Rockville Pike Dance Smackdown Saturday, Oct. 20

Look out, D.C.: The area’s modern-dance epicenter has moved north. Tonight, the American Dance Institute, a Rockville performance venue and kids’ studio that presents some of the region’s most experimental dance, opens its season with “Double Aspect Bright and Fair.” It’s puppetry, but Dan Hurlin, the svengali behind the scenes, says the movement he uses to animate his puppets is more akin to dance than anything else. The rest of the season is equally intriguing, featuring some of the area’s most promising choreographers in addition to out-of-town companies that might not make it here otherwise. But don’t book your entire calendar with that fare just yet: CityDance, another studio for the under-18 set located three miles south, is looking to compete. Next weekend, it opens its season with a show by Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, followed by similar performances from interesting movers from elsewhere and a couple of up-and-coming locals. Armed with new performance spaces, the two institutions are getting down to battle—but this is dance, so they’ll fight in the most graceful way possible.

“Double Aspect Bright and Fair” shows tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the American Dance Institute, 1570 E. Jefferson St., Rockville. $15-$30. americandance.org. (855) AM-DANCE.

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