Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

Published: February 1, 2012
Category: history

Michio Ito: The forgotten modern dance pioneer

By Rachel Straus

Michio Ito

In 1927, Japanese artist Michio Ito presented his solo work Tango to a New York City audience. Though he dressed the part of a tango dancer, it was not a strict representation of the form. An abstract piece, it was crafted with powerful, sweeping gestures with rhythmic footing. []

Published: November 14, 2011
Category: review

Nina Ananiashvili, One-woman Show

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK — Like her legendary predecessor Anna Pavlova, Nina Ananiashvili is that rare ballet dancer whose powers don’t weaken with age. Pavlova toured the world performing “Dying Swan” into her forties; Ananiashvili, now 46, graced the Avery Fisher Hall stage on Nov. 5 as the Swan, one of four works danced []

Published: September 23, 2011
Category: review

Israel Galván: Upending the Flamenco Tradition, Artfully

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK – Flamenco dancer Israel Galván could be the modern-day soul-mate to the famed Vaslav Nijinsky. Like the Russian ballet dancer (d. 1950), he hails from a prestigious dance family and had the finest training. Also like Nijinsky, when he turned to choreography, he distorted his dance tradition’s codified vocabulary beyond []

Published: November 2, 2010
Category: history

Maurice Béjart

By Rachel Straus

The rock concert experience, with its mass appeal and raucous atmosphere, is not commonly associated with classical, opera house ballet. But in the 1960s, French choreographer Maurice Béjart (1927–2007) created grand theatrical spectacles that were performed in sports arenas and circus tents and spoke to a younger generation.

Over 45 years []

Published: November 1, 2010
Category: history

History Quiz: Maurice Béjart

By Rachel Straus

1. What aspects made Béjart’s work revolutionary?

2. Name one famous choreographer who he influenced.

3. With Mona Ingelsby’s International Ballet company, Béjart danced the role of _____ in _____ _____ 239 times.

4. True or False: Béjart’s reinterpretation of masterpieces like Stravinsky’s Rite of Springdisregarded the original story lines.

5. []

Published: September 2, 2010
Category: history

Introduction to Lucinda Childs'

By Rachel Straus

When Dance by Lucinda Childs, Philip Glass, and Sol LeWitt premiered in Amsterdam in 1979, it drew immediate controversy. Glass heard one disgruntled audience member say, “This is not dance!” Others just hissed and booed. Given conventional expectations about dance performances in high art theaters, these responses weren’t surprising. It wasn’t the []