On the fifth floor of the Met Breuer, in an exhibition called “Humor and Fantasy — The Berggruen Paul Klee Collection,” is this untitled Paul Klee watercolor painting from 1914:
A dance program called Shutters Shut was performed among the Paul Klee work by two dancers from the Nederlands Dans Theater who danced in time to Gertrude Stein’s voice reciting her poem “If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso.”
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’
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 http://www.skidmore.edu/summer/ for details. 8 p.m. June 21, Skidmore College Dance Theater, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 518-580-5596; http://www.skidmore.edu/summerdance/Continue reading “Freedom summer: The best free dance”→
Even if you don’t know ballet, you know “The Nutcracker”: Like eggnog, reindeer sweaters and the rosemary scent of pine trees, it’s an eternal harbinger of Christmas. In the Capital Region, one of its chief purveyors is the Albany Berkshire Ballet, which has mounted 38 productions of Tchaikovsky’s tale of Clara, Fritz and the Mouse King.
For the last several years, those “Nutcrackers” have been the company’s mainstay. More than a mainstay: That’s pretty much all they’ve done. The professional company with a toe shoe in two cities — Albany and Pittsfield, Mass. — once offered other types of programming at other times of year. When the financial crunch forced it to downscale in ambition and budget, the ballet began to train its energy on performances of just the one, beloved chestnut every year. With its masses of student dancers from its own schools, “The Nutcracker” drew families and seasonal ballet lovers from around the region. And it will again, come Christmas.
But this month, for the first time in several years, the Albany Berkshire Ballet is offering two all-professional performances of non-”Nutcracker” works: the first at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the University at Albany’s Performing Arts Center, the second at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Barrington Stage in Pittsfield.
MOMIX, the celebrated troupe of dance illusionists led by choreographer Moses Pendleton, will perform its fantastical multimedia artistry at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs.
The company will present its highly acclaimed production of “Botanica,” a performance that fuses elements of dance, theater and cinema to create larger-than-life images from the natural world.
“MOMIX’s ‘Botanica’ is a glorious melding of music, dance, theater and technology that is breathtaking in scope and innovative to its core,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s president and executive director, in a written statement. “It is an opportunity to see the beauty and imagery of nature, magnified and dramatized through the brilliant lens of choreographer Moses Pendleton.”
Created in 2009, the production follows the rhythms of the seasons, the changing shape of life on Earth and the passing of a day. Set to an eclectic score that ranges from bird song to Vivaldi, the performance is enhanced by costumes, projections and giant puppetry designed by Michael Curry — acclaimed production designer for Cirque du Soleil, Disney’s “The Lion King” and the Metropolitan Opera.
Known internationally, MOMIX is a company of dancer-illusionists led by Pendleton, a choreographer and director for more than 40 years. In addition to worldwide stage performances, the company has also worked in film and television.
The evening will also feature a special “Enchanted Family Night” pre-show from 6 to 8 p.m., with magical scavenger hunts on the lawn, illuminated balloons, whimsical glow-in-the-dark face painting, and Sparkles on Stilts.
How can the extreme conditions of military life be translated into contemporary dance?
Choreographers Lee Sher and Saar Harari of LeeSaar The Company (founded in Israel, now based in New York City) spent four years researching that question. The result is “grass and jackals,” a new work onstage Friday at Mass MoCA that was presented as a work-in-progress at Jacob’s Pillow in the summer of 2012.
Using dramatic lighting by Avi Yona Bueno and movement structured as a continual series of climaxes, the piece shifts among moods of isolation, vulnerability, intimacy and imminent violence as the dancers—who hail from Taiwan, Korea, the United States, Malaysia, Canada and Israel—are pushed to the edge of their physical abilities.
LEESAAR THE COMPANY: GRASS AND JACKALS
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: MASS MoCA, 87 Marshall St., North Adams, Mass.
Tickets: $15; students, $10
Info: (413) 662-2111