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Summer 2008 DanceView

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A sidelong shot of a smiling Sarah Mearns in Dances at a Gathering graces the cover of the Summer 2008 issue of DanceView. In the first article of this new issue, Gay Morris reflects on the works of Jerome Robbins, the focus of NYCB's spring season at the State Theater. Morris notes his "tendency towards mimetic gesture," and his "great facility for understanding and capturing posture, comportment and gesture in everyday life." "The amount of vernacular detail" in Fancy Free, she writes, in a line that made me chuckle, "is almost anthropological."

Gay goes on to cite Edwin Denby's conviction, voiced "early in the choreographer's career," that there are drawbacks to the use of literal gesture. Denby wrote, for example, that "it does not draw attention to the central impulses of the body that dances." Writes Gay: "Denby felt that this dependence on descriptive gesture limited the freedom of Robbins' work. . . . Gesture holds a place in dance, but if it is used solely as literal description, it can restrict more complex modes of producing meaning."

Robbins is properly called theatrical, Morris writes, not so much for his "coups de theatre, those clever surprises that have to do with stage effects rather than dancing," but because his dancers are always characters, "always playing someone, even if it is themselves."

I could go on quoting thoughtful passages from this and other articles, but my purpose is to whet the appetite of non-subscribers. :flowers:

This issue also includes Mary Cargill's conversation with former Dance Theater of Harlem and current Alvin Ailey Dance Theater star Alicia Graf, as well as articles by Cargill on The Kirov-Maryinsky at NYC's City Center, Horst Kogler on "John Cranko's Thirteen Glorious Stuttgart Years," Alexandra Tomalonis on the Proteges performances at the Kennedy Center, Carol Pardo on performances by the Paris Opera Ballet and school, and reports from London and San Francisco by Jane Simpson and Rita Felciano respectively.

One thing I love about DanceView is that its writers are given the space to reflect at length. Another thing I love is its many large black and white photos. DanceView is the print big sister of danceviewtimes; each is owned and edited by Ballet Talk founder and administrator, Alexandra Tomalonis. More information and that most vital bit of information, the subscription link, can be found here.

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