New Dances at Old Songs

November 2nd, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg

Old Songs Contra Dance Series 2012

An old dance tradition gets new legs this weekend when two of Nippertown’s leading proponents of traditional dance – Old Songs and Homespun Occasions – join forces to kick off a new monthly series of Old Songs Community Dances. The first of the dances will take place at Old Songs in Voorheesville at 7:30pm on Saturday (November 3), featuring caller Paul Rosenberg and live music by Tamarack. The evening begins with a covered dish supper at 6:30pm.

The idea behind the dance series is to create a family-friendly community dance. The series will feature simple, fun, joyous dances from the U.S. and around the world in circle, square, contra and other configurations. It’s a long-standing tradition to bring people of all ages together in an evening of simple joyous dances that anyone of any age can do, whether you have ever danced before or not.

Admission is $7; children $3.

Here’s the schedule for the upcoming Community Dances at Old Songs:

SATURDAY (NOVEMBER 3): Paul Rosenberg calls; Tamarack plays.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1: Gail Griffith calls; Fennig’s All-Stars play.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5: Fern Bradley calls; Fennig’s All-Stars play.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2: Bob Nicholson calls; Fancy That plays.
SATURDAY, MARCH 2: John Kirk & Trish Miller call; John & Trish play, too.
SATURDAY, APRIL 6: Paul Rosenberg calls; Fennig’s All-Stars play.


Compagnie Käfig, Dynamic Brazilian Hip Hop Ensemble at Jacob’s Pillow Aug. 15-19

August 13th, 2012, 11:00 am by Sara
At Jacob’sPillow Aug 15-19: Compagnie Kafig, Brazilian hip-hop dancers led by Mourad Merzouki.

At Jacob’sPillow Aug 15-19: Compagnie Kafig, Brazilian hip-hop dancers led by Mourad Merzouki.

With only two weeks remaining in the 80th Anniversary Festival, Jacob’s Pillow presents Compagnie Käfig, a dynamic ensemble of hip-hop dancers from Brazil led by Artistic Director and internationally acclaimed choreographer Mourad Merzouki. Performing August 15–19, 2012 in the Ted Shawn Theatre, the company performs a program of two virtuosic works, Correria and Agwa, both packed with athleticism, artistry, and drama.

Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times comments “One of the most prominent of the many French hip-hop troupes to emerge over the last two decades is the Lyon-based Compagnie Käfig, founded by Mourad Merzouki in 1996…For two new pieces, though, he has collaborated with a group of dancers from Rio de Janeiro; Correria and Agwa are inspired by their stories of growing up in favelas, and the choreography incorporates elements of athletic samba and capoeira. It’s a potentially fascinating cultural exchange.”

A major figure on the hip-hop scene since the early 1990s, choreographer Mourad Merzouki works at the junction of many different movement disciplines, fusing circus and martial arts, fine arts, and music with a continuous exploration of all hip-hop styles. He is known for opening up new outlooks in dance, while honoring the hip-hop movement’s roots and its social and geographical origins.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

The Egg Announces Dance Performances for 2012-2013 Seaon

July 12th, 2012, 12:00 pm by Greg

The Egg in Albany has announced five performances for its 2012-2013 dance series. Tix are currently available to members of The Egg and will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday (July 17).

Here’s the schedule for the 2012-2013 dance season at The Egg:

Read the rest of this entry »

Jacob’s Pillow Opens June 20 With Brazil’s Mimulus Dance Company [Berkshire on Stage]

June 19th, 2012, 1:00 pm by Sara
Mimulus Dance Company will open Jacob's Pillow on June 20

Jacob’s Pillow will open its 80th Anniversary Festival ― a “veritable dance explosion” (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times) ― June 20-24 with the U.S. premiere of Por Um Fio (By A Thread), performed by Mimulus Dance Company of Brazil. Based in Belo Horizonte, Mimulus made its U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 2007 and is celebrated internationally for its unique combination of social dance and contemporary choreography. In Por Um Fio, the company honors the life and work of Brazilian outsider artist Arthur Bispo do Rosário with an evening-length production full of dynamic sets, interactive costuming, inventive dance, and an eclectic score. Following their Festival 2007 performance, Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote: “[Artistic Director] Jomar Mesquita and his Mimulus dance company ought to be bottled and sold as elixir…the sassy, charming young dancers of this Brazilian troupe filled the Ted Shawn Theatre with infectious wit and energy as well as intriguing dance invention.”

About Mimulus

“The dancers of Mimulus are irresistible. Their passion and zest for life and art is evident in every performance, and audiences fall in love instantly,” comments Ella Baff, Executive and Artistic Director of Jacob’s Pillow. “They rarely perform in the United States, so I am very pleased that they will open the season in the Ted Shawn Theatre, where they appeared in U.S. for the first time. This production has something for everyone ― sensational dancing, theatricality, creative visual design, and beautiful music. It’s the perfect beginning to a fantastic summer of dance.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Crash Course in Butoh Dance at EMPAC, April 6 [Berkshire on Stage]

April 4th, 2012, 2:30 pm by Sara
The source of Butoh comes from deep within. (photo: Ryutaro Mishima)

The source of Butoh comes from deep within. (photo: Ryutaro Mishima)

Yes, watching Butoh for the first time is maddeningly weird, like so much in Japanese culture, but if you are the curious type it is also wonderful for reasons that are hard to identify. As an artform that is just about fifty years old, it has dozens of practitioners, and there are a few things that are common to it.

What is Butoh?

I first encountered Butoh when I was in Japan and took in a performance by Sankai Juku. It was unlike any other dance – or theatre – on earth. It has no physical technique or common terminology for the movements themselves. I think it is the unique expression of the dancer unencumbered by language and tradition and constraint. That’s why I think there is an element of theatre to it. For some it appears that the rigorous training and mental preparation needed to acheive the state of Butoh dance makes it seem as if it is a religion. The drummers of Kodo approach their music making in a similar way. However, it is not a religion, or theatre, it is a dance form, a form of performance involving movement that somehow comes to the surface of the dancer, from some special reserve of feeling and energy that is buried incredibly deep within them.

Butoh is not as much about technique as it is about feeling. As someone watching a performance, it is better to feel what is being expressed than to focus on the movement combinations as a trained dancer would.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

ALSO: is giving away a pair of FREE TIX to Friday night’s premiere performance at EMPAC at RPI in Troy. Go here to enter…

China’s most celebrated dancer Jin Xing is transgendered, original, rarely seen [Berkshire on Stage]

February 9th, 2012, 12:00 pm by Sara
Jin Xing is extraordinary.

Jin Xing is extraordinary.

One of the few transgender women officially recognized by the Chinese government, the work of Jin Xing would be extraordinary for its enchanting choreography all by itself, no sex change operation necessary. Adding that second fact goes a long way to explaining why you will neither read nor see much about this artist who was born the son of a policeman and who at the age of nine joined the People’s Liberation Army as a boy, receiving training in both dance and military training.

She became a member of the military’s dance troupe, and eventually attained the rank of Colonel. She experienced strong transsexual desires early in life. She said she would stay outside during rain, and wish that a lightning strike would turn her body female. But for all the tormet, Jin Xing had a sense of humor that is wonderfully exposed in the names of her dances. The Imperial Concubine Has Been Drunk for Ages is one for example, a traditional work that takes on new meaning when danced by someone who is trangendered.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Little Cinema to Debut New Joffrey Ballet Documentary, Simulcast and Discussion [Berkshire on Stage]

January 27th, 2012, 10:59 am by Sara
The Joffrey Ballet's Don Quixote (photo by Bob Nick)

The Joffrey Ballet's Don Quixote (photo by Bob Nick)

Pittsfield’s Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum will play host to the world premiere of Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance on Saturday, January 28 at 1:30 pm. It is one of only two Massachusetts theatres to be included in this fascinating event.

As a member of the Boston Ballet staff in the 1970′s, I was continually surprised when our most promising young dancers would suddenly announce they were leaving for the Joffrey Company. His dance scouts consistently covered the region looking for the cream of the upcoming crop, and his company grew mightily as a result. The ups and downs of Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino are well documented in the film, including this riveting tale from Suzanne Hammons Daone, who was with the company starting in 1959.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

Darrah Carr To Put Contemporary Spin on Irish Step Dancing January 21 @ MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

January 16th, 2012, 1:00 pm by Sara
Darrah Carr

Darrah Carr

Over the years traditional dance doesn’t seem to change much, but every now and then it takes a giant leap forward. Lord of the Dance blended old Irish dance elements with new to great acclaim. Yet it remained true to its roots.

In a few weeks you will be able to witness another, somewhat subtler take on it.

Darrah Carr Dance, an ensemble that blends Irish step dance with modern dance vocabulary, will step, jump, and fly at MASS MoCA on Saturday, January 21, 2012, at 8PM in Club B-10 as part of the popular Alt Cabaret series. Since 1998, Darrah Carr Dance has incorporated Irish music and step dance footwork with contemporary choreography and spatial patterns to present a bold new twist on conventional Irish dance. As The New York Times described it, “Carr’s immensely likable and skillful dancers move with a space-gobbling buoyancy and openness that looks as if they might take flight.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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