This Baltimore dance season opens earlier this year than last, but don't expect as big a splash as 1990-1991 promised.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre continues its residency here but won't be fully on the scene until January; the Maryland Ballet plans winter and spring performances at the Lyric Opera House but will skip its usual fall concert in a belt-tightening move; and the Soviet Union's Donetsk Ballet won't return for a planned series at the Lyric.
On the other hand, the Dance on the Edge series moves from the Baltimore Museum of Art to a bigger, much-raved-about facility in Towson State University's Stephens Hall. And despite the recession, the area's small companies and colleges will offer enough programs to keep dance devotees occupied on most weekends in the months ahead.
The most notable change in the lineup is the absence of the Donetsk. Last spring the company announced a three-ballet subscription series, but insufficient sales lead to a quick cancellation. Out of the debris, however, a phoenix may rise: Maryland Ballet artistic director Philip Carman says his company will take over some of those Lyric dates with "The Nutcracker" in December and "Swan Lake" in the spring.
Mr. Carman is also investigating the possibility of a joint fund-raising venture with nationally known dancers and other performers who would tour to benefit regional ballet companies adversely affected by the economic downturn.
The Ailey will arrive in January for its three-week residency -- visiting schools and offering classes -- that culminates with performances Feb. 6-9 at the Mechanic Theatre, including a gala benefit on the 6th.
The local season officially opens in September when Kinetics Dance Theater presents its first concert under the artistic direction of Alvin Mayes at the Baltimore Museum of Art on the 15th. The company will perform works by Dorothy Fried, the company's founder, as well as those by Mr. Mayes, a dance faculty member at the University of Maryland.
Because of renovations scheduled at Kinetic's home base in the FTC Howard County Center for the Arts, the company has not firmed up performance dates there, Ms. Fried said. Other regional performances are planned for Prince George's County and Howard County Community College.
On Sept. 21-22, modern dancer Carolyn Dorfman and her company will give a lecture/demonstration in Goucher College's Todd Studio.
When October rolls around the dance community really picks up steam. TED, or Towson Ensemble Dancers, the resident professional dance company at Towson State, will perform Oct. 4-6 in Stephens Hall. Then, the Ballet Theater of Annapolis will inaugurate its 11th season Oct. 19-20 at the company's home, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Scheduled works include artistic director Eddie Stewart's "Eleventh Commandment," Jennifer Muller's "Arm in Arm in Arm . . ." -- the work the BTA danced at this year's Artscape -- as well as a classical ballet premiere by Mr. Stewart. The company has also scheduled Mr. Stewart's "Alice in Wonderland" for its spring concert April 11-12.
The Dance on the Edge series, this city's presenter of cutting edge dance from around the world and nation, gets under way Oct. 26-27 with Britain's Phoenix Dance. The company, winner of the Grand Prix for Ballet Theater and the Bonnie Bird Prize for New Choreography at the International Choreographic Competition in Bagnolet, France, will perform here as part of a three-week U.S. tour.
On the same weekend, Washington Ballet will open its Baltimore season at Goucher College (Oct. 25-26). The company has scheduled works by Anthony Tudor, Vincente Nebrada, Monica Levy and Choo San Goh. It will return to Kraushaar Auditorium on Feb. 21 and 22 and again on May 1 and 2.
November opens with Kathy Wildberger and guest artist Sean Curran in a performance to benefit Ms. Wildberger's Path Dance Company at the Baltimore School for the Arts. The Nov. 1-2 program will feature new works by Ms. Wildberger including the premiere of her collaborative work "Sean and Kathy in Grand Canyon at Sunset." She and Path have also scheduled performances at the Dance Place in Washington on April 4-5 with local choreographer Chris Dohse.
On Nov. 2, the Phoenix Repertory Dance Company at the University of Maryland Baltimore County will perform at the Baltimore Museum of Art in a matinee program geared toward fostering an appreciation of dance in children. Director Carol Hess says the hourlong program, with excerpts from the company's repertory, will be akin to the "Tiny Tots Concerts" symphonies present for children. Phoenix Rep is also scheduled to perform at UMBC on April 2, 3 and 4.
Other dance programs at the BMA are Spanish Fantasia II on Nov. 9, and Paul Kenagamo and Company -- celebrating "the African Spirit" on Nov. 23.