Vital Signs

July 25, 2012

Something Fresh in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh International Festival brings a handful of dance front-runners to Scotland this year. Brazil-based Deborah Colker Dance Company has taken Onegin (see “Turning Into Tatiana,” p. 30) and transported it onto a huge geometric tree in Colker’s European premiere of her Tatyana. The Mariinsky Ballet also jumps on the “updated classic” bandwagon with Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella. Ballet Preljocaj’s vertiginous Helikopter and Batsheva’s idiosyncratic Hora will provide plenty of edge. And the Juilliard students present a triple bill that includes Alexander Ekman’s Episode 31, a tribally influenced piece with balletic lines. Aug. 9–Sept. 2.


Deborah Colker’s
Tatyana. Photo by Leo Aversa, Courtesy Colker.



Dance Drops into Düsseldorf

Germany’s Internationale Tanzmesse NRW welcomes about 60 companies over four days of performances Aug. 29–Sept. 1. In addition to open studio showings, panels, and installations, the festival’s performances, from troupes representing over 20 nations, will include Cloud Gate 2 of Taiwan in Wicked Fish by Huang Yi, a 2011 “25 to Watch.” Two companies perform their own spins on familiar stories: Korea’s Dance Theater Chang’s Crazy Swan Lake has the central swan dying from pollution, and U.K.-based Phoenix Dance Theatre does a modern-day retelling of Adam and Eve. Representing the U.S. is Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, in whose Ways to Be Hold, dancers wrap themselves in coats—and other dancers. Sweden’s Göteborg Ballet, BeijingDance/LTDX, and Jasmine Vardimon Company will also perform.


Blake Nellis and Brian Evans in Stuart Pimsler’s
Ways to Be Hold. Photo by V. Paul Virtucio, Courtesy SPDT.



Feeling Free

Trey McIntyre Project returns to Jacob’s Pillow with some favorite works, including 2008’s homage to childhood, Leatherwing Bat, and 2012’s Bad Winter, an exploration of love based on a trio of popular songs, which premiered this past February. TMP also speeds forward with a premiere based on Marlo Thomas’ innovative television and audio series Free to Be… You and Me. Aug. 8–12.


Travis Walker, Ashley Werhun, and John Michael Schert. Photo by Lois Greenfield, Courtesy Pillow.



Desert Dancing

In place of a scrim, Arizona’s real-life landscape served as a backdrop to Ballet Arizona’s performances last May. Director Ib Andersen’s world premiere Topia fused nature and dance at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden. On a custom-crafted 80-foot-wide performance space, the dancers emulated the wide expanse of the desert stage for 17 evenings, with starting times adjusted to the setting sun.


Michal Wozniak warming up onstage. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor, Courtesy BAZ.






Between a Rock & a Dance Place

The premieres at this year’s Vail International Dance Festival include Brian Brooks’ duet for himself and Wendy Whelan and a new Wheeldon work. NYCB MOVES opens the festival with a mixed bill, including Justin Peck’s new work to Philip Glass music. To even out such ballet riches, Fang-Yi Sheu & Artists—Sheu, a former Martha Graham superstar and frequent festival performer—will make its debut. The Martha Graham Dance Company will perform for the first time at the festival, including a performance of Appalachian Spring—fitting for the venue, albeit a different set of mountains. July 29–Aug. 11.


Joaquín De Luz and Tyler Angle of NYCB MOVES in Robbins’
Dances at a Gathering at the 2011 VIDF. Photo © Erin Baiano, Courtesy VIDF.



Community—and Talent—in Chicago

Presenting six evenings of free programming, Chicago Dancing Festival co-producers Lar Lubovitch and Jay Franke have outdone themselves this year. Larry Keigwin will spend two weeks in the Windy City making Bolero Chicago for his Keigwin + Company dancers and as many as 75 other people who want to participate—no performance experience necessary. High school students who dance in the enrichment program After School Matters will work with Nicholas Leichter in a CDF commission honoring Chicago’s former First Lady (and champion of the arts) Maggie Daley. Both works will be performed on the “Chicago Dancing” program opening night at the Harris Theater, joined by Hubbard Street, The Joffrey, and the festival debut of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Other highlights include a day of film screenings; a lec/dem on the state of Chicago dance, moderated by DM contributing writer Zachary Whittenburg; and a chance to see dancers from San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet Arizona (the latter two in debuts) on the same program. Aug. 20–25.


River North Dance Chicago rehearsing Charlie Moulton’s
9-Person Precision Ball Passing at the 2011 CDF. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy CDF.



Tap All Over

Five tap festivals across North America sound off this month. Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World (July 23–Aug. 5) will honor master teacher Yukiko Misumi, whose ARTN Company will perform with FootworKINGz and Nico Rubio, up-and-coming artists on the Windy City scene. At the Bay Area Tap Festival (Aug. 14–19), Terry Brock, Channing Cook Holmes, John Kloss, and Mark Mendonca perform in a 10th-anniversary celebration. The Motor City Tap Fest (Aug. 16–18) honors Harold Cromer, with instructors including Claudia Rahardjanoto and Sarah Reich, both “25 to Watch” dancers. Michelle Dorrance, Maurice Chestnut, and festival founder Hillary-Marie Michael will teach and perform at the Jersey Tap Fest (Aug. 23–26).
. And catch Dianne Walker, Acia Gray, and Chloe Arnold in the “Women in Tap” performance at the Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival (which runs Aug. 31–Sept. 2).


Michelle Dorrance. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Courtesy
Dance Teacher.