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Dance

See These Works While You Still Can

Dance: A Proscenium Tour at Bard

When the Trisha Brown Dance Company makes a stop at Bard’s Fisher Center next weekend, it may be the last time the company presents Brown’s groundbreaking work on a stage in our area. But the company’s associate artistic director, Diane Madden, insists this is not a farewell tour. Rather, it’s a “proscenium tour,” showing Brown’s works meant for a traditional stage. “We have a lot of exciting plans to keep the work going” in alternative settings, she said in a phone interview last week.

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Adrift In a Terrible World

Shen Wei Dance Arts

Shen Wei, the Chinese-born American choreographer, brought his modern dance company to MASS MoCA last weekend for a lesson on isolation and anxiety.
Among the startling, often disturbing passages was a solo in “Collective Measures” in which a young woman, accompanied by a single repeated measure of electronic sound, squirmed about on a square of paper, and rose, bloodied, it seemed, by red and blue and black paint. As she stood apart, two men displayed the canvas she had smeared with her body.

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A Fine Finish

Dance: Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion

If “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (reviewed elsewhere in this issue) focuses on the African-American march toward civil rights, Kyle Abraham’s dance epic,
“Pavement,” at Jacob’s Pillow last week, tells a darker story of black life in America.
Inspired by Abraham’s childhood in a very distressed Pittsburgh and by the film “Boyz n the Hood,” which chronicled the influence of gangs on young blacks, “Pavement” is about love, loyalty and loss.

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Whelan Blazing New Trails For Herself, And for Others

Dance: Wendy Whelan at Jacob’s Pillow

Ballet is all about up. Ballerinas are airy, they rise up on pointe and leap as if untethered by gravity. They train for decades to create the illusion of weightlessness.

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Big Ambitions, Good Instincts

The Dance Scene

Los Angeles isn’t known for its strong dance scene, but BodyTraffic, founded there in 2007, has been gaining traction by commissioning work by leading European choreographers. BodyTraffic founders Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, both in their 20s when they started the company, have worked with choreographers as varied as Barak Marshall and Kyle Abraham, and the company presented three very different dances at Jacob’s Pillow last week, showing off the terrific young company they’ve assembled.

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The Moves, The Sounds, So Grand

Dance

It seems like tap dance hasn’t had a big moment in a while, maybe not since Savion Glover and “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk” hit Broadway more than 15 years ago. Well, tap’s big moment has come again: Michelle Dorrance, and her company, Dorrance Dance, put on the most exciting tap dance performance I’ve ever seen at Jacob’s Pillow last week. I don’t know a cramproll from a step chug (both tap terms I have just learned) but I know that what Dorrance does is extraordinary.

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Dance in Great Barrington

Members of the Olga Dunn Dance Company rehearse a gospel piece for the Lift Every Voice Festival, July 27 at 7 p.m. in the school’s dance studio at 321 Main St. in Great Barrington, MA. For information, call 413-528-9674.

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The Language Of Dance

Dance: Shantala Shivalingappa

At the Pillow this week, audiences were transported into the realm of Kuchipudi, a classical dance form of South India. But this is Kuchipudi with a very modern interpretation thanks to dancer Shantala Shivalingappa.

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Dance for All

Compagnie Käfig, the hugely popular French hip-hop group, returned to Jacob’s Pillow last week with a repeat of the sold-out program it presented last year. Choreographer Mourad Merzouki collaborated with Brazilian troupe Companhia Urbana de Dança. Merzouki’s background in circus and martial arts blend with Brazilian capoeira and samba rhythms, all mixed with a sinuous hip hop that would look at home on a streetcorner in the Bronx.

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Like the Lark, Ascending

Dance Theatre of Harlem

In a recent interview, Dance Theatre of Harlem artistic director Virginia Johnson said that when she held auditions for the company, newly restarted this year after a nine-year hiatus, very few African-American dancers showed up. Even in 2013, after DTH’s 40-plus year history of training young dancers of color for ballet, there are very few dancing in principal roles in major companies. So she turned to the DTH school, which never stopped operating, and its junior troupe. She was then faced with shaping a mostly young and inexperienced group of dancers into a top international company.

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