Buraczeski’s Choreography Too Contained to Be Infectious

When Danny Buraczeski first saw Judy Garland perform live, her mix of abandon and intimacy left him enraptured. The aim of his new solo to a Garland recording of “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” is more modest: simply to show, as the lyrics say, that he still recalls the thrill. Mouthing the words, Buraczeski also helps clarify the difference between Garland’s gifts and his own. His company is uniformly professional, each turn controlled, each extension taut. And his stage patterns are wonderfully complex, eddying like windswept leaves in Four Seasons or intersecting like circulating blood in Beat. Best of all, he knows how to share his ear for music. In Swing Concerto, what that ear hears—klezmer roots in Benny Goodman’s clarinet cadenzas—the dance illustrates convincingly. Yet, characteristically, when Goodman’s band takes off, Buraczeski’s choreography doesn’t. It leaves you hoping for a zing that never comes. —Brian Seibert

Beauties Miffed and Audience Fed at Miss America Pageant

Dixie FunLee Shulman took jabs at the beauty myth and its corporate profiteers in her colorful new satire, The Thinnest Woman With the Fewest Wrinkles Wins. During the long first half, a cloying chocolate aroma wafted from toaster ovens behind the theater’s last row. Miss Bulimia, Miss Low Self-Esteem, and Miss Liposuction vied for a tiara before a leering, star-spangled Uncle Sam named Pat Velveeta. A young girl (Shulman) struggled with her scary mother’s mixed messages and her own plump body. Slaves to the MTV rhythm binged on pounding house music and purged themselves into oblivion. Admirable performances were undercut by excessive choreography belaboring Shulman’s points. The second half fared better. Having consumed the proffered snacks and Diet Cokes, the audience returned to enjoy pageants with a difference—real New York women dancing, speaking up for themselves, and celebrating their diversity of size and style. —Eva Yaa Asantewaa