After performing everywhere from Madagascar to the White House, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has evolved into a unique phenomenon since its humble beginnings in 1958. The internationally acclaimed company has achieved legendary status through its provocative surveys of African-American culture and progressively modern yet lyrical choreography. This particular tour—which is making a six-day stop at UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances—marks the farewell of Ailey’s successor and artistic director, Judith Jamison, after leading the troupe to unparalleled praise for more than 20 years.
Laudatory quotes flow around Hubbard Street Dance like fog down the Richmond - and deservedly so. One of the first dance companies I ever saw perform, Hubbard Street set me up as a dance lover for life - it's the type of performance you recommend to friends and then invite yourself along. And they’re moving more brilliantly than ever. The seventeen-dancer ensemble hits Berkeley this weekend, where they’ll perform West Coast premieres of Nacho Duato’s Arcangelo, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Deep Down Dos and Blanco, and 27’52” by the incomparable Jiri Kylian.
It's hard not to love the adorably neurotic, gently funny, totally relatable Ira Glass, whose hosting duties on NPR's "This American Life" translated equally well to its televised version on Showtime. Self-deprecating and charming, he should be in peak form tomorrow night at Cal Performances, where he'll be speaking about the ideas that guide his work and the current direction of "This American Life." They'll have time for a Q&A session as well. Glass and the program take a lot of heat for being too white, upper-middle-class, bourgeois, etc., but for our money, they're doing some really great journalism alongside their ongoing emotional exploration of the American experience.