A New Year’s Artistic Blessings

Teen Editorial Staff January 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Audrey Gray and Disha Cattamanchi

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With one turn of a calendar’s page, 2023 has arrived. For many, the new year is a time for self-reflection. Some might make New Year’s resolutions to look back on their year in review; others might set on the path to a fresh start. For the more creatively inclined, the new year is a magnificent chance to delve deep into who you are and who you want to become through art. If you’re interested in experiencing the myriad of artistic perspectives the new year has inspired in the Seattle community, check out the events covered this month on the TeenTix Arts Blog, curated by the Teen Editorial Staff.

For those of you aching to return to theater after the holidays, look no further for some truly exciting events. Seattle Repertory Theatre is welcoming in the new year by contemplating change and transformation with Metamorphoses, a thrilling new theatrical production inspired by Ovid’s classic epic poem. If you’re looking to delve even further into history, check out History of Theatre at ACT Theatre, a production that seeks to explore and celebrate the rich, little-known history of Black theatre in America. To challenge your social perceptions, consider seeing This Bitter Earth at Seattle Public Theater, a beautiful exploration of racial issues, Queer identity, and modern love.

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Celebrate the Season with PNB's Nutcracker!

TeenTix Available One Day Only!

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This year, PNB is once again generously providing TeenTix tickets for TWO (2) performances: Tue, Dec 27, 2022 12:30pmTue, Dec 27, 2022 5:30pm

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability, day-of-show only, starting 90 minutes before showtime. TeenTix 2-for-$10 companion tickets are not available for these performances. We hope to see you there!

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Dancing To Our Humanity

Review of BODYTRAFFIC at Edmonds Center for the Arts

Written by Teen Writer Amelia Stiles and edited by Teen Editor Audrey Gray

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An intertwined collaboration of classic styles and modern ideas drives compelling stories, as told by the dancers of the Los Angeles contemporary dance company, BODYTRAFFIC. The four-part program, presented at Edmonds Center for the Arts on October 26, uses aspects of mid-20th century music and dance to display BODYTRAFFIC’s style and technique while combining modern acting with inventive ideas. In this show of immensely imaginative pieces, the dancers use their bodies to tell emotional and innovative stories of human experiences. Although the impact of the storytelling fades as the final piece is performed, the company’s breath-taking technique is never absent.

Eight pairs of feet peek out from under the rising grand curtain, posed and placed evenly across the stage. Soon, the dancers turn into a gallery of silhouettes as the curtain disappears and the stage fills with light. The music of the famous 1940s jazz singer, Peggy Lee, opens the show’s first piece, A Million Voices. The dancers’ intricate and playful movements aptly convey the rhythmic quirkiness of jazz dance. Quick head turns, subtle heel raises and small articulations of their hands, paired with exaggerated facial expressions, give the piece a cheeky attitude. The upbeat music of Peggy Lee added excitement and peppiness to the dancers, with joyful sounds of a saxophone animating their high-energy motion. The dancers interact with each other in brief moments of tender romance with intimate lifts or quick swing duets. Comedic stories grasp my attention throughout, with water-filled wine glasses being dumped on the dancers by their fellow performers, avant-garde costumes inspired by ‘40s fashion, and theatrical expressions that create a lighthearted scene. The charming comedy soon shifts when the extravagantly dressed dancers clear the stage and one dancer remains. He repeats a locomotive action, moving his limbs in circles like wheels of a train but staying in one place onstage, as if he is stuck in the same movement. His repetitive actions soon turn harsh and rigid as he unexpectedly starts losing his balance and falling to the floor, the soulful lyrics of “The Freedom Train” by Peggy Lee amplifying throughout the theater. He personifies the train in the song, being held back by the obstacle of his own body. After the music ends, he continues this battle with himself in silence. Without the distraction of any music, the audience is pulled into his emotional battle, hearing every breath, fall, and footstep on the stage. It’s an almost uncomfortable experience—the audience has no choice but to endure his painful conflict with him. With the silence and the vulnerability of the solo dancer, I started questioning why the last ten minutes of cheeky jazz was paired with this distressing ending phase. The audience witnesses a moment of solitude where personal struggle and hardship is brought to the surface, directly after seeing a social scene where joy and love thrive. The piece captured how easily personal struggles can be hidden in the chaos of a community, compared to how someone can really struggle on their own. BODYTRAFFIC in A Million Voices choreographed by Matthew Neenan, performed at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in LA. Photo by Rob Latour

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Exploring the “Uncomfortability” of Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ

Review of Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ at On the Boards

Written by Teen Writer Miriam Gaster and edited by Teen Editor Yoon Lee

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Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ is most easily described as “beautifully uncomfortable,” though this barely brushes the surface of what the performance really is.

Radio III is a contemporary dance and music performance created by Elisa Harkins, Zoë Oluch, and Hanako Hoshimi-Caines. The piece explores themes of colonialism, and the cycle of life in the past, present, and future through an Indigenous lens. The dances and score portray an Indigenous reaction to the way colonialism affects the way we think about life, death, and the limits put on our perspective. The show’s venue, On the Boards, was an excellent fit for the nature of the performance; the stage is minimalistic in a way that directly complements the performance. Walking into the theater, an open-white space and a foggy haze in the air greets the audience, welcoming us into a dream-like state.

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Frights and Thrills for the Creative Spirit

Teen Editorial Staff October 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Audrey Gray and Esha Potharaju

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A rush of autumnal spirit thrums in the air. The transition from September to October is jarring—all of a sudden, the wind picks up, carrying the aroma of fall spices, and Halloween seems just around the corner. Throughout the local art scene, creative minds are preparing for this transition, setting up spooky productions of well-known favorites and spine-tingling selections of film and art that are sure to offer you a new vision into what the human mind is capable of creating. This October, seek out some new frights and thrills to get your blood pumping and rejuvenate your spirit, curated by the Teen Editorial Staff here at TeenTix.

If you’re eager to experience how the classic monster-laden iconography of Halloween manifests in the mind of Shakespeare, visit Center Theatre for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s taste of cackling witches and cold-blooded murder in their production of the world-renowned play Macbeth. If you’re riding on that wave of spooky theater but are looking for something a bit more lighthearted and punchy, drop by at Village Theatre to watch Little Shop of Horrors, based on the cult classic 1960s film of the same name. The show is jam packed with comedy, rock, romance, and carnivorous, borderline predatory plants.

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The Interpretations and Identities in Choir Boy

Review of Choir Boy presented by ACT Theatre

Written by Teen Writer Amelia Stiles and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi

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A seat in the second row of ACT’s Allen Theater could not have prepared me more for the intimate and captivating story of Choir Boy. As I sat feet away from the hexagon stage, I was immediately brought into the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys’ Commencement Ceremony. Seconds into this opening scene, the space fills with the rich and resonant voice of protagonist Pharus Young (Nicholas Japaul Bernard), the bold and audacious leader of the school’s gospel choir. Choir Boy revolves around Pharus’s sexuality, religious identity, and experience being Queer and Black in an all-male prep school. His story is thoughtfully conveyed through gospel, Step choreography, and innovative set design. I enjoyed the show’s creative visuals, although some of the character choices left me confused.

The unique incorporation of sound made the show a personal experience. Unlike a flashy musical, the songs in Choir Boy are fully a capella. Music entirely created with the human body lets the characters deeply express joy and pain. The absence of an orchestra leaves room for creative ways to fill the space with sound; stomping, clapping, and slamming of benches, and other body percussion are used in each musical number. These are all qualities of a specific African-American dance form, Step. By adding Step into the choreography, Juel D. Lane, the choreographer, creates a complex visual to pair with the powerful vocals on stage. This not only provided the audience with a more raw and personal way to experience the characters’ emotions but also gave a chance for audiences to see a historical Black dance form presented in a modern play. Step, paired with the gospel lyrics, allows the personal stories of each character to be told through their Black experience. The song and dance adds a deeper understanding of the character’s identities. Without explicitly speaking about being Black, the characters can demonstrate how their identity contributes to their stories.

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Windows and Mirrors Across the Seattle Art Scene

Teen Editorial Staff September 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Kyle Gerstel and Aamina Mughal

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As summer yields itself to autumn, a sense of renewal flurries in the air. For TeenTix, this manifests itself most literally in our new batch of TEDS (Teen Editorial Staff) and Newsroom writers, but we also want to consider the importance of increasing the range of stories we consume and how we consume them. Depending on your perspective, the events you’ll see reviewed on the blog this month can act as windows into experiences different from your own, as well as mirrors reflecting and representing voices that are too often left unheard.

Art has served as an outlet for marginalized communities, but the arts community has also historically suppressed these voices, making diverse perspectives inaccessible. We believe it is critical for teens (and all citizens) to see themselves represented in art and expose themselves to the experiences of others. As the school year starts back up, it is our hope that we continue this trend of renewal and are able to introduce a greater feeling of belonging in the arts scene.

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The Illusion of Ripples at CRASH

Review of Crash and Juxtapose by Jacob Jonas The Company at Edmonds Center for the Arts

Written by Ella Scholz-Bertram during TeenTix’s Dance Journalism Workshop at ECA

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Once the lights dimmed, I was silent until confusion came over me; I had not recognized the dull hum of the ocean as the starting music for this piece. But soon I settled again once a faint spotlight outlined a body on stage: a man. The sound of waves rose as he moved his arm up and rolled, his legs up, and rolled. Maybe the movement of his body wasn’t to the music, but rather mimicking where the sounds derived from: crashing waves. Other dancers sprang out of the dark of the back of the stage and simultaneously swayed with him. They continuously worked as a whole to create the illusion of ripples. When performing with one another, the atypical collaboration of dancers flush against each other on the floor had them almost toppling over one another, though fortunately that was avoided. They flowed apart as my eyes adjusted to the light that was gradually brightening.

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The Dance of the Ocean

Review of Crash by Jacob Jonas The Company at Edmonds Center for the Arts

Written by Elizabeth Josiah during TeenTix’s Dance Journalism Workshop at ECA

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A shard of light in the darkness. The constant movement of the ocean, drifting in and out like the guitar’s melody. Swirling whitewater becomes the mesmerizing limbs of a dancer, their rolls across the stage becoming the crest of a wave. Two dancers entangle themselves in a complicated lift, like a whale fluke slipping beneath the surface. Large, sweeping movements echo down the line until the dancers fall and slap the ground loudly, suggesting not just the motion of waves, but also emotion connected with the powerful crash. Okaidja Afroso’s song reverberates, his low voice both emotional and nostalgic, fitting exactly with the background sound of the sea. There are no elaborate costumes, and one musician accompanies the dance. Yet, the elements come together to communicate a personal message that anyone could understand, and in a different way than reading a book or watching a movie. The story painted by Jacob Jonas The Company’s Crash is the ocean, both in its simplicity and its mystery.

Lead Photo: Image of dancers in Crash presented by Jacob Jonas The Company’s at ECA. Photo by Matthew Brush.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

This review was written as part of a Dance Journalism Workshop at Edmonds Center for the Arts which was held April 30-May 14, 2022. The workshop was taught by Press Corps teaching artist Omar Willey.

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Crash Displays the Seamless Spirit of the Ocean

Review of Crash by Jacob Jonas The Company at Edmonds Center for the Arts

Written by Audrey Gray during TeenTix’s Dance Journalism Workshop at ECA

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The moon pulls the tides to and fro on the shores. Just a few blocks away, flawless choreography pulls the dancers in Jacob Jonas The Company’s production of Crash back and forth across the stage at Edmonds Center for the Arts. The dancers’ movements are synchronized as they duck and bend with the fluid and seamless spirit of the ocean, never stopping for a moment’s rest. The stage is always taken up by the flourishing and spinning of dancers fanning out like a wave smashing on the sand, followed by the gentler movements of calmer moments in the sea. The restlessness of the ocean is the key inspiration behind the work, and indeed shines masterfully throughout the performance. It’s so invigorating, full of emotion and energy, that I could hardly take my eyes off it.

As soon as the audience members took their seats and the lights dimmed to near complete darkness, Crash began a transition into a completely different world from the theater lobby. Speakers started playing, gently and almost imperceptibly at first, the sounds of crashing waves and the calming ambience of the ocean. Then, the first dancers started making an appearance, joining the sounds of the ocean in gentle, rolling movements across the stage. The dim stage lighting illuminated just the sides of the stage, and seemed to simulate morning light. From the very beginning, the lighting and sound design gave the audience a keen sense of the passage of time and the sun’s cycle through the sky. The early show’s silence and emptiness represented perfectly the feel of the dark early morning, and as the show went on, it progressed into more emotive daytime scenes. In the otherwise silent hall, I was taken by just how overwhelming yet tranquil the combination of the dancers’ repetitive movements and the now loud crashing of the waves was. The entire scene started the night off with an unconventional type of bang, filling one’s senses and setting the mood of the whole piece.

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The Relaxing Trance of Crash

Review of Crash by Jacob Jonas The Company at Edmonds Center for the Arts

Written by Nastya Wilcox during TeenTix’s Dance Journalism Workshop at ECA

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I have known about Jacob Jonas The Company for a little bit. When I found out that they were coming to Seattle, I had to go and see their show called Crash. The waves off of the Santa Monica Pier inspired this show and it included the waves and their height/positions that were scientifically researched. For him, Jacob Jonas said that the ocean was a place of healing and relief. This show offered precisely that.

Crash began in the darkness and silence, and you could tell people were afraid to make even the slightest noise not to destroy the pre-show mood. The light slowly came on from the left of the stage, it was a soft white light. This was the sunrise; the dancer's bodies were covered with this one-sided light, and they looked so peaceful. A couple of solos started, then more and more joined in laying on the ground and making wave shapes with their body. It looked exactly like a wave shape you would see in the ocean. The waves were formed with their legs in their hands, moving in ½ second counts. Gradually, dancers got up one by one, with each performing a solo before they went back into the ocean formation. This reminded me of big waves hitting the beach and then going back in the water. The music was the kind you hear in morning meditations: slow, twinkly, and full of energy. The dancers' movements were soft, and they expressed the music perfectly. It was more like the music wasn't for them, but they were there for the music.

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What's So Special About Ballet?

Review of Kent Stowell's Swan Lake presented by Pacific Northwest Ballet

Written by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren and edited by TeenTix Mentor Melody Datz Hansen.

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Swan Lake is one of the most well-known ballets of all time. It is a classic, somber tale of love between Prince Seigfried and Odette, a young woman who transforms into a swan due to a sorcerer’s curse.

As a student of ballet since fourth grade, I was nervous about reviewing Pacific Northwest Ballet’s presentation of Swan Lake, as it was my first time seeing the piece. Would my level of experience do it justice in a review? Would my lofty expectations of it be fulfilled? Tchaikovsky’s music perpetuates just about every ballet class in America, and I was familiar with the performance’s format, but nonetheless, the nerves were there.

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April Showers Bring Art’s Flowers

Teen Editorial Staff April 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Eleanor Cenname and Lucia McLaren

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There is something a bit nostalgic every time spring rolls around. The familiar whiff of flowers that brings to mind the warmer seasons. For those of us going to school, the end of the year starts to come into crisp focus. And best of all, the days grow longer, giving us just a little more time in the day to play. At TeenTix, we like to play by enjoying art. If you would like to join us as we use our new daylight hours, consider visiting the TeenTix calendar for a full list of arts events happening this month. Let us also recommend a few of the April events that we are most looking forward to.

As the weather gets warmer and students get restless, it’s a great month to take a look at some old favorites. If a nostalgia trip feels like the right thing for you this time of year, come down and see a musical adaptation of the classic, fun kid’s book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! at Seattle Children’s Theatre. Or if you want to engage in some more mature forms of art, Pacific Northwest Ballet will be presenting the unforgettable Swan Lake. Even if you are not much of a ballet enthusiast, this age-old story is truly a delight to watch for everyone, and the dancers performing are sure to be talented and creative.

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Dance Journalism Workshop with Edmonds Center for the Arts!

Registration is now open!

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The TeenTix Press Corps is collaborating with Edmonds Center for the Arts to present a Dance Journalism Workshop! This workshop is a three-weekend experience, with meetings on April 30, May 7, and May 14, 2022. You'll learn how to approach writing about dance, attend a performance of Jacob Jonas The Company’s CRASH ft. Okaidja Afroso, try your hand at writing a dance review.

Register now by signing up on THIS FORM!

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Announcing: Art Begets Art Creative Writing Workshops!

See cool art and respond with creative writing in these new workshops with TeenTix and On the Boards!

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Calling all creative writers! Join us for a new series of FREE creative writing workshops, hosted by TeenTix in collaboration with On the Boards. In each Art Begets Art mini-workshop you’ll attend a performance at the On the Boards, then produce a piece of creative writing in response to the performance. Mini-workshops consists of three meetings: a pre-meeting to learn about the performance you'll be seeing, the performance itself, and a post-meeting to work on your creative writing.

You'll get to discuss the performance with other art-loving teens, meet the artist after the show, and receive individual mentorship from a professional writer on your work. There will also be an opportunity to publish your work on the TeenTix blog and receive a stipend for publication!

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PNB's Nutcracker is Back In-Person and Ready to Thrill You!

Find out how you can see this Seattle holiday staple!

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As all you old school TeenTixers know, Pacific Northwest Ballet's wildly popular Nutcracker ballet is the ONLY PNB show ALL YEAR that is NOT TeenTix eligible.

HOWEVER, because they love us so much, PNB always puts aside a little stash of TeenTix tickets for one day of The Nutcracker each year. It is an AMAZING, annual tradition that draws teens from far and wide. YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS IT!!

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The Formation: A Performance of Pride and Power

Review of Let ‘im Move You: This Is a Formation at On the Boards

Written by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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It was with a force of a lion that the dancers gracefully contorted their bodies to the grand bass of the music. The earth-shaking tracks vibrated through Merrill Theater at On the Boards, mixed live at the sound table. Black dancers displayed their choreographed finesse and pride through This Is a Formation, the final work in jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham series Let ‘im Move You. Though the choreographed performance imbued Black Queer pride into a powerful visual performance, it contained elements of full-body nudity that were not highlighted beforehand, creating a somewhat startling performance experience for me. However, the performance skillfully melded ideas of sexuality, beauty, and playfulness into a piece that supersedes the boundaries of dance.

As poe and Beachman guided visitors into the performance space, onlookers noticed that Merrill Theater was transformed to fit the engaging nature of the performance. The seats were blocked off by a long black sheet, eliminating the use of a traditional ‘audience’ structure. Instead, onlookers of the performance were immersed into the formation of dancers. There was no allocated space for the dancers to perform on, no partition or separation between the performers and the viewers. Instead, people circled around the performance to get a closer look at the turns of the dancers’ bodies: the specific positions of their fingers, the darting of their feet to move them to different levels from the floor. This created an intimate and special atmosphere, calling back to a time where performance art was shared in the streets with crowds passing them in the big city.

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Told in Shadow with Catapult

Review of Catapult at Edmonds Center of the Arts

Written by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren and edited by Teen Editor Triona Suiter

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If you’ve ever seen a talent show before, you know the deal. They’re flashy, short performances that get across impressive qualities to the audience—be that someone’s neighbors or a huge crowd and TV audience. Catapult is an ensemble of dancers that got their start on one of the most famous (or infamous) talent shows of them all: America’s Got Talent. They get their reputation from their quirky, creative choreography done behind a screen, such that the audience can only see their silhouettes in shadow. It’s not something done by many. But with such a niche performance, what happens when they break free of the glossy sheen of television?

I went to see Catapult at Edmonds Center for the Arts, once a high school in a smaller area called Edmonds just outside of Seattle. The theater was smaller and the audience was older than their call to fame in Radio City Music Hall. It’s a step down, by most standards, but it meant fewer distractions from the performance itself—something I, as a dancer, was very interested to see. Photo by Peter Dervin

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Finding a New Appreciation at Beyond Ballet

Review of Beyond Ballet by the Pacific Northwest Ballet

Written by Newsroom Writer Haley Zimmerman and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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I came to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Beyond Ballet with a bit of skepticism, or maybe insecurity. My experiences of ballet—dance class at age five, occasional viewings of the Nutcracker—were few and far between, and I was supposed to go “beyond”? But I set my fears aside, put on a dress I hadn’t worn since March 2020, and made it to my seat in the very last row of McCaw Hall.

I found myself behind a trio of honest-to-God ballet students, apprentices at PNB, who chatted away about someone’s partnering and someone else’s port de bras, leaving me somewhat in awe. Before the show, three dancers took the stage to be promoted—promotion, I realized, is a big deal in ballet. After the applause from the audience faded, they ducked behind the curtain, where a muffled cheer went up backstage from their fellow dancers. It was a refreshing reminder that for all ballet’s mystique, it’s also a career, and the dancers are out there working hard and celebrating their co-workers. Then the curtain rose, and the mystique was back. Photo by Angela Sterling

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Fall 21: Whim W’Him’s Unique Explorations of Liminality

Review of Fall 21 by Whim W'Him

Written by Teen Editor Triona Suiter and edited by Teen Editor Valentine Wulf

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As we move into the shorter days, Whim W’Him opens their season with their annual Fall Showcase, this year featuring “Nova” by Alice Klock and Florian Lochner, “Underlove” by Mark Castera, and “E=16-0163-TSX” by Rena Butler. Presented as both live performances and as films on Whim W’Him’s streaming platform IN-With-WHIM, these three dances traverse the lands of unreality in ways that manage to hit startlingly close to true.

(The following is a review of the films only, not the live performances.)

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