Summer arts preview: Top 5 dance picks


Whether it’s a tango walk across the floor or a rope dance in the air, there are summertime performances just about everywhere. Our top five dance picks include a festival with shows at nearly a dozen downtown stages, a North County series at The Vine Theater, and a visit from those sexy “Dancing With the Stars” brothers, Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

The San Diego International Fringe Festival

The annual festival offers an opportunity to see more than a dozen dance companies including Astraeus Aerial Dance Theatre, bkSOUL/Collective Purpose, and the critically acclaimed somebodies dance theater, founded by choreographers Gina and Kyle Sorensen. This year, somebodies dance theater will present the world premiere of SILO, featuring five dancers who perform in garments made of plastic bags. The work, staged at the Spreckels Theatre, plays with the concept of the body as a storehouse for that which is life-giving or life-taking. Dance performances at the Fringe Festival are presented at multiple venues, including the Lyceum Theatre, the Spreckels Theatre and the Diversionary Black Box. Check the festival site for showtimes and locations.

June 23-July 3. Various performers and venues. $10 per show with a one-time $5 Fringe Tag for festival admission.

The Engagement Ring: “#TheScreensBetweenUs”

The last of the Malashock Dance season’s innovative Engagement Ring series is titled “#TheScreensBetweenUs,” a work by Brianna Pilkinton that observes how human connections are affected when viewing the world through our screens. This outdoor piece also challenges the conventional expectations of audience behavior and invites participants to engage through use of smartphones, cameras and social media.

6:30 p.m. June 25. Courtyard in front of the entrance to Luna Grill, Liberty Station, 2400 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego. $10. 619.260.1622 or

Monica Bill Barnes & Company

Known for touring with Ira Glass to restage radio interviews as dance pieces, Monica Bill Barnes & Company is a fusion of comedy and technically precise movement. Its classically trained performers take on opposing themes, like mixing big dance moves with small gestures that interpret the way real people dance in awkward situations. The intent of this new show is to highlight the length to which performers go to engage, entertain and win over a group of strangers.

7:30 p.m. June 29. White Box Live Arts, 2590 Truxtun Road, No. 205, San Diego. $20. (619) 225-1803 or

Summer Series at The Vine

Faith Jensen-Ismay and the Mojalet Dance Collective will host its Summer Series at The Vine Theater with 10 performances by different choreographers. The season opens with Betzi Roe’s work, which is inspired by the theme of migration. Erica Buechner’s evening-length dance, “The Dying Swan: Revisited/Re-envisioned,” is presented July 30-31, and “Finding Ground,” the final show in September, is a full-company performance by the Mojalet Dancers.

7 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sundays, July 16 to Sept. 18. The Vine Theater, Bernardo Winery, 13330 Paseo Del Verano, Rancho Bernardo. $10-$15. 858.243.1402 or

Maks & Val: Our Way

“Dancing With the Stars” (ABC) siblings Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy are teaming up, tearing off their shirts and embarking on a 45-city summer tour. The show, titled “Our Way,” features choreography that tells the story of their upbringing and passion for dance. Maks is the 2014 winner of the DWTS Mirrorball Trophy with Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis. Val and partner Rumer Willis won the trophy last year. Who’s cuter? Can’t decide.

8 p.m. Aug. 10. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown. $47-$77. 619.570-1100

Manna is a freelance writer.