The Summer Festival Programming We Have Our Eyes On This Season
Much of the dance world is at—or headed to—a summer festival right now. It’s impossible to catch it all, but if we could be in multiple places at once, here’s what we’d be hoping to see.
American Dance Festival
DURHAM AND RALEIGH, NC ADF’s first full season since 2019 continues this month after June appearances by A.I.M by Kyle Abraham and Rennie Harris Puremovement, and premieres of commissions from Pilobolus and five North Carolina–based dancemakers. July’s lineup includes solo shows like Sara Juli’s searing Burnt-Out Wife and Janis Brenner’s deeply personal Inheritance: A Litany, as well as Ragamala Dance Company’s first ADF appearance in a decade with the evening-length Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim. A late-summer offshoot will bring Micaela Taylor’s TL Collective (its ADF debut), Limón Dance Company (premiering an ADF commission), PHILADANCO! and Luke Hickey to perform outdoors at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Durham, June 3–July 20; Raleigh, Sept. 8–11. americandancefestival.org.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
BECKET, MA After two pandemic-pinched summers, the Pillow’s 90th-anniversary season promises to be comfortingly full. Among the highlights are Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence premiering The Equality of Night and Day, Limón Dance Company belatedly celebrating its 75th year with a Pillow commission by Olivier Taparga, new works by starry choreographers for Taylor Stanley, Dance Heginbotham premiering two new balletic collaborations between John Heginbotham and jazz composer Ethan Iverson, Liz Lerman’s witchy Wicked Bodies finally making its Pillow debut, and no less than 20 one-night-only outdoor performances. June 22–Aug. 28. jacobspillow.org.
Kiandanda Dance Theater at San Francisco International Arts Festival Summer Series
SAN FRANCISCO Kiandanda Dance Theater closes the San Francisco International Arts Festival Summer Series with the premiere of Religion Kitendi: Dress Code. Artistic director Byb Chanel Bibene draws inspiration from Congolese sapeurs—ordinary folks who dress in haute couture in response and resistance to the legacy of European colonization, as well as to find healing and joy—to illustrate the layers of sociopolitical meaning that can exist inside of “dressing up.” July 1–2. sfiaf.org.
Bates Dance Festival
LEWISTON, ME Bates begins its performance season with two works by Reggie Wilson’s Fist & Heel Performance Group and closes with David Dorfman Dance’s latest, (A)Way Out of My Body. In between are a double bill featuring dancer–musical artist duos Shura Baryshnikov with Adrienne Taylor and Aretha Aoki with Ryan MacDonald; Stefanie Batten Bland’s Embarqued: Stories of Soil; Rennie Harris Puremovement celebrating its 30th anniversary with a revival of the seminal Rome & Jewels; and Miguel Gutierrez’s collaborative duet with Laila Franklin, I as another. July 11–Aug. 6. batesdancefestival.org.
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance at the Grange Festival
HAMPSHIRE, UK Shobana Jeyasingh puts a time-traveling twist on a Baroque operatic cantata in Clorinda Agonistes (Clorinda the Warrior). The first act sees the titular Muslim heroine battle a Crusader in medieval Jerusalem (refuting what has traditionally been interpreted as a love story) before the action is transported to today’s conflict, where the character reclaims the telling of her own story. It premieres at the Grange Festival, sharing a double bill with New English Ballet Theatre in Jenna Lee’s The Four Seasons, ahead of a London debut (planned for September) and tour. July 13–14. thegrangefestival.co.uk.
Vail Dance Festival
VAIL, CO The usual panoply of stars will be joined by Ephrat Asherie Dance and the Limón Dance Company, both making their festival debuts. Artist in residence Roman Mejia will perform with the latter in Limón’s Chaconne, as well as in a new work by fellow artist in residence Caili Quan. Additional premieres by Quan, Bobbi Jene Smith, Claudia Schreier, Pam Tanowitz, Jodi Melnick and Justin Peck—the 100th premiere commissioned by Vail under Damian Woetzel’s leadership—join performances of existing repertory by the still-new Dance Aspen, New York City Ballet Moves and the alchemical cross-company pairings of Vail’s signature International Evenings of Dance. July 29–Aug. 9. vaildance.org.