- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2002

Whatever your taste in dance, the upcoming season already under way has much to offer, from world-class ballet to exciting local modern-dance companies to intriguing visitors from around the world.
Under Michael Kaiser's dynamic direction, the Kennedy Center continues to expand its dance outreach. An important ongoing project is the creation and support of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, led by the legendary ballerina. Her company will appear next month in programs that again feature the works of George Balanchine. Included on the two programs are such gems as his "Raymonda Variations"; "Who Cares," to a lilting Gershwin score; the Mozartean "Divertimento No. 15"; "Tsigane," to music of Ravel; and "Chaconne," set to a score by Gluck.
The only non-Balanchine ballet will be "A Farewell to Music," choreographed by Anthony Morgan to the adagio movement of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto.
Miss Farrell's reputation as a director and coach has blossomed. Her roster of dancers includes quality performers returning from last year, led by Peter Boal, quite possibly the finest artist in the New York City Ballet, as well as Runqiao Du (one of Washington Ballet's most classical dancers) and a trio of talented ballerinas: Jennifer Fournier, Chan Hon Goh and Natalia Magnicaballi. The Farrell group appears at the Eisenhower Theater Oct. 23 through 27.
One of the seasonal highlights arrives Thanksgiving week: The San Francisco Ballet, a top-tier American company with a growing international reputation, is bringing two sterling programs.
The first includes Jerome Robbins' masterpiece "Dances at a Gathering" and Mark Morris' witty take on Leroy Anderson's music, "Sandpaper Ballet."
The second program features two works by the company's artistic director, Helgi Tomasson, who has led the company to its present excellence. His "Prism," to a Beethoven piano concerto, was a hit of the New York City Ballet's Diamond Project two years ago. His second work, "Chi-Lin," is a dramatic theater piece with stunning sets and costumes and a flash of fireworks at the finale.
The program begins with Balanchine's "Serenade." As beautiful as the ballet is, it is disappointing that the Kennedy Center scheduled it. "Serenade" will be danced here the month before by the Washington Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet has a rich repertoire of fascinating ballets never seen here from which to draw. The California company appears in the Opera House Nov. 26 through Dec. 1, with no performance Nov. 28.
The last company to dance in the Opera House before it is closed for a year of renovations will be the Bolshoi Ballet (seen here only three months ago). The Moscow company will dance Yuri Grigorovich's version of "The Nutcracker" Dec. 10 through 15.
Modern-dance companies being presented by the Kennedy Center this fall include Garth Fagan Dance at the Eisenhower Theater Oct. 8 and 9 (Mr. Fagan is the award-winning choreographer of "The Lion King") and Ballet Preljocaj, a company based in France that offers a provocative look at a European dance aesthetic in Antonin Preljocaj's "Le Sacre du Printemps" and "Helikopter," Oct. 11 and 12.
Pilobolus Dance Theatre rounds out the Kennedy Center's fall season with performances of its distinctive, athletic repertory in the Eisenhower Theater Dec. 3 through 7.
The Kennedy Center's "Something New" series begins this year with a multimedia, multicultural work: Jin Hi Kim's "Dong Dong Touching the Moons," presented jointly with the Korean Society Oct. 9 in the Terrace Theater.
This is not all the center is doing in dance. In a welcome move, it is lending its support to local groups. The results of its commissioning Washington-area choreographers can be seen on the Millennium Stage's free 6 p.m. performances tonight with Nijla/NY2 Dance in "Out on the Inside" and tomorrow evening with Tino Bastidas and Susan Reynolds in a dance-drama performed to tango music.
The Kennedy Center is following up this support by co-presenting both groups when they perform later in the season at Dance Place.
The Washington Ballet appeared in the center's Prelude Festival last week, demonstrating its energy and range in Balanchine's "Allegro Brillante," "Na Floresta" by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato and the jazzy, razor-sharp "Blue Until June" by Trey McIntyre.
On its fall program, the company will dance Balanchine's luminous "Serenade" to Tchaikovsky's score Oct. 2 through 6 in the Eisenhower Theater. The program also includes artistic director Septime Webre's riveting staging of "Carmina Burana." With almost 200 singers from the Cathedral Choral Society towering above the stage on three-story scaffolding, elaborate and startling costuming and Mr. Webre's high-key choreography, the stage action is sure to match the dramatic impact of the music.
The Washington Ballet also will bring its traditional "Nutcracker" to the Warner Theatre over the Christmas holidays.
CityDance, which since its founding six years ago has become the pre-eminent modern dance company in Washington, has a banner year coming up. The excellence of its repertoire and dancers will be on display Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater.
Under Paul Gordon Emerson's direction, the company, which is dedicated to using live music, has acquired a broad body of works from Washington's finest choreographers including Vladimir Angelov, Kris O'Shee, Deborah Riley, Dana Tai Soon Burgess and the late Eric Hampton.
On next Thursday's program is the riveting "Choral Stance" by Miss O'Shee, set to music by the Bulgarian Women's Choir; Mr. Angelov's "Chinook" and the premiere of his "Deep Surface" both works set to original commissioned scores by Francesca Jandasek and Michael C. Lillys, respectively.
Mr. Angelov will also present a duet, "Suit/case," which will mark the debut of the exciting dancer Rasta Thomas, who joins CityDance Ensemble this year as artist in residence. Mr. Thomas has performed all over the world (most recently as guest dancer with the Kirov Ballet), but this is his first appearance with a Washington company.
Rounding out the program will be Mr. Emerson's "Falling Into the Sea," Adrian Bolton's "Caravan" and Dana Tai Soon Burgess' trio "Fractures," in which Mr. Thomas also will appear.
Following its Terrace performance, the company has an active schedule of performances in this area and on tour.
CityDance has been invited to appear in St. Petersburg in the famous Maly Theater (the site for the ballet "Petrouchka"). The company will dance there Dec. 14, and members of the company will stay for another week to lead dance workshops.
Another Washington modern-dance group on a roll is Mr. Burgess' own Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company, celebrating its 10th anniversary. The company will be in residence at the Lincoln Theatre and will perform there Oct. 5.
The Washington Performing Arts Society, the city's venerable arts presenter, is bringing its usual spicy mix of dance from around the world.
Coming up: Chinese-born choreographer Yin Mei will present a multimedia look at the foibles of romantic love with collaborators composer Robert Een, visual artist Cai Guo-Qiang and poet Mark Strand, Oct. 11 and 12 at Dance Place.
The ever-popular Ballet Folklorico de Mexico will appear at the Warner Theatre Oct. 11.
Next, WPAS will present Universes, a group of five performers from the South Bronx that fuses poetry, hip-hop, blues and Spanish boleros in a theatrical mix. At Dance Place Nov. 8 through 10 and Nov. 15 through 17.
Hip-hop pounds on Nov. 9 in a performance by the group Rennie Harris Pure Movement, co-presented by WPAS at the George Mason University Center for the Arts.
In addition to the Rennie Harris group, George Mason continues to offer some lively dance choices. The Shanghai Ballet will present its original ballet "The White Haired Girl" Sept. 28 and the 19th-century comic classic "Coppelia" Sept. 29.
The university has scheduled a repeat engagement of "The Velveteen Rabbit," created by ODC/San Francisco for all ages, Oct. 20 and 21
The Georgian State Dance Company, famous for its male dancing on toe in unblocked shoes, brings its strong native dances to GMU's Center for the Arts Nov. 10
The University of Maryland's new Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center already has begun its dance season with performances by Doug Varone and Dancers this past Thursday and Friday. Mr. Varone, one of the most talented choreographers of his generation, presented a work set to a Brahms piano trio and "The Bottomland," co-commissioned by the center and Wolf Trap, where it premiered last month.
"Live Sax Acts," with choreographer-dancer David Dorfman and composer-performance artist Dan Froot, will be at the Clarice Smith Center Oct. 11 and 12.
The center is bringing "The Crossing," a bittersweet tale of Scottish-Irish immigration to Appalachia, with Tim O'Brien & Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble Nov. 2.
Dance Place, the most active dance presenter in the city it has performances virtually every weekend year round has scheduled its usual mix of local artists sprinkled with a few national and international groups. The schedule is:
Step Africa, Sept. 20 through 22.
Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Sept. 28 and 29.
Yin Mei in "/Asunder," Oct. 5 and 6.
Ziva's Spanish Dance Ensemble, Oct. 12 and 13.
Jane Franklin Dance in "Scape Vietnam," Oct. 19 and 20.
Native Tongues Dance Company, Oct. 26 and 27.
NY2DC Global Dance Nejla Y. Yatkin, in "Gravity," Nov. 2 and 3.
Universes (performers from the South Bronx), Nov. 8 through 10 and Nov. 15 through 17.
Tiempo de Tango in "Tango Dreamer/Tanguero Sonador," Nov. 23 and 24.
Carla & Company, Dec. 7 and 8.
Images of Cultural Artistry Inc., Dec. 13 and 14.
National Performance Network Showcase, Dec. 16.
Joy of Motion, an increasingly active dance center on upper Wisconsin Avenue, will be showcasing performances by smaller dance companies in its Jack Guidone Theater throughout the fall. A company called Voices will appear on Sept. 21 and 22, followed by the Crossroads Dance Project Sept. 28 and 29. Additional performances are as follows:
This Body This Earth Dance Company, Oct. 12 and 13.
A concert with some of the area's leading companies Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company, CityDance Ensemble, CrossCurrents Dance Company, El Teatro de Danza Contemporanea and others, Oct. 19 and 20.
Antonini Dance Theater, Nov. 9 and 10.
Jam Crew Live, Nov. 16 and 17.
Local choreographers, Dec. 7 and 8.
D.C.VIII International Improvisation Festival, Dec. 14 and 15.
Other intriguing dance events are showing up at less traditional venues:
Next Saturday, Sept. 21, dances from Bangladesh, Spain and Egypt will be seen at Reston's Lake Anne Plaza; the Master Dancers of Bali will perform at Towson University Oct. 5; Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre appears at Baird Auditorium Nov. 1; Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery will bring a program of sacred dances and chants to Towson University Nov. 2; and the pre-professional Maryland Youth Ballet dances a graceful version of "The Nutcracker" at Montgomery College Dec. 20 through 29.


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