Author Archive
Donald Byrd on Disruption and Using Dance as a Social Civic Instrument in (Im)Pulse

Donald Byrd on Disruption and Using Dance as a Social Civic Instrument in (Im)Pulse

Donald Byrd of Spectrum Dance Theater gives insight on theater of disruption and his new work (Im)Pulse, which is inspired by two artists’ works: David Wojnarowicz, a painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist and playwright Brian Quirk. (Im)Pulse is a two-part dance theater work made in response to the Orlando Pulse Nightclub tragedy and the ongoing aggression towards LGBTQ people....
{ Dd } Response: MIXTAPE at the Cowles

{ Dd } Response: MIXTAPE at the Cowles

On May 19, 2017, a collective of Twin Cities dance artists who range in upbringing, generation, and relationship to dance genres took to the Cowles Center stage for the opening night performance of MIXTAPE. Their goal? To ask and answer the question, “What is Hip Hop?” The cast was lead by a team of seven...
{ Dd } Response: "Titicut Follies" is Literal, Limited

{ Dd } Response: “Titicut Follies” is Literal, Limited

Earlier this spring, I spoke with three of the four-man team responsible for Titicut Follies: The Ballet. These artist shared thoughts on the Frederick Wiseman film that inspired their project – a film that was banned until the late 80s – and the facility that inspired that film – the Bridgewater Institute for the Criminally Insane. The infamous...
A Conversation with the Creators of "Titicut Follies: the Ballet"

A Conversation with the Creators of “Titicut Follies: the Ballet”

Frederick Wiseman’s film Titicut Follies (1967)–shot in the Bridgewater Institute for the Criminally Insane– inspired a new, full-length dance work choreographed by James Sewell to an original score composed by Lenny Pickett. The project was made possible after Wiseman received a Fellowship from The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, an organization that aims to...
{ Dd } Response: "Oyate Okodakiciyapi" at The Ordway

{ Dd } Response: “Oyate Okodakiciyapi” at The Ordway

In May 2016, I had the pleasure of attending a free master class with Indigenous choreographer Rulan Tangen. The class kicked off a multi-year Ordway Center for Performing Arts community engagement series, guided by an advisory council and curatorial team led by Native and Indigenous community leaders with the goal of promoting and practicing cultural artistic...
Shifting Between Worlds: An Interview with Cherice Barton

Shifting Between Worlds: An Interview with Cherice Barton

Dance – in particular, ballet –  is what Cherice Barton calls “church.”  One of 3 sisters- all of whom are professional dance artists- Barton attended tap, jazz, and ballet classes from a very young age. But early in life, she dreamed of being an actress, taking acting lessons as a child and even participating in some plays. “Aside...
{ Dd } Response: Dancers Shine in "The Hip Hop Nutcracker"

{ Dd } Response: Dancers Shine in “The Hip Hop Nutcracker”

I love a good remix. So, I jumped at the chance to see The Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. As I walked through the lobby doors that evening, hip-hop songs from the 1980s through modern day reverberated throughout the space. Curious to see where the...
Settling In and Opening Up: Excerpts of an Interview with Deborah Jowitt

Settling In and Opening Up: Excerpts of an Interview with Deborah Jowitt

Alejandra Iannone catches up with the legendary critic, dancer, choreographer, author, and teacher upon the occasion of her receiving the 2016 “Educational Visionary” Lifetime Achievement Award from Mark DeGarmo Dance. The following are excerpts of a longer conversation about her career, writing process, and advice for younger artists and writers.
Combustible Company's "Bluebeard's Dollhouse" is Brave, Though Busy

Combustible Company’s “Bluebeard’s Dollhouse” is Brave, Though Busy

The power of secrets. Violence. Marriage. What scarier ways could there be to usher in Halloween?   I started my October off with the world premiere of “Bluebeard’s Dollhouse,” a new, promenade-style production that merges theater, dance, puppetry and live music, and takes place throughout St. Paul’s historic James J. Hill House. In this work, Combustible...
{ Dd } Response: Pilobolus' Minnesota Marathon

{ Dd } Response: Pilobolus’ Minnesota Marathon

Pilobolus makes me wonder: Is that dancer being lifted by the neck, or is it just a clever illusion? Have I ever seen someone’s spine move like that? How strong am I? The company, dating from 1971, mixes theatricality with Herculean strength and a surgeon’s precision to create spectacular moving images that soothe and startle. Their May 20th...
{ Dd } Response: TAIKO Project is Powerful, Precise

{ Dd } Response: TAIKO Project is Powerful, Precise

The Ordway Center for Performing Arts shook with the sounds of Los Angeles’ TAIKO Project— a contemporary look at the sights and sounds of traditional Taiko drumming— on Saturday, April 23rd. TAIKO Project ‘s choreographed, rhythmic performance sent through the seats, walls, and floors vibrations so strong that I wondered how things were going for...
{ Dd } Response:  Crude and Classic Mix in "Bullets"

{ Dd } Response: Crude and Classic Mix in “Bullets”

As I left the Ordway Center for Performing Arts on April 14th, yellow streamers caught onto my boots and dragged along the floor behind me, like toilet paper stuck to a shoe. It was a fitting end to my experience at the Minnesota premiere of Bullets Over Broadway, an audacious, raunchy musical set in the 1920s and...
Mark Morris at Northrop: A Trip to the Museum

Mark Morris at Northrop: A Trip to the Museum

Mark Morris’s Dido and Aeneas was created in 1989, in Belgium. I saw it for the first time on March 30, 2016, in Minneapolis. In this work, Morris’ once-irreverent movement style intersects with ancient Greek mythology and English composer Henry Purcell’s 17th century opera to tell the tragic story of two doomed lovers. Onstage, the mood...
{ Dd } Response: SEOP Balances Extremes in "A Man's Requiem"

{ Dd } Response: SEOP Balances Extremes in “A Man’s Requiem”

I made my way to see SEOP Dance Company at the Ordway Theater on March 5th, with no pre-conceived notions, no expectations, no prior knowledge of any kind; only the kind of anticipation that accompanies the rare chance of experiencing something totally unknown. South Korea’s SEOP Dance Company, founded in 1992 and one of the...
{ Dd } Response: AAADT Brings Varied Perspectives to Minneapolis

{ Dd } Response: AAADT Brings Varied Perspectives to Minneapolis

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returned to the stage at Northrop Auditorium on March 1st with a mixed bill featuring pieces commissioned from contemporary choreographers in the last year, alongside others created by Alvin Ailey decades ago. The mix made for an evening that featured the jaw-dropping athleticism and deeply rooted spirituality AAADT is known...