6 Festivals and Outdoor Offerings to Check Out This July

June 28, 2021

This July, two beloved summer mainstays return, while a spate of made-for-the-moment programs have us grabbing our sun hats to catch some dance in the open air.

Back to the Pillow

Five dancers wearing shades of beige and grey cluster together on a white stage with a see of green foliage behind. They hold each other's shoulders and look upwards as one dancer reaches a splayed hand overhead.
Bryn Cohn + Artists performing on the Inside/Out stage in 2019

Grace Kathryn Landefeld, Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival makes its much-anticipated return with a combination of outdoor, in-person performances and online programming. On-site performances, many of which the Pillow plans to film and subsequently stream, include a campus takeover by Dorrance Dance; the premiere of social dance legend Archie Burnett’s Life Encounters; members of Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet dancing together in Alejandro Cerrudo’s Second to Last; new works by Brian Brooks for both himself and his eponymous company; and an imaginative premiere from Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born about a Black girl with hair so powerful she can communicate across time. Eastern Woodland Dances will highlight local Indigenous performance traditions. Additionally, online-exclusive programming will include Paris Opéra Ballet in Crystal Pite’s Body and Soul and the premiere of a film by Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. In-person performances run June 30–Aug. 29, with online streaming continuing through Sept. 23. jacobspillow.org.

On the Road Again

Four dancers in black mesh costumes pose before a deep red backdrop. The two women, in pointe shoes, pliu00e9 in second position, right foot in forced arch, right arm in high fifth as they arch to the left. The male dancers balance in parallel relevu00e9 with their hips thrust forward, arms overhead like they're preparing to take a swan dive.

Darrel Grand Moultrie’s Indestructible Light

Todd Rosenberg, Courtesy ABT

American Ballet Theatre returns to its roots as a touring company with ABT Across America, visiting eight cities in three weeks by bus. After kicking off in Lincoln, NE, the company will hit Iowa City, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Charleston, SC, and Middleburg, VA, before concluding back home in New York City, at Rockefeller Center. The intermissionless, outdoor performances, given on a custom-built stage that will fold out from a production truck, will feature Lauren Lovette‘s La Follia Variations, Jessica Lang‘s Let Me Sing Forevermore and Darrell Grand Moultrie‘s Indestructible Light. July 1–21. abt.org.

Better Days Ahead

On a field of bright green grass, hemmed in by dark grey bricks or tiles, two dancers in greyscale rehearsal clothes stretch their arms overhead and lean lightly to their left, gazes downward.
Pam Tanowtiz Dance’s Christine Flores and Maile Okamura in rehearsal

Jeremy Jacob, Courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates

Bard SummerScape kicks off with a bang with the premiere of a site-specific work from Fisher Center artist in residence Pam Tanowitz. I was waiting for the echo of a better day places the dancers outdoors, against the backdrop of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, as live musicians play new arrangements of chamber music by Jessie Montgomery, as well as pieces by big dog little dog, Montgomery’s collaboration with Eleonore Oppenheim. July 8–10. fishercenter.bard.edu.

Bates Goes Bold

A man in a suit and tie, minus the jacket, stands on a foot-high platform, arms by his sides. He watches the life-size image of a dancer projected onto a screen in front of him. The dancer also stands in a neutral position, arms by their sides, but their fingers flare out to the sides as they look at the camera.

An audience member duets with a projection in a canary torsi’s Performance | Portrait.

Yanira Castro, Courtesy Bates

Bates Dance Festival returns with a handful of intriguing site-specific and interactive performances this month. Indigenous choreographer Emily Johnson will present a work in progress, Processions Toward, Being Future Being, in and around Kennedy Park, at riverfront areas that were originally home to the Wabanaki peoples. Performance | Portrait, a project from a canary torsi in which a single audience member at a time is invited to interact with a life-size, responsive video projection of a performer, will be hosted at L/A Arts Gallery. Vanessa Anspaugh’s 2019 Funerals for the Ocean, addressing the climate crisis through the lens of grieving and celebrating a dying loved one, also hinges on audience participation. July 11–31. batesdancefestival.org.

When Tiler Met Alonzo

Against a grey background, a woman in pointe shoes and a short, tasseled dress balances on relevu00e9 in a side extension that stretches almost to 180 degrees. Her arms cross and fold at the wrists in front of her chest. Her head is tipped all the way back to gaze at the ceiling.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s Ashley Mayeux

RJ Muna, Courtesy The Music Center

The Music Center wraps up its outdoor Dance at Dusk series with appearances by Alonzo King LINES Ballet in King’s Radius Quintet, The Personal Element and excerpts from Rasa. They’ll be joined by New York City Ballet’s Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia, who will give the live performance premieres of Swift Arrow, a duet created for them by King, and The Child of Earth and Sky, a solo for Peck. July 14–18. musiccenter.org.

Life Finds a Way

Andrea Miller peers at the camera with one eye through a rectangle she makes with her bladed hands, wrists bent at 90 degrees. Her shoulders are slightly raised.
Andrea Miller

Anne-Michèle Mallory, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations

You Are Here, a new sculpture, sound and performance installation, will unfold at Lincoln Center this month. Andrea Miller leads a team of collaborators in creating a shifting sound garden of audio portraits of artists and everyday people, offering a window into their experiences of the last year. The second half of the installation will see the portraits gradually replaced by Gallim dancers bringing them to life, with the final evening featuring all of the performers dancing Miller’s choreography live on site. July 14–30. lincolncenter.org.