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Things to do this week in NYC Jan 14-Jan 21: Cultural Arts

January 14, 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.

Meg Stuart and Francisco Camacho - BLESSED - New York Live Arts
Through January 14, 2012 -

A collaboration between the American, Brussels-based choreographer Meg Stuart and the Portuguese choreographer and dancer Francisco Camacho, BLESSED comforts with the sensitive power of the aesthetics of destruction. In BLESSED, basic elements such as rain, cardboard and the human body form the basis for a defense against total ruin and final destiny. A work of great somberness and beauty focused on the unrelenting struggle for life.

Shen Yun - David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Through January 15, 2012 - New York

Through classical Chinese dance and music in a colorful and exhilarating show, Shen Yun brings to life 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Dozens of dancers in dazzling costumes, thunderous drums, and spectacular backdrops take you to another world. The performance will be held at the David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, New York, January 11-15, 2012. Shen Yun’s program features traditional Chinese culture as it was meant to be; a beautiful blend of artistry, energy, and grace. Each year boasts a brand new show, with dozens of dancers in dazzling costumes move in seamless, flowing patterns. A live orchestra blends East and West, thunderous drums shake the stage, and spectacular backdrops transport you to another world. Comprised of a variety of Chinese culture, Shen Yun has an inspiring story created through the following: Dance: o Classical Chinese dance is composed of three main parts: bearing, form, and technical skill. Other than complete training in the fundamentals, it also entails systematic training in movements and postures, as well as very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques. And so, alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world. Costumes: o Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s “Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers” to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes, from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor, and from the traditional rightward cross-collared Han clothing to the ethnic attire of the Manchurian, Tibetan, Dai, Mongol, and Uyghur ethnic groups. Music: o The Chinese instruments in the show are classified by their material construction into eight categories: jin (metal), shi (stone), tu (clay), ge (hide), si (silk), mu (wood), bao (gourd), and zhu (bamboo). Collectively, these eight classifications are known as the ba yin, or “the eight sounds.” All materials used to make these instruments originate from nature, and the significance and symbolism of each is closely tied to its natural origin. While each of the Chinese instruments differs greatly in character, their interactions produce euphonious sounds that may surprise the listener. In fact, the emotions that these instruments are capable of invoking are as refined and subtle as they are complex. Through the performer’s technical excellence and emotive expression, any human emotion can be depicted. Vocals o The fundamental characteristic of Shen Yun Performing Arts vocal soloists is their use of bel canto vocal technique while singing Chinese lyrics. This means that the singer must grasp the highly difficult technical requirements of bel canto operatic singing while retaining the proper Chinese articulation and diction—today, this is unparalleled. The lyrics are all original compositions. Brimming with philosophical reflection about human life and deep layers of meaning, they traverse the boundaries of nation, race, and culture and have been fondly received and appreciated the world over. Some audience members even call Shen Yun’s songs "hymns." ABOUT: Shen Yun has performed to acclaim in more than 100 cities worldwide. At the core of Shen Yun’s performances is classical Chinese dance, and China's numerous ethnic and folk dance styles round out the evening along with masterful vocalists and musicians. In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago to contemporary tales of courage; from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom. Website: http://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/shenyun2012

Shen Yun - The David Koch Theater
Through January 15, 2012 - New York

Shen Yun presents colorful and exhilarating performances of classical Chinese dance and music. A performance by Shen Yun is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization. Every year, Shen Yun unveils an entirely new lineup of dances, songs, and musical scores. At the core of Shen Yun’s performances is classical Chinese dance with it’s explosive techniques, synchronized movements, enchanting elegance, and expressive powers. China’s numerous ethnic and folk dance styles round out the evening. In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture's creation over 5,000 years ago to contemporary tales of courage; from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom. Award-winning vocalists perform piano-accompanied solos, along with a regular favorite—the stirring melodies of the two-stringed erhu. Shen Yun’s one-of-a-kind orchestra, with its all-original compositions, blends East and West like no other. The distinctly Chinese sound of ancient instruments like the bamboo flute and pipa are bathed in a rich sea of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass. The result—two great classical traditions producing one fresh, unexpected sound. Animated backdrops transport the audience to another world. Projected behind the dancers, the hi-tech images lift the stage and set it amidst blossoming landscapes, deep forests, Mongolian prairies, or celestial paradises. The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, New York, January 11-15, 2012. For tickets and information: 1-800-818-2393 / ShenYun2012.org

Destiny Rising, Gala Performance to Benefit NYC Dance Alliance Foundation - Joyce Theater
January 16, 2012 - New York

The evening directed by Joe Lanteri will feature choreography by Lauren Adams, Camille A. Brown, Thang Dao, Jason Parsons, Garrett Smith and Guest Performers including Camille A. Brown, Melissa Hough & Garrett Smith of Houston Ballet, STEPS Repertory Ensemble, The Marymount Manhattan Dance Company, University of the Arts Dance Ensemble and special guests Foundation Star Supporters and Plumb Performing Arts of Arizona and Susan Jaffe, American Ballet Theatre. For more info please visit www.nycdance.com

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux - New York City Ballet
January 17, 2012 -

An eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux uses music that the composer belatedly created for Act III of Swan Lake. It was hurriedly composed for Anna Sobeshchanskaya, a Bolshoi prima ballerina who was scheduled to make her debut in the title role at the fourth performance of the 1877 Moscow production, and sought to enrich the part of Odile. Because the music was not in the original score, it was not published with the rest of Swan Lake, and disappeared for more than half a century. When it was discovered in the Bolshoi Theater archives in 1953, Balanchine sought — and was granted — permission to use it for his own choreography.

Who Cares? - New York City Ballet
January 17, 2012 -

In 1937, George Gershwin asked Balanchine to come to Hollywood to work with him on Samuel Goldwyn's "Follies." Tragically, Gershwin was felled by a brain tumor before he completed the ballet music for the film. Thirty-three years later, Balanchine choreographed Who Cares? to 16 songs Gershwin composed between 1924 and 1931, including "I Got Rhythm," "The Man I Love," "Embraceable You," and "My One and Only." Kay's orchestrations draw extensively on Gershwin's own piano arrangements of his songs. Balanchine used the songs not to evoke any particular era but as a way to portray an exuberance that is both broadly American and charged with the distinctive energy of Manhattan.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier - New York City Ballet
Through January 18, 2012 -

The Steadfast Tin Soldier, based loosely on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, focuses on the wistful courtship and love between a tin soldier and a paper-doll ballerina. The work was commissioned by the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The present pas de deux stems from a 1955 collaboration in which Balanchine, Francisco Moncion, and Barbara Milberg choreographed all of Bizet's Jeux d'Enfants. Both the context and the woman's variation of The Steadfast Tin Soldier were derived from this earlier work. The soldier's variation was restaged for the new pas de deux. Georges Bizet (1838-1875) is best known for Carmen, one of the most successful operas ever written. However, he had more success in his lifetime with non-operatic works. He was an excellent pianist, and wrote many pieces for that instrument, including Jeux d'Enfants. Many of the operas Bizet wrote, with the exceptions of Carmen and The Pearl Fishers, were destroyed by the composer or never finished.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux - New York City Ballet
January 18, 2012 -

An eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux uses music that the composer belatedly created for Act III of Swan Lake. It was hurriedly composed for Anna Sobeshchanskaya, a Bolshoi prima ballerina who was scheduled to make her debut in the title role at the fourth performance of the 1877 Moscow production, and sought to enrich the part of Odile. Because the music was not in the original score, it was not published with the rest of Swan Lake, and disappeared for more than half a century. When it was discovered in the Bolshoi Theater archives in 1953, Balanchine sought — and was granted — permission to use it for his own choreography.

Union Jack - New York City Ballet
January 18, 2012 -

Union Jack was created to honor the British heritage of the United States on the occasion of its Bicentennial. Part I is based on Scottish military tattoos and folk-dance forms performed in an open castle square. Part II is a music-hall pas de deux for the costermonger Pearly King and Queen of London, with two little girls and a donkey, danced before a drop suggesting Pollock's toy theaters. Part III is a series of variations employing hornpipes, sea songs, work chants, jigs, and drill orders of the Royal Navy, in a dockside setting. For the finale, hand flags signal 'God Save the Queen' in semaphore code as the Union Jack unfurls. Hershy Kay (1919-1981) established himself as a preeminent orchestrator of musicals with Leonard Bernstein's On The Town in 1944. His works for the ballet include Cakewalk, Clowns, Western Symphony, Stars and Stripes, Who Cares?, and Union Jack; his works for the musical theater include Peter Pan, Once Upon a Mattress, Candide, A Chorus Line, Evita and Barnum. A composer in his own right, Hershy Kay also reconstructed Louis Moreau Gottschalk's Grande Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra, which later became the Balanchine ballet Tarantella. Mr. Kay's work also includes a children's record, Mother Goose.

Ocean's Kingdom - New York City Ballet
January 19, 2012 -

NYCB brings together the legendary Sir Paul McCartney and Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins for a hallmark collaboration. Ocean's Kingdom marks the first time that McCartney has composed for dance, and Martins' choreography will follow the music's libretto of a romance between lovers from conflicting kingdoms. With costumes designed by another McCartney, renowned fashion designer Stella and projections by S. Katy Tucker with lighting designs by Mark Stanley.

Le Tombeau de Couperin - New York City Ballet
Through January 19, 2012 -

In this suite of dances in 18th-century courtly style, eight couples are divided into left and right quadrilles. (A quadrille is an 18th-century dance form originating with squadrons at tournaments; it is also referred to as a square dance.) The dancers form geometric patterns — diagonals, diamonds, squares — and dance in unison as well as mimicking the movements of the opposing quadrille. Tombeau means "memorial" or "tomb." In 1919 Ravel composed a commemorative suite for piano in six movements (prelude, fugue, forlane, minuet, rigaudon, and toccato) in memory of six friends who died in World War I. In 1920 the composer orchestrated the piece, eliminating the fugue and the toccato. Ravel honors 18th-century French music in general and the French Baroque composer François Couperin in particular; Couperin was court musician and composer to Louis XIV, the Sun King. Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was born in the French Basque town of Ciboure. His family moved to Paris and encouraged him to take piano lessons. At fourteen he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Fauré, who became his principal teacher of composition. His ballet scores include Pavane pour une Infante Défunte, Jeux d'Eau, Bolero, Daphnis and Chloé, Ma Mère L'Oye, and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, a ballet-opera.

Who Cares? - New York City Ballet
January 19, 2012 -

In 1937, George Gershwin asked Balanchine to come to Hollywood to work with him on Samuel Goldwyn's "Follies." Tragically, Gershwin was felled by a brain tumor before he completed the ballet music for the film. Thirty-three years later, Balanchine choreographed Who Cares? to 16 songs Gershwin composed between 1924 and 1931, including "I Got Rhythm," "The Man I Love," "Embraceable You," and "My One and Only." Kay's orchestrations draw extensively on Gershwin's own piano arrangements of his songs. Balanchine used the songs not to evoke any particular era but as a way to portray an exuberance that is both broadly American and charged with the distinctive energy of Manhattan.

The Concert (or The Perils of Everybody) - Joyce Theater
January 20, 2012 -

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Poland. He was one of the most important innovators for the piano, both in terms of composition and playing style. As a pianist he was mostly self-taught, and since he did not like to give public performances, his substantial reputation was based on a very few concerts. Chopin influenced future composers, especially those of the French and Russian schools. The musical level he attained made possible future piano innovations, such as those of Debussy. Other Chopin ballets choreographed by Jerome Robbins are Dances at a Gathering (1969), In the Night (1970), and Other Dances (1976).

In G Major - New York City Ballet
January 20, 2012 -

Ravel composed the Concerto in G Major after a trip to the United States. It has been seen as a reflection on Gershwin and American musical comedy. Ravel described the work as "... written in very much the same spirit as those of Mozart and Saint-Saëns," and that "it uses certain effects borrowed from jazz, but only in moderation." (Arbie Orenstein, Ravel: Man and Musician.) When the Paris Opera Ballet staged In G Major, under the name "En Sol," it commissioned scenery and costumes by Erté, which were borrowed by New York City Ballet. Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was born in the French Basque town of Ciboure. His family moved to Paris and encouraged him to take piano lessons. At fourteen he was admitted to the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with Fauré, who became his principal teacher of composition. His ballet scores include Pavane pour une Infante Défunte, Jeux d'Eau, Boléro, Daphnis and Chloe, Ma Mère L'Oye, and L'enfant et les Sortiléges, a ballet-opera.

In Memory of... - New York City Ballet
January 20, 2012 -

Louis Krasner, an American violinist, commissioned a violin concerto from Alban Berg in early 1935. Berg, absorbed in the orchestration of his opera, Lulu, did no work on it until the death, from polio, of 18-year-old Manon Gropius. Her parents, Alma Mahler (composer Gustav Mahler's widow) and Walter Gropius were Berg's close friends. The concerto uses melodic themes from Mahler and a Carpathian folk song, and concludes with a treatment of J. S. Bach's cantata, O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort. Alban Berg (1885-1935), an Austrian, had little formal musical training before beginning his studies with the musical innovator Arnold Schoenberg in 1904. Berg, Schoenberg, and Berg's student Anton Webern formed the Second Viennese School. They were the originators of serialism: the 12-tone row of atonal music. Berg is most famous for his two operas, Wozzeck and Lulu. His writing, dense, dissonant and full of personal allusions and complex devices, was well regarded critically, but won little popular acceptance during his life.

The Concert (or The Perils of Everybody) - Joyce Theater
January 21, 2012 -

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Poland. He was one of the most important innovators for the piano, both in terms of composition and playing style. As a pianist he was mostly self-taught, and since he did not like to give public performances, his substantial reputation was based on a very few concerts. Chopin influenced future composers, especially those of the French and Russian schools. The musical level he attained made possible future piano innovations, such as those of Debussy. Other Chopin ballets choreographed by Jerome Robbins are Dances at a Gathering (1969), In the Night (1970), and Other Dances (1976).

Ocean's Kingdom - New York City Ballet
January 21, 2012 -

NYCB brings together the legendary Sir Paul McCartney and Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins for a hallmark collaboration. Ocean's Kingdom marks the first time that McCartney has composed for dance, and Martins' choreography will follow the music's libretto of a romance between lovers from conflicting kingdoms. With costumes designed by another McCartney, renowned fashion designer Stella and projections by S. Katy Tucker with lighting designs by Mark Stanley.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier - New York City Ballet
January 21, 2012 -

The Steadfast Tin Soldier, based loosely on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, focuses on the wistful courtship and love between a tin soldier and a paper-doll ballerina. The work was commissioned by the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The present pas de deux stems from a 1955 collaboration in which Balanchine, Francisco Moncion, and Barbara Milberg choreographed all of Bizet's Jeux d'Enfants. Both the context and the woman's variation of The Steadfast Tin Soldier were derived from this earlier work. The soldier's variation was restaged for the new pas de deux. Georges Bizet (1838-1875) is best known for Carmen, one of the most successful operas ever written. However, he had more success in his lifetime with non-operatic works. He was an excellent pianist, and wrote many pieces for that instrument, including Jeux d'Enfants. Many of the operas Bizet wrote, with the exceptions of Carmen and The Pearl Fishers, were destroyed by the composer or never finished.

Le Tombeau de Couperin - New York City Ballet
January 21, 2012 -

In this suite of dances in 18th-century courtly style, eight couples are divided into left and right quadrilles. (A quadrille is an 18th-century dance form originating with squadrons at tournaments; it is also referred to as a square dance.) The dancers form geometric patterns — diagonals, diamonds, squares — and dance in unison as well as mimicking the movements of the opposing quadrille. Tombeau means "memorial" or "tomb." In 1919 Ravel composed a commemorative suite for piano in six movements (prelude, fugue, forlane, minuet, rigaudon, and toccato) in memory of six friends who died in World War I. In 1920 the composer orchestrated the piece, eliminating the fugue and the toccato. Ravel honors 18th-century French music in general and the French Baroque composer François Couperin in particular; Couperin was court musician and composer to Louis XIV, the Sun King. Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was born in the French Basque town of Ciboure. His family moved to Paris and encouraged him to take piano lessons. At fourteen he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Fauré, who became his principal teacher of composition. His ballet scores include Pavane pour une Infante Défunte, Jeux d'Eau, Bolero, Daphnis and Chloé, Ma Mère L'Oye, and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, a ballet-opera.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux - New York City Ballet
January 21, 2012 -

An eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux uses music that the composer belatedly created for Act III of Swan Lake. It was hurriedly composed for Anna Sobeshchanskaya, a Bolshoi prima ballerina who was scheduled to make her debut in the title role at the fourth performance of the 1877 Moscow production, and sought to enrich the part of Odile. Because the music was not in the original score, it was not published with the rest of Swan Lake, and disappeared for more than half a century. When it was discovered in the Bolshoi Theater archives in 1953, Balanchine sought — and was granted — permission to use it for his own choreography.

Union Jack - New York City Ballet
January 21, 2012 -

Union Jack was created to honor the British heritage of the United States on the occasion of its Bicentennial. Part I is based on Scottish military tattoos and folk-dance forms performed in an open castle square. Part II is a music-hall pas de deux for the costermonger Pearly King and Queen of London, with two little girls and a donkey, danced before a drop suggesting Pollock's toy theaters. Part III is a series of variations employing hornpipes, sea songs, work chants, jigs, and drill orders of the Royal Navy, in a dockside setting. For the finale, hand flags signal 'God Save the Queen' in semaphore code as the Union Jack unfurls. Hershy Kay (1919-1981) established himself as a preeminent orchestrator of musicals with Leonard Bernstein's On The Town in 1944. His works for the ballet include Cakewalk, Clowns, Western Symphony, Stars and Stripes, Who Cares?, and Union Jack; his works for the musical theater include Peter Pan, Once Upon a Mattress, Candide, A Chorus Line, Evita and Barnum. A composer in his own right, Hershy Kay also reconstructed Louis Moreau Gottschalk's Grande Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra, which later became the Balanchine ballet Tarantella. Mr. Kay's work also includes a children's record, Mother Goose.

Parsons Dance - Joyce Theater
Through January 22, 2012 -

"One of the great movers of modern dance" (The New York Times) and "one of modern dance's great living dance-makers" (New York Magazine), David Parsons brings his company back to The Joyce with a program that includes one world premiere and two programs filled with selections from the company's repertory of more than 70 Parsons works. The programs will feature an assortment of audience favorites, including Swing Shift, with music by Kenji Bunch, and Touched by Time, with music by John Corigliano and costume design by Donna Karan. All programs will include David's stroboscopic masterwork, Caught.

SITI Company - Bob - New York Live Arts
Through January 29, 2012 -

Returning for its third New York City Season, SITI Company is proud to begin its presenting partnership with the newly formed New York Live Arts with its Obie Award-winning Bob. Bob is a solo show that revolves around the life and times of an internationally known avant-garde theater director. Acclaimed as a genius, he rides the fast track of the ever-shrinking global art scene. He uses his own history and everyone around him as fodder for his grandiose staged spectacles. Through Bob, you'll experience a creative crisis in the making and see where American pop culture and high culture collide. Bob is not meant to be a realistic portrait of Robert Wilson the man, rather a dip into an engaging perspective about family, art, and American Culture.

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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