Theater archives

Summer Dance Guide: ‘Borrowed Light’ and More


New York City Ballet

June 5 through 10

American Ballet Theatre

June 21 through 23

What better ballet to see in June—preferably with a lover—than one based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and set to Mendelssohn’s exquisite overture and incidental music? This year, New Yorkers get their choice of two such versions. In George Balanchine’s work for New York City Ballet (which incorporates additional Mendelssohn works), the four lovers’ wranglings and Titania’s tiff with Oberon areresolved in one act. Then, the second-act celebration introduces two newcomers—neither fairies nor mortal, just gorgeous dancers, who, in their classical pas de deux, tell us everything we should know about ideal love. Bevies of child dancers. Hippolyta, the betrothed Amazon queen, leaping about with a bow. Who said Balanchine didn’t know how to tell stories?

David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center,

Two weeks later, ABT offers Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, which wraps everything up in one act. Its final pas de deux, set to Mendelssohn’s heart-stirring nocturne, is a rapturous union of the sparring fairy rulers, in which Titania, pointe shoes not withstanding, seems to melt gradually into Oberon’s embrace. Bottom, changed into an ass, dances en pointe, too, his black shoes doubling as hooves. See The Dream June 21 through 23, and you also get Alexei Ratmansky’s brand-new Firebird, which debuts June 11 through 13; on the first night, the magic avian will be performed by guest artist Natalia Osipova (formerly of the Bolshoi, now with St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre) on a program that includes Balanchine’s Apollo, danced by David Hallberg (now with the Bolshoi part-time), and Christopher Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions.

Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center,

Tero Saarinen: ‘Borrowed Light’

‘The Men Dancers: From the Horse’s Mouth’

July 11 through 15

Even if you saw Finnish choreographer Tero Saarinen’s extraordinary take on the American Shakers at BAM in 2007, you should drive up the Taconic to experience it at Jacob’s Pillow, where it made its U.S. debut in 2006. The celibate sect’s outpourings of suppressed lust and religious ecstasy look and sound glorious in the Ted Shawn Theatre, a former barn, where the dancers mingle with the singers of the Boston Camerata. In the Pillow’s Doris Duke Studio Theatre, male dancers and choreographers of all stripes will dance and tell their stories in The Men Dancers: From the Horse’s Mouth, in honor of Shawn’s Men Dancers and the Pillow’s 80th anniversary. Jacob’s Pillow, 358 George Carter Road, Becket, Massachusetts,


July 16 through August 11

Every summer, you can predict that goldenrod will sprout in the meadows, and Pilobolus will bloom on the Joyce stage. As always, the company’s comic fantasies and darker ones emerge through athletic, erotic mergings and biomorphic shapes built of bodies. This time, each of the two alternating programs features a premiere by an interesting outside choreographer: Program One offers a work by Michael Moschen, probably the only juggler to have received a MacArthur “Genius Grant”; on Program Two, the guest dancemaker is the adventurous thirtysomething Belgian Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui—half-Moroccan, half-Flemish. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue,

David Gordon

June 1 through 30

Gordon has been creating works for 50 years now, and the obstreperousness he displayed during his years with Judson Dance Theater and Grand Union remains undiminished. No one can bat around words and movement with his wit and verve. His Beginning of the End of the . . . riffs off two plays and a story by Pirandello to investigate the “absurd inconsistencies” of our perceptions and more. He’ll be aided in his mission by a cast of 10, one of whom is his marvelous wife, Valda Setterfield. Two others are puppets, and all play more than one role. Joyce Soho, 155 Mercer Street,

Mark Morris Dance Group

August 22 through 25

Morris is no longer playing both the heroine and her nemesis in his superb and slightly transgressive production of Henry Purcell’s opera, Dido and Aeneas. This time, as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival, he’s conducting an offstage musical ensemble that includes the fabulous mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe. Onstage, the dancers in their unisex black tunics will depict the tragedy of the abandoned Dido and the vexed sorceress who engineers her lover’s departure. In Morris’s hands, the choreography has a raunchy side, but also melts ravishingly into Purcell’s limpid arias. Frederick P. Rose Hall, 33 West 60th Street,

Yanira Castro/A Canary Torsi

July 8 through 10

Back in 2009, you could have arranged to have Yanira Castro’s duet Dark Horse/Black Forest performed in your bathroom, or joined spectators in a larger hotel-lobby restroom. Castro is into transforming spaces and bringing spectators and performers into proximity. What better way to spend a summer evening than to venture into the glorious Brooklyn Botanic Garden at dusk to view a remounting of her 2011 magical installation and performance, Paradis? Never been to the BBG? Prepare to fall in love. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn,

Gallim Dance

June 8 through 10

Andrea Miller had only been out of Juilliard for two years and had already performed in Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company when she founded Gallim Dance in 2006. She’s one of those young choreographers you want to keep in your sights. Her ideas are intriguing, and her movement style lusty, daring; like Batsheva’s director Ohad Naharin, she’s not afraid to have dancers look awkward in their push to engage fully in the moment at hand. Her Sit, Kneel, Stand concludes the Gotham Dance Festival, which opens May 30. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue,

Shantala Shivalingappa

June 27 through July 1

Last October, Shivalingappa performed a program of solos in India’s Kuchipudi style at the Skirball Center. This June, she appears in London with Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, and two days later, offers Namasya at the Joyce. Versatile isn’t sufficient to describe this beautiful dancer. Namasya‘s four solos honor her teachers and mentors. The choreographers are Ushio Amagatsu of Japan’s Sankai Juku, Bausch, Savitry Nair (the performer’s mother), and Shivalingappa herself. I expect that her own delicate, surprisingly powerful dancing informs them all. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue,