Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

Published: April 13, 2004
Category: review

Performance combines dance and multimedia

By Rachel Straus

Philippe Decoufle is not your typical choreographer.

The multimedia artist skyrocketed to international recognition during the opening ceremonies of the 1992 winter Olympics with his infantry of synchronized bungee-jumpers, who moved in Rockette-style precision while dressed as human snow globes.

Friday Decoufle’s “Tricodex,” a combination of dance, aerobatics and visual effects, will []

Published: November 11, 2003
Category: review

A triumphant return for Martha Graham company

By Rachel Straus

One sign of a masterpiece is that it never looks dated. Friday’s performance of “Embattled Garden” by the Martha Graham Dance Company at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College met that standard.

“Garden” is set in an architectural phantasm by designer Isamu Noguchi. Instead of a biblical garden, this eden resembles []

Published: June 26, 2003
Category: review

Dancers give form to emotion at Purchase: Doug Varone and Dancers

By Rachel Straus

Doug Varone and Dancers scintillate. By creating passionately intense works that probe human experience, Varone’s dances captivate the heart and the eye.

Saturday, the nine-member, 17-year-old company performed at the choreographer’s alma mater, Purchase College. Varone’s program – “Aperture” (1994), “As Natural as Breathing” (2000), “In Thine Eyes” (1996) and “Of the []

Published: April 15, 2003
Category: review

Tharp - master of bodies in motion - rides a cresting wave

Choreographer Twyla Tharp’s torrentially prolific energy is much in evidence lately.

As the director and choreographer of “Movin’ Out,” a dance drama set to Billy Joel’s most-loved songs, she has a Broadway hit.

As a maker of more than 125 dances, her choreographic works can be found on video store shelves and her touring company []

Published: April 11, 2003
Category: review

Now, that's Chicago: Hubbard Street Dance

By Rachel Straus

Western Europe and the Midwest now have more in common, thanks to Jim Vincent, the new artistic director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, which performed Saturday at Purchase College’s Performing Arts Center.

Since taking the helm of the 25-year-old company in 2000, American-born Vincent – who speaks four languages, got his dancing []

Published: April 8, 2003
Category: review

'Aeros' akin to 21st-century vaudeville

By Rachel Straus

Part athletic spectacle, part freak show, part physical wonder, the production “Aeros” is simultaneously an amusement for the eye and a muddle to the brain.

Performed Saturday night at Purchase College’s Performing Arts Center, “Aeros” merged competition-style gymnastics, concept choreography and Broadway production values into 90 minutes of back-flipping, and sometimes absurd, []

Published: February 25, 2003
Category: review

Still stepping in the right direction Trinity Irish company is no 'Riverdance' - and that's a good thing

By Rachel Straus

“Remember you’re not at the opera or the ballet. You’re at an Irish event. So scream and shout, and throw lots of money at the band!” advised musician Tony Davoren of Trinity Irish Dance Company. Although there was no bill tossing, by the end of the Friday’s 2-hour concert, the 1,372-member audience []

Published: February 18, 2003
Category: review

Blurring the boundaries of dance: Pilobolus

By Rachel Straus

Pilobolus Dance Theater, named after a sun-loving fungus, went through a dark period last year. The three 2002 dances presented at Purchase’s Performing Arts Center Saturday night revealed little of the sculptural beauty, dynamic approach to music and ironic sensibility that originally catapulted the founders from a 1971 Dartmouth College dance class []

Published: January 28, 2003
Category: review

Mummenschanz captures the child in the everyday

By Rachel Straus

Before there were Transformer toys, there was Mummenschanz. Not quite mime, not quite dance, the theatrical company speaks to the childish and inventive part of our imaginations – the part that sees the moon as an ever-changing face and a wind-swept newspaper as a graceful dancer.

Mummenschanz, roughly meaning masquerade, has been []