3/31/20 O&A NYC IN MEMORIUM: Dancer, Choreographer Louis Johnson Died at 90

By Walter Rutledge

Dancer, choreographer and director Louis Johnson passed away he was 90 years old. Born March 19, 1930 in Statesville, North Carolina Johnson’s parents moved to Washington D.C. and he became a standout in the D.C. school system for his artistic and gymnastic abilities. While in high school Johnson enrolled and trained at the Jones Haywood School of Dance, where he blossomed under the tutelage of Doris Jones and Clair Haywood.

Johnson moved to New York City and continued his dance training at the famed New York City School of American Ballet, where he was mentored by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. Johnson performed on Broadway in Four Saint in Three Acts, House of Flowers (George Balanchine choreographer) Damn Yankees (Bob Fosse) and Hallelujah Baby. The success of one of his early choreographic works Lament for the New York City Ballet Club led to offers to choreograph the Broadway production of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity. This lead to additional theatrical productions including Lost In The Stars, Treemonisha and Purlie, which garnered Johnson a Tony Award nomination.

Johnson choregraphed La Giaconda (starring Martina La Rowe) and Aida (starring Leontyne Price) for the New York Metropolitan Opera. Johnson also choreographed two motion pictures the 1970 Cotton Come To Harlem and The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Johnson never lost his love for concert dance choreographing for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Philadanco and the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater. In 1980 Johnson started the dance department at the Henry Street Settlement (New York City), where he remained until 2003. He also taught the first Black theater course at Yale University and stated dance department at Howard University (D.C.). His directorial credits include Porgy and Bess, Miss Truth and Jazzbo Brown.

11/8/19 O&A NYC DANCE REVIEW: Ballet Eloelle- Teaching Diversity With Laughter

By Walter Rutledge

The Leslie-Lohman Museum For Gay and Lesbian Art Gala took place on October 22 at one of the first venues for modern dance the Judson Theater. The celebration/ raised funds and awareness to the many projects and exhibitions directly effecting the LGTBQ community. One of the true highlights of this festival fundraising evening was the internationally acclaimed dance company Ballet Eloelle.

A five-member ensemble from the all- male comedy ballet company entertained and enlightened the audience; sharing the message of diversity and tolerance through humor. The company is one of only a handful of professional “gender bending” dance companies in the world (Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo being the most recognizable). Founded and directed by Victor Trevino the New York City based Ballet Eloelle has an extensive internationally touring portfolio, delighting audiences and receiving rave reviews throughout Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and the United States. 

The dancers are a collective of veteran comic male ballerinas and new faces from around the globe; a hallmark of this very special band of globetrotting troubadours. The Dying Swan performed by Nina Minimaximova (aka Trevino) with brilliant self- effacing comedic timing that brought the house down!  

Ballet Eloelle- Harliquenade Pas de Deux

Another standout was principal dancer Marianel Moarorles (aka Walter Battistini). The diminutive powerhouse performed Harliquinade Pas de deux with male lead Tetsushi Segawa. Battisini’s strong fleet-footed allegro perfectly balanced his comedic and oft-times coquettish partnering style; making the duet and variations one of the evening’s high points.

 
Ballet Eloelle- Pas de Quatre

Battisini was also featured in Pas de Quatre, a spoof on the renowned divertissement choreographed by Jules Perrot in 1845. Dancing as famed nineteen century ballerina Franni Cerrito, he was joined onstage with three other divas: Tamara Verde (Roberto Forleo) as Marie Taglioni, Palomina Carrera (Jonathan Mendez) as Carlotta Grisi, and Teresa Carino (Estefano Gil) as Lucille Grahn. Together this fearsome foursome was electric as they parodied this Romantic ballet classic.  

Ballet Eloelle brought the right amount of humor, satire and solid dance technique to the Leslie-Lohman Museum Gala. The troupe definitely are dancing ambassadors helping all of us leap in to a more tolerate and inclusive world. And they are doing it with laughter- one bourree at a time.   

10/14/19 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: October 14- 21, 2019

Fall is finally here! In New York that means cool mornings, sweater weather afternoons, jacket evenings and the arts. We have street art in Da Bronx, 90’s R&B in Harlem and Dance honors its own in the Village.  Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

8/21/19 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: August 21 – August 28, 2019

New York City is in vacation mode that means everyone is taking it easy and savoring lazy warm afternoons and warm humid nights. We have great events indoors and out and many are free!  Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

7/16/19 O&A NYC DANCE: Calvin Royal III- Hallelujah 

Hallelujah choreographed and performed by American Ballet Theater soloist Calvin Royal III, directed by Andrii Didyk. Continue reading

7/5/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Infra – Final Duet (The Royal Ballet)

Principal dancers Edward Watson and Marianela Nuñez dance the final pas de deux in Wayne McGregor’s abstract ballet Infra, a moving exploration of emotion, set to Max Richter’s melancholic and beautiful score. Continue reading

7/4/19 O&A NYC WHATS HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND: JULY 4- JULY 7, 2019

July 4th is the start of a four day summer holiday weekend and New York is just getting warmed up. We will have a hot dog eating contest at Coney Island and a seafood boil festival in Brooklyn. Tap dance in Chelsea and Afropop in Central Park. Not to mention a jazz brunch in Harlem. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About.

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7/1/19 O&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: Benjamin Millepied’s Bach Studies with Aïden Carberry

In his latest film, a collaboration with choreographer Aïdan Carberry, choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied tackles the sound of music—JS Bach’s Prelude No. 1, in particular—within an earthy historical home that reflects the German composer’s own era, while the dance is injected with modern moves and gestures.
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6/21/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle in Swan Lake (Black Swan Variation)

Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle in Black Swan variation from the 1953 Bourmeister rendering of Swan Lake. Continue reading