Your Guide to Contemporary Dance Events This Spring

Dance audiences have no reason for lamentations this spring with plenty of contemporary dance events happening in and around Providence. Get your DVR ready, because you’ll have to sit on the couch during some other season. You’ll be too busy going out to see all these live performances to get in that kind of screen time this spring. Let’s go in chronological order:

On March 1 is the Doppelganger Dance Collective  Echo + Narcissus film screening at AS220. Echo + Narcissus, directed by Andy Russ, is in collaboration with poet Laura Brown Lavoie and students from the Jacqueline M Walsh School for the Arts. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Roman myth, the film is a surrealist reflection on contemporary issues of self image, social media and the lure of beauty. This project was initiated as part of AS220’s Community Live Arts Residency.

American Dance Legacy Initiative presents Celebrating a Visionary A Season of Events Honoring Julie Adams Strandberg. In celebration of ADLI co-founder Julie Adams Strandberg’s 75th birthday, ADLI launches into the spring with four events: March 17-18 is Brown University Mini-Fest PVD, April 1 is Mini-Fest NYC, May 4 – 7 is Brown Festival of Dance during which Dancing Legacy (ADLI’s repertory company) performs Adams Strandberg’s work, Closer to the Light with Brown University students, and May 27 is a master class with Julie Adams Strandberg in conjunction with Commencement Dance Concert. For more info, contact info@adli.us or 401-863-5488.

On March 19 is Bill Evans’ SPRING INTO DANCE A Festival of Award-Winning Choreography at Festival Ballet Providence Black Box Theatre. Internationally renowned choreographer and dancer Bill Evans will present a concert of his contemporary dance and rhythm tap dance choreography. The entertaining show will feature the world premiere of Equinox, to a “Sonata for Violin and Piano” by Mendelssohn, featuring Amy Palmieri Burns, Melody Gamba and Don Halquist. Other works are Colony, inspired by the powerful Maori warrior dances of New Zealand, performed by guest artists Fusionworks Dance Company; Rhythms of the Earth, combining rhythm tap and contemporary dance, performed by guests from the Dean College School of Dance; Suite Cava, lyrical dances in Evans’ unique style, performed by the Bill Evans Dance Company; Blues for My Father, rhythm tap performed by Bill Evans and blues improvisation performed by jazz keyboardist Greg Woodsbie; and In Gloves, a hilarious theatrical piece by Claire Porter.

On April 2 at McVinney Auditorium is Fusionworks’ Locally Grown. The professional dancers of Fusionworks are joined by the Next Generation of movers and thinkers from throughout Rhode Island. Join Fusionworks as they share the stage with young dancers from Fusionworks II, JMW Performing Arts High School, Sophia Academy, Edgewood Highland Elementary and Henry Barnard Elementary.

On April 15  is AS220’S Modern Movements Dance Festival. It has a mixed bill featuring Ali Kenner Bordsky + Andy Russ, Amorphous Dance Collective, Denizen Arts (Yon Tande + Jude Sandy) and Orlando. The 2nd Annual Modern Movements Dance Festival Mixed Bill, featuring four sets of emerging and mid-career artists, pushes the form of dance to its extreme! Please note this show is not handicap accessible and will take place on all three floors of the AS220 95 Empire Theatre/Dance Complex. Get ready for some real Modern Movements! Performances include: Walk the (pink) Elephant, by Denizen Arts (Yon Tande + Jude Sandy), which is an exploration of absence and a ritual of reckoning and regeneration in the face of cataclysmic loss. It memorializes and opens ground in the wake of multiple generations of (often queer) artists of color decimated by HIV/AIDS due to lack of resources (health, familial, social and others). In Instructions for the Safe Delivery of the Royal Knee, Orlando Hernandez continues a series of performances that he has been developing through tap dance and text. He is interested in exploring and complicating Spanish and US histories and histories of the Caribbean diaspora, and believes that “percussive dance can help generate environments of resistance against persistent colonialism and racial violence.” This piece draws mainly from two texts, “El Requerimiento,” a legal and religious contract that Spaniards were required to read to native peoples before attacking them; and The Indian Militia, by Captain Bernardo de Vargas Machuca, an anti-guerilla warfare manual written to help Spanish generals in their wars against Indians. In Kaliede, Amorphous Dance Collective delves into concepts of weakness and strength. Inspired by natural sounds, images and spoken words, each dancer constructs a personal vignette that becomes woven into a larger narrative of potency and vulnerability. Created in a spirit of true collaboration, Kaliede’s dancers are also its creators. The dancers have varying backgrounds of technique, composition and movement experience, which they draw from throughout the creative process. Under the Shiny is the latest collaboration between Ali Kenner Brodsky and Andy Russ. Incorporating the work of ceramic artist Anna Highsmith, the piece is a playful dance-theater duet that may or may not know where it is going.

From May 18 – June 11, The Wilbury Theatre Group will present Spring Awakening with book by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, adapted from Spring Awakening: A Children’s Tragedy ​by Frank Wedekind. The show is directed by Josh Short with musical direction by Matt Requintina and ​choreography by Ali Kenner Brodsky. 

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