By Pierre Ruhe
Atlanta’s dance scene is exploding — new talent, new audiences, a new ambition that the city is finally ready to be a national-quality hub for the art form. The recession has hampered expansion of the performing arts, yet dance accelerated in 2009, and this year dance fans came here to see what we’re up to. A top five of dance shows, chronologically, tells only part of the story.
“Don Quixote” by Atlanta Ballet. Artistic director John McFall’s version of the Russian classic tapped the enormous yet disparate talent within his company and made it move with grandeur and finesse. May.
“Rapt” was a cultural watershed moment: The debut performance of dance maker Lauri Stallings’ hipster ballet company called gloATL, danced outdoors on the Woodruff Arts Center plaza, fusing classically modern dance with the funky groove of OutKast. It celebrated life in Atlanta. (Two subsequent shows by gloATL reinforced the troupe’s creative significance.) July.
“Come Fly With Me” tops both the AJC’s dance and theater year-end lists. Dance and direction by acclaimed choreographer Twyla Tharp, singing by Frank Sinatra. A giant hit with audiences. September.
“The Magic Flute,” with choreography by Mark Godden and music by Mozart, opened Atlanta Ballet’s 80th season. Sorting through a complicated plot, with minimal sets, the dance emphasized the horizontal and the athletic. October.
“Composed” was the fourth annual event by Atlanta’s Brooks & Company Dance, which has been likened to American pioneers of dance — and another important show for the local scene. November.
Pierre Ruhe covers the arts on www.ArtsCriticATL.com