New York Sun
March 8, 2005 Tuesday
ON THE TOWN; Pg. 24
LENGTH: 1075 words
HEADLINE: Visual Vocabulary Revisited
BYLINE: PIA CATTON
hear it from Eve Ensler - creator of "The Vagina
Monologues" - the time that women spend at their
vanity tables is pretty much wasted.
do you keep women out of power?" she wrote in a feature
that appeared, ironically, in Glamour magazine. "Keep
us in front of the mirror. It's like women have been given
a little country called our bodies, which we get to tyrannize
while men get all of the world. If we were to cut even
by a quarter the amount of money and the amount of time
we spend fixing ourselves, do you know what the planet
would be like?"
the decisions that go into "fixing ourselves"
- in all their complexities and the sheer magnitude of
them - are fascinating and, in their way, important. Why
do we take so much time to get dressed, to select our
clothes, shoes, jewelry, lipstick? Ultimately, it's because
we define ourselves in our choices.
Ms. Ensler might hope that women cut back on that narcissistic
decision-making process, there are a number of creative
artists who are exploring and finding inspiration from
the weekend at the Puffin Room, choreographer Adrienne
Celeste Fadjo, of ACFDance, presented an excerpt from
her forthcoming contemporary piece "HOMEwork."
In it, three dancers dressed as men rumble with one another,
but they stop everything when two pretty girls slink by.
girls (dressed modestly and identically) proceed to sit
on stools and help each other with their hair and makeup.
It's a slow, tender process, and each spends a healthy
portion of her stage time looking at herself in an imaginary
mirror (the audience). In the press notes, Ms Fadjo explains
that the "women make themselves beautiful, although
their reflections show more distinctly when not looking
in the mirror."
she choreographed the movements so that when the women
look in the mirror, they go through poses: stretching
the neck and allowing the eye to scan for flaws. By contrast,
the women look natural and serene when they turn to each
work - which will be presented in full this fall - seems
to suggest that when we want to look our best, we should
allow others to direct us. Impractical, of course. But
it raises the question: How do we know if our choices
are wise? What does or doesn't the mirror tell us?
Myna Mukherjee, the artistic director of the Nayikas
Dance Theater Company, explores similar questions in her
program "Glow," coming up this week at the Rubin
Museum of Art. On this seven-piece program, Ms. Mukherjee
combines Indian classical dance with various other styles
of movement. Thematically, three of the works are related
to the transformations that women go through when they
prepare to greet the outside world.
"Saveri Pallavi" (which translates to "Beautiful
Woman Dressing Up"), two women, quite literally,
get dressed: Each one puts on traditional makeup, a bindi,
silver belt, and sari. The work comes from a traditional
context; adornment is one of the nine "moods"
in Indian dance. (Others include happiness, pain, and
more abstract choreography, in "Dasa Maha Vidyas,"
explores the idea of adornment and spirituality. Ms. Mukherjee
describes it as a riff on "how the feminine divine
is not restricted to the manifestation of the goddess,
but in everyday events."
title work, "Glow," takes the notion into even
greater abstraction and more thoughtful territory. "What
makes a woman feel like she's glowing? Luminescence is
not restricted to form," said Ms. Mukherjee.
is an enormous gulf between Ms. Mukherjee - who wants
to understand what produces radiance in women - and Ms.
Ensler, who might prefer that luminescence is restricted
to light bulbs and fireflies. Women should be preparing
not for cocktails, but for world domination.
got one more example for you. Singer Gwen Stefani, on
her new album, pays homage to the Japanese Harajuku girls
- the fashion-obsessed teenagers who wear outlandish outfits
more suited to the runway than the sidewalk.
one line she puts it rather neatly: "Your underground
culture / Visual grammar / the language of your clothing
is something to encounter." What's in that "visual
grammar"? What does the language of that clothing
communicate? Something more powerful, I think, than Ms.
Ensler gives it credit for.
Dance Theater Company will perform at The Rubin Museum
of Art, at 150 West 17th Street, on March 17, 18 and 19.Tickets
are $25. For more information call 212-620-5000 ex. 344
or write email@example.com.
can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Times
March 18, 2005 Friday
Arts/Weekend Desk; Pg. 27
selective listing by critics of The Times: New or noteworthy
dance events this weekend in the New York metropolitan
region. * denotes a highly recommended event. Full reviews
of recent performances: nytimes.com/dance.
DANCE THEATER Billing itself as New York's first resident
dance theater company specializing in the Indian classical
Odissi form, the troupe will perform the director Myna
Mukherjee's ''Glow,'' a new multimedia dance and theater
piece that draws on the glowing sensuality of women. Tonight
at 7 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m., Rubin Museum of Art,
150 West 17th Street, Manhattan, (212) 620-5000, ext.
344. Tickets: $25; $18 for students and 65+.
New York Times
March 19, 2005 Saturday
Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section B; Column 1; The Arts/Cultural Desk;
DANCE REVIEW; Pg. 15
LENGTH: 268 words
HEADLINE: Ancient and Modern Forms Animate a Passage
BYLINE: By JENNIFER DUNNING
was a glow to ''Glow,'' a program of works that was presented
by the Nayikas Dance Theater Company on Thursday
night at the handsome new Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea.
But the radiance came from the obvious love for Indian
art, myth and religion that informed the multimedia evening
rather than from the choreography or performing.
as New York City's first resident troupe to perform the
Indian classical dance form of Odissi, the all-female
Nayikas offered a vivid exploration of the art
and legend surrounding this pure ancient dance. The look
is lyrical, rounded and sensuous, as the helpful program
notes pointed out. But Odissi has a very specific vocabulary
and style. The Nayikas dancers had little of the
necessary focus or sense of fine detail in the four most
traditional segments (''MangalaCharan -- Ganesh Stuti,''
''Pallavi -- Saveri,'' ''Das Mahavidya'' and ''Mokshya
and Shloka''), restaged and rechoreographed by company
director Myna Mukherjee. Several of the dancers looked
like young advanced students.
of ballet, Bollywood and martial arts moves could be seen
occasionally in the traditional pieces. Ms. Mukherjee
also presented two more modern dances (''Faces of a Name''
and an individual work also called ''Glow''), but neither
felt any more authentic than the other pieces. And the
limited vocabulary that Ms. Mukherjee used in ''Glow,''
a look at the paradoxes of modern Indian women, suggested
that her greater gift is visual. The projected images
of the dark goddess Kali and her worshippers and the program's
explanation of them were fascinating and provocative.
Photo: In Chelsea: members of the Nayikas Dance
Theater Company. (Photograph by Andrea Mohin/The New York