Ballet Austin in “Dvořák Serenade.” Photograph by Anne Marie Bloodgood

Corps Strength

Ballet Austin opened its season with a triple bill titled to announce the company’s upcoming monthlong, 150-city tour of China—its first performances in that country. Two works that the company will take on the tour, artistic director Stephen Mills’s “Wolftanzt” and Liminal Glam, sandwiched Lar Lubovitch’s “Dvořák Serenade.” Taken as a whole, the program was a study of ensemble: How does an ensemble hang together? In what ways is it threatened? Because Ballet Austin is an unranked company, such questions are especially intriguing.
Alexander Whitley and Natalie Allen in “Pattern Recognition” by Alexander Whitley. Photograph by Tristram Kenton

Shadow Play

This performance of Alexander Whitley’s “Pattern Recognition,” which premiered at London’s Platform Theatre in April, was the kick-off to a five-leg autumn tour around the UK. The London-based choreographer has teamed up with digital designer Memo Akten to create a 50-minute contemporary work that uses motion-responsive technology to explore themes of consciousness, memory and fragmentation in the digital age.
L-E-V's “OCD Love.” Photograph by Regina Brocke

Ritual & Rhythm

A fast ticking rhythm counteracts the slow, hyperextended movements of a solo dancer. Her back to the audience she moves with creeping extensions, her articulate body creating enticing distortions. Eventually a man enters and parades in circles around her, the statuesque stillness of his slow walks the antidote to her rippling, insect-like contortions.



Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire

Glitz and Glam: A Weekend at Wilderness

Glitter—this was one of the first details I noticed when I arrived at Wilderness Festival last Friday. The shimmery stuff was everywhere, winking at me from eyelashes, cheeks, t-shirts, bunting. Poking out of pockets and tumbling out of tents, glinting and gleaming in the hot August sun.
Natalie Osipova and Matthew Golding in the Royal Ballet's “Onegin.” Image Alice Pennefather

The Cult of Fragility

One of the greatest challenges—and for me, joys—of being a dance critic is navigating the not infrequent clash between contemporary values and those embraced in classical ballet, a centuries-old institution that venerates ‘tradition’ in all its old-world, patriarchal glory. What messages of value can women divine from stories that glorify female fragility and are primarily written and directed by men?