Seattle dance explosion! AXIS, Spectrum, butoh, burlesque
The first weekend in October brings a variety of dance to town, including the Seattle debut of AXIS Dance Company, the return of Spectrum Dance Theater’s “Studio Series,” and burlesque artist Lily Verlaine’s “L’Edition Française.”
Seattle Times arts writer
Get ready for a dance collision this weekend, with at least four noteworthy shows, ranging from butoh to burlesque, turning up on local stages. If you start on Thursday and time it right, you can get to them all:
AXIS Dance Company (8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Meany Hall, University of Washington, Seattle; $39-$44; 206-543-4880 or www.uwworldseries.org).
What: The Oakland-based dance troupe, composed of performers both with and without disabilities, makes its Seattle debut. AXIS has won seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and has appeared on TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”
What to watch for: Expect precarious wheelchair balancing, acrobatic derring-do and some unusual use of confined spaces in these works by Marc Brew (“Full of Words”), Sebastian Grubb (“The Narrowing”) and Victoria Marks (“What If Would You”). Recommended for mature audiences.
Spectrum Dance Theater (8 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through Oct. 20, Spectrum Dance Studio Theater, 800 Lake Washington Blvd., Seattle; $50 opening night, $25 thereafter; 206-325-4161 or www.spectrumdance.org).
What: Spectrum’s “Studio Series 1” pairs Seattle choreographer Cyrus Khambatta’s “Truth and Betrayal” with Spectrum artistic director Donald Byrd’s “Prodigal.” Khambatta’s piece, premiered by his own troupe at Kirkland Performance Center earlier this year, puts a lithe, cruel and sometimes acrobatic spin on questions of trust and deception. Byrd’s “Prodigal,” from 1990, is described as “an often humorous commentary” on Balanchine’s “The Prodigal Son.”
What to watch for: Spectrum’s Studio Theater is my favorite spot to watch Byrd’s astonishingly virtuosic dancers. Jade Solomon Curtis’ sharp moves slice the air around her with intensity and elegance to spare. Alex Crozier-Jackson, a bit more of a dandy, has a leading role in Khambatta’s piece. Here’s a chance to see them and their seven gifted colleagues in close-up.
“The Engendering Project: Casting Shadows” (8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave., Seattle; $12-$15; 800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com).
What: Seattle butoh artist Joan Laage’s new show is billed as an investigation of “gender fluidity and transformation,” accompanied by video and photography by Kaoru Okumura and a live electric-string trio by Jackie An. The performances will be followed by a free panel discussion 5 p.m. Sunday, titled “The Engendering Project: Ever Betweening,” moderated by Velocity director Tonya Lockyer and featuring Laage, Okumura and An, plus guest participants Michele Miller and Douglas Ridings.
What to watch for: Laage always puts her own maverick and sometimes droll spin on the postwar Japanese dance style. “The Engendering Project” promises to be no exception. One photo alone — is that cowboy butoh? — makes it look like a winner.
“L’Edition Française” (8 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, The Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $15-$28; 206-838-4333 or www.tripledoor.com).
What: From butoh to burlesque! Lily Verlaine, a performer who likes to throw curveballs as well as curvaceousness at her audiences, presents a program billed as “very French, very lusty and rather surreal.” Joining her are Kitten LaRue of the Atomic Bombshells and Olivier Wevers of Whim W’Him, choreographing works that take on sunbathing, howling cats and hotel trysts.
What to watch for: Verlaine often draws on her ballet background in her sly entertainments, but the biggest attraction here for me is Wevers taking a walk on the sexy side. Local favorites on the roster include Miss Indigo Blue, brothers Paris Original and Trojan Original, Lou Henry Hoover and Whim W’Him’s Tory Peil.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com