Most memorable moments: Critics Choice 2016

Sure to provoke some heated arguments is the roll call of the most glorious (and most disappointing) moments in dance over the past 12 months, published in Dance Europe’s October issue. Here are a handful of names that made it into Carla’s Critics Choice selections:

Vanessa Zahorian and Luke Ingham in Christopher Wheeldon's CONTINUUM (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

Vanessa Zahorian and Luke Ingham in Christopher Wheeldon’s CONTINUUM
(Photo: Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet’s Vanessa Zahorian, best dancer of the year. For lots of reasons: here’s one. And another one. And one more.

Sara Mearns and New York City Ballet in Peter Martins' SWAN LAKE (Photo: Paul Kolnik)

Sara Mearns and New York City Ballet in Peter Martins’ SWAN LAKE (Photo: Paul Kolnik)

New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns, notably for her outstanding performance as Odette-Odile in Peter Martins’ Swan Lake. (Yes, she fell out of those fouettés. Twice. And nobody in that spellbound audience gave a damn.)

Daniil Simkin and Misty Copeland in Kenneth MacMillan's ROMEO AND JULIET (Photo: Gene Schiavone)

Daniil Simkin and Misty Copeland in Kenneth MacMillan’s ROMEO AND JULIET (Photo: Gene Schiavone)

Misty Copeland and Daniil Simkin for their outstanding performances in MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet at the Met. It was his first Romeo ever and her third Juliet – see my review in the Huffington Post.

Aliah Najmabadi at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival 2016

Aliah Najmabadi at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival 2016 (Photo: Mark Muntean)

Tajik dancer Aliah Najmabadi for her outstanding performance in Ayomi Ishq at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. (Details in my review of this exhilarating festival in the Huffington Post.)

Dominic North as Leo and Ashley Shaw as Aurora in Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY (Photo: Johan Persson)

Dominic North as Leo and Ashley Shaw as Aurora in Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY (Photo: Johan Persson)

New Adventures’ Ashley Shaw for her outstanding performance ­as Aurora in Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. I waxed rhapsodic over her in Bachtrack.

Garrett Anderson and Tobin Del Cuore in Lar Lubovitch's CONCERTO SIX TWENTY-TWO (Photo: Andrew Weeks)

Garrett Anderson and Tobin Del Cuore in Lar Lubovitch’s CONCERTO SIX TWENTY-TWO at SFDanceworks’ inaugural performance (Photo: Andrew Weeks)

Garrett Anderson for his outstanding performances in the inaugural season of the brand new SFDanceworks, which I reviewed in the Aug/Sept edition of Dance Europe (paywall.)

de-diana-byer-interview-2016

Diana Byer as best director of the year and New York Theatre Ballet as best company of the year. Most recently I reviewed them at New York Live Arts in Legends and Visionaries, a mixed bill of Jerome Robbins, Richard Alston, Milissa Payne Bradley, Zhong-Jing Fang and Steven Melendez. My interview with Byer also appeared in Dance Europe’s October issue.

Patrick Howell in Michael Pink's DORIAN GRAY for Milwaukee Ballet (Photo: Mark Frohna)

Patrick Howell in Michael Pink’s DORIAN GRAY for Milwaukee Ballet (Photo: Mark Frohna)

Michael Pink’s Dorian Gray for Milwaukee Ballet proved to be one of the most exciting premières of the year. I called the whole enterprise “mad, bad and dangerous to know” in my review for the Huffington Post.

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Krissy Keefer’s SIN PALABRAS (Photo: Robbie Sweeny)

Krissy Keefer’s Sin Palabras for D.I.R.T., Dance in Revolt(ing) Times, at San Francisco’s Dance Mission was another sizzling hot property (reviewed for Bachtrack.)

Milissa Payne Bradley's ENOUGH SAID (Photo: Mark McBeth)

Jamielyn Duggan (center) with Kelsey McFalls and Chantelle Pianetta in Milissa Payne Bradley’s ENOUGH SAID (Photo: Mark McBeth)

Milissa Payne Bradley was the new choreographer to watch. I reviewed the piece she set on New York Theatre Ballet for the Huffington Post. On the Left Coast, the West Wave Dance Festival premiered her audacious Enough Said, a pas de trois for three ballerinas set to a soundtrack of comedy routines by Louis C.K., Daniel Tosh and Mitch Hedberg (video clip here). I wrote in Dance Europe that “Enough Said is funny and illuminating on multiple levels, whether you speak ballet fluently or not.”

And the Worst News of the Year? The demise of Silicon Valley Ballet.

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For the rest of my list and those of other critics around the world, check out the October 2016 issue of Dance Europe (subscribe to the print and/or online edition, or purchase a single issue).

Ballet Philippines in Paul Morales' LAKAMBINI (Photo: Hydee Ursolino Abrahan)

Ballet Philippines in Paul Morales’ LAKAMBINI (Photo: Hydee Ursolino Abrahan)

And do not forget the vibrant dance scene in Asia! Last month I gazed back at the extraordinary history of Ballet Philippines, and summed up the highlights of its current season for Bachtrack.

Terez Dean, Dustin James, Tessa Barbour, and Ben Needham-Wood in Nicole Haskins' J-I-N-G-L-E Bells, part of Smuin Ballet's 22nd edition of THE CHRISTMAS BALLET (Photo: Keith Sutter)

Terez Dean, Dustin James, Tessa Barbour, and Ben Needham-Wood in Nicole Haskins’ J-I-N-G-L-E Bells, part of Smuin Ballet’s 22nd edition of THE CHRISTMAS BALLET (Photo: Keith Sutter)

Finally, to ring out a turbulent year, I surveyed the best of the Bay Area holiday dance scene. For my winter dance round-up, I interviewed young dancers as well as distinguished veterans, all of whom have served many years in the Nutcrackers or the more unconventional holiday fare for which San Francisco is famed. Find out what they shared with me in my piece for KQED Arts.

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