Get Your Kicks

At Improvisation Festival/NY, extreme virtuosity of body and psyche knocks you out. On a bill at Danspace Project, Darrel Jones and Jeremy Wade in Shits Creek were preternaturally articulate action figures—cartoonish, rubbery, possibly trapped in the backpack of a delirious child. At the start of The Beloved Dance (Phrases and Chi Improvisations), Sara Shelton Mann channeled and updated Isadora for 2001, tossing limbs and hair to an atmospheric drone. You could see shackles shattering. Her partner Abby Crain unpacked a shoulder bag, and Mann played solitaire with a bunch of credit cards that made satisfying clicks on the floor. The taped text pretty much flew past my ears—save for the word cheesecake. Silent moments in Scratch(with a deft, sensitive ensemble of six including Kirstie Simson and John Jasperse) suggested that sometimes less data to process means more depth to savor.—Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Nine-year-old Vera joined me for the famed Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, where the Christmas Spectacular runs through December 30. Our journey began with a 3-D sleigh ride through the Big Apple, with Santa and his reindeer. I found it exciting, but Vera said the 3-D made her dizzy, and she watched most of the short film with her Toys"R"Us glasses safely in her lap. The Rockettes sparkled, performing their eye-level kicks under the bright lights in short evergreen velvet dresses and shiny silver-heeled tap shoes. Despite the dancing ballerina bears, the "Nutcracker" number did not hold Vera's interest: "I got bored when they were dancing forever and ever and wouldn't stop!" But the show redeemed itself when the Rockettes became wooden soldiers; this classic was her favorite. "The Living Nativity" closed the show. Since Vera is Jewish, she suggested omitting that part. "It confused me," she said. —Emily Moellman

 
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