Vital Signs

June 27, 2013

ADF Turns 80

Paul Taylor, Kyle Abraham, Mark Dendy, Trisha Brown—is there a better group with whom to commemorate American Dance Festival’s 80th anniversary? Through July 27, ADF’s 2013 season brings 25 companies and 47 performances to Durham, NC. It’s the second year without Charles Reinhart, since retired, but Jodee Nimerichter has ably followed in his giant footsteps, commissioning nine world premieres, including works from Pilobolus, Shen Wei, LeeSaar The Company, and Rosie Herrera. The final gala, “Forces of Dance,” celebrates past Scripps/ADF Awardees with works by Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones, and Martha Graham, as well as this year’s honoree, Lin Hwai-min, artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan.


Shen Wei Dance Arts in
Near the Terrace. Photo by Mark Murray, Courtesy ADF.




With creature-ly attack and a bizarre alien look, Sharon Eyal’s company L-E-V, in its U.S. debut, slinks into Jacob’s Pillow this month. Dancers styled to look somewhat like a reanimated zombie corps inhabit Eyal’s wickedly disorienting work, performed to electronic music. As a longtime dancer and house choreographer for Batsheva, Eyal formed L-E-V last year with her partner, Gai Behar, an underground art and rave producer. Eyal will dance in HOUSE herself—with eight other former Batsheva dancers. July 24–28.


Rebecca Hytting in
HOUSE. Photo by Gadi Dagon, Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.



French Connection

The Montpellier Danse Festival brings a host of companies and styles from around the world to France through July 6. Akram Khan draws from Indian dance traditions with his acclaimed DESH, and Israel Galván’s Lo Real/Le Réel/The Real uses flamenco to pay tribute to Gypsies who were persecuted by the Nazis. Representing the Israeli dance scene, Yasmeen Godder presents See Her Change, a work for three women exploring self-image. Additional highlights include Ballet de Lorraine in Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Blanca Li’s Elektro Kif, inspired by Electro, a high-energy Parisian street dance style performed to thumping house music.


Blanca Li’s 
Elektro Kif. Photo by Patrick Fisher, Courtesy Montpellier.



Of the Moment

If you love to improvise, Velocity Dance Center in Seattle is the place to be from July 28 to Aug. 4. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation offers intensives from John Jasperse (that prince of oddness), Sara Shelton Mann of Contraband fame, and Trisha Brown alum Shelley Senter, among others. Master teachers like Stephanie Skura, Tonya Lockyer, and Jill Sigman (see our May “Why I Choreograph”) conduct classes and workshops. Register for SFDI at


Stephanie Skura. Photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy SFDI.



Dance at Every Age

How does the aging body affect one’s expressive power? This month, BalletX presents the results of a collaboration with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. BalletX dancers participated in two workshops in January, led by choreographer Nicolo Fonte, with a group of senior citizens. The outcome is Fonte’s new full-length ballet, the company’s first by a guest choreographer, Beautiful Decay, which premieres as part of BalletX’s Summer Series. July 10–14.




Allison Walsh of BalletX. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy BalletX.



Defying Gravity

The 15th international Aerial Dance Festival, produced by Frequent Flyers Productions, soars into Boulder from July 27 to Aug. 10. In addition to classes and lectures, the festival presents Mapping, a collaboration between David Clarkson of Australia’s Stalker Theatre; Dr. Andrew Johnston of the University of Technology, Sydney; and Frequent Flyers. Mapping, which combines dance with new video technology, looks at genetic mapping as a personal, social, and global issue. In Clarkson’s work, performers, suspended from ropes, flip and fly across a giant screen, where projected bursts of particles or lines follow their every movement.


Stalker Theatre in David Clarkson’s
Encoded. Photo courtesy Frequent Flyers and Stalker Theatre.



Maine Moves

Who came before Romeo and Juliet? According to Nejla Yatkin, it was Layla and Majnoon, from classical Arabic literature—the stars of her newest project, Oasis. It opens the annual Bates Dance Festival, running July 12 to Aug. 10 in Lewiston, ME. Other works include Doug Varone’s Mouth Above Water and Bridgman/Packer Dance’s newest video-integrated work, Voyeur. In addition to three training programs that culminate in showings on Aug. 10, and a contact improv jam with the legendary Nancy Stark Smith on Aug. 7, weekly “Show and Tell” events give audiences a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the choreographic process.


Alex Springer in Varone’s
Carrugi. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann, Courtesy Bates.



Contributors: Jenny Dalzell, Suzannah Friscia, Kina Poon, Wendy Perron