Dance in the year ahead

Dance fans can look forward to exotic cross-genre experiments, timely revivals, and tours by international troupes.

Three themes emerge from the dance calendar in 2005. First, the notion of mixing it up, meaning modern dancers working with ballet and opera companies, or choreographers such as tap wonder Savion Glover beating down his heel-toe rhythms to Beethoven and Bach as well as to jazz.

Contemporary choreographer Sean Curran will bring his six-member company to Boston, Jan. 22; but he'll also choreograph the 20th-anniversary production of Nixon in China for Opera Theater of St. Louis, and a new production of Gounod's Romeo and Juliet next fall at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. And the elegantly minimalist choreographer Lucinda Childs will create a world première dance for the Boston Ballet, to be unveiled March 17.

Second, and not surprising, are revivals of past successes, some reaching back decades, which stud the calendar of both contemporary and ballet troupes. These include the ambitious festival The 1940s and the Arts, running January to April at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, where the Martha Graham Dance Company will revive her famous work, Appalachian Spring, with music by Aaron Copland, Feb. 17-19.

The centerpieces of American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Met, May 23 to July 16, will be the American première of Sir Frederick Ashton's full-length ballet, Sylvia, music by Léo Delibes, and an evening of Michael Fokine's works, including Petrouchka and Polovtsian Dances created for the repertory of the pre-World War I Diaghilev Ballets Russes. Carlos Acosta, guest star of the Royal Ballet, and Diana Vishneva, principal dancer with the Kirov, will join ABT for the Met booking. The ABT production of Swan Lake, staged by company director Kevin McKenzie, will be shown this spring on the PBS TV series Dance in America.

Third, a veritable atlas of international dance troupes will visit US shores, in case Americans needed further reminder of how small the world has become. The visitors start with the annual Flamenco Festival that brings its glamorous wares from Spain to a number of US cities, including New York, Jan. 27 to 30; Boston and Washington, Feb. 2 to 12; and stops in Cleveland, and Miami among others. The Joyce Theater, New York, has booked troupes from China, Cambodia, Australia, Brazil, and Israel that will perform from February through May 1. Later this spring, the Boris Eifman Ballet Theatre of St. Petersburg will tour the US, followed by St. Petersburg's Kirov Ballet, arriving in July.

As for much-needed real estate, the newest Boston-area theater, Zero Arrow Street in Cambridge, makes its debut as a dance house next month when CRASHarts, the dance arm of World Music in Boston, brings in performances by Ronald K. Brown/Evidence dance company, March 4-6; and Battleworks, the company of Robert Battle. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will mark the official opening of its first permanent home, the 77,000-square-foot, $54 million Joan Weill Center for Dance at Manhattan's 9th Avenue and 55th Street with a public dedication and house warming, March 1-5.

In the farewell and hail department, Pacific Northwest Ballet will stage Kent Stowell's full-length ballet, Silver Lining, set to music by Jerome Kern, in June, to mark the leave-taking of its longtime directors Stowell and his wife, Francia Russell. Peter Boal, principal dancer at New York City Ballet, where both Stowell and Russell spent their performing careers, will become the new director on July 1.

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