Atlanta's dance scene steps up 

A vibrant and singular local movement takes shape

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19 dance companies and counting: A list of local groups with upcoming performances

Local dancers are on the move, performing on stages, in the streets and even in the beds of trucks. As the local dance scene becomes more robust, the number of companies in Atlanta is growing. Local organization Dance ATL keeps detailed tabs on all the dance happenings in town at DanceATL.org. Here's our list of local groups with upcoming performances.

Atlanta Ballet
If you hear the word "ballet" and think only of tutus, sugar plum fairies and dying swans, think again. The Atlanta Ballet shakes things up with its boundary-busting collaborations with hip-hop artists, cutting-edge contemporary choreographers and dance world legend Twyla Tharp.

Ballethnic
Founded in 1990 by Nena Gilreath and Waverly T. Lucas II, both former members of Dance Theatre of Harlem and Atlanta Ballet, Ballethnic's Urban Nutcracker at the Ferst Center for the Arts is a annual favorite. Ballethnic offers performances, classes and workshops throughout the year.

Brooks and Company Dance
Last summer Brooks and Company performed with aerialists and cyclists over, under and hanging from a bridge on the Beltline. This summer the dancers dove into the pond at Serenbe to choreograph movement in the water for a production of The Ugly Duckling.

CORE Dance Collective
One of the mighty oaks of the Atlanta contemporary dance scene, CORE is celebrating an incredible 25 years of contemporary dance in Atlanta in 2011. The company's permanent home, a studio on the square in downtown Decatur, is one of Atlanta's most invaluable spaces for dance.

Crossover Movement Arts
The company fuses martial arts, offbeat humor, performance art and contemporary dance. Its upcoming season includes performances for Art on the Atlanta Beltline and at the Wren's Nest and collaborations with poet Kodac Harrison and experimental jazz band Zentropy.

DanceATL

Not a company per se, this new dance community service organization holds bimonthly meetings that serve as an important, and previously lacking, communication hub for Atlanta's dancers and choreographers. Dance lovers use their performance calendar to keep up with all the shows in the Atlanta area.

D'Air Project

This cirque-style company takes dance off the floor and into the air. The seven-member, three-year-old Atlanta company combines aerial dance, floor work and theatrics.

Dance Canvas
Dance Canvas is an annual showcase for emerging Atlanta choreographers, encompassing everything from ballet to tap, and contemporary to hip-hop. The next event is slated for January 2012 at the 14th Street Playhouse. The company also organizes "DC Next," a mini-Dance Canvas for high school students that provides an opportunity for the students to try their hands at choreography.

Dance Truck
If Atlanta is reluctant to come see dance, we'll put dance on a truck and bring it to Atlanta, says Dance Truck's founder Malina Rodriguez. Using the back of a rented flatbed truck as a performance stage, Dance Truck delivers the talents of emerging young artists such as Helen Hale, Corian Ellisor and Onur Topal-Sumer right to Atlanta's doorstep.

Emory Dance
Great faculty, great visiting artists, and a great space at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Dance Studio translate to lots of opportunities to check out top-notch dance at Emory.

Full Radius Dance
Full Radius works in the field known as "physically integrated art," which means many in the company are in wheelchairs due to various disabilities. Full Radius also organizes the annual Modern Atlanta Dance Festival in January, an evening's mixed program of contemporary work from Atlanta-based companies.

Gardenhouse Dance
Gardenhouse presents the intimate works of Nicole Livieratos, one of Atlanta's most thorough, personal and witty artists in any medium. Her work has included choreographing with lawn mowers, children's wagons and a live horse.

Giwayen Mata
An energetic all-female company presenting traditional African dance. Its performance at the recent Dance Africa! Event at the National Black Arts Festival brought down the house.

gloATL
Led by renowned choreographer Lauri Stallings, gloATL has been instrumental in reenergizing Atlanta's dance scene. The group's public site-specific performances are daring, and often downright trippy.

Kennesaw State University Dance
If we were in charge of turning Atlanta into the next dance hot spot, we'd hire Ivan Pulinkala to start a huge dance program right outside the city. Fortunately, someone already did that for us. Started just six years ago, the program at KSU already has more than 100 majors and continues to grow under Pulinkala's leadership. Lauri Stallings is artist-in-residence, and there are ongoing partnerships with the Atlanta Ballet and gloATL. Its new dance center is the largest in Atlanta, and there are already plans to expand.

LIFT
This new, energetic annual showcase presided over by Daryl L. Foster and Dance Canvas alum Terry Slade presents Atlanta's emerging male choreographers and dancers each May at the Woodruff Arts Center.

2 Kids and Dream
Led by two driven and intriguing "kids" — Juel Lane and Ursula Johnson — this one-year-old upstart already has people talking. Its latest production is a showcase for Atlanta's female choreographers titled SHE Created It.

Wabi Sabi
The pointe shoes are off. The Atlanta Ballet brings its classic style to the current Atlanta trend of site-specific performances. Look for them on the streets, at Atlanta's festivals, in the park and at charity events, but start at the Botanical Gardens where the group will have its unveiling Sept. 8.

Zoetic Dance Ensemble
Zoetic began the summer by splashing into the fountains at Centennial Park for a piece about the scarcity of water as a natural resource. The group finished the season with a stunning collaboration with New York performance artist ChristinaNoel Reaves in a studio of the Atlanta Ballet. Always inventive and smart, look for this all-female troupe tucked away amid the rocks and debris at Flux in Castleberry Hill on Sept. 30.

Next: What's coming up on Atlanta's dance scene in September

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