SHEN WEI DANCE ARTS (June 11–13, DPAC)—The Chinese-born choreographer and painter Shen Wei, who founded his company at ADF 15 years ago, kicks off the 2015 season with a large-scale work of flowing movement, Map, featuring immense balloons as part of the set. He also presents the ADF-commissioned UNTITLED NO. 12–2. Coming from a family versed in Chinese opera, Shen Wei received training in the tradition at an early age. He has an operatic sensibility as well as a painter's eye and a serious background in modern dance—an original. 123 Vivian St., 919-680-2787, www.dpacnc.com. —LH
BODYTRAFFIC (June 14–16, Reynolds Industries Theater)—The Los Angeles-based contemporary repertory company BODYTRAFFIC has established itself quickly since its 2007 founding, and it brings a strong program to ADF.
You know that feeling when music you love just takes over your body, and you let loose with a completely unselfconscious, joyful dance? That's what Bakery Paris–Berlin artistic director Richard Siegal wants you to feel while watching the playful O2Joy, a set of balletic dances in street clothes to a variety of classic jazz songs. One particularly sincere dance to Billie Holiday's "Sunny Side of the Street" makes me well up with happy melancholy.
Barak Marshall's cautionary tale And at midnight, the green bride floated through the village square... tells the story of his mother's neighbors in Yemen, who lived in "the Burning House." Audible throughout the neighborhood, the eight sisters and one brother fought and cursed incessantly, playing out jealousies and alliances.
Marshall, the artistic director of Inbal Dance Theatre Company, changes tone from mournful to darkly humorous, furious to lonely, with a soundtrack of Jewish love songs, Yiddish hymns and Yemenite traditional music.
As co-director of RUBBERBANDance Group, Victor Quijada is known for movement that magnifies gesture for dramatic effect. He finds balletic subtlety within the power and speed of hip-hop in Once Again, Before You Go, a spare but thrilling work that almost floats in space on the dark stage. 125 Science Dr., 919-684-4444. —CV
HEIDI LATSKY DANCE (June 21–23, Reynolds Industries Theater)—Heidi Latsky used to dance with Bill T. Jones, but in 2001, she started her own company, known for incorporating conventional and unconventional bodies. This is highlighted in Somewhere, which appears to explore what it actually takes to move through space—or not. In Solo Countersolo, Latsky, in her mid-50s, performs at the center of five much younger dancers. A black-and-white Ingmar Bergman quality exists in the presentation of these works, and in fact, the last piece of this Triptych (see page 33) is a film, Soliloquy. 125 Science Dr., 919-684-4444. —LH
HERE AND NOW: NC DANCES (June 25, Reynolds Industries Theater)—ADF and the NC Dance Festival co-present an evening of local choreographic talent, juried by nationally known dancemakers Rosie Herrera, Carl Flink and Beth Gill.
The Motorco premiere of Anna Barker's episodic dance-theater duet with Leah Wilks, it's not me it's you, kicked off Durham Independent Dance Artists' first season (see page 34) last November, and excerpts from it return here. From its laugh-out-loud lip-synch sequence and live version of Phil Collins' overheated ballad "Against All Odds" to its tortured dialogue and contorted floorwork, the piece comprehensively explores modes of communication within a close relationship. It will be interesting to see how the intimacy of Motorco, stocked to overflow with enthusiastic friends and supporters, will transfer to the much larger, more formal Reynolds.
Kristen Jeppsen Groves presents a smart, theatrical complaint against self-interest as public policy in [ME]thod, her 2011 MFA thesis work at Ohio State. She plays the characters of representatives, workers and citizens against each other as they attempt to resolve politics and emotions on a dimly lit stage. Groves finds humor—both genuine and bitingly absurd—in a sequence in which dancers pose next to a television, embodying and critiquing the demographic categories and social labels that appear onscreen.
Featuring Mick Jagger as a proxy for masculine hyperconfidence, ShaLeigh Comerford's Dedicated to [ ] because of [ ] (and vice versa) traces chilling aftereffects of gendered violence. Karola Luttringhaus, who presents a duet excerpt from her evening-length Inertia—Remembering the Holocaust, addresses the dynamic between love and societal and political pressure. 125 Science Dr., 919-684-4444. —CV
EIKO (July 7–12, Cordoba Center for the Arts)—After performing with her husband, Koma, for 40 years, Eiko is showcasing her first solo work, A Body in Places (see page 33). It was reportedly conceived when Koma was nursing an injured ankle, and explores the relationship of a vulnerable body to public space. Eiko performed it at Philadelphia's Amtrak 30th Street Station, and in Durham, she gives mini-performances at Cordoba Center for the Arts, a former tobacco warehouse with train tracks running near it. Audiences get an intimate view of a dancer known for slow, compressed, mesmerizing movements. Also around town will be a collaboration between Eiko and William Johnston, featuring photographs of the dancer in the landscape of Japan's Fukushima area, still uninhabitable after an earthquake, a tsunami and the Daiichi nuclear plant explosion. 923 Franklin St., www.liberty-arts.org. —LH
BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE DANCE COMPANY (July 10–11, DPAC)—Bill T. Jones, with associate artistic director Janet Wong and his company, presents the recent evening-length work Analogy/Dora: Tramontane, centered on the personal story of a young Jewish nurse and social worker in occupied France during World War II. The piece is based on interviews with 94-year-old Dora Amelan, mother of Jones' partner, Bjorn Amelan. If history is made up of individual stories carried forward into the future, Jones explores that landscape of memory with minimalist props, nine dancers in street clothes, wartime songs and intense storytelling, giving form to feeling. The piece's sparseness will demand attentiveness. 123 Vivian St., 919-680-2787, www.dpacnc.com. —LH
ZVIDANCE (July 12–14, Reynolds Industries Theater)—Choreographer Zvi Gotheiner grew up on a kibbutz in Israel, where folk dance was what you did on Friday nights. He has translated this experience into Dabke, based on one of the Middle East's most beloved line dances, often performed at weddings, holidays and community celebrations—traditionally, only by men, though not here. In Gotheiner's hands, it becomes an opportunity to explore the meaning and expressiveness of dance, and what makes people want to do it in the first place—its sheer bodily presence. The audience might want to get up and start dancing, too. 125 Science Dr., 919-684-4444. —LH
DOUG VARONE AND DANCERS (July 24–25, DPAC)—It's tempting to write about Doug Varone's solo The Fabulist—which debuted last year as part of the "On Their Bodies" program of ADF-commissioned solos by Shen Wei, Stephen Petronio and Ronald K. Brown—entirely within the context of his age (58). While Varone's solo stood out as the bravest contemplation of mortality, it's more remarkable for the frank way his capabilities and limitations shape the choreography. Varone tests himself within a strict corridor on the spacious DPAC stage. The company also premieres ReComposed (see page 32), an ADF co-commission with Duke's Nasher Museum of Art. 123 Vivian St., 919-680-2787, www.dpacnc.com. —CV