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Dancing the days away in Boston

Posted by Sebastian Smee  October 19, 2011 05:28 PM

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Brown_Forest.jpg"Dance/Draw" at the Institute of Contemporary Art is the contemporary show of the year. It's smart, it's engaging, and it pulls together lots of ideas in joyful, exuberant fashion.

But it's more than just a show, and part of the pleasure, now that it's up, is thinking about - and anticipating - the show's many links with ideas, shows, and events outside the show proper. It's worth noting, for starters, the rich program of dance performances the ICA has organized in conjunction with the show. They're being staged each Friday and weekend all through November. Put 'em in your diary:

November 4, 5 and 6 (at different times): Jerome Bel's "Cedric Andrieux," a solo performed by Andrieux and choreographed by Bel, weaves together dance and reflective monologue to tell the story of the dancer's collaborations with Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, and Bel himself.

November 11, 12, and 13 (different times): the Trisha Brown Dance Company performs a series of highlights form their history, from 1978 to 2011. Should be superb.

November 18, 19, 20 (different times): the premiere of a collaboration between sculptor Sarah Sze and choreographer/performer Trajal Harrell called "The Untitled Still Life Collection."

There are other promising things this month, too - including a performance by New York-based dance company, Gallim Dance (Oct 21 and 22) and (on October 23) an evening with Baaba Maal, the Senegalese singer and story-teller.

I'm looking forward to all of this - or as much of it as I can get away to see. But I'm also enjoying thinking about the connections between "Dance/Draw" and "Degas and the Nude" at the Museum of Fine Arts, and also the DeCordova's brilliant show, "Temporary Structures: Performing Architecture in Contemporary Art."

"Degas" includes a number of drawings of naked dancers, so that's an obvious connection. And it's worth noting, too, that it opens at the same time as "Degas and the Dance" at the Royal Academy in London, co-curated by an ex-dance instructor, Jill DeVonyar (the catalogue is a must).

"Temporary Structures," meanwhile, speaks directly to "Dance/Draw" - both shows are concerned with how movement relates to space, which is a dull way of generalizing about a lot of exciting and very diverse work - and even shares two of its artists, the dynamic dance and performance duo who call themselves robbinschilds. Their works are brilliant, and often hilarious.

See all these shows if you can, and as much of the associated extra-curricular activity as you can manage! Exciting times...

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About the author

The Boston Globe Journalist Series: Sebastian Smee
Sebastian Smee is the Globe's art critic, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He joined the paper's staff from Sydney, where he served as the national art critic for The Australian. He can be reached at ssmee@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @SebastianSmee. Read Smee's full bio.

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