Posts Tagged ‘Alvin Ailey’

Words of Wisdom

A 23-columnist salute to 11 years of ideas, insight, and inspiration by Tamsin Nutter Some days you just need a little advice and encouragement—whether on preschoolers, degagés, or taxes—to pin on the staff bulletin board or mull over in the bathtub at night, from a trusted friend who’s been there, done that, and understands exactly…

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All That’s Jazz

Born in America at the beginning of the 20th century, jazz dance melds the spirit of improvisation with the discipline of applied technique in a style that constantly redefines and reinvents itself. Jazz dance is seen on stages and in movies, on streets and in clubs; it is taught in dance studios and researched at universities. Its history engages both the past and present in a uniquely American way.

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Ballet Scene | Guys Can Get the Point of Ballet

For many guys, going to the ballet is right up there with attending a bridal shower or a Tupperware party as a source of excruciating boredom and self-conscious discomfort. Ballet, they will announce, is performed by sissies for sissies

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Thinking Out Loud | A Future for Modern Dance

Recent whispers I’ve overheard in theaters as grand as Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center and as populist as a park amphitheater suggest that modern dance, at least of a certain bent, is not all that accessible or popular. For example, as I watched Daniel Burkholder’s DC-based company, The PlayGround, I noticed the couple sitting in front of me. The piece was cerebral, addressing environmental issues in a structured but open-ended manner. Yet that couple wasn’t having any of it. At first salt-and-pepper hair/khaki pants snickered at the improvisational, perpetual motion of the dancers. Prim polo shirt giggled. I could see the red flag of pretension rising in her mind’s eye as she listened to a voice-over recounting environmental disaster. Before the lights came up, they walked. Sure, it was a free performance —nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? But evidently modern dance—or at least modern dance of a certain sort—wasn’t enough to keep this seemingly well-educated couple in their seats.

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Making Alvin Proud

As the house lights dim at Zellerbach Hall, on the University of California’s Berkeley campus, two nervous girls stand in a spotlight reciting poems they have written during the six weeks of AileyCamp. Then the curtain rises on a program of dance and spoken word that is endearing and invigorating in its earnestness. The energy-filled performance may lack polish and brilliant technique, but that’s just as it should be. At AileyCamp, dance is a tool that’s used to achieve a much bigger mission.

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