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Dance in fall

Must-see moves
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  September 10, 2008
Giselle-1.jpg
A TALE OF LOVE, BETRAYAL, AND FORGIVENESS: Heather O’Halloran in Festival Ballet’s Giselle.

This fall’s offerings of dance performances have an international flavor, as well as featuring the talents of Rhody-grown dance groups. With FESTIVAL BALLET PROVIDENCE, you get a bit of both — company dancers and choreographers represent more than half a dozen countries. Now in its 31st season, this organization has developed from a small studio on the edge of Rhode Island College’s campus, with one or two annual productions, to a full-fledged studio and dance school on Providence’s East Side that brings a full season of classical and contemporary ballet to our state.

After Festival Ballet made the leap to 825 Hope Street in Providence in 2001, artistic director Mihailo (Misha) Djuric suggested that they showcase some short pieces in a biannual series titled Up CLOSE, On HOPE. Beginning in 2003, in the 90-seat studio space (now christened the Leach Grand Studio Black Box Theater), Up CLOSE has become such a popular event that both the fall and spring programs have two extra performances this year. Fall dates are September 27, October 4, November 8, 9, 15, and 16 (401.353.1129 or festivalballet.com).

In the fall program, world premieres by company dancer and frequent Up CLOSE choreographer Mark Harootian and local choreographer Colleen Cavanaugh will appear alongside the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, the New England premiere of Viktor Plotnikov’s Moments, a reprise of Gianni DiMarco’s Amphibious Love, a piece by Boston Ballet’s Boyko Dossev, and a piece or two by Djuric. 

“It’s a very nice mixture of new works and ones in repertory,” Djuric explained in a recent phone conversation. “For anyone who hasn’t seen the company before, I think they’d be surprised. And Up CLOSE is so personal — it’s so exciting to see the dancers from a different perspective. I’d say to anyone who hasn’t yet attended, ‘What are you waiting for? You are missing a lot!’ ”

Audiences would also miss a lot by not taking advantage of Festival’s main-stage events: Giselle, the classic tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness which Festival performed in 2002, will be presented October 24-26 at the VMA Arts & Cultural Center (1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence); and the holiday favorite The Nutcracker is at Providence Performing Arts Center (220 Weybosset Street, Providence) December 12-14.

Another dance troupe that does an annual Nutcracker is ISLAND MOVING CO., setting their interpretation at Rosecliff in several rooms of the Newport mansion and moving the audience from scene to scene (November 29-December 5; 401.847.4470 or islandmovingco.org). More site-specific choreography will be showcased at Island’s biennial Open for Dancing program (September 17-21), with new works by Monica Bill Barnes (based in NYC), Andrea Haenggi (based in Switzerland and NYC), and local choreographer Nikki Carrara to be performed at Ballard Park, Fort Adams, Bowen’s Wharf, and a Newport beach. Island’s encouragement of choreographers continues on October 3, 10, and 17, with workshop showings of works-in-progress, by Gabriel Otevrel, Kelly Ann Sloane, and Adrienne Westwood, semi-finalists in the company’s national Choreographers Competition.

FUSIONWORKS DANCE COMPANY will present their annual fall concert on November 14 and 15 at Sapinsley Hall at Rhode Island College (401.946.0607 or fusionworksdance.org). The second performance is an “unwrapped” version, meaning that there are short explanations of each dance before it is performed; a “completely unwrapped” version includes a pre-show reception.

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ARTICLES BY JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ
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