Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Durham Performing Arts Center—Cedar Lake, named last year as one of Dance Magazine's "25 To Watch," has been busy this year and will continue to be, with upcoming tours around America, as well as Germany and Greece later this year. The company focuses on dance as athleticism, with dancers performing kinetic twists, turns and leaps. The innovative choreography allows the audience to redefine its expectations about what a "ballet" should be.
This year, Cedar Lake comes to the American Dance Festival to perform Decadance, a 2007 work from Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, in which he pulled parts of 16 pieces created over the last 23 years. When the piece was first performed, The New York Times noted that it made the audience want to get up and dance, which sounds like an endorsement that will fill seats—temporarily. Performances run through June 27. For more info, visit www.dpacnc.com or www.americandancefestival.org. —Sarah Ewald
Tir Na Nog—The freshest sound to arrive on a stagnant scene in several years, Durham quartet The Beast's brainy, genre-spanning jams might be local hip-hop's next great hope. Consider "Movement," which finds keyboardist Eric Hirsh pouring silky jazz textures onto an effortless, reggae-tinged groove supplied by bassist Pete Kimosh and drummer Stephen Coffman. Emcee Pierce Freelon laces his pair of verses with conscious lyricism, rebuking the status quo (and ol' Chris Columbus) and advocating community activism, self-education and civil disobedience before spinning into a double-time, soul-clap-and-gospel-choir breakdown. Opening Triad crew The SoloS Unit twists slam poetry with a party vibe. Meanwhile, GDP brings avant-hop from Jersey to stuff the backpacks of anticon and Def Jux obsessives. WKNC's Local Beer, Local Band smartly adds non-indie-rock flavor at 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith