Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: November 25, 2015
Category: review

Twyla Tharp's 50th: The Irony Is Passé

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK–Twyla Tharp’s 50th anniversary tour made its final stop at the former New York State Theater, with a set of new works (seen Nov. 17) as performed by 13 fleet-footed, unique, virtuoso dancers. The experience totaled two hours, but it felt like more. The seven males and six females—some who have worked []

Published: August 27, 2015
Category: history

In Remembrance: Maggie Black

By Rachel Straus

It is a rare teacher who develops a loyal following among ballet and modern dancers, but such was the case with Maggie Black (1930-2015) who died at age 85 in May on Long Island. This fiercely independent ballet teacher’s transformative effect on dancers’ abilities was famously dubbed “Black Magic” by none other than []

Published: December 3, 2014
Category: profile

Misy Copeland: Profile in Courage

By Rachel Straus

Thanks to Misty Copeland, gone are the days when a company dancer keeps her thoughts to herself and waits for the person in charge (usually a man) to give her the spotlight. The first Black, American Ballet Theatre soloist in more than two decades, Copeland has been increasingly vocal about two things: the []

Published: August 7, 2013
Category: profile

Jessica Lang Dance at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

PillowNotes

by Rachel Straus

The PillowNotes series comprises essays commissioned from our Scholars-in-Residence and others to provide audiences with a broader context for viewing dance.

When Loie 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 []

Published: December 1, 2012
Category: profile

Damian Woetzel: From Ballet Star to Dance Impresario

By Rachel Straus

Damian Woetzel

Not since the defection of Rudolf Nureyev has a ballet dancer moved so rapidly into the sphere where the arts, politics, power, and the media collide. Yet the international visibility of Damian Woetzel, whose Americana-style charisma won him accolades for two decades performing with the New York City Ballet, []

Published: August 23, 2012
Category: history

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival: A Dance Heritage Coalition Essay

by Rachel Straus

The Ted Shawn Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Photo by Nancy Tutko from the archives of Jacob’s Pillow

The dance of America will be as seemingly formless as the poetry of Walt Whitman, and yet like Leaves of Grass it will be so big that it will encompass all forms. []

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: May 1, 2012
Category: history

Michael Kidd: Energizing the golden age of musical theater

By Rachel Straus When approached to choreograph the 1954 film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Michael Kidd read the screenplay about woodsmen looking for wives and thought, “Surely, those guys would never dance.” His solution was to use a barn-raising competition as a jumping-off point for a number in which the brothers fought for the []

Published: November 21, 2011
Category: review

ABT in a Modern-dance Mood

By Rachel Straus

NEW YORK — American Ballet Theater looked on Nov. 9 like a ballet company camouflaged as a modern dance troupe. This wasn’t a bad thing. In the New York City Center program, featuring three out of four works by modern dance-makers, ABT members shed much of their classicism. They soft-shoed in Paul []

Published: February 1, 2010
Category: profile

Broadway Soul Mates: Elizabeth Parkinson and Scott Wise

Elizabeth Parkinson and Scott Wise momentarily consider the most challenging part of leaving behind their Tony and Astaire Award-winning performance careers. Now full-time teachers at their school FineLine Theatre Arts, the married couple look into each other’s eyes and simultaneously reply, “Three-year-olds!”

Wise: “Those three-year-olds don’t care who you think you are.”

Parkinson: “It’s []