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The Buzz, 9-23: Charmed, I'm Sure!
Garfield & Goldhuber Charm Bessies; Goldsmith Charms Aussies; Tanzquartier Charms Austrians; Ailey Charms Morgan Stanley; Man from Momix Charms the Gray Lady; Kaplan Charms the Creteins; More Charming Publicists; & More

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

ALL OVER THE WORLD -- In Manhattan's Chelsea district Friday, the hit of the evening -- the evening being the Bessie Awards at the Joyce -- was by all accounts the duo of Keely Garfield and Lawrence Goldhuber, with a nod to Pina Bausch principal Dominique Mercy. The hosts with the mosts, reports our Darrah Carr, essayed "clever, carefully choreographed duets, with fantastic costumes, many by Liz Prince."

....Speaking of Princes, in Melbourne last Tuesday, the curtain had no sooner fallen on the Australian Ballet world premiere of Graeme Murphy's re-arranged version of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" than TAB artistic director David McAllister announced the promotion to principal of the evening's Odette, Simone Goldsmith. "Odette is a role that typifies the strength and artistry that is needed to be a ballerina," said McAllister. "In creating this role in Graeme Murphy's brand new production, Simone lit up the stage with her extraordinary portrayal of Odette, and it was obvious that a star was born."

The critics would seem to concur. After praising the returning Aussie ex-pat Margaret Illmann for bringing "a wonderfully palpable sexiness to the role of the Baroness," and noting that Stephen Heathcote's "boyishly gallant manner" made him ideal for the prince, Hilary Crampton of The Age concluded: "But the laurels must go to Simone Goldsmith, who seems the ideal tragic princess with her fragile blonde beauty and the limpid clarity of her dancing." To catch this rising star, check TAB at the State Theater tonight, Thursday, or Saturday. To read Crampton's entire review, please click here.

....Speaking of sensational opening nights, DI managing editor Tara Zahra drops this dispatch from Vienna, where she is newly installed as DI bureau chief:

"An opening party for the 2002/03 season was held in Vienna's new Tanzquartier on Friday night. The Tanzquartier, a complex of studio and performance spaces, is situated in the heart of Vienna's Museumsquartier, a new cultural complex of modern and contemporary art museums in the heart of the city's 19th century Ringstrasse. The Tanzquartier opened in October of 2001 as the first production house in Austria devoted exclusively to modern dance. Programming, which includes open rehearsals, lectures, and a three-month 'Factory Season' from April to June, reflects a commitment to interdisciplinary work and a mission to bring the public in contact with the process of dancemaking."

"The opening production, a collaborative work by the Viennese Group Pilottanz ("Moving Gallery 2"), was free to the public, and mounted in a transparent tent in the center of the Museumsquartier's central courtyard. Electric music and special effects were designed to play off of the imposing architecture of the Museumsquartier. The Performance was followed by a public opening party, 'Von Herz zu Herz, von Bein zu Bein' (from Heart to Heart, from Bone to Bone) in the complex's largest performance space (and former site of the Habsburg Winter Riding School), which was transformed for the evening into a retro bar/lounge and dance floor." The year's performance season includes Meg Stuart, Unplugged (promoting young choreographers), Groupe D.A.C.M. (with "Showroom Dummies"), Tanztheater Wien-Milli Bitterli/Liz King, Michele Anne De Mey, and Christine De Smedt of Les Ballets C. de la B.

....Speaking of new quarters, the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, breaking ground October 9 for its future permanent home at 55th and 9th Ave. in NYC, just got a welcome boost for the fundraising campaign it's launched to pay for the building: Morgan Stanley has pledged $2 million, the largest sponsorship in the Ailey's history. The money, says an Ailey spokesperson, will support performances and educational residencies and act as a leadership gift for the building construction.

....Speaking of non-profit dance companies, that's something Momix is not, but don't, er, write Moses Pendleton's company off. Answering a question I've long wanted to ask if we could ever get off the topic of les tournesols, the Man from Momix tells Kathryn Shattuck in yesterday's Times that the company is for-profit because "We just incorporated that way. We asked ourselves, 'If Aerosmith or the Rolling Stones were starting out, would they be trying to get a grant from the N.E.A.?' I think not. We didn't want to limit the scope of our vision by starting out with a concept of ourselves as small and reliant before we even got off the ground." Today, says Pendleton, as the company gets ready to open the Joyce Theater's 20th anniversary season tomorrow, "Momix is a business, just like baseball, and our business is to get our product out to people. We like to be active. We aren't going to strike." Obviously, this man is not French! Vive le greve! (Just kidding about the sunflowers Mo. Love them, and, by the way, loved the way Ms. Shattuck wrapped l'histoire de les tournesols into l'histoire de Momix.)

....Speaking of not being French -- I heard that! -- Peggy Jarrell Kaplan isn't either, but, believe it or not, that's not stopping the French, or at least those in charge of La Maison des Arts Andre Malraux in the Paris suburb of Creteil, from exhibiting Kaplan's dance and other photographs from this Wednesday through October 25. The vernissage -- that's opening to you, bub -- commences at 18:30 Thursday at the Maison des Arts Creteil. Metro Creteil/Prefecture.

.....Speaking of French events, in last week's Best Publicist list I hyped Festival d'Automne press person Margherita Mantero as a good choice for dance artists planning a European tour. Choreographer and DI Belgium bureau chief Rosa Mei pipes iin with another one from the UK: "I would highly recommend Podge Publicity," says Rosa. "They're a five-star operation in my book. Friendly, professional and unwaveringly enthusiastic about the arts. Tons of press contacts and a commitment to getting companies pre-show media coverage as well as reviews. Based in Edinburgh; e-mail is info@podge.co.uk. They're also incredibly well-versed in handling overseas clients via e-mail correspondence. In the past, I worked with Paddy and Oliver."

....And finally, speaking of charming, violence isn't usually that, but you can expect DI Flasher and choreographer Maura Nguyen Donohue to charm you when Maura Nguyen Donohue/inmixedcompany opens the PS 122 season Thursday with "Rip it Open" according to Maura "an exhaustive and athletic examination of each performer's relationship to violence." Dancers include Peggy Cheng, Nancy Ellis, Brian Nishii, and Donohue; video & sound design is by Nishii; spoken word is from Eirene Donohue, lighting design by Frank DenDanto III; and costumes by Anh Bui. Influences include the Russ Meyer classic "Faster Pussycatt! Kill! Kill!" Music comes from such sources as PJ Harvey and Hole. The unique alchemy in Maura's work is that it weds political conscience with pop culture resonance. Check it! And check the details by clicking here. (That's another DI writer, Peggy, with the collar and leash around her neck. Really, we are charming, and surely, we are charmed!)

Got an item for The Buzz? Buzz us at paul@danceinsider.com. Just be warned -- we might buzz back!

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