Summer Arts Preview: Dance

Exploring the season’s best in dance by bike, train, boat and car

By Bike

Photo credit: Steve Wollkind

Cambridge Symphony Orchestra conductor Cynthia Woods collaborates with Boston Conservatory choreographer Gianni Di Marco to stage an unusual rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on June 16. Featuring Mendelssohn’s lighthearted score, the semi-staged performance showcases the full orchestra on an elevated platform surrounded by an ensemble of 10 whimsically costumed ballerinas dancing classical choreography that mirrors the music. The New England Conservatory’s Young Women’s Chorale also helps bring Shakespeare’s fairy-filled comedy to life with 33 songstresses and two soprano soloists providing vocal accompaniment. 

By Boat

Prestigious dancers and ballet buffs flock to ACK for the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival on July 23-28. Led by artistic director Tyler Angle, the nearly weeklong celebration features five days of free community events—such as master classes and an interactive program exploring the elements of performance— before culminating in nine works showcasing 17 dancers from professional companies. The Boston, New York City, Houston, San Francisco and Miami City Ballets perform classic creations by legends George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins alongside contemporary pieces by artists like Pam Tanowitz, Christopher Wheeldon, Myles Thatcher and a premiere by Alex Goodwin—all set to live music.

By Car

Houston Ballet. Photo credit: Amitava Sarkar

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Photo Credit:  Cherylynn Tsushima

On Aug. 15-18, Houston Ballet brings its extensive repertoire of classic and contemporary works to the the Berkshires’ Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival for the first time in nearly 40 years. Artistic director Stanton Welch helms the four-piece program, which includes a Pillow-commissioned world premiere set to a score by David Lang, renowned contemporary composer and co-founder of the boundary-breaking music organization Bang on a Can. The lineup also boasts Welch’s notable Clear—an abstract dance for seven men and one woman featuring a harmony by Bach and costumes designed by Michael Kors—in addition to his Excerpts from Sons de L’Ame and Trey McIntyre’s In Dreams. Dance devotees also can delight in a pre-show talk before the Aug. 17 performance.

By Train

Photo credit: David Pompel

Exit Dance Theatre showcases its knack for storytelling through
movement at Gloucester’s MAGMA on June 1. The Newburyport-
based company debuts five pieces during its performance of Undone, choreographed by troupe founders Fontaine Dubus and Stephen
Hayley as well as company members Jen Steeves, Erin Staffiere and Kayla Waldron. Each work incorporates Exit’s theater-based style—which focuses on transcending traditional techniques in favor of collaboration and improvisation—and an emphasis on narratives taken from the passions, desires and weaknesses that humans face

Summer Arts Preview: Dance Q&A


Read our Summer Arts Preview Q&A with Danza Orgánica artistic director Marsha Parrilla on her upcoming performance Vessel at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on June 28 and July 12.



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