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Chevalier de la Barre, 5-31
Nekkid at the Joyce; Cortez to Cleveland; Dancing for Bono & O'Neill; Vice-Versa Reversa; Out at ABT; In at TAB; Michelson & Misha; Dancer-Writers; 'Inceste' at Montpellier; Nekkid with NYC's Wild Child

By Paul Ben-Itzak
with a contribution from Tom Patrick
Copyrights 2002 The Dance Insider and Tom Patrick

PARIS -- In a recent e-mail commentary, I (I being PBI, I'll let you know when we come to TP's item) chastised New York's Joyce Theater for including what I called a "warning," in its summer brochure, that certain programs from Pilobolus contained nudity. Martin Wechsler, director of programming at the Joyce, writes:

"In your e-mail of 5/21, you seemed to take issue with the Joyce Theater including a note in our summer season brochure 'warning' people about which Pilobolus programs contain nudity. The phrase 'program includes nudity' is not a 'warning,' but a factual statement. The value judgments you are attributing to it are your own.

"Having presented Pilobolus every summer for the past 12 years, we have received a large number of calls from potential audience members asking which programs contain nudity. Since this is a prevalent concern of our audience, we feel that we are better serving them by providing them with the information they seek. This way, they can better decide which programs they do or do not wish to attend, and which they do or do not wish to bring their children to."

Speaking of the Joyce Theater, one, Streb Go! is actually in the house through June 16, unlike I previously reported.

Speaking of the Joyce Theater, two, its longtime publicist, Ellen Jacobs, once related the following anecdote about a young dancer: He was making faces from the wings at his fellow SUNY Purchase students, as they performed an interminable (my word) piece involving scaling and sliding down a ramp, again and again. (Jacobs declined to name the choreographer.) Asked by Jacobs to explain himself, the young man cheerily replied, "I'm trying to keep them awake!"

The publicist related the anecdote at an awards ceremony which honored Hernando Cortez and Dancers Responding to AIDS, the pioneering AIDS service organization founded by Cortez and his fellow Paul Taylor dancer Denise Roberts Hurlin in 1991. From that date until his recent departure, times were never boring at DRA, and they sure won't be at Cleveland's Repertory Project, where Cortez has just been appointed artistic director.

Speaking of AIDS (as in DRA), as you may have heard, rock star Bono and US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill have been touring Africa to examine how international aid is spent. Well, I knew there had to be a dance angle there somewhere, and sure enough, there is! Longtime DI readers will recall those ebullient Children of Uganda, a dancing, singing company made up of young people orphaned by AIDS. Dance insider Luke Filose, manager of the troupe's 2002 tour, drops a line to let us know that on Tuesday, in Uganda, the kids danced for Bono and the Secretary. Adds Filose: "Bono was apparently very pleased with their show, and drummed with them for a while."

Speaking of surreal, that seems the best way to describe what went down at the Clark Studio Theater in Lincoln Center Wednesday night at a workshop performance given by the artists formerly known as Vice-Versa. But don't take my word for it; I wasn't there, and I've got a bias here. Senior DI critic Tom Patrick was there, however, and forwards the following remarks: (um, this is the Tom Patrick part; don't blame him for anything else in this column! And TP does want you to know that these are 'remarks,' and should not be construed as a full-out review.)

"I was a more than a little crestfallen to show up and find the evening called Proia Dance Theater -- all Proias throughout in print.

"My experience at the workshop performance was generally positive, but it was a slightly unusual show. I gathered from the buzz, running into a few colleagues on the way into the seats, that they had had to cancel/cut short this night's first [of two] shows after Alex Proia fell down the stairs and dislocated his shoulder.

"Certainly this was a stressing event, necessitating a lot of last-minute restructuring work from everyone. (On Wednesday, Proia did dance, with his right arm totally bound against his side, hand at his beltline, for the entire thing. A little bizarre, really, and I found him to be a weird character in general, more grey in his hair these days --which looks nice -- but I think he looks SO much like Barry Manilow!)

"It was a letdown that Fabrice Herrault had had to abandon the project as co-creator and dancer -- I was really looking forward to seeing him dance, beyond those beautiful moments of demo he does when he teaches. (So I found AP to be a poor substitute, not half as charming as he thinks he is....)

"The evening was an hour-long piece, centering around 'a perfect day' and how that strikes or rewards or eludes us. Perhaps very subjectvely, I felt that it gave the viewpoint of urban life affording us the opportunities of far fewer potentially 'perfect' days than the rural world...but then we knew that.

"The entire cast numbered seven, including Proia and an actress, Stephanie MacKay (the program being a xeroxed workshop-grade edition, I'm deducing/extrapolating the names of the actress and musician), doing some acting. Add film-clips, spoken sections, purely dance parts (some very nice partnering, some quite witty parts) and a great live musician, Jacques Schwartz-Bart, I think, on guitar and saxophone. The evening was roughish in editing, I thought -- I couldn't find sense in the arrangement of it -- but in the execution dance-wise and technologically, it was very good. I was proud of Linda Gelinas and Warren Adams -- who I know as top-drawer dancers/actors from my Metropolitan Opera Ballet experience -- and there were a couple of other very watchable dancers too: petite and fiery Alexandra Damiani and the superbly quadrupedal Adonnis, Laurent Caillat. So in dance terms it was well worth the trip! But conceptually, I thought this creation was really all over the place, which maybe is the truth of everybody's idea of perfect...." (End of Tom part.)

Speaking of injuries, that's what's keeping Irina Dvorovenko out of American Ballet Theatre's Spring Met season....Speaking of "Onegin," like Dvorovenko, Stuttgart Ballet principal Margaret Illman has also danced in that John Cranko ballet, but if she does it again, it will have to be with the Australian Ballet, to which the Adeleide native is coming home in July 13 years after leaving the company. Illman starts in on July 22, when Damien Welch and Kristy Martin are also scheduled to return to TAB.

Speaking of coming home, I apparently left my City by the Bay a tad soon earlier this month, as I'll miss Sarah Michelson's "The Experts" on White Oak Dance Project, which opened last night at Zellerbach Hall of Cal Performances. Fortunately, our colleague Aimee Ts'ao was there last night and will have a report for you next week. If you can't wait until then, check this rollicking interview with the divine Ms. M in the Oakland Tribune.

Speaking of dancer-writers, of which Sarah is one, and of the Bay Area, Wendy Perron of Oakland-based Dance Magazine hosts a panel of dancer-writers tomorrow at Lincoln Center, part of the annual Dance Critics Association conference. Among the panelists: Jody Sperling and our own critical divinities, Mr. Chris Dohse and Ms. Darrah Carr.

Speaking of dance, and writing, among the more curious attractions at this summer's Montpellier Danse Festival has got to be Christine Angot's four-hour 'literary performance' (the quotes aren't mine, they're in the press release!) of "L'inceste," scheduled for -- hello! (that's an astounded British 'hello!,' often followed by 'What's all this then?,' not a sarcastic U.S. 'HelLO!') -- July 4. Said performance, said program also notes, "denotes the return to Montpellier of the woman who had to 'leave town.'" (Quotes not mine again.)

Speaking of American sacraments, and having to leave town, that's just about what the Montpellier program would have us believe John Jasperse had to do as regards NYC. The program entry for his 'not about September 11 Dance' (quotes mine), "Giant Empty," informs us that, "it is neither this sort of premonitory vision, nor the fact that his dancers appear nude on stage, that will give proof that John Jasperse nurses his reputation as the provocative wild child of the New York stage (which he is considering leaving, financially exhausted -- while at the same moment William Forsythe is inviting him to Frankfurt with open arms.)" Those parenthesis are not mine, but this note is: Um, John, might wanna hold off a bit on purchasing those train tickets to Frankfurt.

Now now, don't get huffy, just milking my reputation as the provocative wild child of New York dance journalism. Speaking of milk, I gotta go eat some more cheese now.

Have a great week-end, dance insider -- however you milk it. Go Francis!

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