When: July 18-20, 8 p.m. 2011
The final week of the American Dance Festival traditionally features a slot devoted to new works and reconstructions focused on the best of the best: advanced dance students hand-picked at the dawn of their professional careers while attending the festival's world-renowned Six Week School. Even if it doesn't sell the most tickets, dance insiders know: If you really want to catch a rising star or choreographer, this is the show to see.
Three years ago, festival audiences savored the lyricism, in more than one sense of that word, of Twyla Tharp's sometimes soulful, sometimes witty 1996 work, Sweet Fields, set to a group of Sacred Harp hymns. But given Martha Clarke's last ADF premiere, a work based on Shaker culture named Angel Reapers (which tours this fall prior to a New York premiere in November), we're particularly curious about Etudes for Italy, a work now described as the first stages of a commission by La Scala for performances next spring in Milan.
The evening closes with another premiere by a truly up-and-coming choreographer. If Taiwanese choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava isn't yet what you'd call a household name, this alumnus of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan has risen rapidly through the ranks of contemporary dance in the past five years. Capping his residencies, commissions and performances at Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Vail International Dance Festival, the Vancouver Olympics and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (in addition to ADF), the Martha Graham Dance Co. has commissioned two works from Pagarlava in the past two years. He describes Landscapes 2011 ADF as a work inspired by the dancers' life stories: "[E]ach dancer drew pictures of their life ... with effort and passion ... [p]ainting colorful scenes without brushes, but with their gorgeous body movements."
The result convinced Pagarlava that "every dancer has a landscape of their own." A poetic sentiment; we'll see what it looks like on the stage Monday through Wednesday at 8 p.m. —Byron Woods