In Portland, OR, the fall dance season begins outdoors with members of Streb leaping on a trampoline in Pioneer Square. In Berkeley, CA, activities start indoors at Zellerbach Hall with the National Ballet of China offering the West Coast premiere of Raise the Red Lantern. At New York’s Joyce Theater, Philadanco swings in for a week in September. Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts kicks off its “Dance Celebration” season with Shapiro and Smith in the rock-inspired Anytown.
Variety is the watchword this season on the tour circuit. Ballet, modern, and acrobatic dance theater all have a place at the table, and some of the most interesting companies will turn up in the unlikeliest. Thanks to new arts complexes sprouting like mushrooms across the map, the global dance village percolates with activity.
No doubt, the main attraction for ballet aficionados in the coming months will be the return of the Kirov Ballet (or, to be precise, the Maryinsky Theatre Ballet) in October to Los Angeles’ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, and Detroit Opera House. The company will dance Konstantin Sergeyev’s 1952 staging of Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty, a work that, for many, defines the company. The Kirov promises the ravishing Diana Vishneva (Aurora), Igor Zelensky (Désiré), and Uliana Lopatkina (Lilac Fairy) for the opening nights in all three venues.
Dance people who occasionally take time out for a movie may recall Raise the Red Lantern, Zhang Yimou’s heartrendingly beautiful 1991 film about a concubine in China of the 1920s. The plot seems a natural for a full-evening narrative, and Chen Qigang’s eclectic, cross-cultural movie score has been adapted for the ballet stage by Wang Xinpeng and Wang Yuanyuan. The National Ballet of China tour will wind its way through Southern California, head east for the Kennedy Center and complete its journey Oct. 11-15 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.
From Seville, Spain, comes the dynamic Ballet Flamenco José Porcel, performing the recent Pies en la Tierra; find them at California’s Orange County Performing Arts Center Oct. 27-29 and at George Mason University, VA, Nov. 19-20. Similar fare will be tendered by Compañia Talent Danza Ballet Español (Stanford University Lively Arts, Oct. 7). The controversial French-Canadian choreographer Marie Chouinard, who caused a mighty stir in the 1990s with her eroticized sculptural version of Le Sacre du printemps, will return for her most extensive American tour to date. See her company at UCLA’s Royce Hall Oct. 7-8, Portland, OR’s, Lincoln Performance Hall Oct. 13-15, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater Oct. 22-23, and New York’s Joyce Theater Dec. 13-18.
From Italy comes the innovative Compagnia Aterballetto, directed by maverick classicist Mauro Bigonzetti. In his tour program, which visits Princeton, NJ, Fairfax, VA, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November, he reimagines two Diaghilev classics, Les Noces and Petrouchka. From Senegal, comes Compagnie Jant-Bi with Fagaala, director Germaine Acogny’s epic work about African genocide (San Francisco, Oct. 7-8). Jant-Bi’s presenter, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will also sponsor the North American debut of Faustin Linyekula’s Studios Kabako, a Congolese company that produces edgy dance theater.
American companies will be whizzing around the country, too. Collaborations are in the air this fall. None is more eagerly awaited than Blueprint of a Lady: The Once and Future Life of Billie Holiday. The project unites jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon with Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE. Introduced last summer at Jacob’s Pillow, the collaboration plays Davis, CA Oct. 7-8, Portland, OR Oct. 19, and Newark, NJ Nov. 12-13. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is on the move, too. Their mixed repertoire—Nacho Duato, Trey McIntyre, William Forsythe—will be on display in Portland Nov. 9 and Seattle Nov. 11. Hang in Portland a while and you’ll also catch Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet Dec. 8-10.
The Mark Morris Dance Group launches its 25th anniversary season in Berkeley with the world premiere of Candleflowerdance (Sept. 22-24), set to piano music by Stravinsky. A second program (Sept. 28-Oct. 1) offers the West Coast premiere of Cargo (to Milhaud music) and a revival of Morris’ production of Virgil Thomson’s dazzling 1934 opera, Four Saints in Three Acts. In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Limón Dance Company performs in Cleveland Sept. 24 and gives the Boston premiere of Lar Lubovitch’s Chiaroscuro Project Oct. 29-30 at the Tsai Performance Center; the troupe then travels to the Kennedy Center Nov. 2-3. Boston’s Shubert Theatre welcomes the Martha Graham Dance Company and its American classics Dec. 2-4.
Bebe Miller will be collecting frequent flier miles this fall; the company’s new full-evening Landing/Place is a multimedia work exploring ideas of dislocation and images of “home” and “away.” The work premieres at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH, Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 and drops into Manhattan’s Dance Theater Workshop Oct. 12-15, San Francisco’s YBCA Oct. 28-29, and Cleveland’s Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square Center Nov. 5. Ballet Hispanico swings into the Mondavi Center, Davis, CA, Nov. 11-12 with NightClub, a sexually charged trilogy fusing ballet, modern, and Latino dance forms. The company goes into The Joyce Nov. 29. Houston Ballet takes Stanton Welch’s Divergence and other contemporary ballets to Minneapolis’ Northrop Auditorium Oct. 8, Kansas City’s Harriman Arts October 11-12, and to Dance St. Louis Oct. 14-15.
The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s world premiere, Blind Date, comes to the new Alexander Kasser Theater at Monclair State Univeristy Sept. 21-23 and goes to the Kennedy Center Nov. 17-19. In between, Jones performs his solo evening, As I Was Saying…, at the Wexner Oct. 29, when he collects the Wexner Prize. Savion Glover is all over the map with his Classical Savion. Try NJPAC’s Prudential Hall Nov. 18 and the Detroit Opera House Nov. 19-20. Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater imports its Sleeping Beauty Notebook from Seattle to Manhattan’s DTW Nov. 2-12. The popular Parsons Dance Company will supply its customary delights to DTW audiences Oct. 18-30 and Philadelphia’s Zellerbach Theatre Nov. 10-12. The program includes Shining Star, originally created for the Ailey company to music by Earth Wind & Fire. The same venue welcomes Jacques Heim’s California-based Diavolo Oct. 18-19.
In Brooklyn, look for Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, which holds forth with Ohad Naharin’s Mamootot Nov. 15-27 at Mark Morris Dance Center. In D.C., check out the latest creations from Shen Wei Dance Arts Oct. 21-22 at the Kennedy Center. Start filling in those dance calendars. No rest for the curious this fall. n