Vital Signs

July 6, 2011

X Factor

Are those two dancers waltzing or wrestling? Are those other three in some sort of trance? Where’s that stamping noise coming from? You might find yourself asking those questions during Melinda Ring’s X, in which five women navigate the line between ritual and rapture. The hour-long piece premiered at Danspace Project last year and reappears for one night only, Aug. 13, at the fourth annual Mount Tremper Arts Festival in the Catskill Mountains. If it was haunting at St. Mark’s Church, it’s likely to be more so amid the gardens, campfires, and forested acres of this summer arts sanctuary. If you want to make a weekend of it—which, word has it, is a lot of fun—get there Friday night, Aug. 12, for a screening of Rock My Religion, the Dan Graham film that inspired Ring. See



An Exhibit for Eleo

Remembering Eleo Pomare in Dance Magazine, Zita Allen wrote, “His work defies simplistic labels, confounds critics, and flabbergasts, titillates and/or enthralls audiences.” The exhibit “Eleo Pomare: The Man, The Artist, The Maker of Artists” at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY, honors the career of the black Colombian-American choreographer, whose work in the 1960s and ’70s struck audiences with its boldness and sometimes brutal honesty. Highlights include a video about his dance career and rare photographs of his work. His own poems and paintings, precursors to many of his ballets, and costumes, many designed and sewn by Pomare himself, will also be displayed. See



Heard Around the World

The 21st annual Rhythm World, Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s celebration of global tap and percussive dance, spotlights Canadian tap artists. Heather Cornell, who receives a 2011 JUBA! Award for her contribution to the field, will teach and perform, along with Kim Chalovich, Travis Knights, Lisa La Touche, and others. Students can take weeklong intensives led by MADD Rhythms’ Bril Barrett, Imagine Tap’s Derick K. Grant, Step Afrika! director Jakari Sherman, and the Jazz Tap Ensemble’s Sam Weber. Rhythm World offers a variety of classes from about 30 tap master teachers, plus jams and several evening performances by faculty, students, and Chicago’s best tap ensembles. See



One Man’s Trash…

An arm unfolds beautifully, gesturing toward the heavens, to a commissioned score. But rather than being attached to a ballerina under an opera house spotlight, the arm belongs to the crane of a city vehicle on the tarmac of an airport in Austin, TX. The Trash Project, conceived and choreographed by Forklift Danceworks director Allison Orr, premiered in 2009 to an audience of nearly 2,000 people. Orr’s performers (24 employees and 16 trucks of Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department) will ride again Aug. 27 and 28. Forklift aims to push its audience’s ideas of “performer” and “dancer,” engaging the community along the way, and the family-friendly show puts these city workers and vehicles in an entirely new light. See



See the Music

A music-and-dance collaboration so popular it’s become a tradition, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the renowned Aspen Music Festival and School team up for their fifth annual performance on Aug. 8. ASFB joins the Aspen Concert Orchestra at the gorgeous Benedict Music Tent, designed with both superior acoustics and an open-air feel in mind (courtesy of a ceiling of windows). The dancers will perform Nicolo Fonte’s Where We Left Off (to Philip Glass’ Metamorphosis) and scenes from directors Tom Mossbrucker and Jean-Philippe Malaty’s Romeo and Juliet. Catch just the company, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, on Aug. 27, with a new work by Jorma Elo, Cayetano Soto’s playful Kiss Me Goodnight, and Jirí Kylián’s haunting Stamping Ground. See



A Wonder-ful Life

On Earth Together
, Ronald K. Brown’s newest piece set to the music of Stevie Wonder, comes to Wolf Trap Aug. 2. The presenting organization, which co-commissioned the piece, celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer (Brown’s company, Evidence, is 15 years younger). Brown has created movement that alternates between joyous and mournful to mirror the stirring tones of the music legend. See or



In the Moment

In its 18th year, the weeklong Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation returns with intensives, classes, jams, and performances. Explore contact improv with Stockholm’s Benno Voorham, or generate new practices with DD Dorvillier in a five-class intensive. A somatic dance series with Susan Bauer looks at improv from a body-systems perspective. Other classes include butoh with Sheri Brown, “Rest” with John Dixon, and “Open Source Forms” with Stephanie Skura. Start the mornings off with “Contemplative Dance Practice,” free and open to the public at the Velocity Dance Center. July 31–Aug. 7. See



Edinburgh Looks East

With this year’s “Asia Meets Europe” theme, the Edinburgh International Festival’s dance portion includes the National Ballet of China in the full-length The Peony Pavilion, which incorporates both ballet and traditional Chinese dance and stars a Giselle-like heroine. The acclaimed Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, based in Karnataka, India, performs the fluid Aakriti and the sensuous Vibhakta, while Shen Wei Dance Arts’ “Re-Triptych” burnishes the choreographer’s twisted-body imagery into the mind. Representing the home team is the Scottish Ballet, with MacMillan’s poignant Song of the Earth and a world premiere by Jorma Elo. Aug. 12–Sept. 4. See



Contributing Writers: Tina Buckler, Siobhan Burke, Kina Poon


From top: Melinda Ring’s
X. Photo by Paula Court, Courtesy Dancespace; Eleo Pomare in Blues for the Jungle: Junkie. Photo © David Fullard, Courtesy David Fullard; Lisa La Touche. Photo by Kristie Kahns, Courtesy CHRP; Employees of Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department performing in The Trash Project. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Forklift; Katie Dehler in Jorma Elo’s 1st Flash at the 2008 Music Festival. Photo by Alex Irvin, Courtesy Aspen Music Festival; Ronald K. Brown’s On Earth Together. Photo by Julieta Cervantes, Courtesy Evidence; Improv master teacher Daniel Lepkoff at the 2009 SFDI. Photo by Tim Summers, Courtesy Dance Art Group. The National Ballet of China in The Peony Pavilion. Photo by Liu Yang, Courtesy EIF.