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June's Best Performance Bets, Chosen by DM Writers and Editors

Stefano Altamura, Courtesy Whim W'Him

This month's picks include premieres, Little Princes and a principal dancer's farewell that's sure to leave you sobbing. Here are the shows our writers and editors around the country are most excited to catch.


Pearls in PA

STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos

Kitoko Chargois, Courtesy PearlArts Studios

PITTSBURGH Choreographer Staycee Pearl is on a mission to establish Pittsburgh as a dance destination. She's been creating sociopolitically informed works for her company, STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos, since 2010 and opened PearlArts Studios in 2012. Now, she draws on local and national talent for Pittsburgh's first pearlPRESENTS Dance Festival, a week packed with master classes and performances. Pearl's troupe shares the stage with Island Moving Company and launches its touring partnership with Sidra Bell Dance New York. Completing the roster are Chitra Subramanian's chitra.MOVES, PearlDiving Movement Residency alumni (including slowdanger and Jasmine Hearn) and a dozen local artists chosen by lottery for festival opener 3600 Seconds of Solos. June 3–9. pearlartsstudios.com. —Karen Dacko

Arabian Nights

CHARLESTON Caracalla Dance Theatre brings an iconic collection of Arabic folklore to life in One Thousand and One Nights, which makes its U.S. debut at Spoleto Festival USA this month. The Beirut-based company's epic production mixes ballet, Graham and Arabic folk-dance techniques with opulent designs and a score that includes Ravel's Bolero and (of course) Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. June 7–9. spoletousa.org. —Courtney Escoyne

Integrated First

Marc Brew's Od:yssey

Robert Howard, Courtesy Dancing Wheels

CLEVELAND Reverse*Reboot*Reveal, from Dancing Wheels, America's first physically integrated dance company, features three new works created by choreographers with disabilities: Marc Brew, artistic director of AXIS Dance Company; Laurel Lawson, of Full Radius Dance; and Antoine Hunter, director of San Francisco's Urban Jazz Dance Company. Says Dancing Wheels founder/artistic director Mary Verdi-Fletcher: "Few artists with disabilities have had the opportunity to hone their skills as choreographers. We want to help change that." June 14. dancingwheels.org. —Steve Sucato

Bye-Bye, Bolle

Roberto Bolle as Des Grieux in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

NEW YORK CITY After over a decade of turning heads and breaking hearts at American Ballet Theatre, Roberto Bolle is saying good-bye to the company. The international star's final ABT performances will be as the idealistic Des Grieux in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's tragic Manon, dancing opposite Hee Seo for both the opening night of the ballet on June 17 and at a special farewell performance June 20. Bring your tissues. abt.org. —CE

Pure Imagination

Post:Ballet

Quinn Wharton, Courtesy Post:Ballet

SAN FRANCISCO What happens when you place dancers inside an augmented-reality art installation that's activated by movement? Visitors to Onedome will find out when Post:Ballet takes over LMNL and The Unreal Garden, two of the interactive venue's mixed-reality spaces that blend art, architecture and multimedia. The premiere is appropriately titled Mirage. June 21–22. postballet.org. —CE

Update: As of June 10, this production has been cancelled due to an issue with the venue.

Le Petit Prince

This summer, two versions of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic tale of love, loss and societal malaise premiere.

Whim W'Him in rehearsal

Stefano Altamura, Courtesy Whim W'Him

This Is Not The Little Prince

SEATTLE Olivier Wevers' all-original This Is Not The Little Prince, for Whim W'Him, gives a surreal rendering, using a monochromatic stage setting and shadow lighting. Says Wevers, "I want to challenge the audience's sensibilities, combining Saint-Exupéry's anti-realism with René Magritte's jarring aesthetic." June 7–15. whimwhim.org. —Gigi Berardi

BalletX's Roderick Phifer

Gabriel Bienczycki, Courtesy BalletX

The Little Prince

PHILADELPHIA Masterful storyteller Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's premiere for BalletX explores how the pilot's meeting with the titular prince leads him to ask life's big questions. "The Little Prince is the pilot's inner voice, the vivid child imagination that each adult has," says Ochoa. July 10–21. balletx.org. —GB

The Conversation
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.

I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.

That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?

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