UPDATE: Congratulations to our winner, Sarah Pearce.
ORIGINAL POST: A charming family option awaits this Saturday: the annual story ballet from The State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara. This year’s original ballet, “Beauty and the Beast,” tells the classic fairy tale through contemporary dance. I have a family pack of four tickets to give away to a lucky Beehive reader to the 2 p.m. performance at the Saroyan Theatre.
For those of you up to your ears in singing teacups, never fear: This isn’t the Disney version. From my Sunday column:
This “Beauty and the Beast” is an original retelling of the classic fairy tale by Robert Sund, a guest choreographer for the Santa Barbara company. Recorded music by Tchaikovsky will accompany the 22 professional members of the company, along with 20 advanced local area ballet students …
Instead of servants turned into enchanted objects, this production is more nature oriented, with insects and animals personified through contemporary ballet. There’s still the same basic plot of Belle being imprisoned by the prince-turned-beast, but there are many changes, such as a squad of fairies (played by local dancers) working their magic.
Here’s how to enter the contest: To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us if you’ve ever seen a non-Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast.” I’ll pick one comment at random. The winner will receive four tickets. No repeat entries, please. These are paper tickets, so you’ll need to come down to The Bee’s front lobby by 5 p.m. Friday to pick them up. Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Be sure to check your email after the deadline, because that’s how I’ll inform winners. Complete rules are after the jump.
There’s still plenty of time to catch the annual Contemporary Dance Ensemble at Fresno State. Five performances remain for “Joy! Shout!” 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The company, under the artistic direction of Kenneth Balint, aims to present works that are serious in content and entertaining, with a social meaning or context. This year’s program contains five premieres: “Doubt Surrounding the Inevitable Light” by guest choreographer Rogelio Lopez, “Finding Me” by guest choreographer Martha Kelly-Fierro, “Existence” by ensemble dancer Leesha Melson, and “Redux” and “Joy! Shout!” by Balint.
And talk about a bargain: It’s a ticket sale! (Update: for online sales, use the code “dances13″.)
Fresno State’s Theatre Arts’ concert “Joy! Shout!” 8 p.m. Feb. 19-23. 50% off on remaining performances bit.ly/YxlIsv
December is jam packed with local entertainment options you won’t want to miss. You can go to see lots of theater, check out Christmas concerts and live bands and even see a dragon, among other things. So check out our “Don’t Miss It” guide to December and start filling up your entertainment calendar. View the full PDF below.
Fresno welcomed the reborn Dance Theatre of Harlem main company back with gusto Sunday night to the Saroyan Theatre. The famous ensemble has visited the city five times starting in 1989. When it had to shut down in 2004 for economic reasons, the brand was continued with its “second company,” a training troupe for younger dancers. (That group visited Fresno in 2010.) The re-formed main company made its debut just a few weeks ago in Louisville, Ky.
The challenges of kicking off a new company — even one with such a storied tradition — are numerous, and it was probably too much to expect an early performance such as this to brim with the confidence and unified artistic vision that one would hope from a world-class ensemble. That said, I was ambivalent about Sunday’s performance.
Only when the company took the stage in its fourth and final piece, Donald Byrd’s explosive “Contested Space” (pictured above), did the evening feel riveting. Set to the jarring music of Amon Tobin, this “hip exploration of contemporary male/female relationships,” as the program put it, unfolded with a smoldering, mechanized, aggressive sensibility.
UPDATE 11/9: Congratulations to winners Joey Fernandez and Jan Quezada. Hope you enjoy!
ORIGINAL POST: I have tickets to give away to a very big-deal dance event taking place Sunday: a performance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Any occasion in which a top-notch New York company performs in Fresno is a major event, but the wow factor of this concert is multiplied for an interesting reason. The Dance Theatre of Harlem had to shut down in 2004 because of financial difficulties, but it’s being revived. The first performance was just a few weeks ago in Kentucky, and the company is on tour looking toward an anticipated New York debut in spring 2013. So Fresno is one of the first cities to see the newly reconstituted group perform.
(After Dance Theatre of Harlem shut down, the company’s “second” performing group — made up of younger dancers, many in training, continued the brand under the name “Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble.” That group performed in 2010 in Fresno.)
So here’s the deal: I have two pairs of tickets to give away to Sunday’s performance, which takes place 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Saroyan Theatre. These are premium seats (Row J, orchestra) that would go for $78 each.
To enter our giveaway, leave a comment on this post. I’ll pick two winners at random who each will receive two tickets. Deadline is 4 p.m. Wednesday. If you enter, please remember to check your email, because that’s how I’ll be notifying winners. These are paper tickets, so you’ll need to be able to come down to The Bee’s front lobby during business hours by 5 p.m. Friday to pick them up.
“Breaking through the Breakdown” is a dance show that tells the story of breaking down the barriers that hold us back in life. The show is staged, acted and danced well. But I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.
I’m not sure if it was the photo in the Rogue Map, or the impromptu show that I passed by the group of dancers in front of the Tower Theatre Saturday afternoon, but I was expecting a break dance show. To me, that means a show filled with mostly break dancing. This show was not. I would describe it more as a contemporary dance show that happens to feature a bit of break dancing.
Vincent Gonzales, who wrote, directed and stars in the show, has wonderful talent. The pain and confusion of his character was palatable throughout the show. When he danced, it was fantastic fun. Unfortunately, it seemed he spent more time crouched, writhing on the edges of the dance floor than he did actually dancing. The moment he “breaks through” and embraces dance was fabulous, energetic and engaging. There just wasn’t enough of it to satisfy me.
Let’s face it: wedding receptions can be pretty dull. For the most part, they adhere to a well-trod script that was written decades ago (food, toasts, first dance, parent dance, cake, bouquet toss, zzzz).
Your only hope when attending a wedding is free booze that the bride and groom have taken a chance by injecting some creativity into the event. In the case of the following video, it was the father and daughter who livened things up with a surprise dance routine. Check it out.
UPDATE: We have an email out to our winner, Eric Billings. Thanks everyone for playing!
Original:BREAK! Urban Funk Spectacular will bring breakdancing, locking, electric boogaloo, popping, power tumbling and beat boxing to the stage of the Saroyan Theatre Saturday and we have a pair of orchestra level tickets to giveaway. You can read a summary of the show from Donald Munro here.
The tickets will go to the FIFTH commenter on this post.
A few notes: Winner will be notified in an e-mail, so leave a real one. No repeat comments. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something in the past 30 days. We won’t post any comments until we have a winner. Tickets will have to be picked up at The Bee building in downtown Fresno between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. Complete rules after the jump.
I have to be honest, I didn’t really enjoy the Fresno Dance Collective show Saturday afternoon. And, after talking to a few people in line at other shows yesterday, I get the sense that I’m not the only one who left this performance feeling a bit disappointed.
I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. Maybe it’s a combination of things, such as the show being a half hour (not the 45 minutes advertised) and feeling so rushed that I had no time to process what I saw between vignettes. It could be that I felt there was a lack of fluidity between moves, as if the dancers were preparing for the next step instead of seamlessly moving. Or maybe it was that I never really felt like the dancers — who are definitely talented — really connected to the music, choreography or each other. The moves were all there, beautiful bodies, crisp positions, movement, lightness, conviction, but yet, I never really felt anything. Maybe it was that this is the company’s premiere performance locally, and it just needs more time to shake out the bugs. Or, maybe it was just me. I love watching dancers, and I expect to be moved. Saturday, that didn’t really happen for me.
I really am excited to see this local dance company emerge. I applaud their goal of exposing and educating the Valley about modern dance. At one point in Saturday’s show, guest dancer Megan Yankee of San Mateo talks about how the company wants to get rid of the notion of modern dance not being understandable — that there is no right answer and it’s OK for each person to interpret the dance in a different way. I agree, and I hope they succeed.
SHOW INFO: 4 p.m. Saturday at Severance, 1401 N. Wishon. Admission: $10.
First, I have to confess: I have no idea what makes good belly dancing. The only belly dancing I had ever seen, until Saturday, was in the movies. That said, I really enjoyed the “Orgins” show by Fallen Orchid.
The three women who danced were beautiful, tasteful, controlled and sultry. They do this thing with their eyes — kind of looking at you but not — that really oozes sex appeal and draws you in (I know my husband was captivated). If this was an “America’s Next Top Model” critique, Tyra Banks would be gushing at how they smiled with their eyes.
The 60-minute program consists of the trio performing together, as pairs and in solo numbers. Each girl seemed as strong on her own as she did with the group. When the ladies dance together, they really compliment each other. There are some fun surprises, such as one number involving balancing a stick and another with a snake. This PG-13 show is not suggested for children, but I found it very tasteful. The costumes are sexy but not gross or inappropriate (the strategically placed tattoos add a little something interesting). The moves are rhythmic but not too suggestive.
There are several belly dance shows in this year’s Rogue Festival lineup. I have no idea how this compares to those. All I can say is that this show was fun. I left smiling.
SHOW INFO: 7 p.m. today, 4 p.m. Saturday at Million Too, 1153 N. Fulton. Admission: $7.
I love this quote from Jimmy Hao, artistic director of Fresno City College’s fall dance workshop:
“Life is tough these days, but dance could make it easy.”
The workshop, titled “Surge of Spirit,” is what Hao calls a spiritual journey choreographed by faculty and students. Hao says that every work is filled with individual experiences. Genres range from classical ballet to post-modern dance.
Performance dates are December 3, 4, and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and December 5 and 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 general, $10 students/seniors. Details: (559) 442-8221.
Pictured: an image from Fresno City College’s April dance workshop.