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A high-profile dance fest rises again

Three acclaimed companies perform in Boston starting June 2 as part of a Global Arts Live series, rescheduled from deep winter.

Dorrance Dance will appear at the Emerson Cutler Majestic on June 2.Stephanie Berger

Global Arts Live hoped to enliven the January post-holiday lull this year with a Winter Dance Fest spanning consecutive Saturday nights; COVID numbers, though, led them to postpone. Luckily, however, the organization was able to rebook each of the three internationally acclaimed dance troupes for one-night-only performances of premieres and repertory works — and this time, they’re bundled into one extended weekend. Dorrance Dance (June 2), Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, A Dance Company (June 4), and Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company (June 5) will take the stage at the Cutler Majestic starting next week.

This marks the second iteration of the fest, which first took place in early 2020, just before COVID hit. “I’m ecstatic that we’re back,” says Maure Aronson, Global Arts Live founder and director of artistic programs. Aronson is especially excited to welcome Malpaso Dance Company, which will be the series finale. The Cuban contemporary dance company had sold out three Global Arts Live performances at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in March 2020, and had just arrived in Boston when pandemic precautions shut down the arts scene.


“They didn’t get to perform, and all they got to see was the inside of a Boston hotel room,” says Aronson. “It’s important to get them back with a terrific program showing works from significant choreographers.” The company, known for presenting works by emerging Cuban choreographers as well as international luminaries, will perform “Stillness in Bloom” by Aszure Barton, along with two Boston premieres — “Lullaby for Insomnia” by Daile Carrazana, and “woman with water” by Mats Ek — as well as “Tabula Rasa” by Ohad Naharin.

Cuba's Malpaso Dance closes out the Spring Dance Fest on June 5.© Todd Rosenberg Photography

Global Arts Live has presented New York-based Dorrance Dance, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, several times since its inception. “Michelle [Dorrance] may be the leading tap artist in the US, or the world,” says Aronson. “She’s incredibly exciting, her work is visceral and spellbinding, and her dancers are absolutely engaging.”


The company will present “SOUNDspace,” which explores percussive movement as music and combines a range of works from Dorrance’s repertoire. “Each performance is unique,” says Aronson. ‘It’s really like a hit parade for Michelle, an incredible musical tap journey.”

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company returns to Boston for the first time since 2014, and the company brings a timely new work co-commissioned by Global Arts Live during the pandemic. “The Equality of Night and Day” features an original score by the innovative jazz pianist/composer Jason Moran and text by educator and racial justice advocate Angela Davis.

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence will perform as part of Global Arts Live's 2022 Spring Dance Fest.Quinn B. Wharto

Aronson was the first to bring Brown, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Boston in the early 2000s, and he has fostered a supportive relationship with the artist ever since. “His movement is deeply rooted in Africa and the Diaspora,” says Aronson. “It is full of lyricism, very compelling, and deeply spiritual. It moves you in a profound way.” The company’s program includes the Boston premiere of “Mercy,” a collaboration with composer Meshell Ndegeocello, and “Come Ye,” inspired by the music and sociopolitical legacies of Nina Simone and Fela Kuti.

The choice of three very different dance companies is part of the festival’s distinction, as is presenting larger, higher profile groups in the spacious Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre. Aronson explains, “I’m looking for companies that are really at the top echelon of dance because we’re putting them in a bigger space than we usually do. And it wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of the Cutler Majestic. They’ve been a wonderful partner in this, and it is just fantastic that we can do this again.”


Tickets $40-$65 for each performance; $120 festival pass for all three; globalartslive.org.

Karen Campbell can be reached at karencampbell4@rcn.com.