Invitation - Outdoors
Schedule of Performances Outdoors - August 15
Invitation - Indoor
Schedule Performances
Indoors August 28
Schedule Workshops
August 29
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Dance This Week: India Dance and Ashton’s ‘Monotones’
Suryavarshita Kuchi performed at the Drive East festival at La MaMa in 2014.
Credit Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Indian Dance in New York

Just a few years ago, the dance forms of India received only isolated performances in New York. August, however, has now become a prime time for them. The Drive East festival at La MaMa is now in its third year. Importantly, it’s as much a festival of music as of dance; and this year it has moved into the larger Ellen Stewart Theater. It’s best to regard yourself as a student, and not only with the more unfamiliar genres; there’s much to learn here, and many beauties to contemplate. This year’s genres include examples of hammered dulcimer instrumental music (Tuesday), contemporary Indian dance (Saturday), and Hindustani sitar/bansuri (Sunday), as well as distinguished classical dance forms, including Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi.

Saturday also brings the annual outdoor performance of the Indo-American Arts Council’s Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance. (This year it is the opening event of the Battery Dance Festival, at Wagner Park.) This is always a lively sampler, an anthology of several forms in one concert: this year’s items are planned to include strong examples of Kathak, Mohini Attam, and — a genre new to me — Chhau.

Ashton’s “Monotones” at Jacob’s Pillow

Adagio in choreography has no more sublime or extreme expression than a pair of pas de trois by Frederick Ashton “Monotones I and II” (1965-66). And these intensely complementary ballets — one man and two women to Erik Satie’s “Trois Gnossiennes”; one woman and two men to “Trois Gymnopédies” — are among the peaks of ballet classicism. A few years ago, these works were rarities. The Royal Ballet’s excellent revival was caught on DVD; and American Ballet Theater is to add them to its repertory in its October two-week season at the David H. Koch Theater, while the Royal revives them in November.

This week the Sarasota Ballet will dance them at Jacob’s Pillow, in Becket, Mass. This company’s four-day Ashton Festival was a highlight of 2014, and, though Ballet Theater is now raising impressive competition, Sarasota Ballet has earned a strong reputation as North America’s foremost exponent of Ashton choreography, occasionally surpassing the Royal Ballet itself (Ashton’s home company).

The Joyce Ballet Festival

This is the second week of the Joyce’s season of small ballet ventures; three different troupes perform from Tuesday to Sunday. The choreographer Emery LeCrone, who has been making chamber-scale ballets for some years, shows work on Thursday and Friday; Amy Seiwert, an unknown quantity to me, presents on Saturday and Sunday. Matthew Neenan’s “Sunset, o639 Hours,” a touchingly original work of dance theater I reviewed in July 2014, is danced on Tuesday and Wednesday by Philadelphia’s BalletX.


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