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The Buzz, 3-1: Dance on the March
Think Globally, Dance Locally

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2007 The Dance Insider

PARIS -- How about a look into the mail bag, flush with dance news from around the world? Inspired by Herb Caen, writing from his second favorite city, fueled by Mexican hot chocolate from his first slurped from an over-sized yellow Delespaul - Havez chocolate mug (the brown letters of 'Chocolate' dripping into the cups of eager children) and by "Diamonds & Simons" (Reggae takes on Neil and Paul) direct from Montana, here goes:

...From the Bay Area, DI West Coast bureau chief Aimée Ts'ao reports that, on her farewell tour with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the tireless Renee Robinson dances three of the four works on tonight's Ailey program at Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, where the company's being presented by Cal Performances: (La) Carmen de Lavallade's "Sweet Bitter Love," Ronald K. Brown's "Grace," and, of course, Alvin Ailey's "Revelations." Audience hint: If you want to see Renee Robinson Go Girl, applaud with all your heart at the finish, and you'll shortly discover that it ain't over 'til the Lady with the Big Yellow Hat says it is....

...Concept, concept, whoozah gotta concept?: Back in Gotham, one-time Ailey School teacher Edisa Weeks and her Delirious Dance Company have been busy since January making intimate Liaisons with the dance audience. That's the name of a series of dances the company has been performing in small spaces with the audience seated on all sides. "Four dancers -- Jenni Hong, Kate Johnson, Ben Kamino, and Jeffrey Peterson -- form liaisons with the audience and each other," explains Weeks, "stretching the boundaries of closeness between strangers, and inviting the audience to intimately gaze at the unfolding movement." Upcoming 'Liaisons' unfold March 30 at the Senior Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side, at 1:15 p.m.; April 7 at Garland Farwell's loft in Newark, NJ; April 26-28 in Dixon Place; May 19 in David Peterson's Living Room in Brook-Land; and August 23 - 26 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin....

...But how will it play on Peoria?: On the other end of the spatial spectrum, Tulsa, Oklahoma Mayor Kathy Taylor joined Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini and local philanthropists Monday to break ground on a multi-milion dollar renovation and expansion of Tulsa Ballet's facilities on S. Peoria Avenue. The $4.56 million endeavor is a three-phase project with the first phase having been completed in August 2006, with the construction of a fourth dance studio and renovation of the dancers' lounge and dressing rooms, along with the building's kitchen facility. The second phase includes the addition of two more studios and office space to be used by the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education. The third and largest phase of the construction will include a new administration wing and the Kivisto Performance Hall, a 250-seat in-house performance venue which will allow Tulsa Ballet to stage an additional dance series, adding to the five per year it currently offers. When the space is not in use by the Tulsa Ballet, it will be used for educational purposes and available for rental to community organizations. "Adding a series of performances to our offerings has been my dream since I first came to Tulsa 12 years ago," says Angelini. "The Kivisto Performance Hall is going to strengthen our relationship with the community that supports Tulsa Ballet. Hosting our patrons in our own building, having them watch a performance close to the artists, allowing all of them to come on stage after the show to mingle with dancers and choreographers alike is going to add a new dimension to our relationship...."

...Radical Move: The Joffrey Ballet will open its 2007-2008 season in October with its first ever production of "Giselle," with Mark Goldweber and the legendary Frederic Franklin staging the classic, originally choreographed in 1841 (check your dates and name spellings, Madame Publicist) by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, after Coralli, Théophile Gautier, and Vernoy de Saint-Georges's book to Adolphe Adam's music. "I have always loved the ballet 'Giselle' as a complete piece of theater," says Arpino. "The story is transcendent in its simplicity and takes audiences to a dimension outside of themselves. Presenting such a standard of the classical repertoire is a radical move for the Joffrey, but as the leading ballet company of Chicago, our audiences deserve to see this great work performed by our brilliant artists."

...Taking it to the Max: As we began this three-dotter with a tribute to one scribe, let's close it with another. In her February 21 New York Times obituary of the literary dance giant Ann Barzel, who passed February 12 in Chicago at the age of 101, another giant, Jennifer Dunning, closes this way: "Asked by The Times in 1996 about the highs and lows of her dancegoing over 70 years, (Barzel) singled out minimalist dance -- 'these ego trips people take nowadays,' she said -- as a low. 'I like my dance maximal,' she said."  

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