In a recent feature story, the New York Times spotlighted the Yard of Chilmark as one of the nation’s top summer dance festivals, calling the decades-old dance and choreography residency “contemporary dance’s Island getaway.”
Hidden away in the woods of Chilmark, every summer the Yard hosts some of the dance world’s most innovative artists — both established and up-and-coming choreographers and dancers.
The next few weeks will provide a good glimpse of the diversity that our Island’s own dance retreat has to offer. During August, audiences will get to enjoy the work of performers from Cuba and India, and a veteran of the breakdancing/hip-hop scene. Also coming up will be the Yard’s annual “Pride, Not Prejudice” celebration, featuring a performance, a kids pride event and, of course, the always popular DJ dance party.
The Yard’s annual “Pride, Not Prejudice” festival (inspired by the nationwide gay pride initiative) will kick off on July 28 with a very special performance by the three-woman comedy/dance troupe LMNO3, making their debut at the Yard. The following day, July 29, the Yard campus will host a children’s pride event that includes readings, activities, crafts, and an open mic. The children’s event is part of the Yard’s ongoing Quality Time series.
“Pride, Not Prejudice” will conclude with the Yard’s always-popular DanceHall evening, beginning at 8 pm and featuring dance music by DJ Vyagra Fallz and food-truck offerings, preceded at 7 pm by a presentation by community members called “Voices of Inclusion,” with Rep. Dylan Fernandes scheduled to attend.
For the third year in a row, the Yard will host Cuba’s Malpaso Dance. On August 5, the 11-member troupe will perform pieces from two new works at the Yard’s converted barn performance space, and on August 2, they will offer the Vineyard premiere of “Dreaming of Lions” at the regional high school’s state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center. The latter dance was created in part during the troupe’s residency here last year. The Latin-influenced “Dreaming of Lions,” which was inspired by the classic Hemingway novel “The Old Man and the Sea,” will be accompanied by the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra performing an original score by Grammy awardwinning composer Arturo O’Farrill. The Vineyard performance will follow on the heels of a NYC premiere at the BAM Harvey Theater.
The two pieces that will be featured at the Yard, “Indomitable Waltz” and “Why You Follow,” were created by two of North America’s preeminent choreographers, Aszure Barton and Ronald K. Brown, respectively. The evening performance has already sold out, so the Yard has added an 11 am show.
While Mr. O’Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are on-Island, they will also perform at the Yard’s annual fundraiser on August 1 at a private home in Chilmark.
The Yard will wrap up its August schedule with performances representing two very diverse cultures. On August 10 and 12, longtime breaker and hip-hop artist Raphael Xavier will present his latest work, “Point of Interest,” described on the Yard website as a piece that “tackles the natural, humorous and, at times, painful change of the maturing breaker dancer.”
On August 17 and 19, the Yard will bring Ragamala Dance to the Island for two performances by the company, led by a mother and daughter, that blends traditional Indian dance with contemporary stylings.
Throughout the summer, the Yard will also host a variety of workshops, talks, classes, and children’s events featuring the artists in residence. See dancetheyard.org for a full schedule and to purchase tickets.