CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 4, 2012 |
Ten days before Bob Anderson headed to the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki as part of the British fencing team, he responded to a call from a British film studio in need of three fencers to coach the lead actors for sword-fighting scenes in a new pirate movie. The movie was "The Master of Ballantrae," starring veteran Hollywood swashbuckler Errol Flynn. Anderson didn't win any medals at the Olympics, but he unexpectedly launched a new side career in the movies. Anderson, 89, who became an Olympic fencing coach while carving out a more-than-50-year career as a fencing trainer to the stars and a movie sword-fight choreographer and stunt double, died early New Year's Day at a hospital in England, the British Academy of Fencing announced.
December 25, 2011 |
Reporting from New York — It has been an extended and unprecedented countdown for the dancers and staff of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Never before has a modern-dance troupe planned for its own demise. But then Cunningham, one of the singular innovators in his field, who remained forward-looking and boldly creative until his 2009 death at age 90 — was always taking the lead, pioneering inventive, unexpected approaches. The intensive two-year world tour culminates this week with six Events at Manhattan's Park Avenue Armory.
December 11, 2011 |
Bill T. Jones won his second Tony Award for choreographing "Fela!," a musical about the late Nigerian Afrobeat singer, composer and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Jones, 59, also cowrote the book and directed the high-energy show about the government's crackdown on his commune. "Fela!" comes to the Ahmanson Theatre on Tuesday and runs through Jan. 22, 2012. Were you familiar with Fela's music before this project? Yes, I was. Fela was very important to a lot of us in the '70s, maybe not as important as Bob Marley.
November 27, 2011 |
We all know what happens when great composers, writers and artists die: Their work lives on. But what about groundbreaking choreographers — say, Martha Graham, José Limon, Merce Cunningham, Antony Tudor, Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine — those creators whose inspiration floats on a flashing moment, an instant image, a looming structure, perhaps never to be recaptured? A question of survival follows. Because, unlike music (written in scores), art (hanging on museum walls) and books (housed in libraries)
November 13, 2011 |
Reporting from New York Stephen Petronio and Trisha Brown see each other's New York-based companies perform whenever they can. Friends and like-minded choreographers for more than 25 years, they both make sensual dances, packed with ideas. But when they come to the Los Angeles area soon, they'll be too busy preparing for their performances to take in each other's concerts. Says Petronio in a recent conversation, "I'll never stop being swept up in Trisha's work. " The 11-member Stephen Petronio Company is bringing the choreographer's hit "Underland," performed to songs by Australian rocker Nick Cave, to Riverside and Santa Barbara this week.
November 6, 2011 |
— There's a lot of sugar and caffeine in the room at Studio 54, the unoccupied Broadway theater where a cast of 33 is working through a casually strenuous new dance number for "Bring It On: The Musical. " Young performers in workout clothes sip energy drinks between run-throughs; an oversized Pez dispenser modeled after Peanuts' Lucy sits on the stage manager's table. When co-composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda joins a small group of observers, he offers everyone a handful of Pop Rocks.
November 6, 2011 |
Wade Robson has directed music videos for the likes of 'N Sync and Britney Spears, hosted the 2003 MTV series "The Wade Robson Project" and has been a judge and choreographer on Fox's competition series "So You Think You Can Dance" since 2007. And now his choreography is for the birds — specifically adorable singing and dancing animated penguins. He's choreographed the opening number of "Happy Feet Two," the 3-D sequel to the 2006 Oscar-winning animated comedy, which opens Nov. 18. Robson used 15 dancers to perform the opening dance number that was shot by motion capture in Sydney, Australia, last year.
October 23, 2011 |
I'm the girl in the blue dress dancing on Frank Sinatra's hat. I'm also on a key chain and a magnet. I'm not in the production of Twyla Tharp's musical "Come Fly Away" that's reaching the Pantages Theatre this week, but I'm proud my image is being used for publicity. There we are, my trusty partner and I, locked in a cameo dance embrace. My knee is wrapped faithfully around his waist. We are staring at each other's noses. I've seen this pose replicated over and over during the credits for "Dancing With the Stars.
October 16, 2011 |
"It's about the loss of the voice of the people. It's about my father's memory, and my relationship with him. And listening to WAMO [a black radio station in Pittsburgh] growing up. " Contemporary choreographer Kyle Abraham is articulating the highly personal content he's woven into his award-winning, full-evening work, "The Radio Show. " His troupe of silken urban movers, Abraham.In.Motion, will perform the work at REDCAT this weekend in his California debut. The hip-hop love child of Martha Graham (he's part of a generation that has rediscovered floor work in choreography)
September 4, 2011 |
As a suburban kid growing up in the bedroom community of Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County, choreographer Jamal Sims gained most of his musical influence from television and movies. Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video made him want to dance; "Breakin" introduced him to spinning on his back. But it was "Footloose" that turned him on to a kind of dancing he hadn't seen before, specifically country line dancing. So when director Craig Brewer wanted to talk "Footloose" with Sims, best known as the choreographer of the "Step Up" movies, Sims admits to being intimidated — believing that the original 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon was not an easy redo.