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By Wendy Perron
Joffrey’s Rocky Road
Hosannas and hallelujahs for the new documentary on the Joffrey Ballet, that groundbreaking American experiment in ballet that relocated from NYC to Chicago in 1995. Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, directed by Bob Hercules, features lively, sometimes emotional interviews with former dancers including Christian Holder, Gary Chryst, Trinette Singleton, Adam Sklute, and Helgi Tomasson. The film follows the burst of glory of the fledgling group in the ’60s, as well as the devastating blows that almost pulled the company under later on. Sprinkled throughout are glimpses of iconic ballets like Robert Joffrey’s psychedelic Astarte, Jooss’ anti-war piece The Green Table, Sokolow’s rebellious Opus 65, and Tharp’s Beach Boys ballet, Deuce Coupe. Accompanying this showing at the Dance on Camera festival (Walter Reade Theater, Jan. 27 & 28) is an exhibit including Herbert Migdoll’s rich treasury of photos of the company. www.joffreymovie.com or www.dancefilms.org.
Astarte, by Robert Joffrey, with Trinette Singleton and Dermot Burke. Photo by Herbert Migdoll, Courtesy Joffrey.
Focus on Americans
Enough of all these European, Brazilian, Chinese, and Israeli choreographers! The Joyce, partnering with Gotham Arts Exchange, has decided to give American dance artists a break. Its new initiative, FOCUS Dance, presents eight choreographers, each sharing a program. Larry Keigwin splits an evening with Seattle’s Zoe Scofield; Kyle Abraham with Kate Weare; Monica Bill Barnes with San Francisco’s Joe Goode (see “Quick Q&A,” page 28); and tapper extraordinaire Jason Samuels Smith with Trey McIntyre. Jan. 3–8. www.joyce.org.
Joe Goode’s The Rambler. Photo by RJ Muna, Courtesy Goode.
And There’s More
FOCUS Dance at the Joyce overflows into the Skirball with Dance Gotham. Crowding 13 companies into two programs on Jan. 7 and 8, Dance Gotham, in its zeal to pool resources, is all over the U.S. map. Lar Lubovitch, BalletX from Philly, Ronald K. Brown, Houston Met, CorbinDances, Gallim Dance, Northwest Dance Project, and Pam Tanowitz are part of the festival. At only $10 a ticket, it’s bound to show you something you didn’t know. www.focusdance.us.
Jesse Sani and Chloe Home of BalletX. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Gotham.