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To celebrate its 30th anniversary, France’s Montpellier Dance Festival is chock-full of powerhouse dance companies. American staples such as the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown groups join forces with talent from across the globe. Nederlands Dans Theater, with their exquisite precision and flawless lines, presents works by Jirí Kylián and Ohad Naharin; and Akram Khan performs his latest solo, Gnosis. William Forsythe’s avant-garde installations, such as White Bouncy Castle and City of Abstract, will be on display, as well as a series of videos that explore Forsythe as an “instigator.” June 18–July 7. See www.montpellierdanse.com.
Returning to American Dance Festival with a world premiere, Mark Dendy and his Dendy Dancetheater debut the prequel to his fabulous 1999 Dream Analysis. The two-year-old company is a reincarnation of Mark Dendy Dance and Theater, which Dendy disbanded in 2000 in order to pursue a career choreographing for musical theater. With Dendy’s typical collision of humor and dance history, the ADF commission follows a southern boy’s journey to NYC and his encounters with dance greats like Graham and Nijinsky. June 21–23. See www.americandancefestival.org.
Jeté to Jackson
Dancers flock to Jackson, MS, every four years for the Olympic-style USA International Ballet Competition in hopes of being the next Misa Kuranaga or Daniil Simkin (the 2006 Senior Gold Medalists). This year will be no exception, with 119 dancers representing 36 countries. The competition attracts talent from all over the world and grants cash prizes, contracts, and prestigious titles. Bad Boys of Dance, directed by USA IBC gold medalist Rasta Thomas, opens the two-week competition on June 12. See www.usaibc.com.
Choreographer Camille A. Brown brings her explosive movement to the Pillow this summer. The fruition of a Pillow Creative Development Residency, her latest piece debuts June 30. Performed by Camille A. Brown and Dancers, the premiere will be accompanied by Brown’s knockout solo, The Evolution of a Secured Feminine, and excerpts from The Groove to Nobody’s Business, which was first performed in 2007 by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. See www.jacobspillow.org.
The nation’s capital hosts a dream come true for ballet lovers at the Kennedy Center June 15–20 with the return of Ballet Across America. Nearly every region of the U.S. is represented by the nine invited companies, four of which (North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Memphis, Tulsa Ballet, and Ballet Arizona) will make their Washington, DC, debuts. The three programs mix original works by emerging choreographers, such as Benjamin Millepied and Edwaard Liang, with pieces by Balanchine, Duato, and others. See www.kennedy-center.org.
Lights, Camera, Dance
When the late Pina Bausch decided to restage her 1978 Kontakthof (or Contact Zone) in 2008, director Anne Linsel jumped at the opportunity to capture it on film. Her documentary, Dancing Dreams, follows a cast of students aged 14–18, selected from 11 schools in Wuppertal, Germany, as they struggle with the tricky aspects of Bausch’s choreography—honesty of expression, human contact, and self-reflection. Dancing Dreams makes its L.A. debut at Dance Camera West’s Ninth Annual Dance Media Film Festival this month. See www.dancecamerawest.org.
Making its Canadian premiere at Toronto’s Luminato Festival is Two Faced Bastard, an inventive and hilarious piece by Chunky Move, Australia’s genre-defying dance-theater company. Choreographed by Gideon Obarzanek and Lucy Guerin, Two Faced’s brilliance lies in its staging. A slotted curtain divides one stage into two, and audience members are treated to completely different viewing experiences depending on where they sit. Chunky Move juggles two simultaneous shows as the performers hop back and forth through the curtain. The result is a comic discourse on duality. June 11–13. See www.luminato.com.
A Georgian Giselle
Before she was a superstar ballerina. Now she is a superstar artistic director who has built a huge repertory. Nina Ananiashvili brings her lively State Ballet of Georgia to the U.S. this month. At Spoleto, June 11–13, she’ll be dancing Giselle herself (hurrah!). At Jacob’s Pillow, June 23–27, she brings a mixed bill of Kylián’s Falling Angels, Ratmansky’s Bizet Variations, and four pas de deux by Ashton. When the dynamic Ananiashvili is not dancing, watch for Nino Gogua, a lovely ballerina who wears her heart on her sleeve. See www.jacobspillow.org or www.spoletousa.org.
Pictured: Mark Dendy's Golden Belt at ADF 2009.