Review: Barak Ballet New Repertory

The opening tableaux of “Pretty, Peculiar Things” is an announcement that Melissa Barak has good things in store. Unexpected things, like the backward toss of a ballerina. Subtle humor. And a lively stage atmosphere overflowing with a deep kinetic intelligence of what movement can express. Barak keeps it fresh. She’s a dance-maker’s dance-maker. Here’s the …

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Missing Bella

At age 81, Los Angeles’ modern dance pioneer Bella Lewitzky closed down her dance company. That was 22 years ago and her works have been revived only sporadically since then. A good portion of her repertory is in danger of being gone for good, which would be a terrible outcome. A few people, happily, have …

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Review: ‘Pepperland’ & Raymonda, etc.

Mark Morris — that most-musical choreographer and sometimes-conductor, who was the 2013 director of the Ojai Music Festival — has shown little interest in setting his dances to rock ’n’ roll or other popular music. So “Pepperland,” seen this weekend at the Segerstrom Center, is an outlier. The piece was a commission, made for the …

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Review: SF Ballet’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’

I have been a San Francisco Ballet fan since the early 1980s, when Michael Smuin ran the company. I was living in the city and had a ballet subscription. They have only gotten better since then, growing into one of this country’s most distinguished classical companies. Sadly, they infrequently come south to perform here. We’re …

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Not a review: Thoughts on Miami City Ballet & George Balanchine’s ‘Nutcracker’

The Music Center last week presented “The Nutcracker” for the first time in five years. The two-act ballet premiered in Russia in 1892, but, as we all know, it ended up becoming a holiday obsession here in the U.S. instead. (Read Jennifer Fisher’s excellent book “Nutcracker Nation” to find out how that happened.) Rachel Moore, …

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