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The Buzz, 7-8: Blowing in the Wind
Winds of War; Wind Cancels SF Ballet; Akram Khan Meets Sidi Larbi; Karin Averty Meets Juliet in Farewell; Jill Johnston Revives Amsterdam

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2005 The Dance Insider

War of the Worlds

PARIS -- Returning from my run to Montmartre this morning, just below the Bateau Lavoir, the artist's residence where Picasso started disfiguring figures, I spotted a woman bidding goodbye to an infant in a stroller held by a suited man. (Yesterday, around 11:30 a.m. London time, I'd strolled past the home and studio where he worked on "Guernica.") I turned for an instant to look at the child, and he gave me an anxious, almost girded smile, as if to ask: "What kind of world have you brought me into?"

Four years ago, on September 11, 2001, I proposed, somewhat arrogantly -- I'm just a dance critic, after all -- that the way to answer hate is with light, for which you, as dancers, are a vehicle. Rather than give you more platitudes after what Londoners are already calling their 'mini-9/11,' today I'd like to ask you, dance insider, How and why does one continue dancing in a time of hate and fear? If you have any ideas, please let me know at paul@danceinsider.com.

I can tell you, with relief, that Josephine Leask, our London bureau chief, and her family are fine, and I wish the same to all our London readers.


Ice, Ice, Baby

Mark Twain once famously said that the coldest winter he ever spent was summer in San Francisco.The San Francisco Ballet seems to have brought that weather with it to its Paris season. If last night's temperatures here weren't quite arctic, they were cold enough according to the dancers' contract to cancel the scheduled opening of SFB's program 2 at the historic National Archives, a.k.a. the Hotels Rohan/Soubise. The same cast of the mixed Balanchine-Helgi Tomasson program will get another shot tonight, temperatures allowing.


Khaning Larbi

In what promises to the the highlight of the 2005-2006 season at Paris's Theatre de la Ville - Sarah Bernhardt, London's Akram Khan will pair with Belgium's Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in the world series of dance, as the two choreograph and perform "Zero Degrees," October 11 - 16. Larbi, in case you haven't been reading the Dance Insider the past three years, is the hottest dance artist in Europe, long overdue on US shores. Meanwhile, yesterday's news, the clearly spent Angelin Preljocaj, will open the season at France's main dance theater with "Four Seasons," his dull knife taking a stab at the Vivaldi music of the same name. Preljocaj returns April 4 - 12 with what I can already predict is the aptly named "Empty Moves (part 1)," (eek!) to John Cage's similarly titled composition. About the only bright spot in this program commemorating the Preljocaj company's 20th anniversary is a reprisal, on the Spring program, of the 1989 "Noces."

Other highlights of Theatre de la Ville's season at the Sarah Bernhardt include dance photographer Lois Greenfield shooting and sharing her work live for Australian Dance Theatre, Maguy Marin's "Umwelt," Ea Sola with the National Ballet of Hanoi, new dance from Sasha Waltz & Guests, a new Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker tryptique to George Benjamin, Bela Bartok, and Claude Debussy, and Pina Bausch's latest creation, being made in residency this year in South Korea. With other houses in town, the theater will be co-presenting Rachid Ouramdane and a new solo, as well as "Last Landscape," by and for Josef Nadj.


At Last Juliet

Speaking of "Noces," one of the finest interpreters I've seen of Nijinska's version, the Paris Opera Ballet's Karin Averty, makes her farewell tomorrow night at the Opera Bastille -- in a debut, the title role in Nureyev's "Romeo & Juliet," to the Prokofiev score.


Johnston Revives Amsterdam

"One starts somewhere," writes Jill Johnston in the biography posted on her new web site, www.jilljohnston.com. "My career as a writer began in the minimal and marginalized field of dance criticism. Despite, or perhaps because of, its low place on the cultural totem pole, I had a compelling ambition to excel at it and make it my own. I was twenty-something, and the time was the late fifties, just when a great sea change in the American modern dance tradition was underway. My aspirations as a critic were academic and literary from the start. Certain analytic interpretive writings of a prominent German dance critic were a model -- best applied no doubt to history rather than to work of the moment. And it became the moment -- so eventful and attractively shocking heading into the sixties --that would arrest me." And her writing that would arrest a generation of dancegoers and influence a generation of dance and other journalists. Newly minted Johnston can now be found on her web site, in the form of The Johnston Letter. Check out the first, "Reviving Amsterdam"; it's must reading for septuagenarians of all ages.

 

 

 

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