Chicago Dancing Festival: Celebration of American Dance Brief Run (Theater) Critic's Choice Free Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Aug. 26-28 2010

Once again this free annual festival has "sold out" its ticketed events, scheduled for Thursday and Friday. But Saturday's Pritzker Pavilion performance is come one, come all, and looks to be dynamite. Mark Morris Dance Group makes its festival debut with 14 performers swarming the stage in Morris's Grand Duo, a masterpiece according to New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay. In other fest debuts, Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson of Britain's Royal Ballet perform the pas de deux from Sir Kenneth MacMillan's 1974 Manon, and Ballet West tackles the first piece George Balanchine made in the U.S., in 1934, Serenade. Kanji Segawa returns in the Robert Battle-choreographed solo Takademe, which he also danced at the festival in 2008. (Segawa told me that was an exhilarating performance, as the crowd--estimated at 10,000 that year--challenged him to produce even more energy than he was getting from them.) Alvin Ailey II performs The Hunt by Battle, who became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater this year, and the Joffrey Ballet revives Gerald Arpino's 1970 Trinity while high school students participating in its Exelon Strobel Step-Up program perform Derrick Agnoletti's Inferno. For the other lineups and standby ticketing procedures, check chicagodancingfestival.com. --Laura Molzahn

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