Summer Daze: The Shows to Catch During This Year's Packed Summer Festival Season
It's summer festival season! If you're feeling overwhelmed by the dizzying array of offerings, never fear: We've combed through the usual suspects to highlight the shows we most want to catch.
American Dance Festival
Members of A.I.M. perform Kyle Abraham's Dearest Home. Photo by Paula Court, Courtesy ADF
ADF shows no sign of slowing down as it enters its 85th season. Amongst the 53 performances, look out for the Wondrous Women program featuring ADF-commissioned solos created and performed by Aparna Ramaswamy, Michelle Dorrance, Rhapsody James and Yabin Wang, plus an excerpt from Camille A. Brown's ink. June 14–July 21. americandancefestival.org.
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
Eastman will perform Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Fractus V. Photo by Filip Van Roe, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow
The Pillow season is as overwhelmingly, comfortingly full as ever. Keep an eye out for the return of Royal Danish Ballet and Houston Ballet; premieres from Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie, Ronald K. Brown, Michelle Dorrance and Netta Yerushalmy; and Monica Bill Barnes & Company's after-party romp Happy Hour. June 20–Aug. 26. jacobspillow.org.
Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts
Miguel Gutierrez and Ishmael Houston Jones' Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd will be presented by LUMBERYARD. Photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy Blake Zidell and Associates
Its Catskill, NY, campus is still under construction, but that isn't stopping LUMBERYARD from launching its inaugural summer season in its new hometown. STREB Extreme Action and Bridgman|Packer Dance will perform at the construction site, while at nearby theaters Urban Bush Women, d. Sabela Grimes and John Jasperse premiere new works. June 28–Sept. 1. lumberyard.org.
Bates Dance Festival
Nora Chipaumire's Portrait of Myself as My Father. Photo by Gennadi Novash, Courtesy Bates
Sean Dorsey, Rennie Harris and Nora Chipaumire tackle masculinity, morality, spirituality and community during Bates' first season under the direction of Shoshona Currier. The festival opens with Mycelial: Street Parliament, a collaboration between Chicago- and Cairo-based artists in which a mobile app will lead audience members through an interactive performance installation. July 5–Aug. 4. batesdancefestival.org.
Davalois Fearon's Time to Talk. Photo by Andrew Lee Imaging, Courtesy The Yard
Caleb Teicher, The Bang Group and Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie liven up Martha's Vineyard in Tap The Yard: A Vineyard Festival of Rhythm and Beats, July 5–7 and 14. Later in the summer, look for Doug Elkins (July 27–28), Canadian ice skating group Le Patin Libre (Aug. 3–4), and The Wondertwins on a split bill with the fearless Davalois Fearon (Aug. 16–18). dancetheyard.org.
San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
Nunamta Yup'ik Eskimo Singers and Dancers. Photo by RJ Muna, Courtesy Scott Horton Communications
The festival celebrates its 40th season with performances at the War Memorial Opera House after a free opening event July 6 at San Francisco City Hall. Twenty artists or groups representing 18 distinct dance styles—from flamenco to kuchipudi to Appalachian clogging—will present centuries-old dances and new works. July 6, 14–15, 21–22. sfethnicdancefestival.org.
Mostly Mozart Festival
Lucinda Childs' Available Light. Photo by Craig T. Mathew, Courtesy Lincoln Center
While the Lincoln Center Festival is no more, the organization's Mostly Mozart Festival has expanded its offerings to include more dance. This year opens with the revival of Lucinda Childs' Available Light, its first NYC appearance in over 30 years, and closes with the premiere of Mark Morris' The Trout, set to the eponymous Schubert quintet. July 12–Aug. 12. lincolncenter.org.
Vail Dance Festival
Michelle Dorrance and Byron Tittle perform at Vail. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail
The star-studded end-of-summer festival turns 30 with the company debuts of American Ballet Theatre, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Ballet Hispánico, plus new choreography from Vail veterans Lil Buck, Michelle Dorrance, Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck, Tiler Peck (her choreographic debut), Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell, and Claudia Schreier. July 28–Aug. 11. vaildance.org.
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In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
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:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"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.