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Summer Splash | A Calendar of Best Bets

Critics Picks


May 20, 1999|LEWIS SEGAL

As usual, the Orange County Performing Arts Center hosts the only major ballet of the season: this year the venerable Royal Swedish Ballet in a June 15-20 engagement offering the traditional pleasures of a full-length "Swan Lake" and the historic rarities of a four-part sampling from the daring Ballet Suedois repertory that sharpened the cutting edge in Paris, London and New York during the early 1920s.

Wide-ranging modernism of our own era arrives in Escondido on June 1 and in Westwood 22 days later when Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project shows choreography by everyone from postmodern icon Trisha Brown to Kabuki star Tamasaburo Bando.

Among the summer's world-dance offerings, none looks starrier than the June 6 visit to Pasadena City College of the revered Birju Maharaj and his company: masters of the intricate, percussive kathak dance form of ancient India.

Equally percussive but scarcely ancient, the jazz-tap idiom gets its own festival on several local stages, large and small, from June 26 up to Independence Day, with workshops, master classes, panels, lectures, parties and performances organized by (and featuring) our very own Jazz Tap Ensemble.

Local excellence, old and new, also shines on July 29 and 30 when American Repertory Dance Company showcases "Legendary California Choreographers" outdoors in California Plaza downtown.

Just barely a summer highlight, since it closes Sunday: the dark, wartime version of "Cinderella" at the Ahmanson Theatre, imaginatively directed and choreographed by "Swan Lake" double Tony nominee Matthew Bourne and featuring "Swan Lake" Tony nominee Adam Cooper as Cinderella's dream lover.

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