FALL PREVIEW: DANCE; Airy Feats by Great Stars

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 8, 2007 | Go to article overview

FALL PREVIEW: DANCE; Airy Feats by Great Stars


The new season carries with it a heady prospect of familiar delights and intriguing novelties. The dance season is already upon us and off to a fast start.

CityDance has forged a promising new partnership with the Shakespeare Company's Lansburgh Theatre, opening there last night and performing again tonight with a program called "Born to Run." That's the title of a new dance by director Paul Gordon Emerson set to Bruce Springsteen's music. Also featured is a gem from the 1930s - Jane Dudley's vivid "Harmonica Breakdown" - and a solo danced by Rasta Thomas, the international star who will be artist in residence with CityDance this year.

Parenthetically, "The Art of the Solo," a striking look at early modern dance solos by such iconic figures as Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller and Mary Wigman will be shown at the Baltimore Museum of Art Sept. 29.

CityDance helps inaugurate the Harman Center with "Jungle Books," a show designed for a young crowd at the holiday season, accompanied by live music, on the weekends of Dec. 8-9 and 15-16.

CityDance will also be performing in its plush black box studio at the Music Center at Strathmore Oct. 27-28, with a program that includes Doug Varone's haunting "Eclipse." The company seems ready to meet the challenge of its expanded season with an especially strong contingent of male dancers.

The quality, quantity and increasing vibrancy of dance performances have helped transform the city's artistic life. A nod is due to Dance Place, home and supporter of many of the area's finest dancers and choreographers. This year-round venue for dance, entering its 27th year with a gala fundraiser next week, will be the subject of a future report.

With the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater closed for renovations this season, the Washington Ballet doesn't begin major performances until November, when it concentrates on its family-audience series with "Where the Wild Things Are," a happy collaboration between director-choreographer Septime Webre and popular author-illustrator, Maurice Sendak, preceded by selections from Trey McIntyre's Beatles ballet, "A Day in the Life," at the Warner The

Although it boasts a busy winter-spring season, the Washington Ballet's only other appearance this fall will be its version of "The Nutcracker," with George Washington and cherry trees giving it some local color, at the Warner Theatre Dec. 6-23.

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, headed by the renowned ballerina, and sponsored by the Kennedy Center, is an increasingly prominent part of our local performing arts scene. Earlier this week, Miss Farrell presented a recently discovered tape of the first performance of George Balanchine's full-length "Don Quixote," with the choreographer making a rare, poignant appearance as the Don. The restored film is understandably of poor quality, but it is a priceless artifact. Playing Dulcinea, Miss Farrell, 19 at the time, gives a breathtakingly fresh performance of an extraordinarily difficult role; the whole ballet captures Mr. Balanchine's company during its glory days.

A special opportunity to see the Farrell Ballet in excerpts from the company's repertoire, including the erotic "Bugaku" and luminous "Chaconne," can be seen at free performances this afternoon at 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 in the Kennedy Center's Family Theater, part of the center's annual open house festivities. …

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