Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: July 29, 2015
Category: profile

Jessica Lang Dance in

by Rachel Straus

When Loïe Fuller’s Chinese dancers enwound / A shining web, a floating ribbon of cloth, / It seemed that a dragon of air / Had fallen among dancers, had whirled them round / Or hurried them off on its own furious path— William Butler Yeats

Like the American-born dance pioneer Loïe Fuller (1862-1928), Jessica []

Published: March 1, 2015
Category: history

Cunningham and Cage: Collaborative Spirits

By Rachel Straus

Editor’s Note: Even though Merce Cunningham’s Biped, which is part of this year’s Spring Dances Repertory,was not created with his longtime collaborator John Cage, the work, made seven years after the composer’s death, is very much “in the spirit of their collaboration,” according to dance faculty member Rachel Straus. “It employs the latest []

Published: March 1, 2014
Category: profile

Beyond the Machine Revisits 'In C' 50 Years Later

By Rachel Straus

The myth of the artist producing masterworks in isolation is one of many fantasies, and delusions, that haunt the creative process. Actually, works of art occur through the interaction of ideas and impulses. Think Stravinsky and Balanchine and their development of a neoclassical set of aesthetic values. Consider Wagner and Nietzsche and their []

Published: July 26, 2012
Category: profile

Jessica Lang Dance at Jacob's Pillow

by Rachel Straus “A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.” ~Emily Dickinson In 2002 Jessica Lang opened a mysterious letter that was discovered in the office of Benjamin Harkarvy, the recently deceased artistic director of The Juilliard School’s dance division. The letter was five years []

Published: September 2, 2010
Category: composition

Bessie Schönberg

By Rachel Straus Throughout her expansive 65-year career, Bessie Schönberg (1906–1997) became one of America’s most revered composition teachers. She possessed the unique ability to help her students find their own creative voices, and she nurtured the groundbreaking styles of artists as diverse in their approaches as Annie-B Parson, Jerome Robbins, Carolyn Brown, Lucinda Childs, []

Published: September 1, 2010
Category: composition

History Quiz: Bessie Schönberg

By Rachel Straus 1. What unique ability did Bessie Schönberg possess that led her to become one of the most revered composition teacher? 2. Name some of Schönberg’s former students who went on to become groundbreaking artists. 3. Schönberg directed the nation’s first college dance department at _____ _____ _____, for nearly four decades, establishing []

Published: August 1, 2008
Category: technique

Improving your plie

By Rachel Straus

Like a recipe for quality of life, Risa Steinberg’s description of a good plie combines a philosophical approach, a touch of physics, and common sense: “It never ends. Once you know it’s going to help you do something better, you’ll love it.” She believes that the most constructive plies are passionate and voluptuous. []

Published: February 20, 2008
Category: technique

Teacher's Wisdom: Eric Franklin

By Rachel Straus “If you want to change your body, first you have to change your mind.” Eric Franklin helps dancers to improve their technique by applying scientific principles, anatomical understanding, and the power of the imagination. The Swiss-born movement educator teaches workshops around the world, both at Pilates studios and at major dance institutions []