A new generation of innovative Atlanta dance companies has quietly emerged in the past few years, and the First Glance Atlanta festival of new works is throwing them a debutante ball Oct. 18-Nov. 3. As often happens at such events, the veterans are getting a bit frisky, too. Though the citywide festival's dance companies are wildly diverse in their artistic sensibilities and motivations, they share an exhilarating passion for creating beyond the conventional boundaries of dance's proper concerns and domain.
Among the highlights:
Aria for an Endangered Species Core Performance Company. Inspired by Yoko Ono's installation Endangered Species 2319-2322, Ellen Bromberg's choreography recounts the dying-day regrets and redemptions of an apocalypse family, disinterred from the unspecified ruble of their demise. Oct. 18-19 at the 14th Street Playhouse.
Mutation Full Radius Dance. Einstein once warned, "Technology must not outweigh our humanity." Who better to reassert humanity than this integrated company of both able-bodied and physically disabled dancers who must daily incorporate technology into their being? Oct. 26 at the Northeast Intown YWCA.
The Monster Project Zoetic Dance Ensemble and The New York Mix. New York and Atlanta choreographers collaborating on a show? Ooh ... scary. Complete with paintings by Jeremy Dost and sculpture by Jena Jones, The Monster Project fires a full-out artistic salvo at the monster menagerie. Oct. 18-20 & 24-26 at Ballroom Studios.
Plainsong; The Memory Dances Room to Move Dance. Inspired by Kent Haruf's book of the same name, Plainsong abstractly interprets seven characters from the book who are -- like the early Christian chanting plainsongs -- simple, direct and surprisingly moving. "Anjou" is also on the program. Nov. 2 at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.
Ramblin' Suite Atlanta Ballet. Raising its collective finger at the Metropolitan mores that keep Swan Lake in heavy rotation, the Atlanta Ballet is hitching up with North Carolina's Red Clay Ramblers for some bluegrass ballet. Georges Bizet's Carmen, the story of a gypsy woman who could curl the finest danseur's toes, is also on the bill. Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Fox Theatre.
SPIN Zoetic Dance Ensemble and Dancing Wild et al. It's a dizzying fusion Zoetic has brought together for this one. DJ R. St. James will spin live for the dancers of Zoetic and Gathering Wild, with subMedia's Frankie Lopez providing projected visual transitions between the pieces. Hang on tight. Nov. 1-2 at Eyedrum.
Making Light Out of Darkness Duende Dance Theatre. Struggling to find spiritual meaning in the aftermath of 9-11, Amanda Exley Lower turned to Henryk Gorecki's Symphony #3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, in which the Polish composer lamented the millions lost in World War II. Making Light Out of Darkness is both a dirge and a dance of defiance. Oct. 29-30 at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.
Urban Soup Freddie Hendricks Youth Ensemble of Atlanta. The internationally acclaimed troupe of young Atlanta performers (ages 9-23) is stirring up an urban variety show with a dash of philosophy about issues such as teen violence and growing up black in America. Oct. 18-20 at The Globe Theatre.
ZipLOCK. Moving in the Spirit. Though committed to movement with message, ZipLOCK isn't all manifestos and creeds. In one piece, two "Super Sheroes" stomp out sinister cellulite and, rather counterproductively it would seem, leave chocolate kisses as calling cards. Oct. 18-20 & 25-27 at The Beam.
For event listings, see Arts Agenda (p. 68). For more information, go to www.firstglanceatlanta.com or call the Atlanta Convention and Visitor's Bureau at 404-521-6688.