Whelan Has A Way With “Words”

by Lucy Gellman | Jun 24, 2016 7:02 am

Erin Baiano Photo In “First Word,” a silent solo that follows Tyondai Braxton‘s “ArpRec1,” acclaimed dancer Wendy Whelan rediscovers her body: Her arms, that have carried so many classical performances, are now unbound. Her long, dextrous torso reaches forward and snaps back. Her legs—how they bend so violently when asked!—delight in new configurations. Even her huge eyes, deeply expressive when they catch the light, convey a profound sort of reeducation. When fellow dancer Brian Brooks joins her onstage for an exercise in impossible synchronicity, it’s all that the audience can do to try to not blink, lest they miss something.

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Louder Than “A Thousand Words”

by Lucy Gellman | Jun 23, 2016 7:07 am

Erin Baiano Photo Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks have a message for New Haveners: Reinventing yourself should never stop, and should never feel completely comfortable. For Whelan, who gave her pointe shoes to Brooks sometime after retiring from the New York City Ballet (NYCB) two years ago, that sense of self-renewal is vital — and she wants to share it widely, through movement.

While that phase of her career began long before New Haven, there’s now a chapter of it in the Elm City, where she and Brooks arrived earlier this week to familiarize themselves with and rehearse on the Shubert Theater’s well-loved stage. Thursday and Friday night, they will appear there in the world premiere of Some Of A Thousand Words, a collaboration with the New York-based quartet Brooklyn Rider that takes off where Whelan and Brooks’ 2012 project Restless Creature ended. Where Restless Creature, a series of sketches, was danced to Brooklyn Rider’s take on several 20th-century composers, particularly Phillip Glass, Some Of A Thousand Words includes an original composition from the group’s violinist, who will perform onstage with the duo. The performance takes place as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas

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Yang Hao Dances The In-Between

by Lucy Gellman | Jun 22, 2016 7:25 am

Judy Rosenthal Photo Just six or seven minutes into Pied à terre, dancer Yang Hao did something that the audience, bracing for a kinetic performance, may not have expected: He lay down. Prone, pressed right up against the floor as if totally exhausted. As if his body brought with it an immeasurable weight. The room fell into total silence. Everything up to this point had focused in on minute, measured but powerful gestures: the flick and flutter of fingers, clean snapping of wrists, arch of his back against his rolled shoulders. Was this an early admission of defeat, or something else?

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Peaceful Protest Finds New Feet

by Lucy Gellman | Jun 16, 2016 7:40 am

Ellen Crane Photography Even before the first strains of Kendrick Lamar’s galvanizing “Alright” fell over the stage, company dancers from Abraham.In.Motion were taking a stand, and then some, on the evolving politics of black identity.

Behind them, footage of protests rolled across a linen scrim, priming the audience for what was to come. The video died down as the music ramped up. The dancers’ bodies jerked violently, choppily, as they made their way across the stage. Arms soared upward, long fingers catching in the light. Faces turned toward the audience, then back toward the stage, launching into untethered motion as the number of dancers grew.

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Despite Drizzle, Artwalk Spreads Spring Cheer

by Lucy Gellman | May 9, 2016 7:11 am

Lucy Gellman Photo Taking in the sounds of Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps and Arms & Voices as a mist began to fall over Whalley Avenue, pint-sized Westvillian Ava Kimbro and her mom Marjorie made a decision: stick it out, at least until Ava could get a big, blooming flower painted on her face. After all, this was their third Westville Artwalk, and they weren’t going to be that easily deterred. They inched toward the front of the line, where face artist Lauren Wilson was hard at work with her palettes, brushes, and stencils. 

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Today On WNHH Radio

by Lucy Gellman | May 5, 2016 2:52 pm

Lucy Gellman Photo The Great Give marathon is over and WNHH radio programming is back to normal! Today’s programs delve into the daily duties of Connecticut’s secretary of the state, ask what performative film looks like in the year 2016, tease out the difference between contemporary and classical dance, and more.

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