Festival Fever: 33 Performances On Our Radar This Summer
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group will appear at Bates Dance Festival this summer. Photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy Bates
As far as we're concerned, it's not really summer until our favorite dance festivals kick things off. This year's season is as packed and promising as ever, with seemingly everyone who is anyone converging on at least one big festival between now and August. Here are the artists, premieres and collaborations we can't wait to see.
American Dance Festival
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble
Jerry Metellus, Courtesy ADF
DURHAM, NC ADF's busy five-week season has its eyes on both the past and the future. The season is dedicated to the late Paul Taylor, with Taylor 2 opening the season in his Piazzolla Caldera, the main company performing two programs of classics (all ADF premieres) and Michael Trusnovec, acting as artist in residence, staging the iconic Esplanade on ADF students. Eiko Otake, Micaela Taylor (for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble), and Murielle Elizéon and Tommy Noonan premiere new commissions; Dorrance Dance and Malpaso Dance Company make their ADF debuts. June 13–July 20. americandancefestival.org.
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
Circa, here in What Will Have Been, appears at the Pillow this summer.
Andy Phillipson, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow
BECKET, MA As always, there's more happening at America's longest-running dance festival than any one person could experience. We have our sights set on Lucinda Childs' new vehicle for Wendy Whelan (The Day), premieres from companies like Compañía Irene Rodríguez and Gallim Dance, and Ice Dance International's Inside/Out performance featuring choreography by Trey McIntyre and Edward Villella, which marks the first time ice dancing (albeit on synthetic ice) has appeared at the Pillow. Anniversaries are big this summer, too, with the Pillow debut of Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston to mark the Cunningham Centennial, Dance Theatre of Harlem continuing its 50th-anniversary celebrations, and Mark Morris Dance Group looking ahead to its 40th in 2020. June 19–Aug. 25. jacobspillow.org.
Manchester International Festival
Ben Hopper, Courtesy MIF
MANCHESTER, UK While they might not be the headliners of this multi-genre festival (that would be actor Idris Elba and musician Janelle Monáe), the dance offerings at this year's Manchester International Festival more than hold their own. There's the multidisciplinary Invisible Cities, a site-specific work that reimagines how Marco Polo described his travels to Kublai Khan, with Rambert performing choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui; the premiere of Trajal Harrell's Tennessee Williams–inspired Maggie the Cat; Thank You Very Much, in which Claire Cunningham uses the strange world of Elvis impersonators to explore issues of identity and self-tribute; and the return of Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray, who is joined by New York City– and Manchester-based flexers for Alphabus. July 4–21. mif.co.uk.
Bates Dance Festival
nora chipaumire's #PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA
Ian Douglas, Courtesy Bates Dance Festival
LEWISTON, ME Buzzy, challenging works from a wide spectrum of artists brush up against each other at Bates Dance Festival. The festival opens with hip-hop duo MaMa2 (Amirah Sackett and Mary Mar) and closes with jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham's exploration of queer black life, This is a Formation: Intervention. In between are Netta Yerushalmy's rigorous deconstruction of dance masterworks (Paramodernities), Joanna Kotze's rumination on the sociopolitical environment around the 2016 election (What will we be like when we get there), and Bates favorites Doug Varone, Reggie Wilson and nora chipaumire. July 12–14; July 25–Aug. 3. batesdancefestival.org.
Vail Dance Festival
Patricia Delgado and Lauren Lovette in rehearsal
Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival
VAIL, CO A panoply of high-profile dancers make their annual trek to the mountains for this collaboration-rich festival. Female choreographers are once again a focus this year, with the NOW: Premieres program featuring new works by Michelle Dorrance, Tiler Peck, Pam Tanowitz and Lauren Lovette, who, in her capacity as artist in residence, will also star in a new work by Ailey dancer Hope Boykin and teach master classes. And it will be a tale of two coasts as dancers from Alonzo King LINES Ballet take the stage with members of New York City Ballet for a new work from King and musician Jason Moran. July 26–Aug. 10. vaildance.org.
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.
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?