March 4, 2010

A 'Beautiful' thing at Bates

BOB KEYES

— By

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Staff Writer

The fall dance season features one of America's most imaginative and pioneering dance companies, a first-ever academic year concert by the Bates Dance Festival, and a variety of performances by local dance companies.

Here's a sampling:

In its first-ever concert held during the academic year, the Bates Dance Festival collaborates with the Bates College Concerts Committee to present ''Beautiful Me'' by the South African company Vuyani Dance Theatre at 8 p.m. Oct. 16 in Bates College's Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St., Lewiston.

Tickets cost $20 for the general public and $12 for students and seniors, and may be purchased at www.batesdancefestival.org. For information, call 786-6135.

''Beautiful Me'' features dancer and choreographer Gregory Maqoma of South Africa's dance and theater scene. The piece explores the task of finding one's authentic voice.

Maqoma invited three choreographers to contribute to ''Beautiful Me'': Akram Khan of the United Kingdom, Faustin Linyekula from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Vincent Mantsoe from South Africa.

The result are layers of influences, including contemporary classical dance of India, Afro-Fusion and visual dance theater. The score includes instrumentation for violin, cello, sitar and percussion.

Portland Ovations, formerly PCA Great Performances, opens its season at 8 p.m. Friday with a performance by the renowned dance company Pilobolus at Merrill Auditorium. Pilobolus is considered a pioneering American dance company because of its daring physicality and raw athleticism. This performance will feature a variety of works from throughout the company's nearly 40-year career -- a retrospective performance of sorts. (See this Thursday's GO section for a story on Pilobolus.)

Portland Ovations received a Maine Arts Commission grant to feature groundbreaking dance troupes in its season. Other companies scheduled to come to Merrill in the Portland Ovations season include Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (March 20) and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (May 5).

Tickets for Pilobolus cost $32 to $44, and are available through PortTix, the Merrill box office. Call 842-0800 or visit www.porttix.com.

Portland Ballet's 2009-10 season opens Oct. 31 with the Halloween-themed ''Spooktacular,'' featuring dances set to spooky music and a costume parade during intermission at John Ford Theater at Portland High School.

In November, the company will collaborate with the Portland Symphony Orchestra for a performance of ''A Soldier's Story'' at Merrill Auditorium featuring narration by actor Judd Nelson.

For details, visit www.portlandballet.org.

In Falmouth, Maine State Ballet presents ''A Night of Broadway,'' a musical review, at 7 p.m. Oct. 16-17 and Oct. 23-24 at its theater at 348 U.S. Route 1. For details, visit www.mainestateballet.org.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

bkeyes@pressherald.com

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