Nejla Yatkin, Doug Varone, Bebe Miller, Bridgman | Packer bound for Bates Dance Festival
A renowned summer series of contemporary dance, the Bates Dance Festival takes place July 12 through Aug. 10 at Bates, presenting masterworks and Maine premieres by four renowned contemporary dance companies:
Opening the 2013 season, Nejla Yatkin / NY2Dance perform the Maine premiere of Oasis. This evening-length multimedia work is based on the allegorical story of Layla and Majnoon, regarded as a Middle Eastern predecessor to Romeo and Juliet.
Featuring a score by Maine-based Persian composer Shamou, performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13, at Bates College’s air-conditioned Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St.
Yatkin, artistic director of NY2Dance, was born in Turkey and grew up in Berlin, Germany. Integrating diverse traditions, her work plumbs the beauty and complexity of memory, migration, transformation, identity and multiculturalism. One of Dance Magazine’s 2005 “Top 25 to Watch,” Yatkin was described by The New York Times as “a magician, telling tales and creating worlds with understated images and movement.”
One of America’s most gifted dancemakers, Doug Varone returns to the Bates Dance Festival for his seventh creative residency since 1992. Celebrating its 25th season, Varone’s exceptional company performs the stunning new works Carrugi and Able to Leap Tall Buildings, as well as the company’s signature work Rise.
Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, July 18 and 20, in Schaeffer Theatre.
Since its founding in 1986, Varone’s company has commanded attention for expansive vision, versatility and technique. On stage and on the screen, Varone’s kinetically thrilling dances make essential connections and mine the complexity of the human spirit.
The Village Voice wrote that the company comprises “superb dancers. Varone’s choreography — with its hesitations, awkward tenderness, bravery and belligerence — emphasizes their humanity.”
A longtime BDF favorite, the Bebe Miller Company returns to Lewiston with the retrospective performance installation A History. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, in Schaeffer Theatre.
Miller’s newest work, the evening-length A History centers on the nuanced, decade-long dancing relationship between company veterans Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones. Incorporating video by Lily Skove and an accompanying installation by Maya Ciarrocchi, the duet shares what dancemaking feels like, sounds like and thinks like.
Award-winning dancer and choreographer Miller has been making dances for more than 25 years. A New York Times reviewer wrote, “Her movement is infused with a spirit that clings to the audience even after she and her dancers have left the stage.”
Together for more than 30 years, Bridgman | Packer Dance has developed a unique approach to integrating video into dance — making it, in effect, a third partner for artistic directors Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer. Voyeur, their latest work and Bates festival offering, invites audiences into this evocative world.
Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 3, in Schaeffer Theatre.
In Voyeur, Bridgman and Packer push into new territory choreographically, thematically and technologically. Inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper, the piece presents fragments of private lives played out on a set whose windows and doorways allow the audience to be, like Hopper, “one who looks.”
Recipients of numerous grants and awards, including the first Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to two individuals for collaborative work, Packer and Bridgman have toured throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Central America.
Other festival events
The festival offers a series of events in addition to the mainstage performances:
The annual Musicians’ Concert, a global mix of music by 10 remarkable composers and players, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, in the Franco-American Heritage Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston.
Different Voices concerts, showcasing diverse styles and perspectives by visiting choreographers from across the U.S. and around the globe, take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 8 and 9, in Bates College’s air-conditioned Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St.
The Festival Finale, presenting dancers of all ages and abilities performing modern, hip hop and contemporary works by festival artists, and also representing the festival’s Youth Arts Program, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, in Alumni Gymnasium, 130 Central Ave.
Show & Tell lecture-demonstrations offer a glimpse of the creative process at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Schaeffer Theatre, featuring Nejla Yatkin on July 9; Doug Varone, July 16; Bebe Miller, July 23; and Bridgman | Packer, July 30.
The festival offers a special Show & Tell about site-specific choreography by Stephan Koplowitz, an award-winning artist known for creating multimedia works for architecturally significant sites, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28, in Room 301, Pettigrew Hall, 305 College St.
Inside Dance: Understanding Contemporary Dance, a series of pre-performance lectures and post-performance talks, offers insight into the artists and their work. Saturday lectures precede the Varone performance at 7 p.m. July 20; Miller at 7 p.m. July 27; and Bridgman | Packer at 7 p.m. Aug. 3, all in Schaeffer Theatre. Talkbacks follow most Friday evening performances.
Information about tickets and locations for all festival events, as well as additional performance details, appears on the festival website: batesdancefestival.org