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The new season our insider guide: touring companies visiting your neighborhood plus highlights of dance troupes on their home turf.

Hey, it's autumn. The shadows are growing. The nights are lengthening. The tans are fading. Time to catch a show. During the coming months, dance companies will be where you would least expect to find them. The New York City Ballet, which normally travels no farther afield from Lincoln Center than upstate New York, will touch down in Chicago for a week. The Kirov Ballet, which is synonymous with St. Petersburg, Russia, will set up shop in Boston and Orange County, CA. Among the visitors from abroad, modern dance troupes from Mexico, Japan, and the Ivory Coast, as well as a couple of Canada's less peripatetic ballet companies, will crisscross the map.

The Americans are on the road, too. They certainly won't go begging for performance spaces. This fall, opulent arts complexes will open on both coasts. In the southeast, it will be Cesar Pelli's Miami Performing Arts Center, and in the west, the Orange County Performing Arts Center will put the finishing touches on the project begun two decades ago.

Where repertoire is concerned, the situation is a bit different this year from previous autumns. At one time, summer meant that many companies put away their earlier repertoire and busied themselves with premieres. Nowadays, multiyear touring of major projects is common and it makes sense for a choreographer like Liz Lerman, who has invested much time and effort in her Ferocious Beauty: Genome, to keep it going. This ambitious essay on the source of all life, much discussed on the tour circuit last season, roosts at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange will celebrate its 30th anniversary Nov. 2-3 with a retrospective at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. That venue kicks off its season with the Limon Dance Company in classic modern dance works Sept. 14-15.

Chicago is on a roll this fall. MCA hosts the Chicago Human Rhythm Project Nov. 17. And at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park, New York City Ballet offers three evenings of vintage dances by Balanchine and Robbins plus one night of creations by Christopher Wheeldon, Ulysses Dove, and artistic director Peter Martins, Oct. 17-21.

The Kirov, complemented by its superb orchestra, treats Costa Mesa, CA, to Leonid Lavrovsky's Romeo and Juliet and Konstantin Sergeyev's Swan Lake Oct. 17-22. Those Russian swans then fly to Boston for a Nov. 9-12 engagement at The Wang Theatre.

Several of this fall's touring attractions will adhere to extensive schedules. After a few years' absence from the American scene, Japan's most traveled butoh troupe, the all-male Sankai Juku, returns with Kagemi: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors, directed, choreographed, and designed by company founder Ushio Amagatsu. The troupe's seven members drift through a vegetation-rich dream landscape in this latest, handsomely mounted enigma. Kagemi floats into the Brooklyn Academy of Music Oct. 24, 26-29, the University of Pennsylvania's Zellerbach Theatre Oct. 31, San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center Nov. 14-15, and UCLA's Royce Hall Nov. 17-18. One company new to the touring scene hails from Mexico. Since we see little modern dance from that nation, despite its geographic proximity, the arrival of the Tania Perez-Salas Compania de Danza Contemporanea should open eyes around this country. The repertoire of the Mexico City-based troupe includes Las Horas, based on Michael Cunningham's novel, The Hours, and Anabiosis, inspired by the writing of Octavio Paz. Tour dates include Portland State University, OR (Oct. 12-14), Philadelphia (Oct. 25-26), George Mason University, Fairfax, VA (Oct. 28); University of California, Davis (Nov. 10-11), and San Francisco (Nov. 18-19).

Two companies from up north will spice up the season's fare. Since Gradimir Pankov arrived six years ago, he has conferred international luster on Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. The fall tour will offer two programs. In Los Angeles Oct. 6-7 and Philadelphia Nov. 16-18, they'll dance Stijn Celins' visceral version of Les Noces, Didy Veldman's witty TooT, and Kylian's familiar Bella Figura. Other dates will include Ohad Naharin's Minus One. And then there's the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Dracula. When the piece was commissioned from Mark Godden, it ordered up a major hit, which then inspired a noted film adaptation by Guy Maddin. You can find that on DVD, but the live version may be sampled in nine American cities, starting with Lacrosse, WI (Sept. 20), and ending in Newport News, VA (Oct. 7).

Fresh, also, on American stages will be the four women from the Ivory Coast who go by the name of Compagnie Tche Tche. Their high-risk performance style and live musical accompaniment promise kinetic thrills and social awareness. Dimi (Pain) will be performed at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. (Nov. 3-4), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (Dec. 1-2), and Portland State University (Dec. 7-9).

In the old friends from abroad category, Yorgos Loukos' Lyon Opera Ballet can always be depended on for fascinating repertoire with an international accent. Back on American stages after a two-year hiatus, the company offers works by three distinctive women choreographers. Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's Grosse Fuge (Beethoven) and Sasha Waltz's Fantaisie (Schubert) will be complemented by Maguy Marin's familiar Groosland. Catch these perennially alluring French artists at UCLA (Oct. 20-21) and Berkeley (Oct. 27-28).

De Keersmaeker, in the flesh, will return to the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival Oct. 3-7 as one of the contributors to the 70th birthday tribute to composer Steve Reich. Britain's fusion-master Akram Khan will premiere a work on the same program. And in December, BAM will bring back, for the 10th time, Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal in the U.S. premiere of Nefes, created after a sojourn in Turkey.

A multitude of popular companies will be racking up frequent flyer miles this fall. Nobody will be traveling more extensively than tap legend Savion Clover, whose Classical Savion will finally receive the national exposure it deserves. The show, with live orchestra, will be in Portland (Sept. 19-20), Berkeley (Sept. 22), and Los Angeles (Oct. 4-5). Ballet Flamenco Eva Yerbabuena, a sell-out on its first tour a couple of years ago, will help inaugurate the Miami Performing Arts Center Dec. 2-3, framed by stops in Portland Nov. 29 and Berkeley Dec. 8-9. Philadanco, Philadelphia's celebrated modern dance company, goes to Great Barrington, MA (Oct. 13-15), Stony Brook, NY (Oct. 21), and Cleveland (Nov. 4).

In addition, MOMIX is all over the map with its Opus Cactus and Lunar Sea, bringing its kinetic sculpture to Portland (Oct. 25), UC Davis, CA (Oct. 29), and Scottsdale, AZ (Nov. 10-11). The Paul Taylor Dance Company will be traveling with its recent and acclaimed Banquet of Vultures when it stops in Philadelphia (Oct. 19-21) and at the Kennedy Center (Dec. 15-16). World dance fans will find Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company in Berkeley Sept. 23, and George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, Nov. 11-12, and Ballet Folklorico de Mexico in Davis, CA, Nov. 15.

Finally, from New Adventures we can expect Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands, a recent dance drama based on Tim Burton's fantasy film, with decor by Boume's longtime collaborator, Lez Brotherston, and music by Terry Davies. San Francisco gets the North American premiere in November, and the work will be the holiday offering (Dec. 12-31) at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre. The show continues around the country in 2007.

Allan Ulrich is a Dance Magazine Senior Advising Editor and an online critic for www.voiceofdance.com.
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Author:Ulrich, Allan
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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