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Layers of Possibility: Site-specific dance and the River to River Festival

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)'s River To River Festival stages art and performances throughout lower Manhattan, enlivening civic buildings and other public spaces with free events. The festival originated as part of the post-September 11th economic revitalization, demonstrating that the neighborhood was safe and resilient.

In Conversation

Passing the Torch: Michael Novak with Susan Yung

Modern dance choreographers have been planning for their legacies in various ways. Some have chosen to disband their companies; others have, at times with the help of their boards, chosen successors. Michael Novak, a distinguished dancer with Paul Taylor Dance Company since 2010, was recently named Artistic Director Designate of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation. I sat down with him at the Foundation headquarters in lower Manhattan.

ABT Looks Forward and Back

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) took a gamble on commissioning tap choreographer Michelle Dorrance to create a pièce d’occasion for its 2018 Spring Gala. The wisdom of the choice became apparent in the first moment, when three women struck the floor, one-two-three, with their spotlit pointe shoe toes. How ingenious, and in retrospect natural, to use the toe shoe as a percussion instrument, rather than denying its proclivity to thump and clack with each step—something all ballerinas are trained to avoid. Dorrance allows ballerinas to embrace their physical selves, tethered to earth by gravity just like the rest of us. Her use of tap is not just percussion; it’s overturning a whole aesthetic and artistic dogma

Something to Hold Onto

In Constance Rourke’s 1931 American Humor: a Study of the National Character, the writer and folklorist presents America as an itinerant nation in search of an identity. Amidst this apparent flux, she identifies three distinct American archetypes: the Yankee peddler, the frontiersman, and the blackface minstrel. Each member of “the trio,” she argues, wears a mask for his own protection. He allows his social superior to think he is deferential and submissive; through this masquerade, he gains some degree of freedom and power.


During their yearlong residency at the Red Hook nonprofit Gerard & Kelly took a photograph at 4:33pm on the first day of each month that captured the evanescent light cast through the refurbished iron factory’s cutout windows, a striking portrayal of the simultaneously subtle and monumental forces of the earth’s rotation around the sun. 4:34pm

Disorderly Conduct: On THEM, Police Brutality, and Following Orders

It was a cold night in February and my ex-boyfriend, a friend, and I were on our way to go dancing at the venue House of Yes when two men dressed in black got out of a black Lincoln Town Car, shined a bright light in our eyes, slammed us against a wall, and starting searching us against our will.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2018

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