Lineup includes heavy hitters Dance

Treasures of the Season

Fall Fine Arts Preview

September 08, 1996|By J.L. Conklin | J.L. Conklin,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Mark Morris. Pilobolus Dance Theatre. Twyla Tharp's new company. Tap Dogs, from Australia. And a rich variety of ballet at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Any way you look at it, the 1996-1997 season promises to be a memorable one for fans of ballet and modern dance in Baltimore and Washington.

One of the fall's most interesting dance events is the Mark Morris Dance Group's appearance at the U.S. Naval Academy's Alumni Hall in Annapolis. Morris, once called the enfant terrible of the dance world, will present several of his works and perhaps raise a few eyebrows when he and his company dance Oct. 18-19. A reception planned after the Friday night performance will benefit the Ballet Theatre of Annapolis.

The Pilobolus Dance Theatre will appear at two venues in the region: at the Gordon Center in Owings Mills Oct. 29, and at the Kennedy Center Oct. 25-27.

Pilobolus appears at the Kennedy Center as part of the America Dancing series. Others featured include the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, which will bring its highly inventive and abstract works to the Eisenhower Theatre Oct. 22-24. Twyla Tharp's new company of 12 dancers, Tharp!, will be at the Eisenhower Oct. 29-Nov. 3. Tharp will present the Washington premiere of several new works, including "Heroes," with a newly commissioned score by Philip Glass. In the spring, America Dancing will continue with Anna Sokolow's Players Project, Buglisi/Foreman Dance and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Ballet aficionados will also look to the Kennedy Center, featuring two West Coast companies in October. The San Francisco Ballet, under the artistic direction of Helgi Tomasson, will present two programs of mixed repertory Oct. 8-13. The Pacific Northwest Ballet, under the artistic direction of Kent Stowall and Francis Russell, will also present two programs, including the Balanchine classics "Agon" and "The Four Temperaments" (Oct. 15-20). The Kennedy Center's ballet series will continue in the spring with the Dance Theatre of Harlem in April and the Kirov Ballet in May.

The Washington Ballet, celebrating its 20th anniversary season, will feature a world premiere by Simon Dow when it appears at the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center Oct. 2-6. Later, Nov. 19-20, the ballet will perform prima ballerina Suzanne Farrell's staging of Balanchine's "Divertimento No. 15."

Cynthia Harvey, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, and Philip Neal, principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, will appear in a mixed program of dances with the Ballet Theatre of Annapolis Oct. 25-26 at the Maryland Hall for the Arts.

If you saw and loved "Stomp" last season, then the Johns Hopkins Office of Special Events presentation of Steve Love's New York Express Roller Dance Show should be on your list of must-see events. This unique company will showcase its skills of roller-skating with elements of dance at Hopkins' Shriver Hall Nov. 2.

But, if you missed "Stomp" last year, you can catch it this season when it returns to Baltimore's Lyric Opera House for a three-day stay in December. This high-energy blend of rhythm, percussion and movement has been an audience favorite and will be here at Christmastime.

'Nutcracker,' of course

Speaking of the holidays, it wouldn't feel like December if there weren't sugar plum fairies dancing somewhere. For those wishing to abandon tradition, modern choreographer Donald Byrd will present his rendition, "The Harlem Nutcracker," at George Mason University Nov. 23-24.

For those who want the old-fashioned ballet, there are plenty to choose from. This year's "Nutcracker" lineup includes Ballet Theatre of Annapolis at Maryland Hall for the Arts (Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15); the Lyric Opera House (Dec. 12-15); the Donetsk Ballet, Kraushaar Auditorium at Goucher College (Dec. 13-15); and the Baltimore School for the Arts (Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15).

The Washington Ballet will perform its "Nutcracker" at the Warner Theatre Dec. 13-28. Noticeably absent from the lineup is a Kennedy Center production.

Baltimore-area companies dancing this fall include the Kimberly Mackin Dance Company and Nancy Wanich-Romita's Moving Company, both at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Surge, at the Dance Place in October.

Dance on the Edge, the series based at Towson State University, won't bring in any big-name companies this fall but has scheduled Les Ballets Trockedero de Monte Carlo in March. This all-male ballet company's performances are high camp as well as technically and choreographically accurate. Dance on the Edge's director, Debbie Meyers, will also bring in super tapper Brenda Bufalino and the American Tap Dance Orchestra in May as part of the annual Tap Dance Festival.

Tap Dogs, an Australian dance troupe that's been getting plenty of attention lately, will perform Jan. 7-12 at the Warner Theatre in Washington.

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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