Summer Guide: The Ballet Nacional of Cuba Steps Into BAM

Will any of the dancers make a permanent leap? Plus, summer dance picks.

Susan Marshall and Company
June 9–11
For her troupe’s 25th, the MacArthur-winning imagist brings her two most recent works to New York. The visual wit of Frame Dances springs from how she corrals her cast in a series of tight spaces, while a video camera frames them from other perspectives. For Adamantine, the canvas is theater-large: wind machines, revolving curtains, swinging sandbags. People collapse, slap each other softly. Blackouts come like blinking, masking small and disorienting changes. Shadows behave independently. Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street, bacynyc.org

Ben Munisteri Dance Project
June 16–19
Munisteri is a formalist, a real patternmaker, capable of distributing a design of engrossing complexity across multiple bodies or just one, and making it legible. Catalog, from 2009, sets its clockwork to Radiohead songs. Binary 2.0 matches its counterpoint partnering to Debussy. The mechanical character of those dances carries into at least the title of the premiere, Robot vs. Mermaid. Dance Theater Workshop, 219 West 19th Street, dancetheaterworkshop.org

Mariinsky Ballet
July 11–16
While still rare, a visit by the Mariinsky isn’t the geopolitical, glimpse-behind-the-Curtain event it was back when the marquee read “Kirov.” One of St. Petersburg’s prima ballerinas, Diana Vishneva, is now a regular guest with American Ballet Theatre, and most of the ballets in the luggage this trip are by Alexei Ratmansky, the international top dog who just signed on for another decade at ABT. Those stagings, though, are Russian-themed and new to us—The Little Humpbacked Horse and Anna Karenina, a comedy and a tragedy. How our Mariinsky-trained Balanchine gets handled (Symphony in C) will be another gauge of a great tradition’s health. Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, lincolncenterfestival.org

Merce Fair
July 16
Imagine a loved one with a terminal diagnosis but no evidence of decline. Every appearance of the Merce Cunningham company, scheduled to disband at year’s end, is precious. This day-long bazaar packs together a company class, DIY workshops for regular folks, music concerts, screenings, lectures, exhibits, and the evening performance of a few mid-career gems. More going on than the mind can take in: very Merce. Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street, lincolncenterfestival.org

Lincoln Center ‘Out of Doors’
July 27–August 14
Apart from Eiko and Koma barely moving in the reflecting pool, what’s most enticing about the dance selections this year is the accompanying music. The Idaho-based Trey McIntyre isn’t at his best doing ersatz Big Easy, but the Preservation Hall Jazz Band can handle the authenticity part just fine. Who knows how Gabri Christa’s conductor-led improv will work, but Greg Tate and Don Byron can be trusted with the aural side. David Dorfman’s got the Family Stone—sans Sly, but still! Lincoln Center, lincolncenter.org

Mark Morris Dance Company
August 18–20
The Music Man at Mostly Mozartmmmm. It’s a fixed point on the dance calendar, recompense for sticking around in August. This program balances a we’ll-see premiere (set to Stravinsky’s Renard) with two in-case-you-missed-them recent winners: Socrates, severe and beautiful, and Festival Dance, playful and snowballing. Rose Theater, Broadway at 60th Street, mostlymozart.org

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