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 Post subject: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 2:24 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.sadlerswells.com/whats_on/autumn2002/images/side_whiteoak.jpg" alt="" />

<img src="http://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/white/header.gif" alt="" />

<img src="http://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/white/details.gif" alt="" />

Press release

Founded in 1990 by ‘dance giants’ Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris, the White Oak Dance Project embodies its creators’ spirit of unconventionality, adventurousness and unwavering commitment to excellence.

More recently White Oak, under the sole direction of Baryshnikov, has dedicated itself to performing both new and often overlooked works by some of the world’s most challenging choreographers. This Dance Umbrella debut programme includes two new works by original Judson Church member Lucinda Childs, a solo Largo (2001) and a company piece Chacony (2001), a revival of Erick Hawkins’s Early Floating (1961) and a new work, The Experts (2002), from Sarah Michelson.

www.whiteoakdanceproject.com/aboutwo.html

Part of the Jerwood Proms

Thu 10 Oct 6.30pm - Pre-show talk

“Baryshnikov got out of ballet at a good time. He is now doing something else. He is presenting odd, hot, dreamy little pieces, and he is placing them a few feet from the audience's face.” The New Yorker

<small>[ 09-05-2002, 11:26: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2002 1:22 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A message from Sadler's Wells:

This is just a note to confirm the final programme for Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project at Sadler's Wells, 9 - 13 October, 7.30pm, (Jerwood Proms Sat 12 & Sun 13 October, standing in front stalls for just a fiver)

The programme is:

Largo, (a solo performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov), choreographed by Lucinda Childs (4 minutes)

Early Floating, choreographed by Erick Hawkins (21 minutes)

Trio A Pressured #3, choreographed by Yvonne Rainer (running time tbc)

Chacony, choreographed by Lucinda Childs (23 minutes)


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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2002 3:55 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
"Trio A Pressured #3"...hmmm, I've heard of Trio A, which is considered a classic of post-modern repertory, but what does the "pressured" mean? Anybody know? Trio A, the original, I know has been performed by dancers, non-dancers, a soloist, various trios, but the premise remains the same. Choreographic features: pedestrian movement, no movement gets repeated, it doesn't matter which way the dancers face (non-presentational), there's no accompaniment, musical or otherwise. There were some other specific aesthetic issues which escape me at the moment. I'm remembering all this from a Marcia Siegel writing workshop from like 15 years ago, so I welcome any corrections or observations.

<small>[ 09-19-2002, 18:46: Message edited by: trina ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2002 4:19 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Many thanks for the information Trina. "Trio etc" is a late change to the programme. There might be something in one of the preview articles in a week or so, but I suspect that we will have to wait until we see the programme before we know anymore.

As an aside I'm not sure it was a good idea activating those new smilies!!

<small>[ 09-20-2002, 01:20: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2002 1:32 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Interview with Baryshnikov in The Independent.

Quote:
Mikhail Baryshnikov does not like interviews. As he sits down, his body tenses and the familiar blond face, more handsome with its 54-year-old furrows, shuts down. He had been so relaxed before, unrecognised by other Spanish hotel guests, circulating among the breakfast tables occupied by members of his company, the White Oak Dance Project; or later, in sunglasses and baseball cap – a true naturalised American – chatting over a cup of coffee. Maybe he's self-conscious about speaking. His mind is a flick knife and his voice a pleasant baritone, but after all these years – his defection in 1974 was the biggest blow to the Kirov since Nureyev – the Russian accent is still peppered with dodgy grammar. Or maybe he's just bored answering the same tired questions, now so predictable that he could simply circulate a list of written statements instead.

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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2002 5:32 am 
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Article in the Sunday Times.

Quote:
Dance was once a form of escape for Mikhail Baryshnikov, but now he wants a touch of real life again, says Clifford Bishop



Mikhail Baryshnikov stands in the belly of an amphitheatre, under the sulking clouds of a midsummer Spanish night, and acknowledges one of the more remarkable standing ovations of even his long and consistently remarkable career. A sudden Barcelona thunderstorm has flooded the stage of the open-air Teatre Grec, and the evening’s performance by Baryshnikov and his White Oak Dance Project might have to be cancelled. As an army of stagehands and hangers-on squelches sullenly about with squeegees, towels, mops, rags and T-shirts, a murmur begins to run through the audience. A slight figure in a black polo-neck sweater is sidling through the hustle and bustle, lost in thought and pushing a towel along in front of him with one elegantly extended foot. The world’s greatest dancer is mopping the stage. And, as one, we rise to acclaim him for it.

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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2002 11:58 am 
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Location: London, UK
White Oak Dance Project at Sadler’s Wells
09.10.02

The White Oak Dance programme was comprised of works by American Choreographers Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer and Erick Hawkins (1909-1994). The Yvonne Rainer and Erick Hawkins pieces shown were both reworks from 1960s, whilst the two pieces by Lucinda Childs, who worked alongside Yvonne Rainer at the experimental Judson Church in the 1960s, were choreographed recently.

The Yvonne Rainer work was interesting because of the notable lack of revivals of the work of the Judson group, particularly in the UK. Despite looking dated in many ways, Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A Pressured No.3 (1966) was still both interesting and relevant in it’s choreographic thought and structure. The piece, performed by the whole company, took place on a bare stage and began in silence with a duet. Wearing ‘pedestrian’ clothes (and sneakers, of course) the dancers coolly, almost scientifically, execute a seemingly unconnected and random stream of quirky, disjointed movements including skips, hand rotations, nods and stretches. The piece plays with reverse, cannon and counterpoint and culminates in eight of the dancers repeating an identical motif to the Chambers Brothers’ ‘The Midnight Hour’. Each dancer performs the phrase with what appears random timing, producing interesting moments of unison and cannon. When each dancer has finished he/she simply walks of stage, finishing the work as coolly as it began. The theatrical frame of the formal stage arguably made a significant impact of the on the work, which in its day was performed in a more informal studio or room, changing both the impact of Rainer’s use of pedestrian movements, and probably the performance quality of the work, from its original concept.

Lucinda Childs’ work both opened and closed the programme. Largo (2001) was a solo performed by, Mikhail Baryshnikov (Misha to his dedicated followers). The work was set to Arcangelo Corelli’s soothing ‘Concerto Grosso Op.6’, with the movement dynamics following those in the music almost exactly. The piece consisted of a long, balletic phrase, making strong use of diagonal lines, performed once with a beautifully executed sustained quality, and repeated with the movement gaining a more varied dynamic range as the music acquired light and shade. A humble study, reminiscent of the Judson era in its sincerity yet with a highly technical, ballet based movement vocabulary.

The slightly grander Chacony (2002) also demonstrated a close correlation between music and movement, adding light as a third component to this reflective relationship. The Benjamin Britten score was the driving force of the work, spurring a torrent of triplets, sweeping leg gestures, turns and quick changes of direction, to create an aural and visual symphony. At points the driving, rhythmic music is punctuated by moments of sobriety, reflected with dimmed lights and walking and rocking movements. Chacony is rhythmic and beautiful, and although the combination of music, movement and light is obvious, this seems appropriate somehow. The dancers technique is stunning, and their responsiveness to the score and to each other as they flock across the stage is exceptional, though sadly so much so that their personalities seem to almost be defunct. The work takes an unexpected twist at the end when, in a huge contrast, Baryshnikov appears on stage to dance a highly dramatised solo. Baryshnikov seems to try hard, through the evenings performance, and the ongoing company PR, to avoid a diva-like status and the accusation of the company being a showcase for his talent. This solo certainly doesn’t help this cause.

In Erick Hawkins Early Floating (1961) we get another glimpse into the history of American modern dance. The work draws clear influences from Martha Graham, who Hawkins danced with for several years. Yet interestingly Hawkins dynamics have a different edge to Graham’s. Many movements are bound, yet not impactive as in Graham technique, and these movements are contrasted with more expansive lines, demonstrating not ecstatic release but rather a dreamy floating quality. The dancers beautiful execution of the work emphasises this dynamic sensitivity. The piece is also performed beneath a hanging sculpture, perhaps another influence from Graham. The one female and three male performers wear small hot-pant unitards, emphasising their limbs, which reach through the space with clarity and precision. The number and frequency of entrances and fast shifting spatial patterns make the piece difficult to focus on. However this does help to emphasise the rare, sensual moments of contact and slow movement in close proximity, which emerge out of a seemingly calculated and impersonal gaze and use of space.

This is not contemporary dance at its most exciting, but certainly White Oak commands respect for its stunning collection of performers, who work fantastically as an ensemble, and for its unique programming choices.


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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2002 2:26 am 
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Review in the Times.

Quote:
EVER since he reinvented himself as a modern dancer extraordinaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov has been bringing the world fascinating adventures in choreography. And here he is, doing it again with one of the most extraordinary evenings of dance you will see in London this year.
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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2002 2:40 am 
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Review in The Guardian.

Quote:
Mikhail Baryshnikov, the reluctant celebrity, makes only modest appearances with his company. But in White Oak's current season, it is he who opens and closes the programme. At 54, Baryshnikov is getting a little stiff but his performing temperature still registers on a different scale from everyone else. At one extreme is the cool expertise that detaches him from the technical dramas of the choreography. At the other is a disturbing heat that suggests a man performing from an intensely private core.
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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2002 2:48 am 
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Review in the Observer (please scroll down article)

Quote:
Mikhail Baryshnikov, at 54, 12 years older than Mukhamedov, is still going strong as a modern dancer and director. Since setting up the White Oak Dance project in 1989, he has revived classic works by America's pioneer choreographers - Martha Graham, Jose Limon and Yvonne Rainer - as well as commissioning pieces for himself and his roster of dancers.

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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2002 2:09 am 
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Long-forgotten classics revived by King Baryshnikov

Ismene Brown reviews the White Oak Dance Project at Sadler's Wells

Quote:
Like a troubadour who carries history's songs in his head, Mikhail Baryshnikov riffles through the pages of America's great modern dance history and brings to the stage dances that would otherwise lie under dust.
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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2002 1:19 pm 
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White Oak
by AC Grayling for Online Review London


When White Oak dances at Sadler's Wells the auditorium is full because of Mikhail Baryshnikov. He might be fifty-four years of age, sedately dancing well within the physical limits implied by his still beautifully-athletic, small, light body, which he moves effortlessly and comfortably about the stage in undemanding, understated, careful evolutions; but he occasionally gives a glimpse of his old capacity to electrify with a lightning-swift and astonishingly precise gesture – and there is no question but that here is a dancer of immense gifts and poise, a meeting-point of talent and technique which has made this diminutive Latvian a byword in the universe of dance.

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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2002 2:57 am 
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Fluent and intelligent body
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times


Mikhail Baryshnikov was dancing at Sadler's Wells last week and dance-lovers needed know no more than this.

He remains, at 54, a marvel. And age matters in assessing his art, for, uniquely, he has found a way to channel his ever-developing artistry into new dance forms as the years obliged him to abandon the balletic repertory. Thus his White Oak Dance Project as setting for his discovery (and, crucially, re-discovery) of the roots and later flowering of American modern and post-modern dance. Curiosity, eagerness to explore, willingness to take risks and, I suppose, a fascination with the culture of his adopted land after his 1974 defection: these are the contributory factors to the work of the past decade in which new and old dance adventures have been brought to the stage.

Whatever democracy may be claimed for the White Oak Project, which is the vehicle for his performances - Baryshnikov as member of the team - he remains its generating force, its justification. What we have seen, and what we saw at Wednesday night's opening at Sadler's Wells, is still Baryshnikov, unchanged in essence as prodigious dancer and offering yet again those rewards of a vastly intelligent body that was shaped by the finest academic training.

Sadly this review link will only be freely available for a week:

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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2002 3:12 am 
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White Oak
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent

Everyone who fought for a ticket to White Oak Dance Project knew what they were there to see. It was Mikhail Baryshnikov. Never mind that he put the world's most famous virtuoso ballet technique to bed in 1989, never mind his pleas for White Oak to be seen as an ensemble, not a star vehicle: audiences want Misha. And they do have a point.

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 Post subject: Re: White Oak Dance Project
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2002 3:32 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Modern dance needs stars, too
Contemporary dance has benefited hugely from Mikhail Baryshnikov's celebrity, says Sarah Crompton in The Daily Telgraph.


Of all art forms, dance is the hardest to sell to a wide public. Even on The Daily Telegraph's arts desk, where there is a constant scramble to sample all sorts of artistic experiences, my colleagues look at me with a mixture of pity and confusion whenever I talk about my abiding passion for dance.

Yet to me, great dance offers the purest pleasure and the most excitement to be found in a theatre. It takes the simplest thing - the human impulse to move rhythmically - and transforms it into something magical.

And so it was that last Wednesday I sat in the stalls at Sadler's Wells, entranced and enraptured by the sheer wonder of watching Mikhail Baryshnikov and his White Oak company.

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