Happy feet

From butoh to Swan Lake and back
By DEBRA CASH  |  September 13, 2006

RUSSIAN MADE: Danila Korsuntsev and Uliana Lopatkina dance in the Kirov Ballet’s Swan Lake.
The architectural team of Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater at the new Institute for Contemporary Art as a 325-seat jewel box, its transparent walls allowing the Boston harbor and skyline to serve as a scenic backdrop or turn opaque as the performance requires. This glam architecture will probably be beautiful even when the room is empty, but it will fulfill its potential only if it brings contemporary dance and performance the fresh visibility they so desperately need and deserve.

We’re going to have to wait a few more weeks. Although at press time the ICA’s fall schedule was up in the air because of construction delays at the new site, the Sapporo-based butoh duo  GOOSAYTEN  — Morita Itto (who in his day job doubles as a professor of psychology) and his dance partner Takeuchi Mika — are still scheduled to perform their meditative To the White, To the Sky on November 8. The following day they’ll take it to UMass-Amherst’s Fine Arts Center (413.545.2511). Check www.icaboston.org or call 617.266.5152 for the latest ICA developments.

The Lee Theater will also be the venue for many World Music/CRASHarts events in the months ahead.  BEBE MILLER ’s company and  LES BALLETS JAZZ DE MONTRÉAL/BJM_DANSE  have been postponed till spring, but still on the ICA schedule is the stopwatch-driven  TEN’S THE LIMIT  showcase of local dancemakers (November 17-18) and  RONALD K. BROWN/EVIDENCE ’s repertoire evening (November 30–December 3). CRASHart dance-related programs at more-traditional venues include  SON DE LA FRONTERA  featuring flamenco dancer  PEPE TORRES  (Somerville Theatre, September 29),  MOMBASA PARTY/ROYAL DRUMMERS OF BURUNDI  (Sanders Theatre, September 30; also in Amherst September 29), and kathak master  BIRJU MAHARAJ  (Somerville Theatre, October 8). All World Music/CRASHarts tickets are available on-line at www.worldmusic.org, or call 617.876.4275.

As part of its commitment to bring one big (and necessarily expensive) ballet company to Boston each year, the Bank of America Celebrity Series (617.482-6661) hosts the return of the  KIROV BALLET  in Swan Lake (Wang Theatre, November 9-12). It’s dancing the optimistic Russian version, where evil is vanquished and the lovers are reunited during the B-major closing chords of Tchaikovsky’s score. Later in the season,  PILOBOLUS  turns away from an ugly legal struggle with one of its co-directors to presents its illusionistic, kid-friendly repertoire (Shubert Theatre, December 8-10).  BOSTON BALLET  opens its season with the Rudolf Nureyev production of Don Quixote, with restored costumes and a set that includes a turning windmill (Wang Theatre, October 19-29; 800.447.7400).

Harvard is paying tribute to Leonard Bernstein (October 12-14; 617.495.8676). No one is guaranteeing Chita Rivera will make it (she’s going to try) but  WEST SIDE STORY  director/producer Harold Prince and choreographer Donald Saddler and Jerome Robbins biographer Deborah Jowitt will be on hand for what should be enlightening insider conversations at the Harvard Dance Center and Paine Concert Hall October 14.

His health permitting, the Museum of Fine Arts will host octogenarian dancemaker  MERCE CUNNINGHAM  in a lecture (officially sold out) describing his celebrated collaborations with visual artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, and Terry Winters (October 18; 617.369.3306).

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