2018 Spoleto Festival Features a Variety of Dance Productions

Credit: Spoleto Festival USA (Facebook)

The program for the this year's Spoleto Festival USA, taking place May 25th through June 10th, features more than 160 ticketed events spanning numerous categories.

This year's dance series features diverse work from Miami City Ballet, A.I.M, Dorrance Dance, and a collaboration between Sara Mearns and Jodi Melnick.

Here's how Spoleto Festival USA describes this year's opera program:

A historical opening-night program, Celebration: The Art of the Pas de Deux, commemorates American master choreographer Jerome Robbins’s centenary and honors his unique relationship with Spoleto.

In 1958, Robbins was named a resident artist of the inaugural Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, and during his tenure with the Italian Festival, established a short-lived ballet company (Ballets: USA) that premiered works including NY Export: Opus Jazz and MOVES. Fifteen years later, Robbins organized a performance called Celebration: The Art of the Pas de Deux, which featured five duets by various choreographers, interspersed with his commentary. On May 25, 2018, at the Charleston Gaillard Center, Miami City Ballet, led by Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez, will resurrect this landmark event. The program includes three of Robbins’s masterpieces that illuminate the pas de deux: Other Dances, In the Night, and Afternoon of a Faun.

Ballet lovers have three additional opportunities to see Miami City Ballet, one of the leading classical companies in the US that is renowned for its interpretations of George Balanchine’s ballets as well as its commitment to presenting contemporary work. On May 26 (matinee and evening) and 27, the company performs Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Carousel Pas de Deux, Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH, and Justin Peck’s Heatscape, which includes backdrops by Charleston-native and muralist Shepard Fairey.

MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham’s contemporary dance company A.I.M returns to the Festival June 1, 2, and 3 after a successful 2012 debut (The Radio Show). The troupe performs two of Abraham’s newest pieces created in conjunction with the dancers: Drive, with a score grounded in hip hop by Theo Parrish and Mobb Deep, and a duet from Dearest Home, danced in silence by Tamisha Guy and Jeremy “Jae” Neal. Additionally, A.I.M presents Abraham’s The Quiet Dance and fellow postmodern choreographer Doug Varone’s Strict Love at the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston.

A second dance production takes shape in the Emmett Robinson Theatre: One of Sixty-Five Thousand Gestures/NEW BODIES, produced by Works & Process at the Guggenheim, features New York City Ballet dancers Sara Mearns (a Columbia, South Carolina, native whom Vanity Fair recently called the company’s “boldest ballerina”), Jared Angle, and Gretchen Smith in collaboration with postmodern choreographer Jodi Melnick. NEW BODIES (June 7-10), showcases the three classical dancers in a nontraditional light—without pointe shoes and in experimental choreography crafted by the dancers themselves. Melnick joins the trio towards the end of the work, which also includes a panel discussion hosted by a surprise guest. In the same evening, Melnick, who enjoyed a performance career with choreographers including Twyla Tharp and Sara Rudner, performs One of Sixty-Five Thousand Gestures, a piece created with the late Trisha Brown.

Starting June 1, Memminger Auditorium hosts the acclaimed tap dance company Dorrance Dance, led by performer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance. A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Dorrance is known for pushing tap dance’s rhythmic, technical, and conceptual boundaries. In two programs, the company presents four groundbreaking works: ETM: Double Down, which incorporates electronic floor boards created by collaborator Nicholas van Young that allow the dancers to manipulate their sounds; Myelination, an exhilarating showcase of footwork at warped speeds; the whimsical Jungle Blues; and Three to One, a piece that juxtaposes the movements of two barefoot dancers with those of a dancer in tap shoes.

The full 2018 program and an event calendar can be found here.

Tickets can be purchased by phone at 843-579-3100 and online at spoletousa.org. Tickets can also be purchased in person through the Spoleto Festival USA Box Office at the Gaillard Center (95 Calhoun Street) beginning on Monday, May 1st.

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