More than enough variety to keep you on your toes


September 12, 2002|By Gina Kazimir | Gina Kazimir,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If you've never thought much of the dance scene in the Baltimore area, this coming season is going to make you change your thinking.

Along with classic traditional ballet and modern standards, this year brings a host of area premieres that feature extraordinarily physical dancing in all styles and genres from around the globe. International-caliber companies from the United States, Russia, Mexico and China will grace area stages, presenting new works and showcasing virtuoso dancers.

Kicking off the season this weekend, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center presents Doug Varone and Dancers with an area premiere and the "indoor" premiere of a new work. Approaching Something Higher is the area premiere, an explosive work set to Brahms' Piano Trio in B major, Opus 8. Varone sends his dancers swirling through the stage space, spiraling, springing, falling and rebounding in a work that paints a picture of human existence.

The Bottomland is being adapted to an indoor performance space for the first time. This work seeks to build a truly American landscape by contrasting giant-screen projections of the company's choreography in the underground passageways of Mammoth Caves National Park with a simultaneous live performance on stage.

Taking dance literally to new heights, Air Dance Bernasconi is back at Towson University Oct. 18-19. Baltimore's only aerial dance troupe will present two new works in its show Flight Patterns. Blending modern dance with a low-flying trapeze, aerial fabric, hoops and bungee cords, the company is a contrast of force and fluidity.

Artistic director Jayne Bernasconi will premiere Expanding Circumstances, a duet that creates the illusion of defying gravity, with the help of a bungee cord and harness. The work is set to music by the Tuvan throat-singers Huun Huu Ra.

Company member Susan Mann will explore the sheer joy of sailing through space with her premiere Serious Fun. This boisterous, physical work is set to the music by the Kronos Quartet.

At Goucher College, area dancers will have the chance to study with two prominent dancers in open master classes. Kevin Iega Jeff, founder and director of Deeply Rooted Productions, Chicago, is on the campus now through Sept. 17. And from Sept. 23-27 and Oct. 14-17, Christopher d'Amboise, choreographer and former director of Pennsylvania Ballet and principal dancer with New York City Ballet, will be in residence. Both artists will choreograph works for Goucher dancers to perform in their Dancers in Action fall dance concert, Nov. 22-23.

In the D.C. area, dance takes a decidedly international flavor when the Warner Theatre presents Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez Oct. 11. And Dance Place continues to dazzle with an impressive roster of performances, including Yin Mei's /Asunder, Oct. 5-6; Tiempo de Tango, Nov. 23-24; and Living Dance Studio - Wen Hui and Wu Wenguang - May 9-11.

The Kennedy Center presents some of America's finest dance companies. There'll be performances by Garth Fagan Dance, Oct. 8-9; the San Francisco Ballet Nov. 26-Dec. 1; and Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem, May 20-25, among others.

With such a spirited season on tap, dance lovers may find it hard to choose what to see. Our advice is not to choose at all. Just sample it all and enjoy. Dance is back, Baltimore.

Baltimore area

Aesthetics, 3240 E Corporate Court, Ellicott City, 410-465-8233 Oct. 26: Halloween performance at the Howard County Arts Council

Ballet Theater of Maryland, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, 410-263-2909 Oct. 12-13: Rhapsody in Blue world premiere, Clair de Lune, Yes, Virginia, Another Piano Ballet Dec. 7-8, 14-15: The Nutcracker March 1-2: Inspiration of the Ballets Russes (at the Baltimore Museum of Art) April 12-13: Bagatelles, Rite of Spring, Postcard From Vienna

Carver Center for Arts and Technology, 938 York Road, Towson, 410-887-2845 Dec. 5-7: Fall Dance Concert

Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, 410-337-6390 Oct. 13: Dance Medicine Symposium, Todd Dance Studio (410-296-0511) Oct. 25: Ella Shields: The Woman Behind the Man, Merrick Lecture Hall Nov. 22-23: Dancers in Action, Fall Dance Concert, Kraushaar Auditorium April 11: Communities in Motion, Choregraphie Antique, Kraushaar Auditorium April 26-27: Todd Dance Concert - 254 Series, Todd Dance Studio May 4: Steps and Styles, Choregraphie Antique, Merrick Lecture Hall

Harford Community College, William H. Amoss Performing Arts Center, 401 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, 410-836-4211 Sept 28: The Washington Ballet, Carmina Burana and Serenade Oct. 24-27: Harriet's Happiest Halloween"(at the Chesapeake Theater) Dec. 6-8: The Nutcracker , with Harford Dance Theatre

Hood College, Gambrill Gymnasium, Frederick, 301-663-3131, Ext 3492 Oct. 26: Hood College Dance Ensemble & Souls of the Feet Dance Company

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