Vital Signs

August 21, 2011





Runaway Love

On the brink of a financial shutdown in July 2010, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, the little company that could, has much to celebrate as it kicks off its 10th-anniversary season on Sept. 16. With 13 dancers, BNC performs its cool, collaborative rep in Denver and neighboring Lakewood, CO. Artistic director Garrett Ammon chose to remount his evening-length ballet Intersection, about the disruption of suburban life after a boy disappears, for the season opener. The company works with an array of Denver-based artists, from sculptors to rock musicians, and Intersection was made in collaboration with poet Michael J. Henry of Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The piece presents an additional challenge for BNC’s dancers, who have to recite some of the poems onstage. “Their voice becomes that character’s voice,” says Ammon. “It gives them fodder to work with as they develop their role, another layer to who that person is.”



Ballet Heats Up

The 16th annual International Ballet Festival of Miami, running Aug. 26–Sept. 18, presents performances by a formidable cadre of stars. The lineup includes Brazil’s Michelle Saramago, who will dance with American Ballet Theatre’s Sascha Radetsky, host company Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami’s Rolando Sarabia, plus dancers from Paris Opéra Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet. For more contemporary fare, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Chicago’s Luna Negra, and Morphoses share a performance. Marcia Haydée, the Brazilian-born former star of the Stuttgart, now director of Ballet Santiago, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award on Sept. 17.



Up All Night

An all-hours festival of workshops, talks, installations, and performances, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival takes over the city with visual and performing art of all stripes. The “TBA Onstage” portion includes the Portland debut of 2009 “25 to Watch” Kyle Abraham, Rachid Ouramdane’s brilliant solo World Fair, and a new site-specific work that takes over bridges, loading docks, and industrial buildings from Japan’s Offsite Dance Project. Sept. 8–18.



Northern Sounds

The Vancouver Tap Dance Society hosts a weekend of master classes for all ages and levels, plus special performances, Sept. 1–4. For hoofers interested in taking step dance and the style it’s based on, gumboot dance, look no further than Jakari Sherman’s classes. The artistic director of Step Afrika joins the faculty for the first time. Intermediate dancers can take company class with Anyone Can Get It (A.C.G.I), Jason Samuels Smith’s troupe—Samuels Smith teaches several classes himself. See Terry Brock perform her tribute to Eleanor Powell, Ellie & Me, at the Waldorf Hotel on Sept. 4.



Hello, Hello!

New York City Ballet succumbs to Beatlemania this month—the highlight of the company’s fall season is the premiere of Ocean’s Kingdom, a collaboration between Peter Martins and Sir Paul McCartney. The Beatle was inspired to write his first score for the ballet after meeting Martins at a School of American Ballet gala last year. With costumes designed by McCartney’s daughter, Stella, the new ballet makes its debut Sept. 22 at NYCB’s fall gala. The ballet will have four additional performances the following week, and will return during the winter season in January. In a salute to the British music legend, the gala program will also include Balanchine’s Union Jack.



Hope in Carolina

Hope Boykin, one of Ailey’s most riveting dancers, premieres a new piece for Philadanco on Sept. 23 at Carolina Performing Arts. Boykin’s previous work, including 2009’s Go in Grace made for the Ailey company and Be Ye Not, danced by Philadanco (Boykin was a member of Danco before she joined Ailey), draws on her memories and experience. Her new piece, a collaboration with drummer/composer Ali Jackson of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, shares similar themes.



Cherkaoui Everywhere

The late Pina Bausch suggested that Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa, the scintillating kuchipudi dancer who has performed with Tanztheater Wuppertal, collaborate. The result, Play, makes its U.S. debut on Sept. 15, at Philly Live Arts (see “Dance Matters,” page 16). The piece is a study in opposites—gender, cultural, and otherwise. It’s a busy month for Cherkaoui. His manga-inspired TeZukA premieres on Sept. 6 at Sadler’s Wells. He then kicks off the North American tour of his Babel (words), the final piece of a triptych of works, at Montreal’s Danse Danse on Sept. 29. Babel explores the ability of language to both divide and, ultimately, unite. The production will travel to Quebec, Ottawa, Chapel Hill, NC, and Southern California through October.



From top: Ballet Nouveau Colorado’s Damien Patterson and Meredith Strathmeyer in
Intersection. Photo by David Jennings, Courtesy BNC; Staatsballett Berlin’s Dinu Tamazlacaru. Photo by Enrico Nawrath, Courtesy CCBM; Offsite Dance Project. Photo by Ririko Arai, Courtesy PICA; Eleanor Powell. Photo from DM Archives; Peter Martins rehearses Ocean’s Kingdom with Sara Mearns and Robert Fairchild. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB; Philadanco’s Joan Kilgore and Chloé O. Davis in Zollar’s By Way of the Funk. Photo by Lois Greenfield, Courtesy CPA; Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa in Play. Photo by Koen Broos, Courtesy Eastman.