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By Wendy Perron, Kristin Schwab
World premieres and stellar festivals fill April's calendar.
Burgess’ dancers in Homage. Photo by Mary Noble Ours, Courtesy Burgess.
Science, history and research are the pride of the Smithsonian. Now, the world’s largest museum complex is also gaining a foothold in dance with its first artist in residence, Dana Tai Soon Burgess. The DC-based choreographer has created a site-specific program to coincide with the National Portrait Gallery’s first American dance exhibition, “Dancing the Dream”—a collection of images picturing celebrated dancers and choreographers, from Isadora Duncan to Michael Jackson. On the program is Homage, which borrows from the works of pioneers in the exhibition, as well as a premiere that honors this generation’s choreographers. Performance on April 19; exhibition runs through July 13. npg.si.edu.
Ballets by a Brit
Sir Frederick Ashton’s quintessentially English work may have its devotees at home, but some critics claim that Sarasota Ballet’s restagings top even those of The Royal Ballet. The Florida company, which boasts one of the largest samplings of Ashton repertoire, will salute the choreographer with 10 of his dances, including the partnering delight Symphonic Variations; Birthday Offering, originally choreographed to celebrate The Royal’s 25th year; and the ice-skating–inspired Les Patineurs. The Ashton Festival, a Sarasota-wide event, will also feature films and panel discussions. April 30–May 3. sarasotaballet.org.
Above: Also on the program, Ashton’s Façade. Photo by Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.
NEW YORK CITY
Renowned for his wildly flinging, pretzelly movement language, Stephen Petronio is an avid collaborator with artists of other disciplines. Highlighting his interest in new music, his 30th-anniversary program includes scores by Michael Nyman and hip-hop producer Michael Volpe, aka Clams Casino. An extra bonus will be a new solo for Petronio himself to music by Philip Glass. April 8–13 at The Joyce Theater. stephenpetronio.com.
Above: Davalois Fearon and Gino Grenek. Photo by Sarah Silver, Courtesy SPC.
Duking It Out, Through Dance
Bring your boxing gloves: Amsterdam company Emio Greco | PC’s theatrical work ROCCO is staged inside a boxing ring, putting audiences just feet away from Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten’s dark, combative choreography. During the piece’s creation, the company worked with boxers to intertwine throws and feints with dance. The product shows that the sport has more in common with our world than you might think: swift physicality, a rhythmic pulse and intuitive yet calculated abandon. April 4–5 at Vancouver’s DanceHouse; U.S. premiere, April 10–12, at White Bird in Portland, Oregon; April 17–19 at REDCAT in Los Angeles. ickamsterdam.com.
Above: Dancer Christian Guerematchi takes his corner of the ring. Photo by Laurent Ziegler, Courtesy ICKamsterdam.
Heaven & Harlem
NEW YORK CITY
When the new Dance Theatre of Harlem made its Lincoln Center debut last year, the young dancers impressed more through spirit than technical mastery. This year, artistic director Virginia Johnson is testing her dancers with Ulysses Dove’s sharply dramatic Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven (1993) and a piece that Thaddeus Davis and Tanya Wideman-Davis made for the company, past-carry-forward, about the great migration from the South that led to the Harlem Renaissance. In tribute to the late Frederic Franklin, the season also includes his version of Petipa’s “Pas de Dix” from Raymonda. April 23–27, Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. dancetheatreofharlem.org.
Above: Gabrielle Salvatto in past-carry-forward. Photo by Rachel Neville, Courtesy DTH.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink
One city, three days, seven U.S. premieres. International artists will invade Houston for the 2014 Dance Salad Festival, April 17–19. Among the diverse set are Paris Opéra Ballet étoiles Manuel Legris and Laetitia Pujol in works by John Neumeier and Angelin Preljocaj. Other offerings include the Dresden Semperoper and Royal Danish Ballets, a tango-laced Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui work and Beijing troupes Beijing Dance/LDTX and Contemporary Dragon KungFu—the latter established by martial arts legend Jackie Chan. dancesalad.org.
Above: Contemporary Dragon KungFu will perform Liu Lu’s Gateway. Photo by Li Huimin, Courtesy Dance Salad.