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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

Health & Body
Gettty Images

It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.

Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.

It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?

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Dance on Broadway
Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.

Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.

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What Dancers Eat
Lindsay Thomas

Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.

So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?

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News
Simon Soong, Courtesy DDT

When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.

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