A most generous man.

I just can't. This man is my favorite. A wonderful human. A photographer with a stunning ability to catch the pauses and the crevices, in skin and soul.

His blog is almost unbearably intimate, into the lives of others (particularly in war and conflict zones).

He photographed the images used almost exclusively to promote PCDC's season.

You can read my interview with him here. But really, just go to his website and support by simply looking.

An email Sebastian sent recently:

A tiny story

One day before breakfast , an orange rolled off the counter and escaped its fate, bounding happily through the kitchen door.

Filled with hope the egg followed! 

And with that my obvious adoration for anyone who could send an email just containing that message becomes clear. 


How to take off a shirt.

A review of the CURRENT SESSIONS Volume III, Issue I.

The care of movement is the respect of dance. Purpose and clarity expand and fill in the moles and scratches that lay in the wake of hard breathing and unhinged limbs. In Lucy Guerin’s “Untrained,” performed at BAM in the winter of 2012, the dancers each take off their shirts while describing their actions in great detail. “I hook my thumbs under the collar like so…. I cross my arms and pull upwards…” The act of taking off their shirt becomes a codified magnification of the mundane, mesmerizing because the dancers invest full attention in the fingers, the skin of the fingers, the edges of their fingernails.

Their touch is a dance, and the CURRENT SESSIONS contained many such attuned performers and mature choreographers within its programming, which included 17 presenting artists, 3 movement workshops and a talkback.  Curated by creative director and producer Alexis Convento, co-creative director Allison Jones, and others, SESSIONS’ aesthetic, from graphic design to selected choreography, is of the hip and subtly provocative.

I will fall in love with sensitive fingers, skin and nails every time.  The dance of sensitivity requires authenticity and challenges audience expectations of what is physically alluring. This understated provocation works and should be practiced heartily.

It is, in Brendan Duggan of LoudhoundMovement’s “Tempered Skin,” Chihiro Shimizu’s “one hundred lies to tell you the truth,” Grace Courvousier’s “Fresh not Frozen,” and in Allison Jones’ “HYPOMANIAC!” From the looseness of Duggan’s dancers’ joints – femur folds in the hip crease like the folding of a wet dough– to the stuttered “I love you” that closes the piece, there is no hardness that implies insecurity. Shimizu, who performs in the duet alongside Chuck Wilt, is a calligraphic structure of sharp bones paradoxically traveling in swooping lines. The dual nature of Shimizu’s performance continues when she is pulled briefly out of a placid moment by a provoking hand gesture from Wilt. She responds with an unguarded, teeth-baring grimace that disappears before it registers. Animal, immediate.

It’s worth noting that this same tactility and responsiveness is familiar choreography. In my review of the last CURRENT SESSIONS, I wrote “the thighs splayed wide in fourth position, teasing the floor with the crotch. This is pure Gallim. Or, Gallim reflects a contemporary dance scene that is rapidly turning the new into the normal.” Allison Jones brought the crotch low, with choreography that bursts and sinks in opposing and dynamically invigorating impulses; Shimizu and Duggan pulled energetic strings from the air that evoked some of Miller’s adagios.

If you wittingly or unconsciously echo another choreographer, Gallim is a good bet. I’d rather watch the same graceful, honest dance 1,000 times than watch movement that numbs the body’s impulses. Kate Ladenheim’s “Spin Cycle” includes a repetitive vocabulary in which dancers mime daily actions – riding the bus, taking a shower, putting on a shirt… The dancers put on their shirts with an uninvolved swoop of their arms in no particular pattern or adherence to reality. There is no study and there is no interest in the visceral movement, and such disinterest reveals itself in the abrupt transitions in the piece. Donna Salgado’s “Working Walls 2,” attempts to integrate African, Salsa, yoga and contemporary dance within the confines of ballet. No style is accurately represented and instead the movement is a facsimile of generalizations of each style. The disparity between Guerin’s intensely studied performance of getting dressed and these echoes of style aligns with the audience’s corresponding interest (or disinterest) in them. 

Courvoisier’s “Fresh not Frozen” was an outlier in this program, and might be forgotten except that it imprints with its simplicity. Dancer Julia Radomyski’s urgent tapping of her breastbone. Her incessant, skin-reddening rubbing of the face. Her arcing wrists as they sweep upwards, only stopping when bone meets bone at the apex above her head. This is what I remember, and what is important, along with the feeling of anxious passion that Radomyski physicalizes, while maintaining her natural grace. More theatrical than sensitive, more subtle than miming, “Fresh not Frozen,” sandwiched between hugely ranging styles of dance, exemplifies CURRENT SESSIONS’ good taste within many genres.

Sunday’s afternoon program, one of 4 distinct performances within this CURRENT SESSIONS, also saw choreography by many other artists. A Parisian-costumed Alexander Dones performed another random assemblage of voguing, popping, whacking and contemporary dance. Also highlighted in the program was a dance for camera, capturing the beauty of the body encased in the beauty of a sandy, golden shore, directed by Ruben Graciani, and the most linear piece in the program, “mujeres” by Enza DePalma, which found strength in spatial patterns and pulsating movement.


I wrote this some time ago, but only published it to Dance Enthusiast. In an effort to keep everything in one place, here it is too many months later. The more recent CURRENT SESSIONS review is in the following post. 

THE CURRENT SESSIONS: Sunday July 15th, 7:30 pm
a review

Andrea Miller, choreographer and Artistic Director of the well-known contemporary dance company Gallim Dance was in the audience during Sunday night’s The CURRENT SESSIONS. Even though Miller was most likely there to support dancers and co-workers who were featured throughout the night, it was not hard to imagine that some of the dancers were using this performance as an informal audition for Gallim, which has its first female audition in three years soon (dancers, go ahead and search on dancenyc now, just finish reading this when you’re done).

In line with Gallim’s penchant for the physically improbable, many dances presented in The CURRENT SESSIONS were comfortable playing with extremes. The use of the instep as a viable support for body weight. The thighs splayed wide in fourth position, teasing the floor with the crotch. This is pure Gallim. Or, Gallim reflects a contemporary dance scene that is rapidly turning the new into the normal. But in spite of a sometimes-similar movement vocabulary, The CURRENT SESSIONS’ Sunday night performance (one of three separate compilations of choreographers that weekend) at The Wild Project was a showcase of “today’s best emerging contemporary choreographers.” One could feel their deep desire to differentiate themselves from their peers through different, bold choices.

One Side of the Story opens the show with a pawing, licking grace. It is sensual like a sleek cat is sensual, stretching nonchalantly then darting across the floor. The five female dancers performing for Yin Yue Dance (including Yin Yue) are alternately cool, relaxed and then in a moment they are muscular and taut. This is the most choreographed piece of the night, with clean unison displaying well-rehearsed movement.

Although still well rehearsed, the other pieces rely more on the dancers to create a sense of union within the choreography. Circumstantial Amy, choreographed by Brendan Duggan, transitions between sections with undirected stumbling. The dancers have to navigate around one another in the moment. The stumbling (which sometimes progresses into tripping…oops) seems vague and somewhat arbitrary.  When there is specific movement to work with – a bird-like flapping, a simple phrase— the dancers are finally able to respond to one another with intention.

Jonathan Royse Windham’s Two duets, some awkward moments, a long silence and a slow dance doesn’t even try to transition through the choreography: it stops the music and starts again. The playful structure of the piece, complete with hilarious, adolescent performances by decidedly mature performers, thrives when the eight dancers’ animated personalities react to external events according to their distinct characters. The overblown characters necessitate confident performers and Francesca Romo (with her silly side sneer) and the seven other dancers are satisfying to watch.

SHAPESHIFT, choreographed by Betheny Merola, uses two bodies as propellers. The dark-haired duo is a forceful instigator of coolly understated movement that often works its way towards a lift or roll. Mallory Rosenthal’s duet, As Our Buttons Are Cast in Bone needs less force and more space. The dance is a rippling extenuation of the two dancers’ first moment onstage and if it is the simplest piece, it is also the most kinesthetically conscious one in the show.  Performers Emily Terndrup and TJ Spaur, with their slightly rounded, thinking bodies, are self-aware to the point of excluding all else. The best and often repeated moment is when Terndrup opens her arms and her collarbone finally seeks something above. Even though it lasts only for a second, it seems forever that she dangles, her weight seeping off of suspended bones.

The seconds of beauty last longer in The Wild Project’s intimate theater than they might have in a larger venue. For this group of emerging choreographers, close up is good. It lets you see the beauty of dance that often comes in the form of distorted extremes. But they are distortions that are enticing and interesting and to watch. The physical courage of the dancers makes it clear that beauty is brave and uncontrollable and sometimes a little bit dirty.

Also included in this performance: Discontinue: Part II choreographed by Sarah Mettin/ Mettin Movement Collective and Lonely Woman choreographed by Theodora Boguszewski.