Camille A. Brown & Dancers @ the Kennedy Center

camille a brown

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I had the wonderful opportunity of spending the weekend at the Kennedy Center. This weekend marked a great feat in discourse and dance history as Camille A. Brown & Dancers made their debut at the Kennedy Center. I saw the second night of the performance where this four time Princess Grace Award Winner presented Ink. The following night included in the 40th Kennedy Center Honors that airs December 26 on CBS. (Honorees include: Carmen De Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, LL COOL J, Norman Lear and Lionel Richie.) This weekend at the Kennedy Center also celebrated Fred Astaire, another Kennedy Center Honoree.

Anyways, back to Camille A. Brown… This performance attracted everyone: young and old, different ethnicities and different socioeconomic statuses. I was lucky enough to have a box seat at this performance where I was sat next to presitigious memebers of today’s arts and culture. Other attendees included the Editor of Essence, Vanessa K. De Luca and Virgina Johnson, Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem (who just finished the European Tour).

The night presented Ms. Brown’s Original work Ink that infused cultural movement, post modern gesturalism, a blend of live and recorded movement completely stripped. The stage was completely stripped, and the only set was a broken painting hung on either side and the live music set up in between the two. What was extraordinary about this performance was it was a relevant mark at Kennedy Center and Dance History because it placed Post Modern movement at the center of the dance world. Creating a large conversation about the culture and evolution of the opposite side of technical classical dance.

As the performance was interesting, the thing that I admired most about the piece was Ms. Brown’s ability to create a conversation between two dancers based on movement. It is something that classical ballet, and even contemporary ballet lacks. It wasn’t just telling a story, but it was her ability to almost portray a dailogue of movement between two people on stage with music. While we all know post-modern dance isn’t really my thing, nor does the trends of post-modern dance play a huge influencial factor in Classical Ballet- It was interesting to see different bodytypes,  lack of technique, and almost a since of the abondonment from anything remotely classical on stage at the Kennedy Center; especially on the evening prior to the Kennedy Center Awards.

I would have included more of the names and quotes from the program but I lost my program book following the performance. But bravo to all of the dancers.

Advertisements

New Ballet Music!

With the season just beginning, for your ballet teachers out there… if you are tired of your old CDs or you don’t have a pianist… here are some new fun options for ballet class!

music for ballet class soren

If you aren’t familiar with Soren Bebe, he has a series of ballet CDs that range on the more jazzy side. Each CD also has each track with various tempos so, it can accommodate all levels. (Click here or the picture above to buy via itunes)

For those of you who are teaching ballet at a competition studio there are tons of ways to make ballet class interesting. With all of these ballet pop CDs… you can find top 40 and rock songs to fill your ballet classes. While I’m not the biggest fan… It does keep the kids entertained and they are able to count the music better. Charles Mathews put out his first POP HITS for ballet class while Nate Fifield has put out his third volume that followed his Hollywood Theme Songs. (Don’t forget, to buy, you just have to click the image)

music for ballet class pop charles matthews nate fifield

david plumpton review

If you are a LALA Land fan, David Plumpton made a supplemental CD of La La Land tracks. Not a full class, but if you are like me and make new playlists for every class, there are some pretty good tracks to put in! ($11.99 USD)

He also has put out another volume of Ballet goes Rock and Roll. And if you missed his summer album it is all TV show theme songs. ($15.99)

david plumpton music for ballet class.jpg


Don’t forget!! If you are in LA or Orange County this upcoming week!!

The Masters…

Ballet San Jose (click the image)
Ballet San Jose (click the image)

So yesterday was Balanchine’s Birthday, and as the internet was flooded with beautiful images of everyone dancing their favorite work it made me realize how connected ballet is. In addition, the NYT featured the give girls from Serenade on the front cover, above the fold. BIG DEAL. Now, from reading these most intimate stories, and tweets, haha, I was inspired by the idea of mastering ballet. As we celebrate the women of ballet, and the men of ballet, we forget that none of this would be possible without great choreographers. Balanchine reshaped the way ballet was perceived, and since then there hasn’t been anyone else really. Though, celebrating the fusion of jazz and ballet: Robbins. And celebrating the combination of modern and ballet: Tharp. Between the three, they have shaped the world of contemporary dance in general, and how audiences perceive music.

While Robbins reinvented the story ballet, and Tharp created a space that equalized Graham, Horton, and ballet, the world fell in love with the three. Now speaking of love, and the idea of these masterpieces, it is hard to find a program that would feature all three in one night. BUUUUT for those of us in California don’t fret!!!

Ballet San Jose is about to do all three…. Conveniently next month after Valentine’s Day… BOOM. So if you are in the LA area, drive up or fly up, a round trip ticket is only 160. In one night you will be able to see three of the greatest ballets ever…. First there is the incredibly technical difficult piece from Balanchine: THEME AND VARIATIONS. Theme is just flat out hard… For the principal girl… between the numerous entrances, those crazy gargouillades, and just a really difficult pas. The male variation is exhausting as well… So basically, it is going to make or break a company’s reputation for technique.

Then they are doing Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, which is basically inspired by a gay painter, Paul Cadmus, who conveniently also was sleeping with/ sponsored by Lincoln Kirstein. But because of that twisted connection we are given one of the greatest works. Set in a bar, with sailors on leave, and two feisty women, and beautiful music by Bernstein.

They will also be doing in the Upper Room by Tharp. The Upper Room is this crazy beautiful music, enhanced with ridiculously strong choreography showcasing a company’s diversity. It isn’t everyday you get to see a Tharp piece, especially one for a ballet company. So this is a treat.

So basically, if you are a young dancer, or a mom, or just an admirer of ballet… IT IS TIME TO TREK TO SAN JOSE… do you know the way to San Jose?

SAN JOSE 1

after i see the show, I will review the company… and I will watch the school to give you all a full update.