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THE BALTIMORE 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

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

Washington

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--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

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