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Fall Preview | Critic's Picks

Dance

September 10, 1998|LEWIS SEGAL

A year ago, Paul Taylor's "Brandenburgs" topped The Times' list of potential fall dance highlights. This year the top choice is a work inspired by the same musical source: Jerome Robbins' "Brandenburg." The last ballet by another of the century's master choreographers is the major novelty of the Oct. 13-18 engagement by New York City Ballet at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Premiered early last year, "Brandenburg" is the most recent work scheduled on the company's two programs in Costa Mesa--and the sole Robbins creation as well. He died July 29 at age 79, and would have turned 80 just three days before his ballet's first Southern California performance.

Like Robbins in "West Side Story," French modernist Angelin Preljocaj has updated "Romeo and Juliet" to reflect the grim realities of his lifetime: in his case whole societies held hostage by totalitarian regimes. Danced by Ballet Preljocaj to Prokofiev, his controversial, police-state "Romeo and Juliet" comes to Royce Hall, UCLA, Sept. 17-19 and his startling remakes of Diaghilev classics play the Irvine Barclay Theatre on Oct. 6 and 7.

By the time many folkloric (a.k.a. world dance) idioms reach American stages, they have been theatricalized beyond recognition. But several major exceptions grace this fall season. For starters, there's a return engagement by the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey, preserving and sharing a profound, embattled religious tradition (at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido on Oct. 16 and Royce Hall on Oct. 17 and 18). In addition, Wofa--Music and Dance From West Africa showcases the authentic tribal legacy of Guinea (at El Camino College in Torrance on Oct. 23).

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