considered to be much more amenable to music and its ability to guide or transform a live performance. It is as if the body can only respond to the suggestible registers fed to it by soaring melodies or beats. Yet, recent excursions in contemporary dance have attempted to entirely dispense with sound altogether. Sounds of silence Instead, a vast unstarched expanse of silence becomes the ether in which the performers must discover their corporeal alter egos. In Avantika Bahl’s Say, What?, she interacts through gestures with deaf performer...

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Li Cunxin, The Ballet Star Who Could Never Really Leave The Stage

Chinese-Australian dancer Li Cunxin has been enjoying his long yet productive retirement for years, and he has chosen to trade his ballet shoes for traveling across the world to teach young talents and be a motivational speaker. After an 18 year absence, the ballet star who came into prominence during the height of Mao’s cultural revolution finally made his stage comeback. One fine morning in September, I had the opportunity to observe a ballet workshop. I was told that it was a masterclass that was going to be led by a prolific dancer. Yet, for some reason, it still...

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Force And Fragility Meet And Merge In “Dunas”

There are mutual squeals of delight when Belgian dance artist, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Spanish flamenco dancer, Maria Pages are reunited after “far too long” at a Tokyo rehearsal studio. Pages, 54, has flown in from Madrid to promote the pair’s 2009 work Dunas (Dunes), which sees its Japan premiere this month at the Orchard Hall in Shibuya Ward—just down the road from the studio we are all sitting in. Cherkaoui, 42, is in Tokyo to direct an all-Japanese cast in a run of his play Pluto, based on the Naoki Urasawa manga of the same name—though by the look...

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New York Theatre Honored Magda Saleh In Celebration Of Egyptian Dance

Egypt’s renowned prima ballerina Magda Saleh was honored during the event From The Horse’s Mouth in New York. Between March 13 and 18, New York’s Theatre at the 14th Street Y organized an event dedicated to showcasing Egyptian dance in all its forms and traditions. As part of the theatre’s From the Horse’s Mouth series, the event shed light on and honored Egypt’s first prima ballerina Magda Saleh through a variety of events. Saleh, who established herself in New York, is a graduate of the Bolshoi Academy of Ballet in Moscow and Cairo’s Academy of Arts in Egypt. She is also a former dean...

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“Goodbye, Mr. Yi Sang”: Seoul Performing Arts Company’s New Experiment

Theatre adaptations of novels are on the rise this season. Of course, this is nothing new. Fiction, both classic and modern, have always made up a good chunk of the performing arts repertoire. It would be more precise to say that some of the most successful and discussed productions this season are adaptations of novels. Why are novel adaptations generating such buzz right now? One reason might be because theatre artists have changed their approach to adapting fiction. Previously, adapters were too concerned with preserving the so-called “fragrance,” “beauty,” or “perfection” of the original novel’s language and structure. In...

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Dairakudakan’s “Unearthly” Butoh Meets A Tortured Russian tale

Following a January press conference in which the New National Theatre, Tokyo, announced that Dairakudakan, one of the world’s leading butoh companies, would be staging two performances of Tsumi To Batsu (Crime And Punishment) in March, troupe founder Akaji Maro delivered a triumphant statement. Having this unexpected yet fantastic opportunity (to work with the NNTT) feels revolutionary like we’ve finally conquered this national (state-run) citadel after so many years, – the 75-year-old artist said. – So I am very excited to seize our chance to create the best possible performance piece for the NNTT. Maro and his cast of white-painted,...

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How Can We Transform The World Through One’s Self? Amsterdam’s Butoh Festival

In Waves: Transforming The World Through One’s Self At Amsterdam’s Butoh Festival In order to radically change the world, firstly you must make a change within yourself. The expressive check-in with one’s own self, or as Jean-Luc Nancy would interpret, the “return to self,” is a rampant theme for those who engage with their own bodies. I understand that performative events such as dance to resonate this notion. It’s also this notion that will be focused on during the Butoh Festival in Amsterdam’s Teatro Munganga this weekend. But even the term “Butoh” turbulates some issues. When I sat down to...

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The Performative Essay “(De)signing Time”: Essay in Motion

The Serbian choreographer, performance artist, and stage director Milos Sofrenovic has been at Solitude since September in cooperation with Literaturhaus Stuttgart. He worked on the development of the performative essay (De)signing Time, which was presented at Literaturhaus Stuttgart on October 15 at 8 pm. The performance was presented LIVE only once to an international audience. The ephemeral event is followed by this performative post, a contribution that hints, but never reveals everything. It may seem in direct contradiction with the “temporal matter” of a live performance, but is actually not. Months of preparation for a show that will take place only...

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Dance As A Language, Exhaustion As A Therapy

… when no one is willing to listen, no one you could tell, no one you could talk it over with to set you free, the only thing left is art as a way of reaching other people and communicating to one, two, or three other individuals. Taigué Ahmed How do we communicate the unspeakable? How can we find a language for traumatic experiences like war and the life-threatening conditions that come with it? Taigué Ahmed, a dancer and choreographer who grew up in Chad, uses dance as a medium to communicate his experiences with an audience. He also initiated...

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Bolshoi Sets June Dates For Return Of Controversial Ballet “Nureyev”

Pre-sale tickets to the show about the legendary dancer begin in March. The ballet about the life of Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev will return to Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater on June 26, 27, and 28. Advance sales of tickets will take place in March, although an exact date has not been announced yet. Due to high demand for Nureyev, special rules for ticket buyers will apply. There will be a limit of two tickets per person for each performance date. Each ticket will be registered to a specific holder’s name with no changes permitted; spectators will be required to come...

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Serebrennikov’s “Nureyev” At Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre: Run, Rudy, Run!

The glass pavilions that appeared on Teatralnaya Square after the reconstruction of the Bolshoi Theatre have been hung for several years with photos of contemporary performances, presenting the theatre’s current repertoire. But the people assembled for the premiere of Nureyev didn’t see these photos—this audience was met by black and white shots of the “legends of the Bolshoi,” of the dancers who were working in Moscow back in the 1960s, when Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was flying across the stages of Europe. “We had great dancers! We have a great history!” these posters seemed to cry. You did have great...

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“Siena” By La Veronal: Self Contemplation, Imagined Self-Destruction, And A Terrifying Sense Of The Human Body!

European performance is slipping through boundaries, transforming relationships between film, dance, painting, dramatic texts and the human body and in all this apparent chaos which redefines live performance, the world of the “post-text” and all forms of creation in space speak equally to each other in unexpected ways. In Canada, Robert Lepage opened the performance space many years go to this kind of visual/corporeal/technologically based work that one could no longer call simply “theatre” but that seemed to relegate the text to another conceptual dimension, thanks to his collaboration with European festivals and creative centers across the Western world....

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Dance Dramaturgy and The Art That Moves: Lim How Ngean

Art that Moves is an occasional series where we ask artists and other creative workers to reflect on artworks, performances or events that were personally important to them. Lim How Ngean (Ph.D.) is a performance-maker, dramaturg and dance researcher. In recent years he has dramaturged dances for choreographers such as Daniel Kok, Joavien Ng, Kuik Swee Boon and Ming Poon (Singapore), Pichet Klunchun (Thailand), and Amrita Performing Arts Group (Cambodia). He also initiated the Asian Dramaturg’s Network (ADN), with its inaugural symposium in Singapore, April 2016. The ADN will be holding a Satellite Symposium in Adelaide, Australia, between 1 –...

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