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Cape Cod Times

Drag ballet, tap and body rhythm: Provincetown Dance Festival expands to two weekends outdoors

By Rasheek Tabassum Mujib, Cape Cod Times,


PROVINCETOWN — The 16th Provincetown Dance Festival, expanding over two weekends for the first time, will include drag ballet by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a contemporary blend of "movement + humanity" and choreography by Donald Byrd and Merce Cunningham.

The festival is set for Aug. 19-20 and 26-27 outdoors on Sam's Stage at the Edgewood Farm property at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. The four shows will overall involve more than 15 performers representing 10 dance companies from six cities.

The Truro center is co-producing with festival director Adam Miller, in partnership with the Provincetown Theater, where past festivals have been held.

The outdoor stage had its debut during the 2021 festival. According to organizers, the tickets sold out early last year so they decided to expand to more dates to accommodate more people this year. “We have freedom in terms of scheduling this year, as we don’t have COVID-19 restrictions anymore, plus everyone absolutely loved the outdoor space last year,” Miller says.

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“This time we are much more prepared to host the festival outdoors," says Cherie Mittenthal, executive artistic director of the Truro center. "We built the outdoor stage during the pandemic and we believe, amid nature, this is a very special space and the outdoor experience will be spectacular.”

The Sunday of each weekend have been considered as possible rain dates if weather interferes, organizers say.

What to expect

On the first Friday and Saturday, the program will include: “Dying Swan” by the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; a contemporary duet by Fukudance; tap artist Khalid Hill performing to live music by saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr.; Sara Haarmann of the Mark Morris Dance Group performing a solo from Cunningham’s "Travelogue"; and Drumatix, a tap dance and percussion group making its festival debut.

Known as “the Trocks”, the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has presented the "Dying Swan" as one of its original, iconic and sort of satirical works. “It is one of our headliners of the event," says Miller. "This solo performance is going to be a unique and fun experience. This is the first time they are performing on the Outer Cape.”

The second Friday and Saturday will feature a duet from Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater, choreographed by its artistic director, Tony Award nominee, Donald Byrd; a duet performance by Portland Ballet created by Miller; Irish step-dance artists Rebecca McGowan and Jackie O'Riley, performing to live musicians; contemporary artist Lila Rens; classical Indian dancer Priya Bangal; and another performance by Drumatix.

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“Donald Byrd has become one of the leading forces in contemporary dance, with a real reflection and examination of social justice," says Miller. "He works with issues of race, conflict, and climate change,” said Miller.  Byrd is expected to be a spectator at this year's event, he says.

According to Miller, both McGowan and O Riley present a fresh, innovative take on Irish step-dancing, and the live music will make the performance spectacular, he says. Musicians Dan Accardi and Armand Aromin will play during the performance.

This year, the dancers are coming from all over the country with a mix of internationally known and lesser-known artists over the two weekends. “Our commitment has always been to include every form of diversity, including a diversity of styles of presentation and styles of dance,” says Miller.

The Drumatix group will also host a workshop for people interested in body percussion and tap dance. Drumatix’s unusual dance performance includes using various parts of the body to create noises, sounds and rhythms, incorporated with the tap dance.

To see the Provincetown Dance Festival

When: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Aug. 19-20, 26-27

Where: Sam’s Stage at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill's Edgewood Farm, 3 Edgewood Way, Truro (limited seating availability; people are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, etc.)

Admission: $40; $30 for students (must be purchased in advance)

Parking and transportation: Due to parking issues at Edgewood Farm, there will be buses available to transport people to Edgewood from Corn Hill Beach and from Castle Hill at 10 Meetinghouse Road. Buses will begin transporting people starting at 6 p.m.


This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Drag ballet, tap and body rhythm: Provincetown Dance Festival expands to two weekends outdoors

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