MMDG in their cracking good ‘Hard Nut’

The Mark Morris Dance Group sleighed into town this past weekend with their holiday masterpiece, A Hard Nut. Now in its 26th year, this holiday treat is as fresh as the day it first appeared, decorated in red and green and swaddled with svelte ’50s–’60s fashions. A satirical updating of the Christmas specialty...

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Camille A. Brown & Dancers trip the childhood fantastic

When Camille A. Brown talked about the process behind her dance piece, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, in her TED Talk, she described performing the initial choreography at schools. Before each performance her dancers would ask the audience, “What do you think of when you hear the words ‘black girl’?” She was shocked and pained by the negative response of one group of students, and for a moment considered not performing. But when she looked out at the sea of mostly white faces,...

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Ragamala Dance Company’s profoundly lovely “Written on Water”

Rising out of the darkened stage at the Zellerbach Playhouse was a single elongated image of layered color light on the back left of the stage. A huge projection of the game board of Paramapadam, what we would recognize as Snakes and Ladders, fell on the floor of the stage. Across the blue field of the board, red ladders leaned and large black and white snakes tapered in curves from head to tail tip, connecting squares. Across the bright game board five women were placed like tokens. Dressed in...

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Smith/Wymore disappear the act at ODC

Each of the walls of large white boxes is stacked six across and five up, and together they form half of a room, an L-shaped stage within a stage. Projected across the surface of the boxes is a reedy plant, perhaps the same reedy plant that is sitting on the stage in front of the boxes. A barefoot man languishes at a piano set outside the square stage that the boxes form. As the audience quiets down, it becomes clear that Six Degrees of Freedom, the latest mixed-genre production of...

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