The standout dance of summer 2017

Tap thunders into new territory, 25 performers make 10,000 moves, Lady Macbeth is laid bare and a young boy goes on a journey through gender transition

• Summer arts preview 2017: TV | Comedy | Film | Pop | Classical | Theatre

KnowBody II

A welcome return for this charming programme that celebrates the beauty, wisdom and experience of older dancers. Among the cast are father and daughter duo Dominique and Thusnelda Mercy performing a duet by Pascal Merighi. The great Ana Laguna appears in Mats Ek’s Axe, and there are works by William Forsythe and Shobana Jeyasingh, as well as a piece based on the choreography of London Contemporary Dance Theatre founder Robert Cohan.
• At Sadler’s Wells, London, 23-24 June. Box office 020-7863 8000.

Knowbody II at Elixir festival

Lucinda Childs – Available Light

Over the last half-century, Lucinda Childs has consolidated her role as the most purely inventive of minimalist choreographers, building up astonishing layers of texture and detail through repeating patterns of dance. She created Available Light in 1983, a setting of John Adams’s mesmerising acoustic brass and electronic score, Light Over Water, framed by the architectural designs of Frank Gehry.
• At Palace theatre, Manchester, as part of Manchester international festival, 6-8 July. Box office: 0843-208 1840.

Lucinda Childs’s Available Light.
Soaring minimalism … Lucinda Childs’s Available Light. Photograph: Craig T Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Dorrance Dance – ETM: Double Down

Tap dance is on a roll in New York, with Michelle Dorrance and her company adding their own contemporary mix of street and club. In ETM, Dorrance also collaborates with sound artist Nicholas Van Young to push the music of tap to a world of new possibilities. Super-responsive tap boards, laid on the floor, allow the dancers’ feet to trigger a looping electronic mix of Afro-Brazilian, indiepop and Adele, which dovetails with the trio of musicians playing live.
• At Sadler’s Wells, London, 12-15 July. Box office: 020-7863 8000.

Boris Charmatz – 10,000 Gestures

Boris Charmatz is one of Europe’s leading dance conceptualists. As 25 dancers perform a literal enactment of this work’s title, both performers and audience have to navigate the work without the usual perceptual signposts of repetition or pattern. The result should be a meticulously detailed, joyfully chaotic experience.
• At Mayfield, Manchester, as part of Manchester international festival, 13-15 July. Box office: 0843-208 1840.

Mariinsky Ballet perform Infra

Mariinsky Ballet summer season

The great St Petersburg company return for their regular summer season, promising luxury dancing across the ranks. There are are the predictable 19th-century classics such as Swan Lake and La Bayadère, but there’s also a revival of Alexei Ratmansky’s Anna Karenina, and an evening of one-act ballets including Wayne McGregor’s Infra.
• At Royal Opera House, London, 24 July-12 August. Box office: 020-7304 4000.

English National Ballet – Romeo and Juliet

Rudolf Nureyev’s 1977 version of Romeo and Juliet lacks the emotional subtlety and the poetry of the more familiar Kenneth MacMillan ballet, but it’s driven by a robust energy and its male-oriented choreography offers a showcase for ENB’s current strong roster of male dancers, among them Aaron Robison, newly recruited from San Francisco Ballet.
• At Royal Festival Hall, London, 1-5 August. Box office: 0844-875 0073.

Dance @Nordic Matters

The Nordic region may have a comparatively small dance culture but it’s a distinctive one, and Southbank Centre’s festival showcases two of the finest. In Morphed, Tero Saarinen explores ideas of masculinity in choreography that modulates between extremes of tenderness and brutality, while The Icelandic Dance Company present Sacrifice, a mixed bill themed around art and religion, with choreography by Matthew Barney, Erna Ómarsdóttir, Ragnar Kjartansson, Gabriela Friðriksdóttir and Valdimar Jóhannsson.
• At Southbank Centre, London, 18-20 August. Box office: 0844-875 0073.

Nederlands Dans Theater at Edinburgh international festival

Nederlands Dans Theater

NDT has, unquestionably, some of the world’s sleekest, most responsive and versatile dancers. The company are regular visitors to Edinburgh and this year come with a new work by Gabriela Carrizo plus two pieces by the company’s artistic director, Paul Lightfoot, and his long-term collaborator Sol León, who have put their own spin on the imagistic, often surreal choreography of NDT’s founder, Jiří Kylián.
• At Edinburgh Playhouse, part of Edinburgh festival, 21-23 August; 0131-473 2000.

Company Chordelia’s Lady Macbeth: Unsex Me Here.
New angles … Company Chordelia’s Lady Macbeth: Unsex Me Here. Photograph: Jane Hobson

Company Chordelia and Solar Bear – Lady Macbeth: Unsex Me Here

Choreographer Kally Lloyd-Jones is one of Scotland’s most interesting dance artists, taking familiar stories and characters and exploring them from humane, and wonderfully imagined new angles. Here, she explores the character of Lady Macbeth, using three male performers to explore the interaction of traditionally masculine and feminine forces within Shakespeare’s heroine, and laying bare the dynamics of guilt and the will to power.
• At Dance Base, Edinburgh, 4-27 August. Box office: 0131-226 0000.

201 Dance Company – Skin

In Andrea Walker’s previous work, Smother, the traditionally macho language of hip-hop was turned inside out to create a finely detailed piece of dance theatre that explored the vicissitudes of a gay relationship. In Skin, Walker uses the fusion of street and contemporary dance to examine one boy’s journey through gender transition, to discover a body that feels like home.
• At Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2-28 August. Box office: 131-226 0000.


Judith Mackrell

The GuardianTramp

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