Local favorites and international attractions

All the right moves
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  September 14, 2011

NATURE’S WAY Momix will perform Botanica as part of the FirstWorks Festival on October 19 at PPAC.

Despite the hard times that most arts organizations are facing in today's economic circumstances, the dance performance calendar for this fall seems full indeed. Six independent companies and four college companies will present premieres and classics in a variety of genres and styles; FirstWorks will host the nationally-renowned Momix; and Rhode Island College's Performing Arts Series will present an array of ballet, tap, flamenco, and acrobatics.

Among the local companies, FESTIVAL BALLET PROVIDENCE has scaled back its fall season a bit to catch up on some financial losses from last season and to allow time and energy for a gala fundraising event on October 19 at the Vets. But the popular Up CLOSE on HOPE series will be featured on three weekends in October (at the Black Box Theater on Hope Street); and The Nutcracker will again be danced at the Providence Performing Arts Center (December 9-11). Check festivalballet.com for details.

Artistic director Misha Djuric notes that of the eight to 10 pieces presented at UCOH, most will be premieres. In addition to his own work, Djuric will call on his established corps of choreographers: Boston-based Viktor Plotnikov, Gianni DiMarco, and Boyko Dossev; company members Vilia Putrius, Mark Harootian, and Karin Tremblay; and Rhode Island choreographer Colleen Cavanaugh.

For the "Gala," Djuric has contacted companies across the US and Europe, to invite dancers who might appear as guest performers. The Festival troupe will reprise the much-lauded Apollo, from last season.

"It's going to be a very nice night for everyone to see some new things, new faces, new dancers," Djuric emphasized during a recent phone conversation. "They will be truly surprised and they will see something very special. Last year was really hard for us, and we did a terrific job in keeping up and continuing what we were doing — we want to stabilize it 100 percent and preserve arts and dancing in Rhode Island without any big shake-ups.

"This event is intended to preserve a high-caliber arts organization right here in our region," he continued. "We want to make sure that our children and our grandchildren will have this under their fingertips, so they don't have to go somewhere else.

"And by coming to the gala, Rhode Island dance fans can save on plane tickets to check out companies from around the country," he quipped.

With eight new dancers in the company and rehearsals already underway for The Nutcracker, it will be a busy fall and winter for FBP, with "a lot of effort toward putting the company on the right track, in all aspects," Djuric said.

Since last winter, the award-winning EVERETT DANCE THEATRE has been doing research for a new piece, titled Brain Storm, with monthly "Brain Cafes" — discussions led by scientists, researchers, medical professionals, and persons affected by brain disorders. Exploring the intersection of "neuroscience, medicine, and the arts," these dialogues will continue this fall. Check everettarts.org for details.

FUSIONWORKS DANCE COMPANY is a modern dance group of women who perform works by choreographer/artistic director Deb Meunier, company dancers, and other contemporary choreographers. Their annual Fall Concert (November 18 and 19 at Rhode Island College) will premiere a piece by Meunier titled Susserus, a contrast between the primitive instincts of humankind and our ever-advancing technologies. Check out fusionworksdance.org.

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