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.
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
Jim Rouse Theater for the Performing Arts, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia
Dec. 19-22: Howard County Ballet, "The Nutcracker", 410-465-8233
Stephanie Powell DanseEnsemble, 410-233-1101
Oct. 25-26: Baltimore Museum of Art
Nov. 24: Performance at afternoon tea at West Baltimore United Methodist Church
Dec. 1: "An Afternoon of Dance, Modern Dance "and Act II of the" City Nutcracker 2002", St. Johns College, Annapolis
Dec. 8: Scenes from the "City Nutcracker 2002", West Baltimore United Methodist Church
Dec. 20-21: "City Nutcracker 2002", Coppin State College
March 14-15: Spring Dance Concert at Theatre Project
May 24: Annual Spring Concert with Baltimore Dance Tech, Towson University
Towson University, Stephens Hall Theatre, Osler and Cross Campus drives, Towson, 410-704-2787
Oct. 5: Master Dancers of Bali
Oct. 18-20: Air Dance Bernasconi, "Flight Patterns"
Nov. 2: Monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery, "Sacred Music, Sacred Dance for World Healing"
Dec. 5-8: The Towson University Dance Company, "The Nutcracker"
University of Maryland Baltimore County, UMBC Theater, Rolling Road, Catonsville, 410-455-6240
Nov. 15-16: Senior Dance Concert, Dance Lab Performance Space, Fine Arts 317
Dec. 5-7: Fall Dance Showcase, Dance Lab Performance Space, Fine Arts 317
Feb. 12-15: The Phoenix Dance Company
May 8-10: Spring Dance Showcase
University of Maryland, College Park, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Route 1, College Park, 301-405-7847
Sept. 12-13: Doug Varone and Dancers, "Approaching Something Higher" and "The Bottomland"
Sept. 27-28: Maryland Dance Ensemble Showcase
Oct. 11-12: David Dorfman and Dan Froot, "Live Sax Acts"
Nov. 2: "The Crossing, "with Tim O'Brien & Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble
Nov. 15-16, 19-20: Maryland Dance Ensemble
Dec. 6-7: Taking Chances
Dance Place, 3225 8th St. N.E., 202-269-1600
Sept 20-22: Step Afrika!
Sept 28-29: Gesel Mason Performance Projects
Oct. 5-6: Yin Mei, "/Asunder"
Oct. 12-13: Ziva's Spanish Dance Ensemble
Oct. 19-20: Jane Franklin Dance
Oct. 26-27: Native Tongues Dance Company
Nov. 2-3: NY2DC Global Dance -- Nejla Y. Yatkin
Nov. 8-10, 15-17: Universes
Nov. 23-24: Tiempo de Tango
Dec. 7-8: Carla & Company
Dec. 13-14: Images of Cultural Artistry, Inc.
Dec. 15-16: National Performance Network Showcase
Dec. 19: Fieldwork Showcase
Jan. 4-5: Emily Berry Dance Company
Jan. 11-12: Bowen McCauley Dance Company
Jan. 15, 16, 19: International Blacks in Dance Conference Late Night Showcase
Jan. 24-26: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
Feb. 1-2: CrossCurrents Dance Company
Feb. 8-9: Devi Dance Theater
Feb. 15-16: Edgeworks Dance Theater
Feb. 21-23: Coyaba Dance Theater
March 1-2: Youth Dance Festival
March 8-9: Jan Van Dyke Dance Group/Murray Spaulding Movement Arts
March 14-16: Souloworks/Andrea Woods & Dancers
March 20-23: "No Boundaries: Dancing the Vision of Contemporary Black Choreographers"
March 29-30: Sara Pearson & Patrik Widrig
April 5-6: Nancy Havlik's Dance Performance Group
April 6: Continental Dance Company
April 12-13: thompson and trammell
April 18: Fieldwork Showcase
April 19: Havana Select
April 26-27: Deborah Riley Dance Projects
May 3-4: Knock on Wood!
May 9-11: Living Dance Studio -- Wen Hui and Wu Wenguang
May 17-18: Lesa McLaughlin/Sharon Mansur
May 18: The Davis Center Recital
May 23-24: Donna Uchizono Company
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia and New Hampshire avenues Northwest, 202-416-8500
Sept 19: CityDance Ensemble: An Evening at the Terrace Theater
Oct. 2[en dash]6: Washington Ballet: "Carmina" "Burana" and "Serenade"
Oct. 8-9: Garth Fagan Dance
Oct. 15: Bowen-McCauley Dance
Oct. 23-27: The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
Nov. 26-Dec 1: San Francisco Ballet
Dec. 11-15: Bolshoi Ballet: "The Nutcracker"
Jan. 3-5: Philadanco
Feb. 14-16: Obo Addy -- The Music and Dance of Ghana
Feb. 18-23: American Ballet Theatre
March 4-16: International Ballet Festival
April 9-13: Paul Taylor Dance Company/Houston Ballet
April 15-19: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
May 20-25: Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem
May 28-June 1: Washington Ballet: "Cinderella"
Warner Theater, 13th and E streets Northwest, 202-432-SEAT
Oct. 11: Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez
Dec. 6-22: Washington Ballet, "The Nutcracker"
Jan. 31-Feb. 2: Washington Ballet, "Peter Pan"
April 25-27: Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg", Tchaikovsky: The Mystery of Life and Death"