June's Best Performance Bets, Chosen by DM Writers and Editors
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
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
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
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
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 Little Prince (1974) - Bob Fosse Scene - YouTube ›
- BalletX: The Little Prince | Vail Dance Festival ›
- Le Petit Prince | The National Ballet of Canada ›
- Summer Series 2019 | BalletX ›
- This Is Not The Little Prince – Whim W'Him ›
- Mirage — Post:Ballet ›
- History — Post:Ballet ›
- Manon ›
- Roberto Bolle says addio to American Ballet Theatre ›
- Roberto Bolle – Official Website ›
- The Dancing Wheels Company - Home | Facebook ›
- Dancing Wheels – Art. Motion. Dance. ›
- One Thousand and One Nights | Spoleto Festival USA 2019 ›
- Caracalla Dance Theatre ›
- PearlPRESENTS Dance Festival ›
- pearlPRESENTS Dance Festival — PearlArts Studios ›
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.