Dancing across the city

Between the opening of the new ICA and Bank of America's de-funding of Celebrity Series, will Boston be a city on the move or on the make in 2007?
By DEBRA CASH  |  December 27, 2006


COMPLEXIONS: makes its Boston debut at the Tsai Center.
The ICA’s Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater, with its sprung wood dance floor and wrap-around windows framing the harbor, is positioned to become Boston dance’s most significant venue, and World Music/CRASHarts and the ICA’s own programmers are hoping to lure audiences into this glam, 325-seat space with more cutting-edge dance offerings than we’ve seen in Boston in years.

Stephen Petronio’s high-velocity uptown New York troupe will fit easily into the context of the ICA’s current “Super Vision” show, since he’s already collaborated, if peculiarly, with Anish Kapoor and Cindy Sherman. Presenting the Barbara Lee Theater’s first show (January 12-13), Petronio’s company will offer BLOOM and its prelude, Bud, to familiar and commissioned songs by that retro hipster Rufus Wainwright, plus The Rite Part, an excerpt from Petronio’s 1992 Stravinsky-inspired Full Half Wrong.

Athletic and amped, tough-girl-makes-good Elizabeth Streb appears at the ICA with her troupe in the aptly named STREB vs. Gravity (February 22-25). Guess who wins? Charismatic, introspective poetry-slam champion Marc Bamuthi Joseph explores the embattled history of Haiti in Scourge (March 2-4), with choreography by hip-hop elder statesman Rennie Harris and Adia Whitaker of the Ase Dance Theatre Collective and texts by emerging San Francisco writers. Aszure Barton’s hot company hasn’t come to Boston yet, but we get a peek at the wild Canadian dancemaker who wowed them at Jacob’s Pillow (with an erotic duet performed while the woman bit her male partner’s tongue) when Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal brings a new Barton work and Rodrigo Pederneiras’s Mapa (March 30–April 1). Bebe Miller’s Landing Place is a poetic work inspired by her trip to Eritrea and concepts of home and community and augmented by the sophisticated motion-capture and animation projections of Vita Berezina-Blackburn and Maya Ciarrocchi (April 13-15). Even more technology-driven is Cathy Weis’sElectronic Haiku: Calm As Custard (April 28-29), which will play with the full range of the new theater’s film-projection and lighting capabilities.

Local dancers and choreographers won’t be left on the outside looking in: the stopwatch-driven “Ten’s the Limit” comes to the ICA (April 20-21), and Anna Myer, who collaborated so thoughtfully with conductor Susan Davenny Wyner in her All at Once, premieres Penumbra, with a neon set and live music for string instruments by Andy Vores (May 3-5). The season ends with the flourish of a world premiere from Mark Morris — with any luck, a significant improvement over his last premiere here, the dud he tossed off for Boston Ballet. That’s May 15-20, preceded by a March 7 conversation between the acid-tongued and quotable Morris and his buddy former Boston Globe classical-music critic Richard Dyer as the new work gets under way. For ICA-event tickets, call 617.478.3103 or visit www.icaboston.org or www.worldmusic.org.

The Celebrity Series may have lost over half a million dollars’ worth of Bank of America sponsorship, but that won’t disrupt the events that have already been announced. The free, taste-of-everything “Dance Across the City” Day, a joint effort with the Citi Center for the Performing Arts, now covers two days, with workshops and events for dancers and aspiring dancers of all ages on January 5 at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester and January 6 at the Wang Theatre. Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson’s Complexions makes its Boston debut at the Tsai Performance Center (February 2-3), and Madrid’s sultry Compañía Nacional de Danza 2 dances the works of Spanish phenomenon Nacho Duato at the Shubert Theatre (March 1-2).

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