Dance performances

Valley News – Summer Arts Preview: Dance performances and workshops proliferate in venues that are both established and brand new

There’s nothing quite like feeling the raw, kinetic energy of a well-crafted dance here in the flesh. The soft (or thunderous) sounds of feet stamping; beads of sweat flying through the air like tiny gems tossed by the dancers as they sculpt the space. It can be exhilarating, joyful, terrifying – or a combination of these things – to witness a dance come to life.

This summer, a wave of ambitious dance and performance work will sweep across stages in and around the Upper Valley, ranging from familiar venues, such as the Hopkins Center for the arts at Dartmouth College, to unconventional venues, including one of the oldest and deepest stone quarries in the world. .

ChoreoLab is a new initiative sponsored by the Junction Dance Festival during which a selection of dance artists have been given space to incubate and create new works. This year’s artists are Zoey November and Claire Cook, Julie Larsen and Erin McNulty. Their work is slated to premiere on July 15 and 16 at The Barn, a newly renovated performance venue in Corinth.

McNulty is in premiere The Morrigan, which is inspired by the figure of the titular Irish goddess. The work is based on Irish folk music and “includes themes of change in form, body as landscape, perceptions of women’s power and vulnerability, and nuances of intention versus interpretation. .. all of which have emerged to inform movement choices,” McNulty said in an interview.

From July 22-24, the streets of White River Junction will vibrate with music, performances and dance during the Junction Dance Festival.

“We are extremely pleased to offer workshops led by professional dancers, free and open to the public,” said Elizabeth Kurylo, director and president of the festival, in an interview. In addition to these workshops, the festival will feature more than 40 local amateur and professional dance artists from Vermont, New Hampshire and beyond.

“There will be performances at Briggs Opera House, Northern Stage, Open Door, White River Ballet Academy and on the streets,” Kurylo said. Among those performing at Briggs Opera House are the artists of ChoreoLab. Most events are free and open to the public, but some may require pre-registration due to space limitations.

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Harlem Dance Theater

The Dance Theater of Harlem returns to the Hopkins Center for the Arts for the third year of its residency. During the company’s tenure at the Hop, DTH developed The Hazel Scott Projecta new ballet which will premiere on August 4 and 5. The ballet is inspired by the life and legacy of pianist Hazel Scott and will showcase the expressiveness of her music, her commitment to racial justice and the singular presence for which she was best known. .

As part of the DTH residency, a variety of programs will take place in and around Hop, including masterclasses (which are open to the public) led by company members Sanford Placide, Derek Brockington and Daphne Lee. In addition, members of the DTH company will perform on campus.

Of these events, Michael Bodel, director of external affairs at The Hop, noted: “Long-term residencies give audiences the opportunity to have more chance encounters (with the company); residences leave room for surprises.

The impromptu performances are experimental in nature and will occur throughout the summer. “The society gives its members agency to work on their own site-specific choreography that will ‘appear’ around the Green and in underutilized spaces on campus,” Bodel said.

A full schedule of events and additional programming is available at

“The Career Project”

The steep, ridged walls of Wells Lamson Quarry in Websterville, Vermont are the backdrop for The Quarry Project, a dance and theater performance created by Chelsea resident Hannah Dennison. After years of preparation, the work was put on hiatus for two years during the pandemic, but is now set to premiere on August 5.

With the quarry’s granite facade functioning as a monolithic theater curtain, the ensemble will perform the piece on a custom-built floating stage lit by natural light and set to a score by Vermont composer Andric Severance.

A strong sense of place has always been at the heart of Dennison’s work. “Before a clear image of choreography emerges, it’s the scenery – the light and sound of the space, the story and the presence – that is my main creative partner,” she said. declared.

Dennison has worked with his team during the pandemic, via Zoom and with one-on-one on-site visits, and his longtime collaborator, filmmaker Lukas Huffman, has created two films that document the ensemble’s engagement with the project during its pause. While we wait (2020), and at the edges of Us (2021) will screen at two free outdoor screenings in Burlington and Montpellier in late June and early July.

Ahead of the premiere, a selection of photographs documenting the development of the project by Julia Barstow are on display at the Chelsea Public Library until June 30.

General rehearsals from July 25 to 27, performances from August 5 to 21. More information at

There are as many ways to experience dance as there are shades of green on a summer day. From the improvised to the carefully constructed, the sheer plurality of styles and voices performing this summer will offer anyone, regardless of their dance familiarity, something absolutely memorable to behold.

Eric Sutphin is a freelance writer. He lives in Plainfield.