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What other dance performances (besides ballet) struck you this past year?

For me, the interesting new work -- by far -- was in modern dance, and I'll name three:

Shen Wei Dance Art’s “Near the Terrace," or the first part of it, anyway (it was a short dance created for ADF which was then expanded, and the expansion doesn't match the original). I reviewed this one from the Post, and will quote from it :) "[it] is beautiful and wondrously strange. Dancers, dressed only in pale blue skirts, their bodies powdered white, walk with measured tread and fall, in slow motion, into each other’s arms. Someone is always moving--walking, crawling, rolling--yet there is little movement. The dancers repeat movements endlessly as though caught in a dream, unable to run, unable to escape danger, but there is no fear, only serenity."

Dana Tai Soon Burgess's 10th anniversary concert. He's a local modern dance choreographer who's just hitting his stride. He's very much a "visual artist" -- the dances are moving paintings, the design is as important as the movement, and everything -- movement, music, design, concept -- fits together perfectly. I think what appeals to me about it is the lack of excess. Everything is spare and pared down. His movement is a combination of American modern dance and various Asian dance forms, from kabuki to the martial arts, but instead of throwing it all into the blender, he selects a few movements from a broad palette and creates worlds with them.

Anjelin Prejlocaj's "Helikopter" was the surprise of the year for me. I went in expecting to hate it -- everything I'd read about him screamed Pretension -- and was completely absorbed by it, even though the lighting effects, which everyone raved about, weren't visible from the Eisenhower Theater orchestra. I thought his dancers were extraordinary and pray that they're a model for the future. They looked like "normal" people -- beautiful, extremely fit normal people, but there wasn't a freak in the bunch and they danced like gods.

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Paul Taylor Dance Company - Patrick Corbin is indispenable not only for his fabulous dancing but for the humanity he brings to Taylor's characters whether they are good or evil.

Merce Cunningham - Robert Swinton, still going strong and looking like a latter day Cunningham dancer - not so balletic but a beautiful mover.

Other highlights:

Cunningham season at the New York State Theater, a beautiful mix of works old and new. I prefer to see the company in a smaller venue but their opening night this summer was a dazzling event, both onstage and off. Everyone is modern dance was there in the audience, a tribute to Cunningham's importance in the dance world.

David Gordon's piece at Danspace in January. No one else can mix movement and dialog with so much sublety. Valda Setterfield continues to dance with enormous presence and warmth and the rest of the company is a pleasure to watch.

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Cunningham: Berkeley, premiere Loosetime; Lincoln Center summer season, particularly How to Pass, Fall, Kick and Run, for novelty of seeing again--it was my first Cunningham dance; Event for opening of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council new theater, in the rain, on the southern tip of Manhattan; three Events at the American Express Tower of the World Financial Center.

Stephen Petronio, in his solo Broken Man

Terry Creach's "Creach and Company" at the Joyce Soho. Old fashioned contact improv style movement for movement's sake--in the middle of a year with a lot of expressionisn and maximum production values, here was the real pure dance deal, on a shoe string.

Amazing performance of Mark Morris's The Office, with Mark and Guiellermo (Didi) Resto in the cast.

Paul Taylor Dance Company--Piazzola Caldera really sizzled that season.

NY debut of Jamie Bishton Dance. To die for partnering.

Movin' Out, Twyla Tharp, Billy Joel. Amazing dancer showcase, fab Benjamin Bowman, John Selya, Elizabeth Parkinson, Ashley Tuttle. (I also saw William Marrie do the Selya role (he's the NBoC star who died after a motorcycle accident) in a studio showing, he was a marvelous dancer.)

Trisha Brown: a meticulous revival of Set and Reset, which is just as wonderful as one remembers it.

STREB: A raw in progress night at the St. Elizabeth's Warehouse in Brooklyn. And then the finished product in her Joyce season. So different, so interesting to follow the trajectory.

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