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Things to do this week in NYC Feb 4-Feb 11: Cultural Arts

February 4, 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.

DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse - New York City Ballet
February 04, 2012 -

Originally created for The Royal Ballet, DGV propels 26 dancers through space with a supercharged, minimalist score by Michael Nyman.

Firebird - New York City Ballet
February 04, 2012 -

Balanchine's Firebird was one of the choreographer's first creations for the young New York City Ballet, using elaborate sets and costumes. The story, the choreography, the sets, and the music all integrated many brilliantly colored elements from Russian folklore. Because Balanchine chose to use the orchestral suite rather than the complete three-act score, he simplified the story and emphasized the mythical elements of the Firebird's character. For revivals in 1970, 1972, and 1980, Balanchine changed his choreography for the Firebird — and sometimes the costume as well — to suit the ballerina cast in the leading role. At Balanchine's invitation, in 1970, the artist Marc Chagall came to New York City to supervise the construction of new sets and costumes based on his designs for a new production. For the 1970 revival, Robbins contributed new choreography for the monsters' dance. The current production was staged in 1985. 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 L'Histoire du Soldat, Concertino, and Jeu de Cartes.

New Wheeldon - New York City Ballet
February 04, 2012 -

NYCB's former first-ever Resident Choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon now travels the world as one of the most in-demand dance makers. Wheeldon returns to choreograph a world premiere for the New Combinations Evening, which honors Balanchine's birthday each year with the performance of new work.

Polyphonia - New York City Ballet
February 04, 2012 -

"Romantic with comic twists," is how Christopher Wheeldon describes his new work set to ten eclectic piano pieces by Ligeti. Its brief sections run the choreographic spectrum from the bold, neoclassic angularity of Balanchine through playful duets, a dreamy waltz, a gentle, plaintive solo to the intense intertwining of one couple. Anchored by dynamic opening and closing ensembles filled with twisting turns, jabs and quirky hard movements, its eight dances seem to be tearing through the musical fabric. Overhead horizontal lifts, rolls and pushes off the floor contrast with classical ballet steps. The first of two key duets for the leading principal couple evokes sea creatures swimming, while the second looks like a strange plant growing and closing in on itself. The last horizontal lifts and fade out arrest the movement, frame it and let it dissolve like a film. Ligeti's polyphony (many individual voices sounding simultaneously) with fleeting references to Stravinsky, Debussy, Kodály and Prokofiev, among others, finds its match in the choreographer's interweaving of ballet and modem dance movement.

Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai - Shanghai Tango - Joyce Theater
Through February 05, 2012 -

Created in 2003 by Jin Xing, one of the most fascinating choreographers and artists performing today, Shanghai Tango includes ten works that she has created over the last 25 years. Set to an eclectic collage of music from Astor Piazzolla to Johann Strauss, the piece uses the sometimes sleazy, sometimes playful, but always sensuous, rhythmic, and passionate components of the tango as a conceptual framework to explore contemporary Shanghai culture. This wondrous movement landscape is striking in its visual melding of Eastern and Western artistic threads.

DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse - New York City Ballet
February 05, 2012 -

Originally created for The Royal Ballet, DGV propels 26 dancers through space with a supercharged, minimalist score by Michael Nyman.

Donizetti Variations - New York City Ballet
February 05, 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.

Firebird - New York City Ballet
February 05, 2012 -

Balanchine's Firebird was one of the choreographer's first creations for the young New York City Ballet, using elaborate sets and costumes. The story, the choreography, the sets, and the music all integrated many brilliantly colored elements from Russian folklore. Because Balanchine chose to use the orchestral suite rather than the complete three-act score, he simplified the story and emphasized the mythical elements of the Firebird's character. For revivals in 1970, 1972, and 1980, Balanchine changed his choreography for the Firebird — and sometimes the costume as well — to suit the ballerina cast in the leading role. At Balanchine's invitation, in 1970, the artist Marc Chagall came to New York City to supervise the construction of new sets and costumes based on his designs for a new production. For the 1970 revival, Robbins contributed new choreography for the monsters' dance. The current production was staged in 1985. 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 L'Histoire du Soldat, Concertino, and Jeu de Cartes.

Ernani - Metropolitan Opera
February 06, 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.

Allegro Brillante - New York City Ballet
February 07, 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.

Zakouski - New York City Ballet
February 07, 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.

Concerto Barocco - New York City Ballet
February 08, 2012 -

Balanchine said of this work: "If the dance designer sees in the development of classical dancing a counterpart in the development of music and has studied them both, he will derive continual inspiration from great scores." In the first movement of the concerto, the two ballerinas personify the violins, while a corps of eight women accompany them. In the second movement, a largo, the male dancer joins the leading woman in a pas de deux. In the concluding allegro section, the entire ensemble expresses the syncopation and rhythmic vitality of Bach's music. This work began as an exercise by Balanchine for the School of American Ballet and was performed by American Ballet Caravan on its historic tour of South America and later entered the repertory of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1951 Balanchine permanently eliminated the original costumes and dressed the dancers in practice clothes, probably the first appearance of what has come to be regarded as a signature Balanchine costume for contemporary works. On October 11, 1948, Concerto Barocco was one of three ballets on the program at New York City Ballet's first performance.

Tarantella - New York City Ballet
February 08, 2012 -

The nimble quickness of Tarantella provides a virtuosic showcase. The profusion of steps and the quick changes of direction this brief but explosive pas de deux requires typify the ways in which Balanchine expanded the traditional vocabulary of classical dance. Gottschalk, who lived from 1829 to 1869, was one of the first American composers to be recognized in Europe. His syncopated rhythms and jagged melodic lines incorporating elements of folk dancing foreshadowed the work of other American composers later in the 19th century.

Allegro Brillante - New York City Ballet
February 09, 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.

Interplay - New York City Ballet
February 10, 2012 -

Morton Gould (1913-1996) was an American composer, conductor, and arranger whose lighter works generally drew on American subject matter and music. In his later works Gould concentrated on abstract, as opposed to programmatic or popular, works. His style became more contrapuntal, dissonant, and complex in its treatment of musical materials. Throughout his career Gould was a skillful orchestrator, sensitive to color and texture, and original in his combinations of instruments. His ballets include Fall River Legend, choreographed by Agnes de Mille, and Interplay, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and he composed numerous scores for film, Broadway, and television.

Ernani - Metropolitan Opera
February 10, 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.

Concerto Barocco - New York City Ballet
February 11, 2012 -

Balanchine said of this work: "If the dance designer sees in the development of classical dancing a counterpart in the development of music and has studied them both, he will derive continual inspiration from great scores." In the first movement of the concerto, the two ballerinas personify the violins, while a corps of eight women accompany them. In the second movement, a largo, the male dancer joins the leading woman in a pas de deux. In the concluding allegro section, the entire ensemble expresses the syncopation and rhythmic vitality of Bach's music. This work began as an exercise by Balanchine for the School of American Ballet and was performed by American Ballet Caravan on its historic tour of South America and later entered the repertory of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1951 Balanchine permanently eliminated the original costumes and dressed the dancers in practice clothes, probably the first appearance of what has come to be regarded as a signature Balanchine costume for contemporary works. On October 11, 1948, Concerto Barocco was one of three ballets on the program at New York City Ballet's first performance.

Tarantella - New York City Ballet
February 11, 2012 -

The nimble quickness of Tarantella provides a virtuosic showcase. The profusion of steps and the quick changes of direction this brief but explosive pas de deux requires typify the ways in which Balanchine expanded the traditional vocabulary of classical dance. Gottschalk, who lived from 1829 to 1869, was one of the first American composers to be recognized in Europe. His syncopated rhythms and jagged melodic lines incorporating elements of folk dancing foreshadowed the work of other American composers later in the 19th century.

Dance Theatre of Harlem II - Joyce Theater
Through February 11, 2012 -

Dance Theatre of Harlem II is comprised of sixteen young dance artists trained in the DTH style and developed in the spirit that transformed perceptions about ballet. Carrying on the legacy begun by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook when they founded Dance Theatre of Harlem forty-two years ago, the company, now under the artistic direction of Virginia Johnson, presents an eclectic and vibrant mix of neoclassical and contemporary ballets. For the Joyce season, the program includes a stirring new ballet by acclaimed choreographer Donald Byrd and Glinka Pas de Trois, a rarely seen Balanchine work.

The Seven Deadly Sins - New York City Ballet
Through February 12, 2012 -

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's ballet chant� (sung ballet) has a long association with George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet. Originally commissioned for Balanchine's experimental Les Ballets 1933, it starred Weill's wife, singer/actress Lotte Lenya and dancer Tilly Losch. In 1958, at the suggestion of Lincoln Kirstein, Balanchine revived the production for City Ballet, again starring Lotte Lenya and young dancer Allegra Kent, with a new English translation from the German by poets W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman. The Seven Deadly (or Cardinal) Sins?Sloth, Pride, Anger, Gluttony, Lust, Greed, and Envy?do not appear as such in the Bible. Since early Christian times theologians incorporated them into Church teachings as examples of sins that led to other sins. In the Weill-Brecht collaboration, these forbidden human frailties are explored in a cabaret-style melding of music, song, dance, and spectacle. A sometimes bittersweet, sometimes sardonic morality play set in an imagined America (neither composer or librettist had yet been to the United States), it tells the story of two Annas (perhaps sisters, perhaps alter-egos) as they travel to seven cities to earn enough money so their family can "build a little home down by the Mississippi in Louisiana," encountering in each city one of the title sins. The two Annas are very different: Anna 1 sings "[Anna 2's] the one with looks, I'm realistic/She's just a little mad, my head's on straight?" Weill's score combines popular music from the 1920s and 30s (foxtrots, waltzes), with a barbershop quartet, marches and hymns into a melodic symphonic whole filled with the driving rhythms and unusual orchestrations that are a hallmark of his work. Brecht's libretto has been open to various interpretations. At the 1933 premiere, audiences could see a reflection of a decadent Berlin, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and the turmoil caused by the Great Depression. Over the years, others have viewed it as Brecht's critique of capitalism. One reviewer called the current City Ballet production a depiction of a "not-so-mythical America, a world in which for the sake of money, moral values are turned sharply on their head." Choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett has commented that in light of the country's on-going political, social, and economic polarizations, the nearly 80-year-old work continues to speak to and resonate with today's audiences.

Vienna Waltzes - New York City Ballet
Through February 12, 2012 -

The waltz became popular in the late 1700's. It was banned at first by some authorities who thought it immoral for couples to dance so closely, but by the mid-1800's, it was accepted everywhere. The faster Viennese form, characterized by swift, gliding turns, expressed the vivacity and brilliance of the Hapsburg court. The waltz was a dance form Balanchine revisited and explored often over his career, but never on as grand a scale as the 1977 Vienna Waltzes. Vienna Waltzes — Balanchine's homage to the pleasures and delights of an age that epitomized imperial grandeur — transforms from sylvan forest glen to sassy dance hall to glittering society cafe to, at last, a majestic mirrored ballroom through Rouben Ter-Arutunian's evolving scenery. The music selected for each section of the ballet is associated with the transformation of the waltz across society and over the years. The many elaborate costumes designed by Karinska are the last she created for New York City Ballet. For most of this century, first in Paris, and after 1938, in New York, Karinska, who left Russia after the October Revolution, designed and created many legendary costumes for Broadway, ballet and opera. As one of Balanchine's long-time collaborators, she was for many years New York City Ballet's principal costume-maker.

Cloud Gate 2 - Joyce Theater
Through February 12, 2012 -

Renowned choreographer Lin Hwai-min founded Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan in 1973, creating a new form of dance that fused Eastern and Western cultures. In 1999, he founded Cloud Gate 2, a company making its New York debut at The Joyce with the work of remarkable international choreographers Bulareyaung Pagarlava, commissioned by the Martha Graham Company; Huang Yi, one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch, 2011"; Wu Kuo-chu, former Artistic Director of Tanztheater at Staatstheater Kassel, Germany; and Cheng Tsung-lung, winner of the Roma Choreography Competition 2011.

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.

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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