While a proposal looms in the wings for a new College Park arts center that would offer real performance space for dance, in the immediate future dance aficionados can look forward to an exciting season. From the ridiculous to the sublime, from the avant-garde to the classical, from performances in Baltimore to shows in Washington, this is a season of choice.
, Avant-garde performances For those who prefer to make their home on the cutting edge of artistic sensibilities, the obvious choice is the Dance on the Edge series. For six seasons, this series has brought Baltimore extraordinary dance performances. This year should prove to be no different; the lineup is terrific.
Opening the series Sept. 17 and 18 at Stephens Hall Theatre at Towson State University will be Donald Byrd -- The Group. Mr. Byrd, who found recognition by way of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and who has strong ties to this city through his work with Center Stage and Maryland Art Place, will present the American premiere of "Bristle," a dance that underscores his eclectic approach to dance and to today's urban culture. Before the Sept. 18 performance, Dr. Iantha Tucker, professor of dance at Morgan State University, will kick off "DanceNotes," a lecture series designed to acquaint audiences with contemporary dance trends.
Next in line for the series is the Towson Ensemble Dancers in performances Oct. 2 and 3. This collective of local choreographers will feature seven original premieres by company members plus "Islands" by guest artist Stuart Pimsler. The New York-based Stephan Koplowitz & Company will present the full evening's length of "Thicker Than Water" Nov. 19-20. The Boston Dance Collective will appear Jan. 28-29 in "Pipe Dream," a work that takes place on a 21-foot-high scaffolding. And last but certainly not least, the Maureen Fleming Performance Company will return to Baltimore March 18-19 with the awe-inducing work of this singular woman.
Alvin Ailey fans will be able to see the company at the Mechanic Theatre when it holds its annual benefit and performance May 16-24. The repertory company will be busy appearing at area schools as part of its outreach program.
New to this year's schedule are three local contemporary companies that will co-present an evening of dance and performance Oct. 16 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Baltimore Dance Collaborative -- under the direction of Marsha Tallerico, Washington choreographer Nancy Havlik and Chris Dohse with his group Toothmother -- will perform several new works, including Ms. Havlik's "Sea Watch," which has a commissioned score by Hans Spencer.
Other contemporary dance performances by local groups and independent choreographers will take place at various colleges, universities and galleries. Local choreographers Nancy Wanick-Romita and Kimberly Mackin will present an evening of contemporary dance at the BMA Nov. 13. Kinetics Dance Theatre will be scheduling performances away from its home at the Howard County Center for the Arts during renovations of the center's performance space. The popular company has scheduled a performance for Feb. 4 at Montgomery College and has booked Howard Community College's Smith Theatre for its 10th anniversary performance April 8.
Eva Anderson's Baltimore Dance Theatre will not perform this season; the company is taking a sabbatical. Ms. Anderson was adamant in saying that the company is very much alive but will focus its energies on fund-raising and reorganization this year.
The Baltimore Museum of Art will begin its "Off the Walls" series March 12 with the Bebe Miller Company in "The Hendrix Project." "Off The Walls" continues through the spring with other bookings that have yet to be announced.
Some of the most outrageous dances are slated to appear at the Dance Place in Washington, beginning with the PS122 Field Trip performance Sept. 18-19, continuing with the Adaptors Movement Theatre March 18-20, and concluding with Pomo Afro Homos (Postmodern African-American Homosexuals) May 13-15.
The Kennedy Center along with the Washington Performing Arts Society will present six dance companies in conjunction with the Dance in America" series.
ISO (I'm So Optimistic), which wowed the crowds during 1992's Columbia Festival of the Arts, will perform with the vocal group The Bobs at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theatre Jan. 18-19. The Urban Bush Women will demonstrate their
dance vision at the Terrace Jan. 21-22.
The uncompromising Paul Taylor will appear at the Eisenhower Theatre Feb. 22-27, followed by the Bella Lewitksy Dance Company at the Terrace Theatre March 21-23. Last in the series is the Parsons Dance Company, performing with the Billy Taylor Trio May 3-6 at the Terrace Theatre.
Ballet, ballet and more ballet