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Lightsey Darst
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Entries by Lightsey Darst

ADF 8: Opening Night (2) and Closing

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2013 | 6:00 PM

I love dancers' parties. The floor's full and no one's drunk, with every style and move you can think of unleashed, celebrated, spun, from electric boogaloo to sixties go-go to glam jazz to the running man. People dress however they want to show off whatever they've got: I see a...

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ADF 7: Opening Night (1): Footprints

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 11:48 AM

7/22/13. Opening night for the Footprints concert at Duke's Reynolds Industries Theater feels like convocation: the house is packed and buzzing with ADF students ready to applaud their friends. When the lights go out, everyone leans forward.

First up is Rosie Herrera's Make Believe, a hot mess of...

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ADF 6: "I Have to Do It. I Have to Give It a Try" -- the Students Speak

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2013 | 4:17 PM

It's Sunday afternoon, less than a week until opening night, and six students from the cast of Graham's Helios have met for lunch at a café near ADF headquarters on the Duke campus. They're close in age, all between 20 and 24, but in other ways the six are surprisingly...

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ADF 5: Learning From the Past: Duane Cyrus Rehearses Martha Graham

(0) Comments | Posted July 26, 2013 | 5:30 PM

Rehearsal for Martha Graham's Helios, Durham School of the Arts. The usual dancer pile-up -- dancers stretching, listening to music on their headphones, even singing along. Dancers hanging over bolsters, their shoulder blades sliding apart under their skin. Dancers with taped toes flopped down in frog pose (knees splayed, pelvis...

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ADF 4: 'Just Try It' -- Rehearsal with Leah Cox

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 4:29 PM

Today I'm sitting in on a rehearsal for Bill T. Jones's Love Re-Defined. It's five minutes till time and students run in circles, run in place, shake their muscles, lie on their backs and shake their legs. We're in ADF's new Broad Street Studios -- gorgeous light-filled rooms with a...

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ADF 3: Building the Big Show

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2013 | 2:21 PM

"The ground is shifting." Students hurly-burly across the dance floor, legs flying out from under them. "Birds are diving," the tall woman at the center of the whirlwind calls out. Hands shield the students' heads; they duck and skitter. "Water is spraying," she adds, tossing her fall of fine dark...

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ADF 2: The Cognitive Scientist in Residence - Dance and Memory

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 12:42 PM

"I'm interested in how the mind works," Dr. Ruth Day says. This is the thread that connects her research areas: medical cognition (how doctors and patients understand and remember information), courtroom cognition (how judges and juries understand laws) and memory for dance. From this last area she gets her enviable...

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American Dance Festival (1)

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2013 | 1:01 PM

If the mention of a summer dance festival and school conjures up Fame-like visions for you -- long-legged lovelies stretching in crowded halls, ragged leg warmers, bare shoulders and naked ambition -- getting to know the American Dance Festival may take a little adjustment. For one thing, ADF focuses on...

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Dance and Love 4

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2013 | 11:50 AM

Whatever happened to "Dance and Love 4"?

Last fall, I wrote three installments of a series on dance and love: one exploring how audience members relate to dancers, another giving a dancer's perspective on the dancing body and love, and finally one covering collaborative partnerships, long-term love among dancers. I...

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Dance and Love (3 of 4)

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 3:20 PM

Love, then.

Maggie is a dancer and choreographer; she teaches at a performing arts high school. She'd known for some time one of her colleagues, a musician, was into her, but she didn't think she wanted him; he wasn't what she was looking for. Still, he just kept coming...

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Dance And Love (2 Of 3)

(2) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 7:03 PM

To answer the question What is it like for dancers? I turn to Rae. Rae is a professional modern dancer. (A disclaimer: though sensuality pervades all dance, from here on out, I'll be talking primarily about Western and Westernized concert dance, as it is mostly in these forms that dancers...

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Dance and Love (Part 1 of 3)

(5) Comments | Posted October 19, 2012 | 8:22 AM

When I was fourteen I read a review of Twyla Tharp's memoir Push Comes to Shove which included this excerpt about herself and Baryshnikov after a performance:

The party was much too crowded. We became restless. Outside, the evening was clear, the air warm; the moon lit the winding streets...
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The Poorest Art: Dance And Money (III)

(3) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 10:20 AM

When people find out I'm writing about dance and money, they whisper bold-name stories off the record. I hear about poor-playing trust fund babies, rebels with golden parachutes. A friend uses her grant to pay off debt; the granting organization frowns. When the area's biggest dance patron walks into the...

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The Poorest Art: Dance And Money (II)

(8) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 10:31 AM

A recent NPR Marketplace Money report cited $60,000 as a starting salary for ballet dancers. Where this number came from, unless it was abroad (where dancers are better paid) or the New York City Ballet, the top company in the U.S. (and one with a 52-week contract), I...

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The Poorest Art: Dance And Money (I)

(33) Comments | Posted June 1, 2012 | 3:00 PM

I've come to a conclusion about dance and money: if dancers did not sometimes sleep with rich people, American dance as we know it would cease to exist.

Absurd and degrading as this conclusion is -- can you imagine the same being said of any other art form? -- the...

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Dancing Offstage

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 3:47 PM

February. Here in this northern city it's cold. Onstage you can still see dancers running barefoot in silky rags that flutter, revealing midriff, shapely shoulder mass, acres of straining thighs. They stretch arms open, generous, vulnerable, grasping at air; they spend their fire as if they might find something in...

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