Critic's choice: Dance


Carmen de Lavallade's storybook six-decade career as a dancer, choreographer and stage and film actress will come to the stage this summer in a new multimedia production. It is among the more intriguing highlights of the region's summer dance season.

"As I Remember It," de Lavallade's one-person show, recalls her collaborations with such luminaries as Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Harry Belafonte, Alvin Ailey ... and the list continues. She holds the distinction of the longest performing career at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and there, June 20-22, in the Doris Duke Theatre, her show will receive its world premiere.

She made her Pillow debut in 1953 with the Lester Horton Dance Theatre and last performed there with Paradigm in 2004. In between, she made appearances with Alvin Ailey, Glen Tetley and Donald McKayle, as well as her husband, Geoffrey Holder.

"As I Remember It" embraces dance, film and spoken word for this retrospective collaboration with director Joe Grifasi ("One Sight Hitch," "The 39 Steps," "Heaven Can Wait") and dramaturg Talvin Wilks.

The popular Trey McIntyre Project will offer its final performances June 25-29 at Jacob's Pillow, where it first began its ambitious activities in 2005.

"Trey McIntyre Project was both founded and has functioned as a project-based company to support the artistic vision of Trey McIntyre," the company announced in its official statement, adding: "The inherent beauty of a project-based model is that once a project has reached its fruition a new one can commence. Trey McIntyre has fulfilled what we set out to do as a dance company, and because of this success we are shifting focus by ending the full-time dance company and embarking on new projects."

The farewell program in the Ted Shawn Theatre offers "The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction," a new piece inspired by the surreal imagination and characteristic pen-and-ink drawings of Edward Gorey, the writer and illustrator, set to the alternately ambient and lyrical Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor by Shostakovich and performed live by Trio Solaris, along with "Mercury Half-Life," a ballet set to the music of the rock band Queen.

The annual SummerScape Festival at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson reliably adds to the dance conversation, last year with Bill T. Jones and Anne Bogart's stunning take on Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- this year, it's "Proscenium Works: 1979-2011" (June 27 and 28, Fisher Center), with Trisha Brown's final creation, alongside two beloved revivals, in her troupe's farewell tour.

Although the annual residency of the New York City Ballet at Saratoga Performing Arts Center continues to contract -- it will run July 8-12 this summer -- encouraging news brings appearances by the Martha Graham Dance Company, June 12; MOMIX ReMIX, June 22, and four performances by the Bolshoi Ballet, promising "Don Quixote." July 29-Aug.1. City Ballet's opening night will appeal to many of its fans: "Balanchine's Journey," with "Raymonda Variations," "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "Walpurgisnacht Ballet" and "Who Cares?" set to Gershwin's music.

Mark Morris will be absent from a favorite haunt, Tanglewood, this summer, but happily the Mark Morris Dance Group will alight for a week's performances at Jacob's Pillow, July 23-27 in the Ted Shawn Theatre. In the absence of Tanglewood Fellows, he has the Mark Morris Music Ensemble, a concept developed in 1996 and providing flexible ensembles in numbers according to need. The Pillow-bound group -- violin, cello, clarinet and piano -- will perform the scores for the program's works, "Festival Dance," "A Wooden Tree," "Crosswalk" and the duet "Jenn and Spencer." Along with dance classes taught by Morris, and other interactive activities, Morris' Music Ensemble will play a special Sunday-morning concert of Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time."

The Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to one of its favorite away-from-home spots, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, to continue the celebration of its 60th anniversary, with four performances, July 24-26. The New England premiere of "Marathon Cadenzas," a piece about couples and dance marathons of the 1920s and ‘30s, set to a lively score by Raymond Scott, is on the weekend's agenda, along with "Cloven Kingdom" (1976) with music of Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Cowell and Malloy Miller; "Dust" (1977), (music, Francis Poulenc); "Airs" (1978), (music, George Frideric Handel); "Sunset" (1983) (music, Edward Elgar and recorded loon calls). In "Funny Papers" (1994), Taylor amended and combined several choreographers' efforts and set them to a soundtrack of novelty tunes.

And PS21's Chatham Dance Festival in early August welcomes back some of its favorite companies, including Jamal Jackson, Take Dance and Parsons Dance. Inaugurating the proceedings, Aug. 1 and 2, Lionel Popkin Dance will explore what this choreographer calls "the paradoxical legacy" of modern dance pioneer, Ruth St. Denis, co-founder of the Denishawn Company, in a piece brashly entitled "Ruth Doesn't Live Here Anymore."


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