Freedom summer: The best free dance

By Tresca Weinstein

With film screenings and special events bulking up the Jacob’s Pillow schedule, and three contemporary companies sharing the Saratoga Performing Arts Center stage with the New York City Ballet, dance offerings in the Capital Region this summer are richer than ever. But “rich” might be the operative word here — with ticket prices ranging from around $20 to as high as $75, dance lovers may have to make some tough decisions. Luckily, there’s plenty of free dance available. Here are a few options.

Susan Marshall & Company’s ‘Play/Pause’

Susan Marshall & Company

Taking a cue from YouTube, Marshall combines online music videos and live performance in her newest work, “Play/Pause,” which her company will be fine-tuning (and auto-tuning, perhaps?) while in residence at Skidmore College this month. Marshall commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang of Bang on a Can to create an original score for the piece. The company also offers open rehearsals and master classes for ages 12 to adults; visit for details. 8 p.m. June 21, Skidmore College Dance Theater, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 518-580-5596;

Lift Ev’ry Voice Inside/Out 
at Jacob’s Pillow

Oyu Orovodu Dance
Oyu Orovodu Dance

The Pillow gets in on Berkshire County’s second annual Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, celebrating African-American culture and heritage, with a number of related performances, some ticketed and some part of the Pillow’s free Inside/Out series. The latter include the Jamal Jackson Dance Company, combining traditional African dance with contemporary movement; the Oyu Oro Afro-Cuban Dance Ensemble, paying tribute to Latin, Caribbean, West African and Haitian dance and song; Jeremy McQueen’s “Black Iris,” inspired by a Georgia O’Keeffe painting; and Earl Mosley/Life Dance Company, with work by Ronald K. Brown, Kevin Wynn and others. Also check out the full Inside/Out schedule, with performances 6:15 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday throughout the Pillow season, at Highlights include Atamira Dance, New Zealand’s leading Maori dance company; Ephrat Asherie Dance, influenced by break dance, house, hip-hop and vogue; and the Sayat Nova Dance Company, dedicated to preserving Armenian dance. 6:15 p.m. June 19, June 20, and July 24, Jacob’s Pillow, 358 George Carter Road, Becket, Mass. 413-243-0745;

Dance Omi International Dance Collective Showing
Art Omi’s dance residency program brings 10 professional dancers and choreographers from around the world to the Ghent campus each year to spend three weeks working collaboratively on jointly conceived projects. The emphasis is on the creative process and community building, but there is a product of sorts, which is revealed in a work-in-progress showing that includes a facilitated dialogue between artists and audience. 2 p.m. Aug. 18, PS21, 2980 Route 66, Chatham. 518-392-6121;

Dancers of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company perform a dance piece incorporating the playground at The Loudon Ville Elementary Schoo in Loudonville, NY Saturday Oct. 8, 2011.( Michael P. Farrell/Times Union)
Dancers of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company perform a dance piece incorporating the playground at The Loudon Ville Elementary Schoo in Loudonville, NY Saturday Oct. 8, 2011.( Michael P. Farrell/Times Union)

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company’s Undercover Playground series
Sinopoli’s spontaneous, site-specific series is back for its third summer. Bringing live musicians along for the ride — and the slide — the dancers improvise alterations and additions depending on the layout of the site. The goal is to bring dance to families and communities in a unique, unexpected way. June through August, parks and playgrounds in Greene, Schoharie, Columbia, Rensselaer and Albany Counties. 518-408-1341;

Published by Michael Janairo

Writer. Reader. Coffee drinker. Fiction. Poetry. Art. Museums. (My family name is pronounced "ha NIGH row.")

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