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SPRING ARTS 2016: dance

Regional and visiting companies have eclectic seasons planned

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dance, gay news, Washington Blade
dance, gay news, Washington Blade

The New York City Ballet presents ‘The Most Incredible Thing’ this weekend at the Kennedy Center marking the work’s Washington-area premiere. (Photo courtesy the Kennedy Center)

The Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) presents the New York City Ballet’s performance of “The Most Incredible Thing,” a D.C. premiere, and Peter Martins stages August Bournonville’s “La Sylphide” running through Sunday, March 6. Tickets range from $29-149. For a complete list of showings, visit kennedy-center.org.

Company E presents “Generations: Poland” at the Kennedy Center in the Family Theater on Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. The performance celebrates four generations of dane and music in Poland. Tickets are $35.

Bowen McCauley Dance presents “Twenty Years with Love,” its 20th anniversary performance, at the Kennedy Center in the Terrace Theater on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19 at 7 p.m. Michael White composed the live music that will accompany the dance and another selection by J.S. Bach will also be performed. The show will also be the world premiere of “Ars Amatoria,” an interpretation of Roman poet Ovid’s instructional writings with a score by Larry Alan Smith. Tickets range from $40-45. March 19 will include a platinum soirée with a post-performance cast celebration, a 20th anniversary toast, food and a silent auction. Soirée tickets start at $150 and include preferred performance seating. For more details, bmdc.org.

The Washington Ballet performs “Hamlet” with choreography by Stephen Mills at the Kennedy Center in the Eisenhower Theater on Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. through Sunday, April 3. The performance reimagines the classic Shakespeare tale in a contemporary dance production. Philip Glass composed the music for the performance. Tickets range from $32.25-130. For details, visit kennedy-center.org.

Carmine” will also be performed by the ballet at the Kennedy Center in the Eisenhower Theater on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. through Sunday, April 17. The dance will be a modern retelling of 24 medieval poems about springtime, love, lust, fortune and more. George Balanchine choreographed the performance with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Tickets range from $32.25-130. For more information, visit kennedy-center.org.

Dissonance Dance Theatre presents “Black to Silver: A Black LGBT Experience” at Joy of Motion Dancer Center (5207 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) in the Jack Guidone Theater on Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 at 7 p.m. The dance production will explore interpersonal relationships and identity in the black LGBT community. A new 20-minute work will be included that tells the story of Manny who loves himself more than anyone until he falls love with another man. Tickets are $15-18 online and $25 at the door. For more information, visit ddtdc.org.

“Demo: Place with Damian Woetzel” runs at the Kennedy Center in the Terrace Theater for a two-night performance on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m. The performance brings together musicians and dancers to give their interpretations around the theme of “place.” Ron Myself and Lil Buck will dance with musicians Sandeep Das, Johnny Gandelsnman, Cristina Pato, Wu Tong and Kate Davis. Tickets are $49. For more details, visit kennedy-center.org.

Ireland 100” is at the Kennedy Center in the Terrace Theater on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 at 7 p.m. Irish dancer/choreographer Colin Dunne brings a solo show that combines dance with sound manipulation and spoke word. Tickets are $29. For more details, visit kennedy-center.org.

Paul Taylor Dance Company presents six works from choreographer Paul Taylor at the Kennedy Center in the Eisenhower Theater on Wednesday, May 25 through Saturday, May 28 at 7 p.m. On Wednesday, May 25 and Friday, May 27, the company performs “Polaris,” “Equinox” and “Esplanade.” On Thursday, May 26 and Saturday, May 28 the company performs “Arden Court,” “Beloved Renegade” and “Promethean Fire.” Tickets range from $39-79. For more information, visit kennedy-center.org.

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Theater

‘Rose: You Are Who You Eat’ an irreverent romp at Woolly Mammoth

Solo performance by John Jarboe offers much to consume

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John Jarboe in ‘Rose: You Are Who You Eat’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. (Photo by Teresa Castracane)

‘Rose: You Are Who You Eat’
Though June 23
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D St., N.W.
$60-$82
Woollymammoth.net

With “Rose: You Are Who You Eat,” a solo performance by John Jarboe (she/her), now at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, there’s a lot to uncover and consume.  

For much of the show, the appealing Jarboe comes across as a cute cis gay guy playing dress up in a pair of tighty-whities and sparkly go-go boots, but it’s something else and she’s ready to go there. 

Jarboe is a cannibal. Not in the usual sense. She learned from a well-meaning aunt that while still in the womb, she ate her twin, and that’s what made Jarboe the way she is (a reference to gender queerness).

Despite the aunt’s awkward delivery of family dish, the prenatal news struck a chord with Jarboe: the vanishing twin who would have been named Rose, became increasingly connected to her own identity. Along with the inevitable jokes about eating her sister’s spaghetti thin hair and tasty eyeballs, there’s meaty matter unfolding onstage. 

Not entirely unexpected, Jarboe also harbors mommy issues. Mom, here referred to as “Mother” for the sake of anonymity, is a buttoned-down tax accountant who the more perturbed she becomes the wider her forced smile grows. And while Jarboe needs to have that long overdue talk with Mother, something always seems to get in the way; invariably it’s tax season.

Assisted by some primary source props (a baby book, notes, a string of pearls filched from Mother’s jewelry box), Jarboe further digs into gender expression and identity. Her performance career began in her child bedroom closet with a flashlight and makeshift costume, an obsession to which her parents initially subscribed, later not as much. 

Among the 75-minute-long show’s highlights are five or so songs, rock numbers and redolent ballads composed by Jarboe, Emily Bate, Daniel de Jesús, Pax Ressler and Be Steadwell. 

It’s definitely a solo show conceived and delightfully performed by Jarboe; however, she’s supported by a terrific four-person band (costumed in what appeared from Row D to be rosebush inspired jumpsuits) including Mel Regn, Yifan Huang, Daniel de Jesús, and music director Emily Bate. Bate is a singer, composer and performer who runs a queer and trans community chorus in Philadelphia called Trust Your Moves, an experiment in collective singing designed around liberation and co-creation.

As Jarboe moves into her 30s, she celebrates and incorporates her lost twin as part of herself with a new intensity. She writes letters, yearning for even the most tepid reply. Her obsession with Mother remains a thing too.

Dressed in a sylphlike rosy red gown (by costume designer Rebecca Kanach) Jarboe uses call-and-response (with the audience standing in for Mother) in search of some resolution. It’s beautifully done. 

With various kinds of backing coming from CulturalDC, the Washington Blade, Capital Pride, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret and other New York-based groups, there’s nothing itinerant cabaret looking about “Rose.” Directed by MK Tuomanen, it’s an elevated, visually engaging production. 

For instance, set and video designer Christopher Ash’s projections shown on both a serviceable scrim and later a wondrously huge toile curtain, beautifully feature photos from an ostensibly idyllic Midwestern childhood. We see a young Jarboe not only enjoying hockey, fishing, and hunting, but also pulling off a strikingly girly, cheesecake pose.  

At the top of the show, there’s live video of Jarboe’s outsized mouth devouring wings fished from a bucket of fried chicken. Hints of cannibalism? 

“Rose: You Are Who You Eat” is an irreverent romp, deeply personal yet relatable. It’s an evening of poignantly performed moments, off the cuff laughs, and some awkward/sexy audience interaction. 

As a performer, Jarboe lays herself bare, exposing strengths (rich melodious voice, presence, ingenuity) and weaknesses (garrulity and more than a few un-landed jokes) in equal turns. 

Hers is a world that invites audiences to just let go and go with it. Jarboe’s intrepid journey melds the familiar and the startling. In short, it’s a trip worth taking. 

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Photos

PHOTOS: Capital Pride Festival and Concert

Keke Palmer, Billy Porter among entertainers

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Billy Porter performs at the 2024 Capital Pride Festival on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 2024 Capital Pride Festival and Concert was held along Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest D.C. on Sunday, June 9. Performers included Sapphira Cristál, Keke Palmer, Ava Max, Billy Porter and Exposé.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key and Emily Hanna)

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Out & About

Get ready for Baltimore Pride

Events scheduled throughout weekend

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Baltimore Pride Parade (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Baltimore Pride begins this weekend on Friday, June 14 in the heart of the city.

There will be a variety of events, the main ones being Mt. Vernon Pride on June 14 at 2 p.m. on the 200 Block of W. Read St., the Parade and Block Party on Saturday, June 15 at 3 p.m. on N. Charles St., and Pride in the Park on Sunday, June 15 at 3 p.m. at Druid Hill Park.

For more event details, visit Baltimore Pride’s website

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