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Performing Arts Blog
Milonga at City Center

Germán Cornejo “Nikito” and Gisela Galeassi in the thrilling m¡longa, photographed by Tristram Kenton.

The art of tango has long been a preoccupation for the celebrated Belgian-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. In the evening-length work m¡longa, Cherkaoui has brought a new danger and fluidity to the traditional Argentinean social dance, with the help of ten virtuoso tango dancers, two contemporary dancers, and a five-piece band. We spoke with Cherkaoui about the language of tango, the difficulties of dance preservation, and why he thinks the body is “a patchwork of memory chips.”

CITY CENTER: Can you tell me a bit about your history with tango?
SIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI: I’ve been attracted to tango for the last 15 years, I think. I had been working mostly as a contemporary dancer [when I began choreographing] back in ’99. For my first piece, I wanted to make a tango in which partners wouldn’t touch. They were only shifting their weight, and everything was done by just shoulders, the hips, and the feet. I wanted to address this tension, this magnetic tension between the two partners, but without sharing the weight. Ultimately, that’s what is so powerful about tango: the shared weight. Two dancers are connecting and becoming one, and there is a transmission of information through touch. That’s really what tango is all about. It’s not just about making the girl do anything you want—it’s this symbiotic relationship in which you are constantly listening to her and proposing what’s fair and right, and she has every time the opportunity to shift it and delay it and refuse it, even.

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February 26, 2015 by New York City Center
Ballet Hispanico Performing

Ballet Hispanico, photographed by Rosalie O’Connor.

Cuban-American choreographer Pedro Ruiz burst into tears the first time that he saw the Cuban ballet company Endedans perform. “That was the first moment my soul connected again with Cuba,” he told a rapt crowd in City Center’s grand tier lobby on February 18, 2015. When Ruiz was named associate artistic director of Endedans this year, it marked the first time that a Cuban American had held such a position in a Cuban dance company. Ruiz explained, “All the dancers came in with a very strong and beautiful classical background; it’s like raw sugar. My challenge was how to refine that.”

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February 25, 2015 by New York City Center
Keith Carradine

Paint Your Wagon star Keith Carradine.

We’re delighted to announce that Keith Carradine will star in the Encores! production of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s rousing 1951 Gold Rush musical Paint Your Wagon. Carradine, who will play the grizzled gold prospector Ben Rumson, would seem to have the West in his bones: his father John Carradine was a regular in John Ford’s mythic Western films, and Keith himself received a Tony Award nomination as the cowboy folk-hero Will Rogers in The Will Rogers Follies. He has also appeared in Hands on a Hardbody, Hair, “Fargo,” “Dexter,” and classic Robert Altman films such as McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, and Nashville. For the latter film, Carradine wrote and performed the song “I’m Easy,” which won an Academy Award.

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February 23, 2015 by New York City Center
The Gershwins Broadway

George Gershwin, producer Sam Harris, and Ira Gershwin in 1932.

Lady, Be Good! lyricist Ira Gershwin was a brilliant, bookish homebody who labored over his lyrics like a jeweler and worshipped his brother George. “They worked a lot at night,” explained musical theater historian Robert Kimball. “George would go to a party, come back, they’d pull a pint of ice cream out of the freezer, eat the ice cream, and finally get to work.” On February 2, 2015, Kimball joined City Center board member Ted Chapin for a Studio 5 evening devoted to Ira Gershwin’s life and his witty, indelible lyrics. Listen to excerpts here:

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February 4, 2015 by New York City Center

Colin Donnell and Patti Murin play a hobo and “hobo-ess” in the Encores! production of Lady, Be Good!, but they’re also engaged in real life! We cornered them in one of City Center’s dressing rooms and asked them your questions about “The Bachelor,” cereal, backstage jitters, and their dream projects. In the process, they even learned a little something about each other. (Colin: “Bats were a big problem for you?”) Check it out!

Lady, Be Good! runs for seven performances from February 4-8.

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February 4, 2015 by New York City Center