Dance/Opera

Behind the Scenes of the Russian Ballet, July 1942: An Excerpt from Agnes de Mille’s ‘Dance to the Piper’

By

Born into the famous de Mille family of writers, playwrights, and filmmakers, Agnes de Mille felt a calling to become, instead, a dancer and choreographer. It’s a lucky thing, too, for as Joan Acocella writes in the introduction to an important reissue of de Mille’s own classic memoir, Dance to the Piper — out this month from NYRB Classics — de Mille’s contribution to the art of dance cannot be diminished.
…Read More

Inside FKA twigs’ Deeply Erotic ‘Congregata’ Shows

By

Halfway through the first of three sold-out shows that constitute the American debut of FKA twigs’ “Congregata” stage show last night (May 17), a group of dancers from New York City’s long-standing ballroom drag and voguing scene took over the stage at Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Hangar. Naturally this burst of energy kicked off with a bit of shade: “Did twigs say she was coming to New York?” their ringleader asked, incredulously. Adorned in varying states of glittering glamour ranging from full drag to low-cut onesies and corsets, these male dancers served up impressive aerial spins and drops, battles driven by hand performance, and plenty of catwalk realness. It was a respite from the show’s stunning high-wire eroticism, and yet the voguing break served to underline the most intoxicating element of twigs’ music: a sense of longing. The crowd still wanted to go deeper with twigs.
…Read More

Why Protesters Are Heckling an Opera About Terrorism — And Why They’re Wrong

By

It’s not often these days that an opera finds itself in the middle of a major imbroglio lasting several news cycles — although back in the form’s heyday people often rioted or jeered at controversial productions. But we’ve had a little taste of opera’s heated history this week, since John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer opened at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The opera, which is playing through November, has drawn protesters, artists, politicians, and Supreme Court justices — not to mention the abstract concepts of political art and free expression — into a major secondary drama. Is it anti-Semitic or fair? Should it be censored or allowed to go on?
…Read More