Fall Arts Preview 2013: Dance

This season’s dance performances aim to change your perspective
Brangien Davis  |   September 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
PNB dancers rehearse Crystal Pite’s “Emergence”

Choreographers always seem to see life from a different angle, and that’s nowhere more apparent than in this fall’s lineup of dance performances. In Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s “Emergence” (11/8–11/17. Pacific Northwest Ballet; pnb.org), black-clad dancers emerge from a dark tunnel to swarm and flit across the stage, moving alternately like leggy spiders and insects thrashing against windows, while the soundtrack transforms the clicks and buzzes of actual bugs into industrial music. During a break from rehearsing the piece with Pacific Northwest Ballet this summer, Pite said, “It's the sexiest piece I've made.”

Sometimes putting a new spin on things happens literally. Such is the case with Daniel Linehan, an Olympia native and UW graduate who has been impressing audiences the world over with his conceptual work. For his solo piece “Not About Everything” (9/12–9/14. Velocity Dance Center; velocitydancecenter.org), Linehan spins—like a kid on a playground—nonstop for 30 minutes. During this dizzying spell, he also drinks water, strips to his underwear, reads a letter and gives a tangible sense of what it’s like to attempt to stay lucid while the world feels like it’s spiraling out from under you.

Also going for a whirl is Oakland-based Axis Dance Company (10/3–10/5. Meany Hall; meany.org), whose award-winning performances feature dancers who are physically disabled and wheelchair-dependent. Using a technique called “physically integrated dance,” Axis performs a range of dance styles—and makes innovative use of those wheelchairs, too. New York-based Pullman native Heather Kravas made a splash in early ’90s Seattle when she founded D9 dance company with local luminary Amii LeGendre. Her new piece, “The Quartet” (10/10–10/13. On the Boards; ontheboards.org), consists of four dances that start some place familiar—a self-described “abstract ballet, a protracted cheerleading routine, a Constructivist-inspired manifesto and a laborious folk dance”—and are repeated to the point of being unrecognizable.

Finally, South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma (pictured left) creates an intriguing blend of traditional African dance and contemporary movement in his piece “Exit/Exist” (10/24–10/27. On the Boards; ontheboards.org), in which he explores his own ancestry while alternately dressed in a sharp suit, a robe adorned with skyscrapers and almost nothing at all.