“Solo” is the culmination of the McKnight Artist Fellowship for dancers. And every two years, Twin Cities audiences get treated to these superlative Minnesota dancers performing solos created just for them. This year’s stars are Kenna-Camara Cottman, Brian J. Evans, Kaleena Miller, Alanna Morris-Van Tassel, Sally Rousse and Max Wirsing. They’ll be performing works by local choreographers Deja Stowers and Tamara Ober, as well as Derick Grant (from New York), Idan Sharabi (Israel), Arthur Pita (London) and Lauren Simpson (California).
Sept. 23 & 24, Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-206-3600 or thecowlescenter.org
After a successful Kickstarter campaign raising more than $15,000, the new Vital Matters contemporary dance and performance festival is a go. The folks from BodyCartography Project present work from the Twin Cities’ excellent stock of contemporary dance and movement makers, including the likes of Justin Jones, Anna Marie Shogren, Dolo McComb, Pramila Vasudevan, Katie Burgess, Sam Johnson, Vie Boheme, Katelyn Skelley and Hijack, plus work by BodyCartography Project artistic directors Otto Ramstad and Olive Bieringa. Besides performances, the festival includes workshops, artist talks and dance parties, featuring special guests such as DJ Wzz Wnshp.
Oct. 20 & 21, Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Av. S., Mpls. bodycartography.org
Choreographer Rosy Simas traversed the country while developing “Skin(s),” a work exploring native identity and what we “perceive through our skin.” Commissioned by Eastside Arts in Oakland, LaPeña in Berkeley and Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, Simas developed the work in the Chicago area, the Bay Area and in the Twin Cities. She was helped along by a slew of prestigious grants and fellowships as well as an impressive cast of collaborators: poet Heid E. Erdrich, filmmaker Elizabeth Day, composer François Richomme, plus performers Lela Pierce and Holo Lue Choy. An exhibition of artwork by American Indian and multiracial artists accompanies performances in Intermedia’s gallery.
Oct. 21-23, Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. 612-871-4444 or intermediaarts.org
Minnesota Dance Theatre
MDT is bringing out founder Loyce Houlton’s masterwork “Wingborne” for its fall season, set to music by Dvorak. The pas de deux was created after the passing of Houlton’s mentor, Markell Brooks, as an elegy to a friend. It gained immediate success after its creation, and was picked up by various companies worldwide (a 1983 performance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem earned a rave review from the New York Times). The program also includes two premieres choreographed by Wynn Fricke and Helen Hatch.
Oct. 21-30, The Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St., Mpls. 612-333-7977 or thelabtheater.org
Choreographer Penelope Freeh and composer Jocelyn Hagen won a Sage award for “Test Pilot” in 2014, and now they get to come out for an encore. This dance opera tells the story of the Wright Brothers through the eyes of their sister, Katherine. With a string quartet, six singers, four dancers and video artist Justin Schell, the dance/music hybrid explores themes of creativity and ingenuity through the metaphor of flight.
Oct. 22, the O’Shaughnessy, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul. 651-690-6700 or oshag.stkate.edu
Jérôme Bel Festival
Frequent Walker Art Center visitor Jérôme Bel returns to the Twin Cities for four days of dancing and philosophizing. The “Jérôme Bel Bookend Festival” launches with the pluralistic vision of “Gala,” one of Bel’s recent works. It concludes with a reprisal of Bel’s eponymous 1995 piece, a nude-heavy minimalist work that caused quite a stir. In between will be a free “Talking Dance” evening of conversation with Bel and Walker curator Philip Bither, discussing the choreographer’s journey from dance-world outsider to conceptual art superstar.
Nov. 1-4, Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-375-7600 or walkerart.org
James Sewell Ballet with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
James Sewell Ballet collaborates with musicians from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for the premiere of “Octet.” With the help of a live performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Octet for Strings in E-flat major, Op. 20,” Sewell envisions a piece that pushes the edges of emotion and form. It will be paired with the minimalist androgyny of “Killer Pig” by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar of the Israeli dance ensemble L-E-V.
Nov. 4-6, the O’Shaughnessy, 2004 S. Randolph Av., St. Paul. 651-690-6700 or oshag.stkate.edu
Arena Dances concludes its 20th-anniversary season with a bang by featuring three large group pieces and a new duet featuring Artistic Director Mathew Janczewski and dancer Amy Behm Thomson. Behm Thomson danced with Arena for 15 of the company’s 20 years before leaving the Twin Cities a few years ago. “She was my muse for all those years,” Janczewski says. “She still remains my muse through discussion and conversation.” Behm Thomson will perform with Janczewski in a new piece called “Duet at Home.” Other works include “not so good at standing still,” “Matador” and “Anthem” featuring guest dancers from James Sewell Ballet and St. Paul Ballet.
Nov. 11, The Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul. 612-290-1200 or fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org
Canadian-born choreographer Aszure Barton makes her Northrop debut with “Awáa,” which means “mother” in the indigenous language Haida. The piece employs dreamlike video projections and a score filled with vivid strings and drumming for a meditation on the life-giving forces of nature. Mikhail Baryshnikov once called Barton “one of the most innovative choreographers of this generation.” Here’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.
Nov. 12, Northrop, 84 SE. Church St., Mpls. 612-624-2345 or northrop.umn.edu
Multitalented artist Francesca Harper has been working with TU Dance to create a new piece for its fall season. Harper is the daughter of Denise Jefferson, who ran the Alvin Ailey School for 26 years. Today Harper is a world-famous dancer, fashion model, singer, actress and choreographer who easily bounces between cinema, Broadway and dance stages.
Nov. 18-20, the O’Shaughnessy, 2004 S. Randolph Av., St. Paul. 651-690-6700 or oshag.stkate.edu