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Marcelo Martinez (left) and Richard Krusch will star in Carolina Ballet's production of "Firebird," on Sept. 11-28 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in Raleigh (photo by Chris Walt Photography)

Carolina Ballet’s Production of “The Firebird” Was Very Pleasing to Watch and Very Beautifully Danced

Carolina Ballet opened its 2014-15 season with a mixed repertory evening anchored by Firebird, set to Igor Stravinsky’s iconic score of the same name. The performance, presented at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in downtown Raleigh, also featured two new ballets: a Brahms piece choreographed by Carolina Ballet’s new choreographer-in-residence, Zalman Raffael, and another Stravinsky… Read More ›

Two choreographers complement and contrast at Carolina Ballet’s “Firebird”

Carolina Ballet is opening their 17th season with a fabulous mixed bill: a beautifully diverse program that shows the company’s range. The show opens with a ballet by newly appointed choreographer in residence, Zalman Raffael, followed by a new piece by Artistic Director Dr. Robert Weiss, and finishes flamboyantly with the headliner, Firebird, also choreographed… Read More ›

ADF will present "Footprints" on July 24-26 in Duke University's R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater

ADF’s “Footprints” Features World Premieres by Carl Flink, Leonie McDonagh, and Netta Yerushalmy

Footprints, the final performance of the 2014 American Dance Festival season, featured the work of three emerging choreographers performed by students from the ADF Six-Week School, which has been educating young dancers since its beginning summer in 1934. Performed on July 24-26 in the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke University’s… Read More ›

The Four Soloists of ADF’s “On Their Bodies” Use Their Bodies to Show Us Their Souls at DPAC

The American Dance Festival’s On Their Bodies features four new solos (three of them world premieres) by four of the top modern dance choreographers working today. Ronald K. Brown, Stephen Petronio, Doug Varone, and Shen Wei — all of whom have their own companies — stepped back into the role of dancer for this special… Read More ›

“Empty moves” at ADF Is Abstract Choreography — Pure Movement, Without Context or Narrative

The American Dance Festival (ADF), thanks to the generosity of Samuel H. Scripps, has presented the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement since 1981. The award — which has been presented to, among others, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp — comes with a prize of $50,000. This year’s Scripps… Read More ›

ADF presented the North Carolina premiere of John Jasperse Projects' "Within between," on July 7th and 8th

In “Within between,” John Jasperse Projects Creates a Playful Landscape of Movement and Space at ADF

John Jasperse Projects opened the fourth week of the American Dance Festival (ADF) in Durham with three performances (July 7-9) of an ADF-commissioned work, Within between, in the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater on Duke University’s West Campus. The evening-length piece is one of 12 new works commissioned by the American Dance Festival this season. The… Read More ›

ADF presented Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet on July 5th and 6th at the Durham Performing Arts Center (photo by Julieta Cervantes)

New York City’s Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Wowed ADF Audiences on July 5th and 6th at DPAC

I’ve heard good things about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in recent years, and I was looking forward to seeing them perform at the American Dance Festival. However, I wasn’t prepared for the exquisite dancing that I witnessed on July 6th at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The performance opened with Violet Kid (2011) by Hofesh… Read More ›

Dances with Buckets

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet presented world premiere Ida ? by Emanuel Gat over the weekend. This “playful contemplation on the nature of human relations” sent me running to Urban Dictionary for a new definition of “bucket.” There were two red buckets featured prominently and their only function seemed to be to upstage the dancers. The stage… Read More ›

Obviously Born to Dance, Derek and Julianne Hough Dazzled at DPAC Yesterday with “Move Live on Tour”

Fans of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” (DWTS) packed the Durham Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 29th, to see two of the show’s professional ballroom dancers, siblings Derek Hough and Julianne Hough, do their thing in Move Live on Tour. Joined by 10 backup dancers, the pair, who have been ballroom… Read More ›

The American Dance Festival will present Pilobolus June 27th and 28th at the Durham Performing Arts Center (photo by Grant Halverson)

Pilobolus Does What It Does Best: Make Us Laugh, Think, and Look at the Human Body Differently

American Dance Festival (ADF) audience favorite Pilobolus opened a three-performance run at the Durham Performing Arts Centeron June 26th. The opening-night performance, which featured the debut of two ADF-commissioned works, earned a standing ovation from the crowd, which was liberally populated with dancers from the ADF Six-Week School. (Having the dancers in the audience always… Read More ›

“The Best Tap Show Ever” Highlighted the 15th Annual North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival

While the modern dance community was settling in for the American Dance Festival over in Durham, a small but dedicated group of tap dancers were assembling in Chapel Hill. The occasion was the North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival; three days of classes with an all-star lineup of tap professionals, all of whom performed in The… Read More ›

Vertigo Dance Company’s arresting historical collage at ADF

Vertigo Dance Company of Israel opened the 81st season of the American Dance Festival with U.S. premiere “Vertigo 20.” Choreographer and Artistic Director Noa Wertheim connected dances from the company’s past 20 years to create a single surreal moving memory book. I’d never seen any of the earlier works that fed into “Vertigo 20” but… Read More ›

Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company Opens the American Dance Festival on a High Note with “Vertigo 20”

The American Dance Festival (ADF) opened its 81st season at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 12th, at the Durham Performing Arts Center with the first of two performances by Vertigo Dance Company. Based in Israel’s Elah Valley, the company also appeared at ADF in 2012. Israeli dancers Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al founded Vertigo Dance… Read More ›

The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle is accompanying the Carolina Ballet's production of Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" on May 15-18 (photo by Christ Walt Photography)

Every Aspect of Carolina Ballet’s Production of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” Is a Delight

Carolina Ballet is closing its 2013-14 season with its production of Sleeping Beauty, presented in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium with live accompaniment by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. Every aspect of the production was a delight, from the performances to the luscious costumes to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score. Carolina Ballet artistic director Robert Weiss, although adding… Read More ›

Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe’s No-Holds-Barred Dancing Reaches Out and Grabs UNC-Chapel Hill Audience

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater had the audience at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall on its feet by the end of the performance on April 22nd. Presented by the Carolina Performing Arts series, the company, currently under the artistic direction of Robert Battle and here for its annual appearance in… Read More ›

"Songs of the Wanderers," performed by the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, wowed Carolina Performing Arts' patrons on April 2nd in Memorial Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s “Songs of the Wanderers” at UNC-Chapel Hill Was a Visual Feast

Dance is, of course, a visual art; but some dance performances lift the audience experience above and beyond that of merely watching dancers move through space. Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s Songs of the Wanderers is just such a performance. Presented on April 2nd by Carolina Performing Arts in the University of North Carolina… Read More ›

There Is Only One Word for “STREB – FORCES!” at Carolina Performing Arts, and That is Wow!

As my companion and I were leaving the Thursday-night Carolina Performing Arts performance of STREB – FORCES! at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall, I joked that I could review the show using only one word: Wow! Seconds into the high-energy, “extreme action” performance (that’s Streb Lab for Action Mechanics’ (SLAM)… Read More ›

“LEO (The Anti-Gravity Show)” at NCSU Center Stage Is a Mind-Bending Physical-Theater Production

LEO (The Anti-Gravity Show), now play in the Titmus Theatre in Frank Thompson Hall as part of the N.C. State University Center Stage series, is a mind-bending “physical-theater” production. Performed by acrobat/dancer Julian Schulz, the hour-long performance literally turns your sense of physical reality on its ear. The curtain opened to reveal a large video… Read More ›

Dancers for Carolina Ballet's current production of "Romeo & Juliet," choreographed by Robert Weiss, include Adam Schiffer (left) and Marcelo Martinez (photo by Black Horse)

The Carolina Ballet’s Marcelo Martinez Is an Ardent Romeo and Lara O’Brien Is a Winsome Juliet

I had misgivings upon learning that Carolina Ballet’s production of Romeo & Juliet would be presented in the A. J. Fletcher Opera Theater instead of Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. After all, this is a full-length ballet, which typically calls for a large cast, multiple scene changes, and dancing on a grand scale. The choice of venue… Read More ›

Carolina Ballet’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Lara O’Brien is as light as a feather in her moving performance of Juliet in Carolina Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet, which opened tonight in Raleigh and runs through March 30.

Dancers for the "Summer" segment of the Carolina Ballet's world premiere of Robert Weiss' "Vivaldi's Four Seasons" include Ashley Hathaway, Cecilia Iliesiu, and Lindsay (photo by Armes Photography)

The World Premiere of Robert Weiss’ “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” Is a Welcome Treat in the Snowy Triangle

After a day’s delay due to snow, Carolina Ballet opened its newest repertory program, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, in Raleigh’s A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater on Feb. 14th (I attended the matinee on the 16th) and brought a welcome treat for previously snowbound patrons. Corps de ballet member Zalman Raffael’s Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 was first… Read More ›

Duke Performances presented Urban Bush Women on Feb. 7th and 8th (photo by Michael Zirkle)

Joyful and Inspiring, Urban Dance Women Celebrate Dance and Story’s Ability to Inform and Transform

In 1984, dancer-choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar formed Urban Bush Women, a dance company that “weaves contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora.” While this statement says a mouthful, it doesn’t even come close to describing the power and beauty of this company of dancing women…. Read More ›

Marin Boieru (center) and company in "The Nutcracker" (photo by Chris Walt Photography)

Carolina Ballet’s “Nutcracker” Has Much to Recommend It, and It Leaves Us Smiling

It’s been eight years since my one viewing of Carolina Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, so there is much that I’d forgotten about Robert Weiss’ version of the holiday classic, which resembles the George Balanchine/New York City Ballet version more than the classic Ivanov/Petipa version with which I and many ballet goers are familiar. Although… Read More ›

Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker: A little magic, a little tradition, a lot of awe

The Nutcracker is a magical ballet about a little girl, Clara, whose family hosts a Christmas party. Throughout the ballet, toys, snowflakes, sweets and flowers come to life. Clara receives princess treatment as they guide her out of her 1800’s home somewhere in Europe and through enchanted lands. The ballet begins with the Party, during… Read More ›

The Carolina Ballet will present Gabor Kapin in "Messiah" Nov. 27-Dec. 1 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium (photo by Russ Howe)

The Carolina Ballet’s Version of Handel’s “Messiah” Was Truly the Performance of the Season

George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is a performance with a wow factor that can singularly herald the Christmas season. Some of its elements are among the most recognizable in sacred music. The “Hallelujah” chorus, recognizable to everyone, is the most powerful in Western music. Combine that incredible history and amazing music with an inventive ballet that… Read More ›

Carolina Ballet Exalted

To set out to choreograph and dance the greatest story ever told would seem like a daunting task, particularly when that story is set to the grand music of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. The success of Carolina Ballet’s Messiah (choreographed by director Robert Weiss) is in the subtle telling of the story. The story of… Read More ›

The Carolina Ballet presented "Balanchine's Rubies" on Oct. 19, 20, 26, and 27 in A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in downtown Raleigh (photo by Tim Lytvinenko)

Carolina Ballet’s Presentation of “Balanchine’s Rubies” Included Some Rarely Seen Ballets

Carolina Ballet’s production of Balanchine’s Rubies, a program of works by George Balanchine presented Oct. 10-27 at A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, offered a diverse sampling of the master choreographer’s style, including some rarely seen ballets. All of the ballets were, for the most part, quite successful. Raymonda Variations found the corps de ballet, clad in… Read More ›

The Kirby Cultural Arts Complex in Roxboro presented the Taylor 2 Dance Company on Oct. 17th

The Taylor 2 Dance Company Brought Dance and Education to the Kirby Theater in Roxboro Oct. 17th

On Thursday evening, Oct. 17th, the Kirby Theater in the small town of Roxboro, North Carolina, in Person County, hosted six members of the Paul Taylor dance troupe for a special performance and educational experience that reached young girls and boys dreaming of a dance career. The Taylor 2 Dance Company, a troupe designed in… Read More ›

The Beautiful Sedation of the The Paul Taylor Dance Company

It was the first time I’d seen Paul Taylor Dance Company live. It’s simply never worked with my schedule to be there. (Last year when they were performing at ADF I was watching the world’s greatest tap dancers in Chicago.) I’ve heard the company recommended as a great introduction to modern dance, especially for those… Read More ›

Short and Street – Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion at the American Dance Festival

I’ve been excited to see Pavement, the new work by Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, since I first heard about it almost a year ago (I even tweeted about it!). His work, The Radio Show, at the American Dance Festival in 2012 seamlessly combined beautiful movement with a meaningful, moving and cleverly told story of a family dealing with… Read More ›