Perennial dance favorites to close the year

Andrea Daniel
Special to the Detroit News

This fall in dance, there’s the traditional, the contemporary and holiday favorites, as Metro Detroit venues fill their culturally diverse niches with companies from New York to Texas and Cambodia to Russia.

The Detroit Opera House presents the 173-year old ballet, “Giselle,” performed by Houston Ballet Nov. 1 and 2.

“ ‘Giselle’ remains one of the great stories,” says David DiChiera, founder and artistic director of the Michigan Opera Theatre and Detroit Opera House. “And we haven’t done a story ballet for the last several years here. You know, the full-length ballet with the orchestra and the whole of what makes grand ballet what it is.”

In the ballet, the young Giselle, a peasant girl, is deceived by her lover, dies of a broken heart and is transported to the supernatural world of the Wilis, where the ghosts of betrayed women dance men to death. The Wilis set upon Giselle’s lover.

“This production of ‘Giselle’ is kind of a signature ballet for the Houston Ballet,” DiChiera adds. “It was their very first full-length ballet when they created the ballet company there about 50 years ago.”

Cambodia arrives at the Music Hall with the Royal Ballet of Cambodia on Nov. 6.

The company brings its traditional ancient dance, including “guys with long nails and unbelievable costumes,” says Vince Paul, president and artistic director of the Music Hall.

“This is lucky,” he explains, “because they were almost phased out in the 1970s during the killing fields. To have them back performing around the world as Cambodia continues to open up to the world … this is must see.”

November’s launch of the holiday season brings with it toy soldiers and images of sugar plums dancing in your head, and across the stage of the Detroit Opera House in BalletMet’s “The Nutcracker,” accompanied by the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra for five performances Nov. 28 through 30.

But there will be plenty more opportunities to take in the beloved “Nutcracker” during the last month of the year with the Macomb Ballet Company’s presentation at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts and the Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” at the Fox Theatre.

Coming from Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesse Dance Department in December is its Departmental Dance Concert showcasing works by student and faculty members.

For the two hour-long concert, pieces that student choreographers previously auditioned were selected by faculty to grace the stage at the Bonstelle Theatre.

The concert also showcases works by faculty members Biba Bell and Travis Staton-Marrero.

The piece “Of the Earth and Far Below,” which was set by guest artist Eddie Taketa, a 20-year member of Doug Verone and Dancers out of New York, rounds out the concert. The song “Triple Quartet” by Steve Weich provides the background music for the dance.

Dance schedule

Detroit Opera House

1526 Broadway, Detroit

(313) 237-7464,

“Giselle,” Nov. 1-2

Fox Theatre

2211 Woodward, Detroit

(313) 396-7901,

“Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian

Nutcracker,” Dec. 21

Maggie Allesee Dance Studio

(Wayne State University)

4841 Cass, Detroit

(313) 577-4273

“December Departmental Dance Concert,” Dec. 5, 7

(Performance at Bonstelle Theatre, 3424 Woodward, Detroit)

Macomb Center for the

Performing Arts

44575 Garfield, Clinton Township

(586) 286-2141,

“The Nutcracker,” Dec. 12

Music Hall Center for the

Performing Arts

350 Madison, Detroit

(313) 887-8500

“The Royal Ballet of Cambodia,” Nov. 6

“The Russian Classical Ballet

Nutcracker,” Dec. 13

Compiled by Jocelynn Brown