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Dance

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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So Near, So Varied, More Dance Than Ever This Summer

Photo of Martha Graham Company dancer by John Deane
 
Click here for full story and another photo.

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So Near, So Varied, More Dance Than Ever This Summer

The Dance Scene

Summer in the Berkshires means it’s time to review the dance scene. Whatever your preference — classical ballet, edgy urban dance, big names or undiscovered treasure — there are more companies and performances here in the Berkshires than ever before.
 

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