Presentations at the McCarter Theater Center rule the Princeton area; and this season’s dance offerings there run the gamut from quirky, postmodern shows in which the performers second-guess themselves all the way to raucous entertainment.
The highlight will be the revival of the late Merce Cunningham’s “RainForest,” a slippery masterwork in which the choreographer’s use of aleatory procedures undermines our notion of causality, setting us adrift (as it were) along with a small group of ragged dancers who exercise their passions amid floating Mylar pillows. We have Stephen Petronio to thank for the opportunity to see this fascinating dance, and his company’s appearance at McCarter Theater will also feature the local premiere of “Locomotor/Non Locomotor,” a pure-dance romp with roots in 1970s Minimalism.
The McCarter dance season also offers an unusual hybrid. In last year’s wistful collaboration between choreographer Monica Bill Barnes and radio personality Ira Glass, the performers invite audience members to laugh at their expense, to marvel at their audacity and possibly shed a tear contemplating their hardships. That event, “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host,” bows in Princeton on November 21.
For ballet lovers living outside a major metropolis, the Bolshoi Theater’s ongoing ballet-in-cinema series has been a game-changer, making some of the world’s finest ballet performances accessible to all. No, it isn’t live theater and the camera operators make choices for you, but every viewer has a front-row seat at the historic Bolshoi Theater in Moscow; and these delayed broadcasts and recordings are far superior to those wearisome tours by provincial Russian companies. This is the real thing, folks, and with several movie theaters presenting the series it couldn’t be more convenient. The Bolshoi opens this fall with “Giselle,” a Romantic chestnut, on October 11, but goes on to present more adventurous fare including a stunning performance of George Balanchine’s “Jewels” and John Neumeier’s intriguing “Lady of the Camellias.”
Local talents naturally add variety to the dance scene, which wouldn’t be complete without appearances by the home team. This season American Repertory Ballet accepts the “Raymonda” challenge, in a glittering re-make by Kirk Peterson titled “Glazunov Variations.” Kathak virtuoso Jin Won repeats her tour-de-force performance of “Pradhanica.” And 10 Hairy Legs, the all-male company directed by Randy James and based in Highland Park, New Jersey, takes viewers on a wild ride through its contemporary repertoire culminating in Doug Elkins’ suave and sensual masterwork “Trouble Will Find Me.”
The following should help dance loves plan, with a reminder to all: Don’t forget to buy your “Nutcracker” tickets early!
September 11 and 12: Rutgers Alumni Dance Concert. Loree Dance Theater, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, on the Passion Puddle side of Loree Gym, 70 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, 848-932-7511. Visit masongross.rutgers.edu
September 25: “Pradhanica.” Jin Won, a master of Indian Kathak dance, presents a solo concert that features stimulating percussion, virtuoso spinning and expressive representations of joy, sorrow, anger and peace. With live music composed by Pandit Divyang Vakil. Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, Ocean County Community College, College Drive, Toms River, 732-255-0500. Visit grunincenter.org.
September 25: “On Screen in Person: Foreign Puzzle.” Chithra Jeyaram’s documentary film follows dancer and choreographer Sharon Marroquin as she struggles with breast cancer and turns her terrifying experiences into a dance called “The Materiality of Impermanence.” The Pollak Theater, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, 732-263-6889. Visit monmouth.edu/events/arts/aspx.
September 25 and 26: American Repertory Ballet in “Season Premiere.” The mixed bill features Douglas Martin’s serene “Ephemeral Possessions,” Kirk Peterson’s scintillating, neoclassical “Glazunov Variations,” and Mary Barton’s effervescent “Straight Up with a Twist.” Bart Luedeke Center Theater at Rider University, 2038 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, 609-896-7775. Visit rider.edu/arts.
September 26: Atlantic City Ballet, “Ballet Goes Broadway,” The Strand Center for the Performing Arts, 400 Clifton Avenue, Lakewood Township, 732-367-7789. Visit strand.org.
October 4: Lakota Sioux Dance Theater in “Cokata Upo!” A celebration of Native American performing arts and spirituality featuring champion dancers, singers and musicians of the Great Plains, directed by warrior-artist Henry Smith. The Pollak Theater, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, 732-263-6889. Visit monmouth.edu/events/arts/aspx
October 9: American Repertory Ballet in “A Night of Dance,” reprising this group’s fall repertory with “Ephemeral Possessions,” “Glazunov Variations” and “Straight Up with a Twist.” Hamilton Stage at the Union County Performing Arts Center, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway, 732-499-8226. Visit ucpac.org.
October 11: Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema series opens with “Giselle.” This delayed broadcast gives viewers a front-row seat at the historic Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, capturing world-class dancers as they perform one of the most beloved ballets in the Romantic repertoire. Regal Cinema Center 18 in North Brunswick, AMC Hamilton, and Regal Cinema in Burlington, S10 and more.
October 16: Alborada Spanish Dance Theater. A collaboration with tap virtuoso Maurice Chestnut gives these flamenco dancers an excuse to visit Harlem where they explore the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, Ocean County Community College, College Drive, Toms River, 732-255-0500. Visit grunincenter.org.
October 21 and 22: Stephen Petronio Company. Using the past as a springboard, this postmodern choreographer presents his new “Locomotor/Non Locomotor” pairing it with a revival of the late Merce Cunningham’s “RainForest.” Cunningham’s work never fails to astonish with its freshness and beauty, amid a flock of lazily drifting Mylar pillows. McCarter Theater Center, 91 University Place, Princeton, 609-258-2787. Visit mccarter.org.
October 23 and 24: The Seldoms in “Power Goes.” This contemporary dance group from Chicago wants to know how political power works. Taking viewers to Washington, DC, they contrast today’s leaders with former US President Lyndon B. Johnson, who strong-armed opponents as he fought to realize his vision of a “Great Society.” Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, Ocean County Community College, College Drive, Toms River, 732-255-0500. Visit grunincenter.org.
October 25: Bolshoi Ballet in “Giselle.” (See listing for October 11.) The Pollak Theater, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, 732-263-6889. Visit monmouth.edu/events/arts/aspx
October 30: Compania Flamenca Jose Porcel in “Flamenco Fire.” A tall, imposing performer, Porcel is a former star of the Ballet Nacional de Espana. While he may tamper with the musical accompaniment, don’t expect contrivances or radical deviations from flamenco tradition. Do expect molten passion. The State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. Visit statetheatrenj.org.
November 4 and 7: BFA Senior Solo Duet Concert at Rutgers. Loree Dance Theater, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, on the Passion Puddle side of Loree Gym, 70 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, 848-932-7511. Visit masongross.rutgers.edu.
November 5: Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba. Any company that tours with a show called “Amigas” wants to be your friend. Tropical rhythms, from the mambo to the cha-cha-cha, are at the heart of this nightclub-style revue, which blends elements of ballroom, flamenco and Afro-Cuban dance. The Matthews Theater Auditorium at The McCarter Theater Center, 91 University Place, Princeton, 609-258-2787. Visit mccarter.org.
November 5: Alvin Ailey II. The celebrated modern dance troupe’s farm team. Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, Ocean County Community College, College Drive, Toms River, 732-255-0500. Visit grunincenter.org.
November 8: 10 Hairy Legs. There is nothing this adventurous, all-male company won’t try. Tonight’s eclectic lineup features some of 10HL’s most popular repertory, including choreographer Julie Bour’s thoughtful quartet “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” David Parker’s hilarious duet “Slapstuck” and Doug Elkins’ electrifying ensemble piece “Trouble Will Find Me.” The Theater at Raritan Valley Community College, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, 908-725-3420. Visit rvccarts.org.
November 15: The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema presents “Jewels.” Choreographer George Balanchine’s three-act masterpiece looks considerably refreshed in this performance recorded last year — and not just because the Bolshoi returned to Van Cleef & Arpels when commissioning its own decors. Musical Anastasia Stashkevich and poignant Anna Tikhomirova swoon in “Emeralds.” Ekaterina Shipulina brings wit and energy to the soloist role in “Rubies;” and Olga Smirnova is the spirit guide leading Semyon Chudin into the empyrean in “Diamonds.” Not to be missed! Regal Cinema Center 18 in North Brunswick, AMC Hamilton, and Regal Cinema in Burlington, S10 and more.
November 16: Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India. The word “Bollywood” says it all. Frenetic, loud and colorful this program aims to be larger-than-life. A brass band amplifies the folk music of Rajasthan, while gypsy dancers spin, writhe and bend over backward to retrieve objects from the floor with their teeth. The Matthews Theater Auditorium at McCarter Theater Center, 91 University Place, Princeton, 609-258-2787. Visit mccarter.org.
November 18 and 22: DancePlus Fall at Rutgers. Choreography by contemporary hotshots Kyle Abraham, Camille A. Brown, Nicholas Bruder, Jessica Lang and by faculty members. Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater, Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, Rutgers University, 85 George Street, New Brunswick, 848-932-7511. Visit masongross.rutgers.edu
November 21: “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host.” Radio personality Ira Glass (“This American Life”) teams up with choreographer Monica Bill Barnes and dancer Anna Bass in this odd-ball show that pairs Glass’s soul-searching monologues with extravagant, high-kicking entertainment. Together these characters explore what it means to be a performer.
November 21: American Repertory Ballet in “The Nutcracker.” What better way to launch the holiday season than with this annual bon-bon, a treat for the whole family? The Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway, 732-499-8226. Visit ucpac.org.
November 25 through 28: American Repertory Ballet in “The Nutcracker.” The Matthews Theater Auditorium at The McCarter Theater Center, 91 University Place, Princeton, 609-258-2787. Visit mccarter.org.
December 3: Bolshoi Ballet in Cinemas series returns with “Jewels.” (See November 15 listing.) The Pollak Theater, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, 732-263-6889. Visit monmouth.edu/events/arts/aspx
December 3 through 6: “Marathon Dancing: Letters to Wall Street in the Era of Wonderful Nonsense.” The stock market crash of 2008 seems so long ago-or does it? Choreography by Julia Ritter. Loree Dance Theater, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, on the Passion Puddle side of Loree Gym, 70 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, 848-932-7511. Visit masongross.rutgers.edu
December 4 and 5: American Repertory Ballet in “The Nutcracker.” The Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, One Memorial Drive, Trenton. Visit nj.gov/state/memorial/index.
December 6: The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series presents “The Lady of the Camellias.” Choreographer John Neumeier’s 1978 creation for legendary ballerina Marcia Haydee represents a change of pace for the Bolshoi, and one that fans should welcome. Solid choreography supports the drama, while Neumeier’s heroine is a thoughtful, complex character haunted by the literary figures in her imagination. Regal Cinemas Burlington and North Brunswick, and AMC Hamilton, S10 and more.
December 11: Moscow Ballet in “The Great Russian Nutcracker.” The Theater at Raritan Valley Community College, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, 908-725-3420. Visit rvccarts.org.
December 12 and 13: American Repertory Ballet in “The Nutcracker,” Algonquin Arts Theater, 173 Main Street, Manasquan, 732-528-9211. Visit algonquinarts.org.
December 12 and 13: Ballet for Young Audiences in “The Nutcracker.” Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, Ocean County Community College, College Drive, Toms River, 732-255-0500. Visit grunincenter.org.
December 12 and 13: Company of Dance Arts in “The Nutcracker.” The Count Basie Theater, 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, 732-842-9000. Visit countbasietheatre.org.
December 17 through 20: American Repertory Ballet in “The Nutcracker” with live orchestra. The State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. Visit statetheatrenj.org.
December 20: The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema presents, you guessed it, “The Nutcracker.” Regal Cinemas Burlington and North Brunswick, and AMC Hamilton, S10 and more.
December 22: Atlantic City Ballet in “The Nutcracker” with the Garden State Philharmonic. The Strand Center for the Performing Arts, 400 Clifton Avenue, Lakewood Township, 732-367-7789. Visit strand.org.
With gas still cheap, dance lovers have no excuse for flopping on the couch this fall. It’s worth driving a few extra miles to experience the short-fused feminism of Pat Graney’s “Girl Gods,” October 22 through 25, at Peak Performances, in Montclair (peakperfs.org); or to glide suavely into a holiday mood with Savion Glover, November 28, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown (mayoarts.org).
In New York City, the highlights of this season include: British choreographer Wayne McGregor collaborating with visual artist Olafur Eliasson to transform the cavernous interior of the Park Avenue Armory, September 14 through 21, (armoryonpark.org). The Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which opens with Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan, September 16 through 19; and where the season includes the startling Butoh dance of Sankai Juku, October 28 to 31, and feisty Urban Bush Women, December9 to 12, (bam.org).
New York City Ballet’s Fall Gala with four oh-so-fashionable premieres, September 30, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (nycballet.org); the splendiferous (but economical) Fall for Dance Festival, September 30 to October 11, at NY City Center (nycitycenter.org); Jose Limon International Dance Festival, paying tribute to a giant of modern dance, October 13 through 25 at the Joyce Theater (joyce.org); American Ballet Theater, which opens with a premiere by Mark Morris, October 21 through November 1, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (abt.org.).
Also for consideration are: Garth Fagan Dance, always vitally enriching, November 3 through 8, at the Joyce Theater (joyce.org) Ballerina Sylvie Guillem bids us farewell-for real, this time — in works by Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Mats Ek, November 12 to 14, at NY City Center (nycitycenter.org). Twyla Tharp’s 50th-anniversary blowout celebration offers two premieres, “Preludes and Fugues” and “Yowzie,” November 17 to 22, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (davidhkochtheater.com). And Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with premieres by Kyle Abraham, Robert Battle and Ronald K. Brown, December2 to January 3, 2016, at NY City Center (nycitycenter.org).
And if all of the above isn’t enough, there is also the White Light Festival, which includes Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s “Partita 2,” October 29 and 30, at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College; and “Thomas Ades, Concentric Paths-Movements in Music,” featuring choreography by Wayne McGregor, Crystal Pite and more, November 20 to 22 at New York City Center (WhiteLightFestival.org).
Crossroads Theater, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-598-3979, www.alboradadance.org.
20 Years of Flamenco and Spanish Dance in New Jersey. Anniversary show explores the diversity of Spain’s dance and music. Register. $18 to $30. Friday, September 25.
American Rep Ballet
Bart Luedeke Theater, Rider University, Lawrenceville, 609-896-7775, www.arballet.org.
Season Premiere. $20. Friday and September 25 and 26.
McCarter Theater, 91 University Place, Princeton, 609-258-2787, www.mccarter.org.
The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s score with a cast of more than 100 dancers including ARB’s professional dancers, ARB trainees, and Princeton Ballet School students. At McCarter Wednesday, November 25, Friday, November 27, and Saturday, November 28.
At Patriots Theater, War Memorial, Trenton, 609-948-8400, www.arballet.org. Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5.
At the State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469, www.arballet.org. Performance with live orchestra of Tchaikovsky’s score conducted by Michael Pratt. Friday through Sunday, December 18 through 20.
Bordentown Regional Middle School, 50 Dunn’s Mill Road, Bordentown, 609-298-5465, .
Philadelphia Flamenco. A full ensemble of instruments, singers, and dancers, with lead dancer Monica Herrera. $15. Sunday, October 18.
Grounds For Sculpture
126 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, 609-586-0616, www.groundsforsculpture.org.
Day Of Dance. Festival featuring women choreographers of all dance genres. Family friendly, indoor and outdoor performances. Free with park admission. Saturday, October 3.
Canal Studios, 243 North Union Street, Lambertville, 609-397-7616, ext. 807, www.roxeyballet.com.
Dracula. Mark Roxey’s original choreography follows the classic vampire tale. Audience encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes. $35. Friday through Sunday, October 23 through 25 and October 30 through November 1.