Robert Bettman

About Robert Bettman

Robert Bettmann is an arts writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He's founder of the arts magazine Bourgeon and the non profit Day Eight. In the last year he's completed projects with funding from the DC Arts commission and DC Humanities Council and was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand arts journalism in DC. Robert is an artist himself, having transitioned into writing after a decade-long career as a performing artist. He trained on scholarship at the Washington Ballet and Alvin Ailey schools and performed modern dance and ballet nationally and internationally. His first book, Somatic Ecology, was published in 2009, and he is the editor of an arts anthology, Bourgeon: Fifty Artists Write About Their Work, published recently. (Bio photo: Joanne Miller)

Washington DC Dance Season – Highlights

Tuesday night, Trey Graham hosted the annual DC Theater Scene preview of the local theatre season at The Smithsonian. The discussion highlighted just a few specifics within the breadth of local offerings in theater, opera and musical theater, and dance. Here are a few of my recommendations for the coming season.

Perception (review)

Alexandra Schools’ Perception, premiering with MoCo Dance Alliance in the Capital Fringe festival, was inspired by an encounter with the senses. Two years ago, Schools’ parents were host family for a young deaf man new to the area. That prompted Schools to think about how our senses inform both action and reaction and, in particular, how […]

Fractals (review)

Fractals asks us to consider elemental questions about how we choose to see each other and the world. The work is broken into sections that are presented as parallels: science, art, relationships, etc. The sections are framed by monologues that transition into dance and in some sections the actors and dancers perform simultaneously.

And 1! a dansical (review)

Theater must lend itself more easily to humor than dance because one so rarely sees attempts at humor in dance. Maybe it’s the years of training required for even modest physical competence as a dancer, but choreographers overwhelmingly embrace serious abstract or story-based approaches. Sara Herrera’s And1! a dansical, then, is a breath of fresh air.

Mats Ek’s Juliet and Romeo at The Kennedy Center (review)

The audience in the Opera House at the Kennedy Center last night was buzzing for the North American Premiere of Juliet and Romeo by the choreographer Mats Ek, performed by the Swedish National Ballet. The large European ballet companies are better-funded and simply better than many U.S. companies and while Ek is lesser-known (even among […]

Paul Taylor Company (review), elegant, genteel, pretty and fun to watch

When Jerry Garcia died I remember thinking, “I wish I’d seen the Grateful Dead live.” Everyone talks about how amazing they were in concert and even though I was never a Dead Head I wish I had experienced it firsthand.

Community shocked by loss of Dance Institute of Washington founder Fabian Barnes

Under mysterious circumstances, Washington, D.C. has lost one of its most dynamic leaders, Fabian Barnes, founder of the Dance Institute of Washington (DIW). More than an arts leader, Mr. Barnes used dance to positively impact a generation of Washington children.

The Mariinsky’s colossal Raymonda shines at the Kennedy Center

If you go see the Coliseum in Rome you don’t need to talk about the dust, or the cracks in the walls. It is, of course, a very old building but you don’t think, “Gosh, they should add some new concrete and even out these walls.” Similarly when you see The Mariinsky Ballet’s evening length […]

With Septime Webre’s exit, Washington Ballet faces challenges

Washington was abuzz this past weekend with the announcement Friday afternoon that The Washington Ballet’s longtime Artistic Director, Septime Webre, is leaving his post at the end of his current contract.

UpClose with the stars of Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale

The National Ballet of Canada returns to Washington D.C. with the U.S. premiere of The Winter’s Tale from January 19-24, 2016 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Based on William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, the production is co-produced with The Royal Ballet and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.

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