World of new dance moves on tap for Rialto’s Off the Edge


Off the Edge

8 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at the Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth St. N.W., Atlanta. $28-$38 each performance; $46-$62 both nights (with discounts for students, dancers). 404-413-9849,

From a French hip-hop dance troupe showcasing Brazilian street dancers to an American tap dancer performing to a soulful a cappella choir, Off the Edge will bring a range of new movement expressions to the Rialto Center for the Arts early next year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the exclusive news of the second contemporary dance event’s lineup, which is to be formally announced by the Rialto, Georgia State University’s downtown performing arts center, at a Thursday night reception at Atlanta Ballet’s studios.

Billed as a "biennial dance immersion," Off the Edge launched in 2011 with the mission of exposing Atlantans to emerging national and international talents that are making headlines at happenings such as Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts. The inaugural event drew enthusiastic reviews, praised for bringing missing ingredients to Atlanta's maturing dance scene.

Centered around a weekend of Rialto performances Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, the second edition is being curated by Ilter Ibrahimof, a Montreal-based artist manager and artistic adviser to Quebec's Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur and New York City Center's Fall for Dance Festival.

“We decided to bring a sampling of artists from different styles of the dance world showing what they are doing right now,” Ibrahimof said of his planning with Rialto director Leslie Gordon in an exclusive interview with the AJC. “I tried to look at different styles of dance, mostly young artists who are (presenting) off the edge work.”

While “edge” is the operative word, Ibrahimof added that he also sought dance that was accessible and possessed universal appeal. “Hopefully people who see Off the Edge will fall in love with dance and want to come and see more at the Rialto or otherwise, and generally be more interested in what happens in Atlanta with dance,” he said.

The performers include:

  • Dance Heginbotham, a New York troupe founded in 2011 to perform the technically rigorous and theatrical movement of artistic director John Heginbotham.
  • Random Dance, choreographer Wayne McGregor's London-based, technology-embracing ensemble. Atlanta Ballet launched its 2011-12 season with McGregor's bold, futuristic "Eden/Eden."
  • Wabi Sabi, Atlanta Ballet's contemporary, dancer-run offshoot, reprising Jennifer Archibald's "Sweet Sorrow."
  • Compagnie Kafig, the French hip-hop troupe under the artistic direction of Mourad Merzouki, performing excerpts from "Kafig Brazil" with an all-Brazilian cast.
  • Hubbard Street Dance, the celebrated Chicago troupe making its first Atlanta appearance since 2008, dancing Alejandro Cerrudo's "Never Was."
  • Kennesaw State University's Dance Company performing a new, football-themed work by Dance Department Chairman Ivan Pulinkala.
  • Tap dancer Michelle Dorrance of New York collaborating with Atlanta-born, New York-based singer Aaron Marcellus and an a cappella choir of Atlanta singers.

Each evening’s program will feature four performances, with Dance Heginbotham and Random Dance appearing both nights (only one short work will be repeated).

Off the Edge also will comprise flash mobs commissioned from Dorrance and Heginbotham and Edge in Unexpected Places, free performances by metro dance companies (Jan. 27-Feb. 1 at various sites) being curated by Sue Schroeder of Decatur’s Core Performance Company.

KSU and the Rialto are co-presenting Off the Edge, funded by the Atlanta-based Charles Loridans Foundation.