You understand—this just doesn't happen. After a certain point in their careers, not one, not two, but five dance headliners generally don't just agree to share the same stage on the same night. But the occasion isn't just the opening evening of the 2011 American Dance Festival. It's something of an early retirement bash honoring ADF director Charles Reinhart, whose long and storied career draws to a close this season. It's also a benefit for a new scholarship and commissioning fund established in both his name and the name of his wife and co-director, the late Stephanie Reinhart.
That's why we'll see performance artist John Kelly give modern dance a distinctly commedia dell'arte turn in a staging of Martha Clarke's Pagliaccio, and the Scottish Dance Theater get down and dirty to A Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails in the combative duet Drift. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will confront us with the emphatic iterative bodies seen in a sequence from Ohad Naharin's Three To Max. Our own African American Dance Ensemble will honor Reinhart's legacy with a high-octane dance and drumming section from Honoring the Legacy. Dancer, actor and impersonator Mark Dendy will convince no less a legacy than (the late) Martha Graham to say a few words appropriate to the occasion. And then we'll drink a toast at a post-show reception in DPAC's Star Terrace Lobby and Skyline Lounge to one of modern dance's classier acts: Reinhart himself.
The $125 ticket includes the 7 p.m. show and an exclusive meet-the-dancers dance party afterward with live music, drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres—plus a $60 tax deduction. —Byron Woods