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Summer Dance Preview

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There is no more joyous celebration of summer in the city than “Midsummer Night Swing” (June 26-July 14), a series of social-dance evenings with live music held in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. These open-air soirées bring out lovebirds of all generations, the clumsy but enthusiastic, and, best of all, dapper, highly proficient devotees (often of a certain age) who come to strut their stuff. Every evening features a different style, from big-band swing (on June 30) to Indian folk dance (July 3) to the Lindy Hop (July 11).

In “Funkedified,” the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris pays tribute to the dance parties of his nineteen-seventies Philadelphia youth and their funk-music soundtrack, a bass-and-downbeat-heavy mix of James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Dennis Coffey. The show (at the New Victory, June 1-10) is part autobiography, part cultural history. But it’s the dancing, and its deep, playful connection to the music, that really gets under your skin.

The latest project by Alexei Ratmansky, American Ballet Theatre’s choreographer-in-residence, is a reconstruction of Marius Petipa’s comic 1900 ballet “Harlequinade” (at the Metropolitan Opera House, June 4-9), based on a mountain of archival sources, leavened by his own fanciful imagination. The costumes, by Robert Perdziola, are as delicious as the steps.

The dance-rich Lincoln Center Festival is no more, alas, but some of the slack is being picked up by the newly expanded Mostly Mozart Festival (July 12-Aug. 12). Despite its name, none of the dance offerings—Lucinda Childs’s “Available Light” and a program by Mark Morris Dance Group—are set to Mozart. But no matter. The Childs is a study in cool minimalism, arranged above and below a two-tiered set designed by Frank Gehry, with shimmering musical accompaniment by John Adams. The M.M.D.G. program includes a Morris première, which tackles one of the most beloved scores in the chamber-music repertory, Schubert’s alpine-themed “Trout” quintet.

With its idyllic setting in the Berkshires, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (June 20-Aug. 26) is a good excuse to get out of town. This summer’s edition includes appearances by the tap innovator Michelle Dorrance (“Myelination” and a première), the French hip-hop ensemble Cie Art Move Concept, and a rare and welcome visit by a group of dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet, who will present excerpts of works by the Danish choreographer August Bournonville (“Napoli,” “A Folktale,” “La Sylphide”), lovingly preserved in the company’s buoyant, sunny mid-nineteenth-century style. ♦


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