REVIEW: “Dancing with Glass: The Piano Etudes” at THE JOYCE THEATER Brings Holiday Joy

November 28 - december 10,2023 at the Joyce Theater located at 175 Eighth Avenue

Orlando Hernandez, Lenardo Sandoval, LucasSantana and Ana Tomioshi
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The house lights dimmed. In darkness we heard the compelling, crashing chords. After a rapturous piano solo, the curtain rose to reveal the visual of five dancers as we viscerally connected to the cacophony of claps, feet stomps, breath and syncopated sound and movement. The marriage of music and dance joined together in a magnificent start to the holiday season at The Joyce Theater Foundation (Linda Shelton, Executive Director) with the momentous Dancing with Glass: The Piano Etudes. This new exploration of Philip Glass’s works for solo piano, and The Etudes by five choreographic visionaries in their own styles will play The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, from November 28 – December 10.

Maki Namekawa

Inspiring artists of many genres for decades, and long celebrated for his collaborations across
artistic mediums, Philip Glass is an icon not just in the world of music, but in dance as well.
Dancing with Glass: The Piano Etudes is the latest choreographic interpretation of one of his
most popular and enduring collections, The Etudes—a set of twenty works for solo piano
originally composed to expand the composer’s own piano technique.

Patricia Delgado

“The 20 etudes for piano were composed during the years from 1991 to 2012,” says the iconic Glass who, at 86 years-old, is also enjoying the recent release of Philip Glass Piano Etudes, published by Artisan Books, the book-set now available online and at local bookstores. “It is almost like a self-portrait in a way, which I hadn’t originally intended, and yet, it was unavoidable.”

The five distinct choreographic perspectives were interpretations of Glass’s work and, fiction or not, each dance seemed to tell a story of the renowned composer. It was an exhilarating combo to hear the the gifted Maki Namekawa play the gorgeous etudes, and then see one’s imagined narratives embodied by a dozen exceptional and exciting dancers. Favorite moments included:

Noé Kains stepping off the stage as a “dancer” to play Etude #7 on piano.

Feeling like a fly on the wall in the bedroom of the dance team of real-life husband and wife, Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber. The passion, push-pull, and relentless yearning evident in their every move.

The amazing Chanaon Judson, a vision of flow and isolation.

Chanan Judson

Driving and frenetic, the repetition and recapitulation of Glass’s themes within in each piece, culminating in the final Etude #20.

The standing ovation for the phenomenal Philip Glass, who was in attendance at this gala opening night.

Conceived and produced by Pomegranate Arts and presented as part of the Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival in New York, Dancing with Glass: The Piano Etudes will see six titans of dance present five interpretations of Glass’s prominent work in a way that only each of them can. Accompanied by featured pianist Maki Namekawa, one of the world’s foremost interpreters of Glass’s music, audiences will be treated to works by post-modern innovator Lucinda Childs, Chanon Judson of Urban Bush Women, Justin Peck of New York City Ballet, Brazilian tap artist Leonardo Sandoval of Music From the Sole, and Los Angeles-based choreographers Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber. This extended two-week engagement of this intimate work explores what can be created when eight masters at the top of their forms converge for one spellbinding evening of music and dance. Costumes are created by the noted fashion designer Josie Natori and provided by the Natori company. Lighting is designed by John Torres.

Caitlin Scranton and Kyle Gerry

Inspiring artists of many genres for decades and long celebrated for his collaborations across artistic mediums, Philip Glass is an icon not just in the world of music, but in dance as well. Dancing with Glass: The Piano Etudes is the latest choreographic interpretation of one of his most popular and enduring collections.

Tickets, ranging in price from $12-$82 (including fees), can be purchased here or by
calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change.

Performer photo credit: Steven Pisano.

Book Set photo credit: Stephen Doyle.

For more information.

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