Special/Signature Issues » Fall Arts Preview

Step by Step

Dance in Richmond can be an embarrassment of riches.



When it comes to dance, we're spoiled for choice. Richmond has a nationally known ballet company, several excellent and well-established modern and ethnic dance troupes, as well as a regular influx of new dance artists. We have superb performance venues and some great presenters too.

There's a lot not to miss this fall. Hot out of the gate the Modlin Center presents the Los Angeles-based dance daredevils, Diavolo (Sept. 16-17). One night later you can catch the 12th — yes, 12th — annual contemporary dance showcase, “Yes, Virginia Dance,” at the Grace Street Theater, sponsored by K Dance (Sept. 18). Artistic Director Kaye Gary solicits and reviews artist applications from around the region and the country, and she invariably puts together an eclectic and rewarding program, with an accompanying post-performance discussion to help place the work in context and answer audience questions.

The next weekend, head over to the newly renovated Dogtown Dance Theatre in Manchester, where Virginia Commonwealth University Dance indulges Richmond's well-known Francophilia with the Paris-based company stefanie batten bland/sbb birdlegs (Sept. 24-25), fresh from a performance at Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. [Full disclosure: This writer is affiliated with both the Dogtown and the VCU Dance department.]

Richmond Ballet kicks off its season at Studio Theater on Sept. 30, featuring works by Salvatore Aiello and Ma Cong through Oct. 17. Back at the Modlin Center you can catch the visual and kinetic wizardry of Momix on Oct. 28-30.

Local favorite Starr Foster Dance Project comes back to the Grace Street Theater Oct. 7-9 for “Erratic Behavior,” a concert of two new works and two recently restaged dances. The following weekend, Oct. 15-16, the Von Howard Project, headed by recent New York transplant Christian von Howard (who still runs up and down Interstate 95 on weekends, teaching at the Alvin Ailey School), debuts at Grace Street with a collaborative concert of work by six other companies from up and down the East Coast, along with von Howard himself.

The local dance scene would droop without the vibrant presence of the Latin Ballet of Virginia, this fall offering the Latin dance showcase, “Alma Latina” on Oct. 22-24, with the Day of the Dead Family Festival on Oct. 23 at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.

Here's a secret that shouldn't be so well-kept: each fall, VCU Dance offers a selection of international, award-winning dance films in the Dance on Camera Screening at the Grace Street. On Oct. 26, $7 gets you a round-the-world experience of the hybrid form of video dance.

After that? Just a little time to rest before sugar plums start dancing.

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