Though the circus artists mostly occupied center-stage in “Without a Net,” the dance smartly complemented them, setting an edgy European-circus mood. I was primed to see something weirder at the midpoint in the 80-minute program, when my half of the audience switched places with folks who’d been at the “Side Show.” Weird, it was.
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It’s called the Point Loma pause: the 10 or so seconds when a plane roars over Point Loma, and you have to stop mid-sentence. Every time it happened during “Ikaros,” the piece that Third Rail Projects created for the WOW Festival, the three performers went into stillness and looked up. I looked up, too, seeing this everyday occurrence as if with fresh eyes; marveling at the miracle of flight.
The performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group at Summerfest last week was like a loaf of artisan rye bread—dense, complex, chewy. The evening at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center was so packed with dance, music, and ideas, I would have like multiple viewings: once to focus on Morris’s choreography and brilliant movers, once for the world-renowned Summerfest musicians, and a third time to lose myself in the thrilling voice of countertenor John Holiday.
Litvak Dance excels at storytelling, turning dances into intimate narratives. And Emily Miller is a gem, not only a powerful mover but a wonderfully mobile-faced actor whose pout could be a weapon. Those were my top takeaways from “Small Dances,” the program Litvak did at the Vine Theater last weekend.
The danger of amplifying tappers’ footfalls, especially with up to eight dancers onstage, is that if anyone goes a hair off-beat or doesn’t tap cleanly, it’s exposed. Dorrance and her seven dancers nailed it, whether in tight unison or doing a counterpoint like a downpour of sound—a downpour in which you can hear individual raindrops, they’re that precise.
“Cinderella” was an inspired choice for Jared Nelson’s first evening-length work as artistic director of California Ballet. The ballet, which premiered last weekend, continues the company’s tradition of going with classics that have family appeal and can fill the Civic Theatre. And, like Cinderella shaking off the ashes and emerging as a princess, Nelson’s lively choreography and sense of fun promise to reinvigorate the 50-year-old company’s sometimes-musty repertory.