Ottawa's National Arts Centre 2011-12 dance season is, once again, the richest in the nation.
The four different dance series (one ballet, and three contemporary) and special presentations include 17 companies representing 11 countries. The dance events, as custom, run the gamut from traditional ballet, to the outer fringes of contemporary experimentation.
Five companies are appearing only in Ottawa. The big gun is the late, great Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal ( Danzón, Nov. 25-26). Exclusive engagements also include two esteemed American companies, Pennsylvania Ballet (George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Dec. 1-4) and Chicago's Joffrey Ballet (works by William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon and Edwaard Liang, Mar. 3). Also making Ottawa stops only are famed Irish step dancer Colin Dunne's solo show ( Out of Time, Oct. 27-29), and Dance Works Rotterdam, under Canadian-born artistic director André Gingras ( Anatomica, Feb. 15).
Other heavy hitters include Bolshoi Ballet ( Don Quixote, May 23-26), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater ( Revelations and Other Works, Apr. 17), and Argentina's Tango Pasión (Feb. 21).
Among the new and the different are European contemporary dance stars - England's Akram Khan Company ( Gnosis, Feb. 1-2, and Vertical Road, Feb. 3-4), Belgium's Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Eastman ( Babel, Oct. 5-6), and France's Cie Käfig's hip-hop fusion ( Correiria/Agwa, Apr. 19-20). Another hot company is China's Guangzhou Ballet ( Return on a Snowy Night, Oct. 15).
The Canadian home team includes Monteal's Compagnie Marie Chouinard ( The Golden Mean (Live), Nov. 9) and José Navas/Compagnie Flak ( Personae, Mar. 8-10), Royal Winnipeg Ballet (Mark Godden's Svengali, Jan. 26-28), National Ballet of Canada (Jon Neumeier's The Seagull, Apr. 12-14), and Vancouver's Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction ( Heart as Arena, May 10-12).