Dancer/choreographer RASHAUN MITCHELL and poet ANNE CARSON weren't improvising so much as listening to each other and having a subliminal conversation. Presented in July by the ICA and Summer Stages, their two pieces Nox and Bracko turned the ICA theater and its majestic harbor view into a setting for mystery and meditation.

Jacob's Pillow programmed an evening by the gifted young New York choreographer MONICA BILL BARNES. Building movement from everyday torments and embarrassments, Barnes makes funny and surprising dances of the absurd populated by sympathetic characters who get through it all with heads held high.

Early in December, the Boston dance community lost a cherished supporter and senior performer, BETTY MILHENDLER. Having studied with modern dance teachers in New York, Milhendler went on to a teaching career at Boston University School of Social Work. Only after her retirement, in 1983, did she take up serious performing. She toured with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane company in Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land and appeared with local choreographers. In 2004, she helped found Prometheus Elders Ensemble, and she was an enthusiastic Boston dancegoer despite her last long struggle with cancer. Milhendler was 87 when she died.

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