New York Hosts a Sparse Season of Dance

Come Memorial Day, the spirit of New York dance tends to go on vacation—often in the Berkshires. This year's offerings at Jacob's Pillow boast, among myriad enticements, the U.S. debut of the Israeli-born, London-based Next Big Thing, Hofesh Shechter, and the magnificent Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa. Closer to home, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's "Sitelines" series takes dance to the people—sending Philadelphia's Headlong Dance Theater headfirst into a swimming pool on Rector Street and letting Richard Move loose on downtown boulevards to stage flamboyant Hostile Takeovers. In August, Lincoln Center's "Out of Doors" series promises to give us Noche Flamenca with the superlative Soledad Barrio, a Karole Armitage premiere, and Doug Elkin's send-up of The Sound of Music, Fraulein Maria. Until then, the slimmer summer pickings include:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
June 3-8

Fifty years ago, few would have predicted that the scrappy, idealistic, primarily African-American troupe would still be around in 2008, much less the most popular dance company in the world. The extensive anniversary plans include a return to BAM after a 38-year absence, with a "Classic Ailey" sampler of the late founder's oeuvre and a best-of program of recent repertory. For the commemorative Barbie doll, you'll have to wait until the fall. & BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100

Couch Surfing: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in The Groove to Nobody's Business
Eduardo Patino, NYC
Couch Surfing: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in The Groove to Nobody's Business

Michael Clark Company
June 4-7

In the '80s, Clark was known as the enfant terrible of British dance, the Royal Ballet School prodigy who sported a fake phallus and a high-profile heroin addiction. More recently, his trilogy of dances to iconic Stravinsky scores—Apollo, Rite of Spring, and Les Noces—was greeted by most of the British press as the work of a mature master. & Rose Theater, Broadway at West 60th Street, 212-721-6500

Neil Greenberg
June 11-21

Whether playing perceptual games or channeling strong emotions with understated restraint, a Greenberg dance is always smart, detailed, and distilled. His new Really Queer Dance With Harps shares a bill with the quietly haunting Quartet With Three Gay Men. Zeena Parkins provides the harps. & Dance Theater Workshop, 219 West 19th Street, 212-924-0077

Mark Morris Dance Group
July 4-9

The most news-making premiere of the season, as well as the most promising: a ballet set to Prokofiev's score for Romeo and Juliet in its newly discovered original form. Stalinist conservatives didn't approve of the composer's tampering with Shakespeare—the happy ending, for example—and forced some changes. Morris likes the maestro's cut better, and he musters all of his musicality to show why. & Fischer Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College, 845-758-7900

Royal Ballet of Flanders

July 17-20

The Lincoln Center Festival is particularly thin on dance this year, but leave it to Nigel Redden to schedule Impressing the Czar, an overstuffed 1988 concoction by William Forsythe. It's the kind of pretentious, overextended piece that earned the American expatriate his questionable reputation as the future of ballet. & Rose Theater, Broadway at West 60th Street, 212-721-6500

Battleworks/Keigwin & Co.
July 29–August 2

Two gifted young choreographers, Robert Battle and Larry Keigwin, share a week at the Joyce. Battle, who's best known for his pieces in the Ailey repertory, has a feel for visceral, stylized ritual. His new Reel Time deconstructs an Irish jig. Keigwin first gained attention with the campy fun of his Keigwin Kabaret, but he's since proven himself a maker of dances with a gripping kinetic momentum. His premiere takes on the classic theme of the Four Elements. & Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 212-242-0800

 
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