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Things to do this week in NYC Feb 25-Mar 3: Cultural Arts

February 25, 2012 - by CG Directory Editor

Dance, art galleries, museums, lectures -- you name it, there are plenty of things to do in NYC. From the New York City Ballet, to Alvin Ailey, from performances at the Metropolitan Opera, to live music at Madison Square Garden, New York has it all. Here is a selection of what's going on in New York this week.

Agon - New York City Ballet
February 25, 2012 -

Agon is the Greek word for contest; the movements of the ballet are named after French court dances. The score was commissioned by New York City Ballet with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation and dedicated to Lincoln Kirstein and Balanchine by the composer. Balanchine and Stravinsky together designed the structure of the ballet during the creation of the music. The outline for the score specifies in detail, with exact timings, the basic movements for 12 dancers clad in simple black and white costumes.

Allegro Brillante - New York City Ballet
February 25, 2012 -

Allegro Brillante is characterized by what Maria Tallchief (the ballerina on whom the bravura leading role was created) calls "an expansive Russian romanticism." The music's vigorous pace makes the steps appear even more difficult, but the ballet relies on strong dancing, precise timing, and breadth of gesture. Balanchine said: "It contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes." Tschaikovsky's Third Piano Concerto was originally written as a symphony. But as it was nearing completion, the composer, dissatisfied with it, converted the first movement into a concert piece for piano and orchestra. Later on, he altered the andante and finale of the symphony in similar fashion.

Donizetti Variations - New York City Ballet
February 25, 2012 -

This ballet was created for "Salute to Italy," a New York City Ballet program celebrating the 100th anniversary of Italy's unification. Balanchine felt he needed a "cheerful and sunny work" to offset the more somber tone of the other ballets on the program, which included La Sonnambula.

Fancy Free - New York City Ballet
February 25, 2012 -

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), the gifted and versatile American conductor and composer of symphonic music and Broadway shows, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. At the age of seventeen he entered Harvard, went on to study at the Curtis Institute, and then to Tanglewood. Serge Koussevitzky took great interest in his talent and promoted his conducting career, and his great chance came when, on short notice, he substituted brilliantly for Bruno Walter, who had become ill. He performed as a conductor and pianist, and lectured at universities and on television. His compositions ranged from the classical to the musical stage, and included Mass, Kaddish, West Side Story (again in collaboration with Jerome Robbins), Candide, and The Age of Anxiety. He was the first native-born American to become conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and he conducted around the world.

Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 - New York City Ballet
February 25, 2012 -

Balanchine's first setting of music from Tschaikovsky's third suite for orchestra was created in 1947, when Ballet Theatre commissioned him to choreograph the theme and variations that constitute the final movement. Called simply Theme and Variations, the work is a riveting display of classical technique that has become a staple of the ballet repertory. In 1970, Balanchine decided to choreograph the entire suite, incorporating Theme and Variations as the fourth and final movement with only minor revisions. With scenery and costumes by Nicolas Benois, the first three movements are danced in a softly-lit ballroom. The women are dressed in long-flowing dresses and their hair is unbound. In the opening movement, the corps of women dance barefoot. Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (1840-1893) studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine later studied piano in addition to his studies in dance. Tschaikovsky is one of the most popular and influential of all romantic composers. His work is expressive, melodic, grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas and works for the piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.

Zakouski - New York City Ballet
February 25, 2012 -

Zakouski is the Russian term for hors d'oeuvres. This ballet for two dancers set to four short works for violin and piano explores through vernacular gesture and movement the emotional terrain of its musical sources. Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891-1953) was a leading Soviet composer and a brilliant pianist. He left Russia in 1918 and lived in Germany and Paris for the next sixteen years, with frequent trips to America for concert appearances. In 1934 he settled in Moscow and composed prolifically until his death. Among his better known works are the ballet scores Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, and The Prodigal Son, the opera Love for Three Oranges, the children's classic Peter and the Wolf, the film score and cantata for Alexander Nevsky, and the Classical Symphony. Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), Russian composer, conductor and pianist. He studied at the St. Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories. His distinctive musical style is characterized by richness of melody, harmony and texture, a particular flair for vocal music and a sensitivity to Russian poetry. His Second Piano Concerto (1900-1) brought him international fame and is still one of the most performed orchestral works. After the Revolution of 1917 he made his home in America, where he gave regular concerts and recitals to support himself and his family. His extensive gramophone recordings preserve his own expressive piano style. He died at his home in Beverly Hills, California. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), born in Russia, is acknowledged as one of the great composers of the twentieth century. His work encompassed styles as diverse as Romanticism, Neoclassicism and Serialism. His ballets for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes included The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, and Apollo. His music has been used in over thirty ballets originating with New York City Ballet from 1948 through 1987, including Danses Concertantes, Orpheus, The Cage, Agon, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Rubies, Symphony in Three Movements, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Concerto for Two Solo Pianos, Suite from Histoire du Soldat, Concertino, and Jeu de Cartes. Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (1840-1893) studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine later studied piano in addition to his studies in dance. Tschaikovsky is one of the most popular and influential of all romantic composers. His work is expressive, melodic, grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas and works for the piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.

Ernani - Metropolitan Opera
February 25, 2012 -

Angela Meade takes center stage in Verdi's thrilling early gem. Marcello Giordani and Roberto DeBiasio share the role of her mismatched lover, and all-star Verdians Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ferruccio Furlanetto round out the cast.

Agon - New York City Ballet
February 26, 2012 -

Agon is the Greek word for contest; the movements of the ballet are named after French court dances. The score was commissioned by New York City Ballet with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation and dedicated to Lincoln Kirstein and Balanchine by the composer. Balanchine and Stravinsky together designed the structure of the ballet during the creation of the music. The outline for the score specifies in detail, with exact timings, the basic movements for 12 dancers clad in simple black and white costumes.

Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 - New York City Ballet
February 26, 2012 -

Balanchine's first setting of music from Tschaikovsky's third suite for orchestra was created in 1947, when Ballet Theatre commissioned him to choreograph the theme and variations that constitute the final movement. Called simply Theme and Variations, the work is a riveting display of classical technique that has become a staple of the ballet repertory. In 1970, Balanchine decided to choreograph the entire suite, incorporating Theme and Variations as the fourth and final movement with only minor revisions. With scenery and costumes by Nicolas Benois, the first three movements are danced in a softly-lit ballroom. The women are dressed in long-flowing dresses and their hair is unbound. In the opening movement, the corps of women dance barefoot. Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (1840-1893) studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine later studied piano in addition to his studies in dance. Tschaikovsky is one of the most popular and influential of all romantic composers. His work is expressive, melodic, grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas and works for the piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.

Kings of the Dance: Opus 3 - New York City Center
Through February 26, 2012 -

Five years after its world premiere at Segerstrom Center for the Arts and New York City Center, Kings of the Dance returns with an all-new program showcasing the incredible power, athleticism and artistry of today's most celebrated male ballet stars. Kings of the Dance: Opus 3 will feature Guillaume Côté of the National Ballet of Canada, Marcelo Gomes and David Hallberg of American Ballet Theatre, Denis Matvienko of the Mariinsky Ballet, and Ivan Vasiliev of the Bolshoi Ballet. The men will dance eight world premieres created by Mauro Bigonzetti, Edward Clug, Patrick De Bana, Nacho Duato, Jorma Elo, Marco Goecke, Marcelo Gomes, and David Parsons. The evening will also include a historic collaboration by two of the dancers: a work choreographed by Gomes to music by Côté. Kings of the Dance: Opus 3, another of the extraordinary dance events for which Ardani Artists is renowned, is a co-production with Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Performances at New York City Center conclude the world tour that started in Moscow and continued in St. Petersburg, Riga, Novosibirsk, Kiev and Orange County.

Ballet Arizona - Play - Joyce Theater
Through February 26, 2012 -

The company makes its Joyce debut with Play "a masterful ballet" by Ib Andersen, "a deeply gifted choreographer" (Dance Magazine). Described by Andersen as a "seven-course meal," Play is an evening length work composed of seven ballets set to the rich music of Mozart, Schubert, Britten, and Stravinsky. With its style and mood changing from passionate to playful, from evocative to elegant, the piece virtually plays with "constant changes of tone and musical attentiveness" to reveal "remarkably skilled dance-making." The New York Times

Mark Morris Dance Group - Brooklyn Academy of Music
Through March 03, 2012 - Fort Greene

Mark Morris' marvelously spirited and musically attuned dances have redefined our ideas of the body in motion. Mark Morris Dance Group returns to BAM this year with the reprise of the opera Four Saints in Three Acts. With orchestral and choral music by Virgil Thomson (performed live by the MMDG Music Ensemble), libretto by Gertrude Stein, and illustrator and author Maira Kalman's luminous sets, Morris' Four Saints is grand, ebullient, and spiritually resonant. By way of delightful processions, sevillanas, and redolent folk dancing, the deliverance to heaven of the Spanish saints Teresa of Avila and Ignatius of Loyola comes to life. The evening begins with the world premiere of Morris' newest work, set to Beethoven's "Fantasia in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op. 80," with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi and lighting design by Michael Chybowski.

CSI: The Experience - Discovery Times Square
Through March 04, 2012 - New York

Play the role of a crime scene investigator at CSI: The Experience! As the latest recruit in the world of forensic science, guests are guided by videos featuring CSI: cast members and real-life forensic scientists. Throughout the exhibition you must examine blood types, while matching DNA to potential suspects in order to complete the investigation process and solve the crime. Complete with 3 Crime Scenes, 15 Forensic Lab Stations, and dazzling special effects, this hands-on experience is sure to plunge exhibit goers deep into the science of solving crimes.

Flamenco Festival 2012 - New York City Center
Through March 04, 2012 -

New York's annual flamenco celebration, now in its 11th year, features mesmerizing performances direct from Spain. This year's festival celebrates the tradition of great female choreographers in flamenco.

Ballet du Grande Theatre de Geneve - Joyce Theater
Through March 04, 2012 -

"Exceptionally supple ballet-trained dancers" (The New York Times) are at the core of this acclaimed Swiss company. The ensemble performs an enchanting evening length work by Israeli born choreographer Emanuel Gat, a powerful new voice in contemporary dance. Using Bach's magnificent Prelude and Fugue No. 22 in C minor as inspiration and backdrop, Gat has created a mesmerizing piece, performed beautifully by Ballet de Genève's stunning artists.

Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times - Discovery Times Square
Through April 15, 2012 - New York

Take a fascinating archaeological journey through the Holy Land. This rare exhibit features the famed Dead Sea Scrolls, a stone from the Western Wall from the Second Temple in Jerusalem and more than 500 never-before-seen artifacts from biblical times. Experience firsthand the traditions, beliefs and iconic objects of ancient Israel that impact world religions today.

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