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Vital Signs




Ease on Down the Road

Dallas Black Dance Theatre teams up with the Dallas Theater Center for a month-long run of the rock ‘n’ roll-meets-soul The Wiz, with choreography by Christopher L. Huggins. DBDT revisits Geoffrey Holder’s landmark 1975 musical, which won seven Tony Awards. This foray into musical theater is a first for DBDT, one of a number of innovative measures in store for its upcoming season, the company’s 35th anniversary. See www.dbdt.com.



Bard-Bound Saarinen

The fire-and-ice Tero Saarinen brings his company to Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, this month with a triple bill. The range of his intricate choreo­graphy is on display in his gravely spiritual Westward Ho! (1996), followed by his lush, butoh-influenced Wavelengths (2000). Closing the evening is Hunt (2002), his body-as-light-show solo set to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. July 7–10. See www.fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape.



Out of the Rubble
When 11-year-old Marin Soki won the silver medal in the pre-competitive age division at the Youth American Grand Prix finals last March, she had more to celebrate than a beautiful performance. Just days before she and her father Kenichi were set to fly to the finals in New York City, their hometown was struck by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked the northern region of Japan. Luckily Kenichi’s Soki Ballet School, located in Sendai, was far enough from the coast that it was not affected by the resulting tsunami. Soki reports that all his students and their families are safe. On April 9, the city still reeling from aftershocks, the Soki Ballet School resumed its normal class schedule. See www.sokiballet.jp and www.yagp.org.



Looking Ahead
Dance/USA’s annual conference lands in Chicago this month. The arts advocacy organization has chosen the forward-looking theme of “Design It. Dance It. Be the Architect of Your Future” for the 2011 edition. Over 40 speakers and moderators will lead sessions in management, artistry, technology, and audience engagement. Performances from about 20 Chicago-based companies, including Lucky Plush, BAM!, Thodos, and Luna Negra, will be split over two evenings, while three groups, including Hubbard Street, will show site-specific works at the Museum of Contemporary Art. July 13–16. See www.danceusa.org.



With Bated Breath

The Bates Dance Festival brings funky grooves and passionate storytelling when Camille A. Brown, Nicholas Leichter, and David Dorfman descend on the Bates College campus in Lewiston, ME. In addition to performing, these artists will teach the students in attendance; the Professional Training Program offers 32 daily classes. Evenings include workshops, film screenings, panel discussions, and informal jams. July 1–Aug.14. See www.batesdancefestival.org



Sylvie’s Solo Show
Following her collaborations with fellow Sadler’s Wells associate artists Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant, the still-astonishing Sylvie Guillem is finally getting her own evening. The program includes a new duet for her and Paris Opéra Ballet étoile Nicolas Le Riche made by William Forsythe. Mats Ek contributes a new solo, Ajö (Bye), and Jirí Kylián and his Rolex protégé Jason Akira Somma have made a film of La Guillem and Sabine Kupferberg. The superstar and former Royal Ballet principal added an extra performance to the sold-out run. All proceeds from it will be donated to the Japan Tsunami Appeal, managed by the British Red Cross. See www.sadlerswells.com.



Moving in Montpellier
A combination of bold-faced names and groundbreaking new artists appear at this year’s Montpellier Dance Festival, which runs through July 7. The familiar pieces include Barak Marshall’s Monger; Forsythe’s Artifact, performed by the Royal Ballet of Flanders; and the “choreographer’s cut” of Hofesh Shechter’s Political Mother, reworked and danced alongside 20 musicians. New dances from Emanuel Gat and Raimund Hoghe will premiere, and Didier Théron will present Shanghai Boléro, made for the 2010 World Expo in the Chinese metropolis. Transgender artist Phia Ménard will make her festival debut. See www.montpellierdanse.com.



You Should Be in Pictures
Combining a whirlwind of dance, acrobatics, live video, filmed sequences, and animation, Cirque du Soleil’s new production Iris premieres at L.A.’s Kodak Theatre on July 22. French choreographic wizard Philippe Decouflé collaborated with Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and a team of designers to take spectators on a voyage through the world of cinema, delving headfirst into the movie-making process. The composer and musical director, in his first Cirque production, is movie-music maker Danny Elfman, who has scored dozens of films including Good Will Hunting, Batman, and Chicago. Held in the theater built for the Academy Awards, the show will run through the end of December. See www.cirquedusoleil.com.



Contributing writers: Tina Buckler, Kina Poon


From top: DBDT’s Bravita Threatt. Photo by Brian Guilliaux, Courtesy DBDT; Tero Saarinen in Hunt. Photo by Marita Liulia, Courtesy Bard; Marin Soki competiting with a variation from Le Corsaire at the 2011 YAGP Finals. Photo by Siggul/Visual Arts Masters, Courtesy YAGP; Luna Negra's Diego Tortelli in Fernando Melo’s Bate. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Luna Negra; Camille A. Brown. Photo by Matthew Karas, Courtesy Bates; The still-astonishing Sylvie Guillem. Photo by Lesley Leslie-Spinks, Courtesy Sadler's; Geneviève Osborne in rehearsal for Emanuel Gat’s Brilliant Corners. Photo by Emanuel Gat, Courtesy Montpellier; Costume designer Phillipe Guillotel's vision for a tribal dancer. Photo courtesy Cirque.

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