Arts Desk

Want to Know Dance in D.C.? This Weekend’s Got a Wide Sampling

Watching dance in D.C. usually means picking between two modalities: drought and thunderstorm. During the dry summer months, virtually nothing is on the radar anywhere in town; then suddenly September arrives and there’s a deluge of intriguing-looking shows, so many that it’s impossible to see them all.

This weekend is a welcome exception. There are a bunch of performances going on, but they range so much in style and quality that you probably wouldn’t want to see them all. In fact, I’d venture to say that this weekend serves as a pretty good representation of the city’s dance offerings in general: There’s long-timers, newbies, locals, and an out-of-towner—nothing too mindblowing, nothing too terrible.

Probably the coolest thing scheduled this weekend is "Fuego Flamenco," the sixth annual flamenco festival occurring at the GALA Theatre in Columbia Heights. Three weeks long, the event just kicked off last night with a performance by José Barrios and Company, a Madrid-based group that mixes flamenco dance with jazz and funk and brought its own accompaniment of five musicians. The performance continues throughout the weekend.

On Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, veteran choreographer Jane Franklin presents “Pete and Repeat: Done Before Dances” in Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s Melton Rehearsal Hall. It’s safe to say that roughly half of the city’s professional dance population has worked for Jane Franklin Dance at some time or other: The company, which is relatively large, has been around for a while and performs steadily. This weekend’s show consists of vintage pieces, a couple of which involve collaboration with other local artists. The Misfits Theatre Company and the Brad Linde Jazz Ensemble are part of one piece, and local choreographer Vincent Thomas created another.

Also on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, Lesole’s Dance Project is performing at Brookland’s Dance Place. South African-born Lesole Maine has aimed in the past to fuse African dance patterns with contemporary movement; this time, he's grounding his style in the topic of homelessness in South Africa and the U.S.

A slightly riskier proposition: On Saturday night, three small, newish groups will be showing work at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mount Rainier. DanceEthos, Bettmann Dances, and the Choreographers Collaboration Project will be presenting what sound like very diverse pieces, covering issues like the modern lifestyle, how we view strangers, and security in everyday life.

Photo by Valera

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