Dance Month

All Kinds of Dance Leap Onto Area Stages This Month

If there were ever a month to rejoice in what Sarasota’s dance professionals and patrons have before them, this October would seem to be it.

By Kay Kipling October 1, 2019 Published in the October 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Melissa Rummel of Sarasota Contemporary Dance, which has a “Growing Larger” season.


If there were ever a month to rejoice in what Sarasota’s dance professionals and patrons have before them, this October would seem to be it.

It’s the kickoff to the season for both the Sarasota Ballet and Sarasota Contemporary Dance, and it also marks the first performance in The Ringling’s 2019-20 Art of Performance series, which leans heavily on presenting dance idioms from around the world. Take a look.

First up is the SCD’s 14th season, bearing an overall title of “Growing Larger.” And indeed the company, founded originally as Fuzión Dance by Leymis Bolaños-Wilmott and Rachael Inman, is growing, with an expanding audience base, a home of its own in the Rosemary District, and more collaborations with area musicians and educators. This month’s performances, “Voices—Rising Choreographers,” Oct. 10-13 at the Cook Theatre, feature new works by dance makers, both from the company and as guests invited to expand their works for the main stage after being selected by adjudication from SCD’s Summer Intensive Program. It’s all about fostering up-and-coming talent.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble

The Ringling’s series commences Oct. 11 and 12 in the Historic Asolo Theater, welcoming the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble from India and a piece titled Daśavatar, employing a live original score. This all-female company was founded to preserve a very specific tradition of dance—Odissi, taking its name from the state of its origin, Orissa. Dance originated there in the second century BC, but some 60 years ago it was reinvented and revitalized to the form it takes today. Dancers utilize a stance called Tribhangi (literally meaning three bends), inspired by temple sculpture, to emphasize a feminine curvaceous position with the weight on one foot—an eternal “S” pattern that creates a feeling of voluptuousness. For this visiting ensemble, Nrityagram is more than a dance style; it’s a way of life and a matter of faith, centered on a holistic approach within their home village. As a New Yorker review put it, “You get sensuality and majesty, emotion and philosophy, holiness and a good time.”

Meanwhile, the Sarasota Ballet celebrates principal dancer and resident choreographer Ricardo Graziano’s 10 years with the company by performing three of the 10 ballets he has created here: his first, Shostakovich Suite, from 2011; his En las Calles de Murcia, inspired by the music of Santiago de Murcia and the Spanish city of Murcia; and his In a State of Weightlessness, which premiered to “wow” reviews at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts in 2015. Taken together, the pieces demonstrate a distinct and maturing talent; they’re onstage Oct. 25-27 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. 

Tickets: Sarasota Contemporary Dance and Sarasota Ballet, 359-0099; The Ringling, 360-7399

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