Entertainment: 15 summer dance festivals, from California to Manhattan


15 summer dance festivals, from California to Manhattan

DanceAfrica

BROOKLYN, MAY 25-28

You know that summer is on its way when DanceAfrica takes over the Brooklyn Academy of Music and its surrounding streets. This year’s edition focuses on South African culture and history, honoring the centennial of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The main event features the Ingoma Kwazulu Natal Dance Company — a conglomerate of four South African troupes joining forces especially for the occasion — alongside the Durban-based group Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre and Brooklyn’s own electrifying BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble. Through an array of traditional and contemporary styles, the program traces links between South Africa’s anti-apartheid and America’s civil rights movements, not neglecting the present. bam.org

Spoleto Festival

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, MAY 25-JUNE 10

New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns and choreographer Jodi Melnick may come from different worlds — classical ballet and postmodern dance — but they share a similar dedication to discovery, to uncovering layers of artistry new to their audiences and themselves. That curiosity comes through in “New Bodies,” Melnick’s intimate work for Mearns and her fellow City Ballet dancers Jared Angle and Gretchen Smith. Presented June 7-10, it should be a highlight of this year’s Spoleto offerings, which open with Miami City Ballet’s “Celebration: The Art of the Pas de Deux,” a tribute to Jerome Robbins. spoletousa.org

The Yard

MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MASSACHUSETTS, JUNE 1-SEPT. 1

A dip in the ocean is one way to cool down on Martha’s Vineyard; another is a trip to the ice skating rink. As part of the Yard’s exuberant summer arts programming, the Montreal-based troupe Le Patin Libre offers its new work of contemporary dance on ice, “Threshold,” at the Ice Arena, on Aug. 3-4. (An open skate party follows the second performance.) Exploring what feet can do on less slippery surfaces will be the artists of Tap the Yard, a mini-festival of rhythm-obsessed dance featuring Caleb Teicher (July 5-6), the Bang Group (July 7) and Ephrat Asherie Dance (July 14). dancetheyard.org

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK, JUNE 6-JULY 30

It’s been a year of upheaval for New York City Ballet, with its leader, Peter Martins, retiring amid allegations of sexual harassment and verbal and physical abuse. But its summer routine of more than 50 years — a trip to this upstate amphitheater — carries on. The company returns July 17-21 with four programs, including a vibrant mixed bill of recent works by Justin Peck, Lauren Lovette and Gianna Reisen. A closing gala salutes the centennials of Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein. Also coming: the National Ballet of Cuba in “Giselle” (June 6-8) and the Trinity Irish Dance Company (July 30). spac.org

American Dance Festival

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, JUNE 14-JULY 21

Founded in 1934 as Bennington School of the Dance, where modern dance pioneers like Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey spent their summers, the American Dance Festival continues supporting innovators of its time. Its 85th season includes Tere O’Connor’s latest evening-length work, “Long Run” (July 10-11); and a premiere by Abby Zbikowski for Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (June 14-16). Also in the lineup is “Wondrous Women,” a program of solos created and performed by, among others, the inventive tap artist Michelle Dorrance, the classical Indian dancer Aparna Ramaswamy and the dexterous Camille A. Brown, who is behind the recent Broadway revival of “Once on This Island.” Ronald K. Brown brings his signature style of African-based modern dance (June 28-30) and receives this year’s Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement. americandancefestival.org

River to River Festival

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NEW YORK, JUNE 15-24

Organized by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, this free festival pops up in unexpected spaces, using architecture as a muse. Among the shops of Brookfield Place, Catherine Galasso stages “Of Granite and Glass” on Cesar Pelli’s vast marble staircase. At Federal Hall, Enrico D. Wey explores memory and monuments in his “silent :: partner.” And along Lower East Side streets, Naomi Goldberg Haas and Laura Nova orchestrate the LES Citizens’ Parade, an ode to the neighborhood’s longtime residents. Studios at 125 Maiden Lane will house Cori Olinghouse’s “Grandma,” a performance installation in which Twinkies, TV and other Americana spur a meditation on failure and belonging. lmcc.net

Mount Tremper Arts

MOUNT TREMPER, NEW YORK, JUNE 16-AUG. 25

This remote refuge for performance, located on 150 verdant acres in the Catskills, offers a colorful if sparse dance lineup, courtesy of several guest curators. On June 16, the dancer and choreographer Mina Nishimura presents Spring Springs!, featuring Boom Bat Gesture group, Domestic Performance Agency and Julie Mayo. As part of the collective experiment known as Aunts, artists including Jonathan Gonzalez, NIC Kay and Ash R.T. Yergens come together for “camp2,” a residency culminating in a sprawling performance-party on July 21. Also on deck are programs organized by Monstah Black (Aug. 11) and Nicky Paraiso, a curator at the East Village theater La MaMa (Aug. 25). mounttremperarts.org

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

BECKET, MASSACHUSETTS, JUNE 20-AUG. 26

Circus arts from France, South Indian dance from Minneapolis, free performances against the backdrop of the Berkshire Hills: These are just a few of the treasures to be found during Jacob’s Pillow’s bustling 10-week season. Highlights include the world premiere of “Paramodernities,” Netta Yerushalmy’s ambitious excavation of modern dance masterpieces (Aug. 8-12); the return of Dorrance Dance, led by Michelle Dorrance (July 18-22); and Ragamala Dance Company’s “Written in Water,” a multidisciplinary work rooted in the classical Indian form Bharatanatyam (June 20-24). Companies from Denmark, Israel, Spain, Belgium, Australia and Scotland will also be passing through. jacobspillow.org

Ballet Festival

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NEW YORK, JUNE 26-JULY 7

Produced by the Joyce Theater, this festival has been giving a leg up to emerging ballet choreographers since 2013. This year’s cohort includes the Ashley Bouder Project, whose founder is a beloved New York City Ballet principal and a vocal critic of the ballet world’s entrenched gender dynamics. (Dance Magazine recently published her op-ed “It’s Time for Ballet to Embrace Feminism.”) Bouder will perform a new solo choreographed for her by Lauren Lovette (also a City Ballet principal) and bring back her own “In Pursuit of …,” created last year. The festival also features Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami and BalletX. joyce.org

Lumberyard

HUDSON AND CATSKILL, NEW YORK, JUNE 29-SEPT. 2

While construction continues on its new home in Catskill — scheduled to open in the fall — this contemporary performing arts center offers its inaugural summer season at nearby sites. Club Helsinki Hudson hosts Urban Bush Women’s “Scat!,” a dance-propelled musical set in a fictional jazz club, with choreography by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and original music by Craig Harris (June 29-July 1). At the recently restored Hudson Hall, John Jasperse unveils a new work (Aug. 17-19), and Ishmael Houston-Jones commemorates choreographer John Bernd in his poignant collaboration with Miguel Gutierrez, Jennifer Monson and Nick Hallett (Aug. 24-26). lumberyard.org

Bard SummerScape

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK, JULY 6-8

Last year choreographer Pam Tanowitz worked wonders with Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations, dreaming up a fresh, bright response to the dauntingly complex score. Now she turns to poetic inspiration of equal heft: T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” In honor of that work’s 75th birthday, Bard SummerScape invited her to partner with Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and American painter Brice Marden. Their “Four Quartets” features narration of Eliot’s poems by Kathleen Chalfant, live music from the Knights and dancing by eight members of Tanowitz’s stellar company. fishercenter.bard.edu

San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival

SAN FRANCISCO, JULY 6-22

During its 40 years, this festival has presented more than 600 companies specializing in dozens of dance traditions from around the globe. Founded to showcase the diversity of dance in the Bay Area, it has grown to include troupes from across Northern California. This year’s festivities begin with a free opening event at San Francisco City Hall and continue over two weekends at the War Memorial Opera House. More than 20 companies take part, serving up a feast of Mexican folkloric, classical Cambodian and traditional Congolese dance, among other styles. worldartswest.org

Mostly Mozart

NEW YORK, JULY 12-AUG. 12

The 2015 revival of “Available Light” — a 1983 collaboration among choreographer Lucinda Childs, composer John Adams and architect Frank Gehry — finally makes its way to Manhattan, kicking off Lincoln Center’s newly expanded Mostly Mozart festival (July 12-13). In the stark and celestial work, Gehry’s two-tiered set provides a towering stage for Childs’ kaleidoscopic configurations, executed by 11 dancers. Mark Morris, a Mostly Mozart regular, returns with a new dance to Schubert’s Trout Quintet and two older works (Aug. 9-12). The many free events at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (July 24-Aug. 12) include an all-ages workshop taught by the Mark Morris Dance Group on July 28. lincolncenter.org

Vail Dance Festival

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VAIL, COLORADO, JULY 28-AUG. 11

Michelle Dorrance is everywhere this summer. Among her company’s many engagements is a visit to the mountains of Vail, where she’ll bring back her 2013 “The Blues Project,” a spirited collaboration with Toshi Reagon & BIGLovely. (For those closer to New York, the work also comes to Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park, June 28.) It’s a rare evening-length work among this festival’s signature one-off samplers, in which luminaries of ballet, hip-hop, tap and contemporary dance share the stage. Full evenings are also devoted to American Ballet Theater and Alonzo King Lines Ballet, making their festival debuts. vaildance.org

Insitu Site-Specific Dance Festival

NEW YORK, AUG. 4-5

Few choreographers can pique a passer-by’s interest like Douglas Dunn, whose choreography sidles into public spaces and melds the eccentric with the everyday. His company is one of 20 taking part in this outdoor extravaganza, which returns to four parks along the Queens waterfront for a second year. Other participants include Renegade Performance Group, House of Ninja and the Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival. insitudancefestival.com

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

SIOBHAN BURKE © 2018 The New York Times

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