Mark Morris Dance Group: Pepperland (DPAC, Jun. 19 & 20) “If you’re here for a Beatles singalong, that’s not going to happen,” choreographer Mark Morris warns audiences before his hour-long dance suite, which parlays Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band into a think piece on 1960s culture. Composer Ethan Iverson (formerly of The Bad Plus) has a live orchestra to intersperse elliptical original music into moody takes on five songs from the 1967 Beatles classic (plus “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the two that EMI left out). Morris contrasts wit and poppy optimism with the period’s darker notes.
Keep your eyes on the feet. In parts of local hero, tap choreographer, and MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” recipient Michelle Dorrance’s SOUNDspace, that’ll be easy: with Kathy Kaufmann’s lighting design, feet are the only thing that are lit. As the work builds, The New York Times notes, “you hear metric units within metric units, and then, dizzyingly, yet faster units within those smaller ones … This isn’t tap to music, this is tap as music, without accompaniment. It trains your ear and then bewilders it.”
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (Reynolds Industries Theater, Jul. 2 & 3) Revered dance maker Donald McKayle addressed the challenges of immigrants the world over in Uprooted: Pero Replantado (Uprooted: But Replanted), and Katherine Dunham scandalized audiences with her 1938 Barrelhouse Blues. Both works appear on Cleo Parker Robinson’s program. But we especially want to see the world premiere of a piece by Micaela Taylor, the meteoric Los Angeles-based choreographer-of-the-moment who fuses Gaga, hip-hop, and contemporary classical technique to music by the Bee Gees, Max Richter, and Wild Cherry. Its title? Resist.
Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater: Rennie Harris Funkedified (The Carolina Theatre, Jul. 10 & 11) It’s been a minute since Harris, “the grandmaster of transforming street dance for the stage” (Dance Magazine), put Rome and Jewels, his hip-hop take on Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, on the ADF stage. His company returns with a multimedia, evening-length autobiographical disquisition on funk, joined by the Philadelphia-based quartet The Hood Lockers and New York funk band, Invincible.
Malpaso Dance Company (Page Auditorium, Jul. 12 & 13) This quickly-rising Cuban dance troupe is known for the company it keeps; the program of its ADF debut includes works by Batsheva’s gaga dance genius Ohad Naharin, whose Tabula Rasa bristles with conflict, and Canadian choreographer Aszure Barton, whose pensive Indomitable Waltz is “an approach to the soul under extreme and intense emotional circumstances,” according to cofounder Fernando Sáez Carvajal.
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