For Maine dance fans, it often seems as if we should have a broader choice of events. But, dig a little deeper and you find there is more than enough to keep us entertained.

This fall, ballet, modern and folk dancing, as well some less easily categorized forms, will populate southern Maine stages.

Portland Ballet is going for thrills and chills with an expanded, full-length version of “Jack the Ripper” on Oct. 19 and 20 at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center. With 30 minutes of new material added to the original work by choreographer Nell Shipman, this take on the well-known story of a serial killer loose in 19th-century London should present a gracefully spooky entrée to the Halloween season.

Unless you find toys to be terrifying, the Maine State Ballet’s fall production shouldn’t scare you much. “The Magic Toy Story,” created by the ballet’s artistic director, Linda MacArthur Miele, tells the type of heart-warming story of solidarity in a world of imagination that only fine ballet can bring to life. Performances of this kid-friendly show will be at the theater in Falmouth from Oct. 6-14.

Playful in a different sense, Maine-based performers Nicole Wolcott and Larry Keigwin, well known to Bates Dance Festival fans, will be presenting their performance piece “Places Please!” at One Longfellow Square in Portland on Oct. 25 and 26. This cabaret-style Portland Ovations event will also include Maine-based performers Sara Juli, Gretchen Berg, Gwyneth Jones and Kerry Constantino in serious and satirical vignettes that address issues around “making it” in show business.

A solo dance/performance piece called “Equators” by Arien Wilkerson will unfold at Space Gallery in Portland in five performances from Oct. 12-14. Wilkerson, who has a Maine connection dating back to childhood visits, and his company, Tnmot Aztro, have been recognized for adventurous multi-disciplinary performance pieces. This thoughtful work seeks to creatively explore issues including “environmental justice as a major form of racial injustice” and “how the most marginalized populations on earth experience the adversity associated with climate change.” The work was made in collaboration with installation artist David Borawski and lighting designer Jon-Paul LaRocco and looks to be challenging.

The intrepid collaborative Bare Portland has scheduled a movement/performance piece, also at Space Gallery, for Oct.18-20. Choreographed by Liz Pettingill, “Mira” is inspired by a short story by Tennessee Williams and is “spun from a love of the Southern Gothic.” If “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the company’s prior take on a classic story, is any indication, this new work should be very interesting.

Flamenco can generate more than enough heat to ease us into fall. Dancer Lindsey Bourassa brings along Barbara Martinez (song) and Cristian Puig (guitar) for what are likely to be intense performances at Mayo Street Arts in Portland on Oct. 19 and 20.

A little traditional step dancing can lift the spirits. A group called Bon Debarras mixes Quebecois, Acadian and Cajun influences in its music and dance performances. They will be at the Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath on Nov. 3.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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