Summer Dance Preview | The New Yorker

In the summer, opportunities to see dance—and to shake a leg—in the open air proliferate. By mid-June, the main plaza at Lincoln Center, normally a redoubt of monumental calm, will be outfitted with a dance floor. Evenings of social dancing to salsa, swing, and soul music are all part of the center’s Summer for the City programming (June 14-Aug. 12). But, if you’d rather watch than participate, the BAAND Together Dance Festival returns to Damrosch Park (July 25-29), with shared bills by Ballet Hispánico, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem.

A few steps beyond the crowds salsa-ing the night away, American Ballet Theatre holds its summer season, at the Metropolitan Opera House (June 22-July 22). It kicks off with the première of a three-act ballet by Christopher Wheeldon, his first for the company in more than a decade. Wheeldon, a familiar name on Broadway as well as in the world of ballet, is not afraid to go big. His new piece “Like Water for Chocolate” is a fast-moving epic, based on Laura Esquivel’s novel, from 1989, in which forbidden love finds its expression through the magical powers of food.

Justin Peck specializes in depictions of Americana, as seen in his choreography for everything from ballets to Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” His newest project, “Illinois” (Bard’s Fisher Center, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., June 23-July 2), is musical theatre driven by dance. It’s based on Sufjan Stevens’s 2005 album of the same name, and its plot, developed in conjunction with the playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, is derived from the album’s songs, fashioned like a series of campfire tales.

The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Becket, Mass., June 28-Aug. 27), which has occupied its idyllic spot in the Berkshires since the nineteen-thirties, offers dance both indoors and out. The Henry J. Leir stage, with a panoramic view and shady trees, is a most suitable spot for the excellent Mythili Prakash’s one-woman show “She’s Auspicious,” an exploration of femininity in classical Indian dance (July 21). The Dutch National Ballet appears in the shed-like Ted Shawn Theatre (July 5-9); among the company’s dancers is the extraordinary Olga Smirnova, who left Russia and the Bolshoi Ballet in protest of Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Mark Morris Dance Group brings its founder’s evening-length tribute to Burt Bacharach, “The Look of Love,” to the Pillow (June 28-July 2). But Morris’s famously musical dancers will also appear closer to home, in their first-ever run at the Joyce (Aug. 1-12). The company’s two programs include one of Morris’s earliest works, “Castor and Pollux,” from 1980, alongside the wonderfully idiosyncratic “A Wooden Tree,” which is set to songs by the Scottish eccentric Ivor Cutler; there’s also a new work, “A minor Dance,” to Bach. ♦

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