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By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  December 26, 2012

PRINTEMPS FLING FirstWorks will present the Joffrey Ballet on March 19.

Rhode Island has been graced with many fine home-grown dance companies over the years. But our state has also hosted some of the world's most acclaimed choreographers and their companies — from Paul Taylor and Bill T. Jones to Rennie Harris and Mark Morris. The imported groups have been sponsored primarily by the Rhode Island College Performing Arts Series and FirstWorks Providence. Both organizations are once again bringing big names to town: the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet.

The TRISHA BROWN COMPANY (March 6 at RIC's Roberts Hall) will perform two oft-requested works from their modern dance repertory — "Foray Foret" (1990) and "Set and Reset" (1983) — plus two from 2011: "Les Yeux et l'ame" ("the eyes and the soul") and "Rogues." From the 1970 founding of her company, the 76-year-old Brown has reveled in collaborations — with Robert Rauschenberg for "Foray" and with Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson for "Set and Reset" —and she has created cycles of dance that tie certain pieces together. "Foray" is at the beginning of a cycle titled Back to Zero, in which she looked at unconscious movement as well as practiced techniques. "Les Yeux" is a segment of her adaptation of Jean-Phillipe Rameau's one-act opera, Pygmalion; "Rogues" an evocative duet; and "Set and Reset" part of the Molecular Cycle, with Brown's characteristic geometric patterns and fluid movement.

COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET (April 30, also at Roberts Hall), helmed by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson (both were once dancers with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), emphasizes diversity in their corps as well as their styles of movement. With Rhoden's and Richardson's endlessly creative choreography infused into their dancers, the pieces always surprise and totally captivate audiences.

The JOFFREY BALLET's appearance March 19 at the Providence Performing Arts Center, under the auspices of FirstWorks Providence, is a "first" in many ways. The Chicago-based, internationally-renowned company will present a new work from their American Legends series, "Son of Chamber Symphony," choreographed by Stanton Welch of the Houston Ballet. They will also perform former New York City Ballet dancer Edwaard Liang's acclaimed "Age of Innocence." And they will present "Le Sacre Du Printemps" (set to Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring"), with choreography reconstructed from Nijinsky's original ballet.

On the local scene, FUSIONWORKS DANCE COMPANY (coming off their successful 25th anniversary year) will perform "Te Deum" in collaboration with the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra on March 16 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul. They will follow that with their spring concert, "Locally Grown," April 13 and 14 at the Forman Theater at Rhode Island College.

The PROVIDENCE BALLET THEATRE will present Hansel and Gretel, an original ballet (by Eva Marie Pacheco) set to original music (by Roger Seitz), on March 15 and 16 at Sapinsley Hall at Rhode Island College.

FESTIVAL BALLET PROVIDENCE will have a busy spring, with the premiere of a new work by Viktor Plotnikov (Orchis), paired with a Balanchine and Stravinsky collaboration new to the company (Agon), in a program at the Vets (March 8-10). Agon means "contest" and this piece is considered an excellent example of Balanchine's abstract neoclassical creations. For Orchis, Plotnikov is collaborating with composer Sonya Belousova, glass artist Toots Zynsky, and photographer Cemal Ekin. Festival will also present their popular "Up Close On Hope" series (March 29-30 and April 5,6,12, and 13).

Other local companies to watch for are: JUMP! Dance Company; Paula Hunter's performances at; choreographer Colleen Cavanaugh's new company, Part of the Oath (she's also an ob/gyn); and original work by a brand-new company, Aerplaye, directed by Heather Ahern, a founding member of the former Groundwerx. And husband Phil Martin (auditions February 9 at AS 220; info at

Related: Airs and graces, Fall Dance Preview: Kick up your heels!, Review: Never Stand Still, More more >
  Topics: Dance , Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, Rennie Harris,  More more >
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 See all articles by: JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ

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