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Summer Arts Preview

10 terrific dance events to catch this summer

Boston Ballet's 'Swan Lake' begins May 26.Rosalie O'Connor/Rosalie O'Connor Photography

PS 21: PERFORMANCE SPACES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY With a state-of-the-art theater nestled amid the meadows and forests of the Hudson Valley, this wide-ranging multi-arts festival offers quite the draw this season. In addition to performances by Paul Taylor Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group and Jamal Jackson Dance Company will be in residency and perform. International dance highlights are Nigerian company QDance, and Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company. May 21-Sept. 16. Tickets free and up. Chatham, N.Y.

SWAN LAKE It’s one of the most beloved ballets in the classical canon, filled with romance, sorcery, transformation, and sacrifice, not to mention lush, virtuosic choreography for corps and principals alike. Mikko Nissinen’s opulent production for Boston Ballet, which premiered in 2014, returns for live performances as well as opportunities for on-demand streaming (June 9-19) as part of the company’s virtual season. May 26-June 5. $39 and up. Citizen’s Bank Opera House.


Ronald K. Brown/Evidence will perform at The Yard on Martha's Vineyard this summer.Quinn B Wharton

THE YARD This summer, the beloved dance organization celebrates its 50th anniversary season with an impressive lineup of performances. Featured companies include Ephrat Asherie Dance, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company, Urban Bush Women, and Lucky Plush Productions, among others. May 30-Aug. 27. $10-$40. Martha’s Vineyard.

Cirque du Soleil will bring "Crystal" to Agganis Arena.Matt Beard Photography

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Just as the weather starts to heat up, the visionary Canadian circus puts its artistry on ice with “Crystal.” The organization is billing it as the first acrobatic performance on the frozen playground of the ice rink, pairing world class ice skaters with acrobats to challenge the laws of gravity. The story line follows a misfit young heroine on a quest for self-discovery. June 1-12. $39-$154. Agganis Arena.

Cuba's Malpaso Dance Company performs June 5 as part of Global Arts Live's Spring Dance Festival.Ivo Roberto Baelli

GLOBAL ARTS LIVE SPRING DANCE FESTIVAL One-night-only performances by three diverse, internationally-acclaimed dance companies over four days — this one’s not to miss. Dorrance Dance will bring its groundbreaking tap adventure “SOUNDspace.” Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company will perform choreography by Aszure Barton, Ohad Naharin, and Mats Ek. And Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, A Dance Company features the Boston premieres of “Mercy” and the new Global Arts co-commission “The Equality of Night and Day.” June 2-5. $40-$65 ($120 for festival pass). Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre.


WINDHOVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS This summer, the Rockport multi-arts center has a rich dance component encompassing an array of styles, from ballet to experimental. Featured artists include Continuum Contemporary/Ballet, Holly Stone (“The Queen of Nori”), North Atlantic Ballet, Saving Grace Dance Ensemble, and Cornfield Dance. June 10-Aug. 21. $24-$34. Rockport.

THE BEING HEARD INITIATIVE Boston arts collaborative has an ambitious summer planned with the goal of using the arts to forward conversations about racism. Twenty dancers, poets, and filmmakers from Mattapan to Chelsea are uniting for a series of events, including seven live performances, four film showings, an exhibit, and facilitated discussions. The dance highlight is the world premiere of “Suite Talk” June 26 (with repeat performances in July). June 24-July 31. Free. Various locations around Boston.

BATES DANCE FESTIVAL Acknowledging the challenge of the times, this small but mighty festival anchored by Bates College lets you choose your ticket price, a welcome nod to making dance more accessible. And the performances are worth the drive. The season includes Fist & Heel Performance Group, Rennie Harris Pure Movement, and David Dorfman Dance, among others. July 11-Aug. 6. $5-$25. Lewiston, Maine.


NEWPORT DANCE FESTIVAL Island Moving Company has assembled six stylistically and geographically diverse companies to join them in a series of mixed lineups over six days. Roughly a dozen new works are being showcased, and each outdoor performance opens with an Etude created that day. In addition to guest resident Khambatta Dance Company from Seattle, participants include Boston Dance Theatre, Breathing Art Company from Bari, Italy; Connecticut’s East Coast Contemporary Ballet; New York’s Janusphere Dance Company; and Tristian Griffin Dance Company from Missouri. July 19-24. $38-48 single tickets, $165-$205 passes. Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, R.I.

DANCE COMPLEX TEACHING ARTIST CONCERT Over its 25 plus years, the organization has developed not just as the area’s central hub of independent dance, but as a center of the community. Embracing a diverse range of movers and dancemakers, it is a hot spot of classes, professional development, events, and performances. This outdoor concert showcases some of the work being created by the Complex’s teaching artists, and is sure to be a lively, eclectic affair. July 30-31. Free. Starlight Square, Cambridge. Details will be posted at

Karen Campbell can be reached at