Dance abounds at Spoleto festivals

Outstanding dance lineups in both the Spoleto Festival and Piccolo Spoleto Festival makes it evident that the art form remains a solid part of the foundation for both events.

For 17 days, patrons will have an abundance of opportunity to see bright stars from around the world gracing the stages of Charleston.

Opening weekend kicks off with an esteemed contemporary dance company, which charmed Spoleto audiences in 2005. Hubbard Street's virtuoso performers are among the best practitioners of works by some of the world's most important choreographers, and this performance will include pieces by Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato and William Forsythe. Alejandro Cerrudo will take a solo turn to songs of Dean Martin. Glenn Edgerton provides the visionary artistic direction.

Hubbard Street offers a spectacle for the both the dance aficionado and newcomer. Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at TD Arena, 301 Meeting St. Tickets start at $20.

More innovative contemporary dance is on tap from Keigwin + Company, Larry Keigwin's powerful young troupe. The work draws on pop culture and fashion references and the dancers are not afraid to entertain their audiences.

Keigwin's show will includes his work "Megalopolis," inspired by the New York City club scene, and the stylized "Runaway," with sexy and vibrant choreography inspired by the world of high fashion.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. May 30, 2 p.m. May 31 and 1 p.m. June 1 at TD Arena. Tickets start at $20.

This is an exciting young tap company led by the magnetic Michelle Dorrance, whose new take on the traditional forms has led to accolades from reviewers and audiences alike.

In 2011, Michelle Dorrance, who hails from Chapel Hill, N.C., won a Bessie Award (the Oscar for dance), among several honors bestowed in her and her company.

In Charleston, the ensemble will offer its SOUNDspace, an "embodiment of music made by movement," as well as a program crafted for Spoleto Festival called "Delta to Dusk." The new work, which makes its premier at the festival, will use tap to explore a wide range of musical styles. Vocalist Aaron Marcellus, an "American Idol" finalist, along with a live band, provide musical accompaniment.

Performances are various times (mostly evenings) May 31-June 7 at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St. Tickets start at $25.

South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma draws from his ancestral past in his "Exit/Exist," a solo work based on the life of a 19th-century Xhosa warrior who strived to sustain the culture of his people in the shadow of colonialism.

Maqoma explores the past and present in a work that mixes styles, paying tribute to both the warrior and contemporary audiences. He will be joined on stage by four singers and guitarist Giuliano Modarelli.

Performances are 8:30 p.m. June 5, 2 p.m. June 6, 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. June 7 and 3:30 p.m. June 8 at Emmett Robinson Theatre, 54 St. Philip St. Tickets start at $25.

Last year, dance had a minimal presence in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, partly because of the struggles of the now-defunct Charleston Ballet Theatre. In response, the city's Office of Cultural Affairs has organized a healthy lineup of dance for the 2014 festival.

Columbia City Ballet will present a full-scale production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 7:30 p.m. May 28 and 29 at the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Tickets for reserved seats are $35, $25 for general admission.

The newly formed Charleston City Ballet will present the classic "Firebird," with music by Stravinsky, 7 p.m. June 3 and 4 at the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Tickets for reserved seats are $28, $26 for general admission and $15 for children.

Annex Dance Company, a local modern dance troupe, will re-stage its popular work "Out of the Rose," inspired by the poetry of W.B. Yeats, which will be recited by College of Charleston theater professor Evan Parry. The show is 6 p.m. June 4 at City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St. Tickets are $16.

Annex Dance also will present "Middle Ground" in a collaboration with the College of Charleston's dance department as part of the Stelle di Domani Series, which for the first time includes dance. "Middle Ground" is offered at 8:30 p.m. May 30, noon June 2 and 6 p.m. June 5 at the Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun St. General admission tickets are $16, students and seniors pay $13.

The Stelle di Domani Series will include the inaugural Alumni Dance Concert, which showcases the work of past and present College of Charleston dancers. The show is slated for 5 p.m. May 31 and 6 p.m. June 1 at the Chapel Theatre. General admission tickets are $16, students and seniors pay $13.

All tickets for Piccolo events can be purchase by calling the ticket hotline at (866) 811-4111, by going online to or by visiting the box office at the Charleston Visitor Center, 375 Meetings St. Tickets also can become available at the door starting two hours before showtime.