4/8/18 O&A NYC IN MEMORARIUM: Donald McKayle (July 6, 1930 – April 7, 2018)- Rainbow Round My Shoulder with Mary Hinkson

Dancer, choreographer, educator and author Donald McKayle passed on April 7, 2018 at age 87.  In honor of this dance icon O&A NYC posts his 1959 masterwork, Rainbow Round My Shoulder. Continue reading

3/6/18 O&A NYC DANCE: A Conversation With Michelle Fleet and Michael Trusnovec- Paul Taylor Dance Company 2018 New York City Season

By Walter Rutledge

The Paul Taylor American Modern Dance begins its annual New York City season at the Koch Theater, Lincoln Center tonight with a special 6pm Dance For All performance. All seats are $5. The season will offer 13 Taylor classics, a work by Lila York, world premieres from Doug Varone, Bryan Arias, and Taylor’s 147th work entitled Concertina. Continue reading

3/24/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY (CORRECTED): A Conversation With Michael Trusnovec- Paul Taylor American Modern Dance

Michael Trusnovec embodies the Paul Taylor male esthetic. O&A NYC sat down with Trusnovec to discuss his 22 year association with the Taylor Company.    Continue reading

3/24/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: A Conversation With Michael Trusnovec- Paul Taylor American Modern Dance


Michael Trusnovec embodies the Paul Taylor male esthetic. O&A NYC sat down with Trusnovec to discuss his 22 year association with the Taylor Company.    Continue reading

3/14/17 O&A NYC DANCE: Paul Taylor’s Airs Performed by American Ballet Theatre (1985)

American Ballet Theatre performance of  Paul Taylor’s Airs featuring music by George Frideric Handel, filmed in San Francisco (1985). Continue reading

3/10/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Paul Taylor’s Auréole (Excerpt)- Royal Danish Ballet with Rudolf Nureyev

Excerpt from Paul Taylor’s Auréole performed by The Royal Danish Ballet (1978) featuring Vivi Flindt, Eva Kloborg, Anne Sonnerup, Johnny Eliasen and Rudolf Nureyev. Continue reading

7/21/16 O&A NYC DANCE REVIEW: Rainbow Round My Shoulder Receives Bessie Award For Outstanding Revival

By Walter Rutledge

On Wednesday June 14, 2016 Donald McKayle’s Rainbow Round My Shoulder received a New York Dance and Performance Award (The Bessies) for Outstanding Revival. The 32 Annual Bessies Awards will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 7:30pm at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House. This review was originally posted by O&A NYC Magazine on April 11th, 2016.

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Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance presented Donald Mckayle’s masterwork Rainbow Round My Shoulder during their 2016 New York City season. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performed the work as guest of the Taylor Company. This marks the second year of Taylor’s new dance initiative, which presents modern dance classics often performed by guest companies.  Continue reading

7/21/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Bessie Award Announces 2016 Nominees (With Video)

 By Walter Rutledge

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The New York Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, announced the nominees for the 2015-16 season at a press conference on Wednesday July 14 at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway. Continue reading

6/22/16 O&A NYC REVIEW DANCE: Thelma Hill 40th Anniversary Season Continues

By Walter Rutledge

IMG_0050The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center’s 40th Anniversary season at the Actor Fund Center, 160 Schermerhorn Street, is in high gear. The third evening presented new, emerging and mid-level choreographers with works ranging from ballet to hip-hop. The performance expressed the founding credo of the organization by presenting the diverse and innovative choreography of artists of color.

The evening opened with a series of solo works. Francesca Harper’s Deconstructing Flack consisted of two solo works echoing the theme of love and loss. Both works, set to the music of Roberta Flack, took the audience from prologue to epilogue.

Erika Lisaku danced the opening solo with a poignant despair. Harper captured the haunting quality of Flack’s First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. In the second solo dancer Amanda Sachs conveyed the acceptance of her situation. More reflective and introspective Ballad of the Sad Young Men had a feeling of resolve.

Toro (pool in a river) by Takeshi Ohashi moved with an elegant quiet control. Danced by Ohashi, with live trumpet accompaniment by Justin Osouna Chance, the impressive movement quality combined tight, isolated movement with sweeping floor work. The works fluidity and grounded quality evoked both the purposeful nature Tai Chi and the explosive excitement of break dance.

The last solo, William Isaac’s charming No Banana Skirt, offered an upbeat and fun variation. Amanda Smith danced the lively and energetic pointe piece with technical proficiency and an effervescent deportment. Both the performance and choreography encapsulated the fun spirit of the Josephine Baker’s rendition of Bye Bye Blackbird.

Purelements: An Evolution in Dance closed the first act with The Call by Men Ca. Danced by the junior company the work effectively blended West African and modern dance. The level of professionalism and commitment endeared this group of young performers to the audience, and became one of the most satisfying aspects of the performance.

The Hip-Hop dance crew Special Ops five-man dance crew consisting of Ptah, Floats, Twist, Press, Rachett and Ej wowed the audience. The crew exemplified the evolution of the urban art form synonymous with 80’s street culture to 21st century inner city storytelling through a codified movement style. Using Flexing (isolated movement and contortions, Gliding (floating across the floor) and Shotta Dance (derived from Reggae dancehall) Special Ops shared a gritty reality ripped from today’s headlines.

Nijawwon Matthew’s XY Dance Project transported us from rap to Bach with his ensemble dance Work Forty. The work blended modern, ballet, gymnastics and “Matthews” to create a visual and kinesthetic excitement. Costumed in white bras, and briefs the dancers donned olive-green ski mask type headgear by Project Runaway’s Mondo Guerra, which
 reminiscence Robert Rauschenberg work in Paul Taylor’s Three Epitaphs. Matthew continues to find his own voice, and we commend and encourage him to keep exploring.

Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance closed with Wild and Free! (Draft 5). The jazz infused modern dance ensemble work featured a cast of 23 dancers, and quickly evolved into a witty high-energy pure dance crescendo. Mosley’s ability to bring out the best in every member of the ensemble has become one of his true strengths.

Alexander Diaz distinguished himself with abandoned risk taking and a focused attack, which made it hard not to watch him. The duet between Christine Caimares and Riccardo Bataglia had a strong yet sensual combativeness attack that (thankfully) avoided violence.

The 40th Anniversary Season continues tonight with a new line up diverse choreographers. The roster includes Jamal Story, Jean Emile, HSA Dance Ensemble, Charles Moore Dance Theater, Ronald K. Alexander, Abdiel Jacobsen and Bones The Machine. The evening will open with a special tribute to Loretta Abbott presented by Tony and Emmy Award winner George Faison.

For more information and tickets visit www.thelmahill.com tickets can also be purchased at the box office 30 minutes prior to the performance.

4/17/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Janet Eilber Discusses Appalachian Spring

By Walter Rutledge

Janet Eilber discusses Appalachian Spring -Graham 90th Season (1) 2016

During a recent interview with Martha Graham Dance Company Artistic Director Janet Eilber we discussed the collaboration between Martha Graham   and Isamu Noguchi on Appalachian Spring. AppalachianSpring1

Graham and Noguchi worked together over 20 sets for Graham over the course of three decades, including those for her series based on Greek myths; Cave of the Heart (1946), Errand into the Maze (1947), Night Journey (1947), Clytemnestra (1958), Alcestis (1960), Phaedra (1962), Circe (1963), and Cartege of Eagles (1966) Noguchi also designed the set for her biblical and religious themes, including Herodiade (1944), Judith (1950), Seraphic Dialogue (1955), and Embattled Garden (1958). Probably the most recognizable collaboration is for her movement manifesto on Americana Appalachian Spring (1944). 

Janet Eilber discusses Appalachian Spring

(Repost) April 1, 2014- Martha Graham: Appalachian Spring and Rite of Spring:

At first glance the Isamu Noguchi set, with its sparse flat look established the boundaries of the performance space. The “house” structure with the downstage “porch” set on a diagonal stops short of center stage. The flat fence placed downstage left, and the preacher’s pedestal set upstage on an angle from the fence completed the set design.

Graham Perspective

These configurations of objects create the converging lines; the lines that produce the classic perspective used by artists to direct the eye in paintings. Noguchi’s house mimics Brunelleschi’s drawing of perspective almost exactly. This is not an accident, but a conscience decision by Noguchi and Graham to subtly frame the choreography.

Most of the primary action takes place within the converging lines. Very little group choreography is designed behind the fence and nothing is set stage right of the house. Without obvious overkill Graham was able to effectively direct the viewer’s eye the primary movement conversion.

The close proximity of the downstage porch and fence to the audience builds closeness/empathy for the characters (especially the husband and wife). When these characters look out past the audience we can see the splendor of the open prairie on their faces. And we see it in the glorious “Technicolor” of our individual imaginations.

The universality of the experience extends beyond the American Prairie. This is the story of new beginnings, the optimism of youth, and the promise/hope for the future. Graham’s technical prowess creates a clear and unfettered moving picture, combine this with her ability to convey the humanistic elements of her characters and it becomes apparent why the public has endeared Appalachian Spring for over 70 years.