McCaleb Archive - Selected Works Choreographed by Nancy McCaleb & Reviews
ZONA RIO Commissioned score - Miles Anderson music performed live by Anderson and Erica Sharp Costume design - Andrea Bjeldanes
collaboration was the name of the game for McCaleb. Teaming up with
artist Andrea Bjeldanes and composer Miles Anderson, McCaleb created Zona Rio, a hilarious romp that lampooned cultural contrasts and
crossed genders. McCaleb made clever use of the melting-pot metaphor,
allowing her gliding designs and cross-cultural images to blur in a
seamless flow of movement. The dancing was a hoot. . .The music mixed
a myriad of sounds against a dizzying stream of multiple-language
babble, enhancing the feeling of a busy cultural crossroads. Zona Rio
was McCaleb at her most creative. Not surprisingly, it was the
hands-down favorite." - DANCE MAGAZINE
"A fanciful, fantastic dance work. . . Zona Rio extends interests that McCaleb first explored in her startling 1993 'Serpent's Tongue' - the use of dancers' vocals; gender-neutral costuming, the wild, many-layered culture of Tijuana. Trombonist Miles Anderson created music for a witty abstraction of the exhilarating Babel on the other side of the border. Its a thrilliing and funny collage of sound . . . Erica Sharp plays a Wagner aria on her electronically augmented violin, the dancers-as-chorus sing the German words with big, oval mouths and pious atitudes. The parodic tone is just right. . .The mix of schlock pop tunes and high art feeds a similar succession of imagery, none of it literal, all of it building in energy. . . 'Zona Rio' is a smoothly absurdist amalgam of McCaleb's artistic interest and her wry sensibility."
DOLORES OF THE RIVER commissioned score - Miles Anderson music performed live by Anderson and Erica Sharp video - Nancy McCaleb costume design - Kathleen McHugh
"Inspired by Mexican super-diva Dolores del Rio and the Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buńuel, McCaleb has created a collage of images that float through the rational mind like an interrupted dream. At one point, Eric Geiger strips a statuesque Sadie Weinberg of her long, black gown, down to a two-piece, old-fashioned bathing suit, and places a big feather hat on her head. Behind her is McCaleb's gorgeous video of Weinberg floating through placid waters. Then out of nowhere, a blind man (Ricardo Peralta) with a big red flower in his lapel taps his way toward her, offers her a cigarette and a light. Weinberg, the bored beauty, casually accepts it. She's a diva, after all - even a blind man can see it. Such are the oddball pleasures of 'Dolores of the River,' which is accompanied by an eclectic, often haunting score by Miles Anderson. The composer's blend of cathedral bells, sacred songs, jazz, Latin club tunes and classical music, which he performed live with violinist Erica Sharp, is no post-modern coctail but an ingenious soundscape, with lovely textures and its own dreamlike logic."
Commissioned score - Ushio Torikai and Miles Anderson music performed live by Anderson and Erica Sharp Costume design - Kathleen McHugh
"A UN is set to Ushio Torikai's composition for voices of the Shomyo Yonin-No-Kai monks originally commissioned by the Japan National Theater in Tokyo. In collaboration with Ms. Torikai, Anderson selected excerpts and wrote music to complement her thematic material. It is quite dazzling aurally, with Anderson on trombone, electronics and percussion and Erica Sharp for the first time performing on the ZETA five-string electric midi violin. . .Without fail McCaleb Dance entertains and moves audiences with intriguing choreographic images, powerful dancers, and fascinating, cutting edge music one wants to take home."
Charlene Baldridge, Village News, La Jolla, California
LUNFARDO commissioned score - Christopher Penney music performed by Penney, M. Anderson, Erica Sharp & Michael McCurdy costume design - Andrea Bjeldanes
"Lunfardo is a cultural babbling brook. It begins with a rush of song spilling from the dancers, huddled upstage like a ragtag chorus. . .Tango steps are performed in tap rhythms; sexy partner moves are danced as solos. In one overt gesture that harkens the brothels where the dance was born, three female dancers lie on the floor, vibrating, their legs thrown apart. The pervasive tone, as it often is in McCaleb's work, is slyly humorous. Penney's witty, quirky score offers a vivid counterpoint to the dancers' alternately sultry and archly ironic gestures."
Composer - Miles Anderson performing live Costume design - Andrea Bjeldanes
"Thangka was extraordinary. Set to
Miles Anderson's haunting score of solo trombone and nature-based
sounds, 'Thangka' begins in darkness. Pearls of light emanating from
the dancers' headdresses provide the only illumination early in the
piece, which takes its name from colorful meditative Tibetan
paintings. 'Thangka' is both painterly and meditative. Brad
Decker, set apart from the others is engaged in a private, anguished
dance. He flails, leaps and arches his body in effortful,
muscle-straining gestures that suggest agony and, perhaps, spiritual
yearning. . . Gradually he
joins the group, which occasionally echoes his wild gestures with
smoother, more sedate movements. By the end, Decker has absorbed the
other dancers' meditative spirit, and moves in harmony with them. . . a symbolic union of contemplation and action, the dynamic, complementary products of conciousness." - J. de Poyen, The San Diego Union-Tribune
BUDDHAFIELDS score - N. McCaleb scenic design - Ron Ranson
"Buddhafields, set to a score of found sounds that McCaleb recorded in Asia, provided a moving end to a rollicking program. Alternating languid (and sometimes prayerful) segments with explosive sequences that featured long, fluid lines and risky, airborn movements, McCaleb offers an engaging meditation on the relationship between the sacred and the profane." - J. de Poyen, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Other Fires Commissioned score - Miles Anderson performed live by Anderson and Erica Sharp
Anderson's music for Other Fires (played by Erica Sharp on electric violin) is a smoldering amalgam of Middle Eastern tradition and rumbling repetitious postmodern rhythm. The dancers perform as couples, first in sensuous slow motion and gradually in spacious movement that swooshes offstage and back on again. The visual and aural images cohere beautifully.
Commissioned score - Miles Anderson peforming live with Erica Sharp scenic design - Nancy McCaleb
Intense border dance, menacing and bubbling with babble, it transforms
the contradictions and absurdities of the SanDiego-Tijuana border into
dance theater. McCaleb created the collage of found sounds as well as
the choreography and the ingenious design – two strings of red chili
lights strung across the dance space to suggest both the barbed wire of
the border fences and a kitschy fiesta. There’s no narrative, just a
kaleidoscopic shifting and layering of scenes, most deft, dark and edgy
in their humor. The bald-headed, highly dramatic Ricardo Peralta
spews Spanish in phrases that make him a laughing son of Pancho Villa
who becomes by turns a chollo, a Buddha, a straight dance partner and a
gay lover as society gathers around disapproving. Finally, he’s a
symbolic object upon which the Wild Westerners of American California
hang their cowboy hats. 'Serpents Tongue' leaves you feeling the
melting pot is at a rolling boil and wondering who’ll annex California
next.” - Anne Marie Welsh, The San Diego Union-Tribune
commissioned score - Miles Anderson peforming live with Erica Sharp text and voice - Nancy McCaleb scenic design - Andrea Bjeldanes
"Swamp - a refreshing mix of sunny openness and driving intensity."
- The Village Voice
"McCaleb’s Swamp is the sure winner on the program - a trim company look and an enviable tenaciousness; these dancers really know how to dig in."
- San Francisco Examiner
"McCaleb's Swamp is like a collaboration between Martha Graham and Laurie Anderson. It's a zany zoological soap opera, giddy with postmodern sights, sounds and fertility rites (or is that virility rites?). Swamp oozes entertainment."
- San Diego Union-Tribune
"The most satisfying collaboration of all these elements came in McCaleb’s Swamp."
"McCaleb’s visually engrossing premiere, Vivat St.
Petersburg, begged a second viewing, right then, for another dose of
well-meshed choreography and highflying theatrics. The seven-part
dance-theater work stretched way beyond pretty into an archetypal
beauty. Based on the celebrations in St. Petersburg when the city
restored its pre-Soviet name, the dance is.a series of stark images-of
past political oppression, bread lines, strife, militarism-mixed with a
folkish glee, in essence, the emotional impulse compelling such
celebrations, a kind of post-devastation liberation. " - The Los Angeles Times
opening concert of the International Dance Festival in Bonn, Germany
was full of rich and powerful ideas. In No Shade, bodies were strewn
among many Styrofoam cups like remembering a past life with no chance
now in this trash of cups." - GENERAL-ANZEIGER, Bonn, Germany
No Shade made people think very deeply. . .
an enviornment performance, they danced the expression: 'dust to dust,
ashes to ashes,' but more than that, it was 'Styrofoam to Styrofoam.' "
- RHEINISCHER MERKUR, Bonn, Germany
'No Shade 1991' the styrofoam covering the stage worked as both a
visual and an aural metaphor for the destruction of our atmosphere, the
dancers making hauntingly crunchy sounds as they moved among the cups.
In this evocative context, the dancers' struggles were achingly
poignant, making a powerful statement without being heavy-handed." - The OREGONIAN, Portland, Oregon
AELIA LAELIA CRISPIS commissioned score by B. Mahocic
"McCaleb's work tends to occupy a dense spiritual or political context, and it can soar with an inspired marriage of dance and meaning. . .Aelia Laelia Crispis was a duet of grave beauty that radiantly conveyed a medieval riddle of the divine androgyne - a delicious tension between the medieval flavor of the work and something absolutely contemporary and poignant in the dancers’ movement... "
High Performance Magazine
"Aelia Laelia Crispis was the most rewarding dance work of the evening. McCaleb discovered a stunning contemporary vocabulary for the movement - full of androgynous lifts and exciting couplings."
OSIRIAN FIELDS score and voice - N. McCaleb scenic design - Andrea Bjeldanes
"McCaleb made a humdinger to close the program. Osirian Fields brings together, a wacky sense of humor, a love for offbeat visual effects, a literary sensibility, and a way with uncluttered postmodern movement. Its a welcome gift."
The particulars of
McCaleb's style don't actually resemble those of Ruth St. Denis or
Isadora Duncan, but she does share with these artistic forebears a
clear delight in flaunting choreographic rules. You have the feeling
that as a kid she was the one in her neighborhood who always took up
- The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA
McCaleb's emotion-packed performance was extremely moving. Dancing her own Sister of the Plague, McCaleb seemed possessed as she responded in twitchy spasms and frenzied gestures to the dark urgencies of the score. Sister is strong stuff, including the music which the versatile McCaleb designed herself.
- Los Angeles Times
Miles Anderson, one of the nation's greatest trombone virtuosos and his wife, violinist Erica Sharp. The pair aren't along for the cool Northern California sea breezes. The music acts as a full, but never dominating, collaborator in the dances.
- San Francisco Examiner
Nancy McCaleb is a multifaceted artist, who creates the visual and aural accouterments of her dances with as much sensitivity as she does the movement.
- San Diego Union-Tribune
McCaleb is an accomplished actress as well as a talented dancer, and her appealing performance earned a chorus of bravos from the standing-room-only audience.
- Los Angeles Times
McCaleb’s choreography was a revelation, with all three pieces inventive, well conceived and beautifully executed.
- The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon
Nancy McCaleb has made a career creating what Richard Wagner called the “gesamtkunstwerk,” the total work of art. By and large, she has succeeded by being a talented choreographer, poet, composer and anthropologist.
- San Diego Daily Transcript
McCaleb Dance is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit performing arts organization. 8070 La Jolla Shores Drive #404, La Jolla, CA 92037 firstname.lastname@example.org
Company in residence at the Academy of Performing Arts, San Diego, CA http://www.apastudios.com