Fall Arts Guide: New and classic works reflect inquiry and rigor

In "Step the Brain Along a Path," Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre's Rachel Van Buskirk moves beneath a glowing projection design based on brain imaging.
Courtesy of Felipe Barral

Credit: Felipe Barral

Credit: Felipe Barral

In "Step the Brain Along a Path," Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre's Rachel Van Buskirk moves beneath a glowing projection design based on brain imaging. Courtesy of Felipe Barral

Two-and-a-half years ago, the pandemic interrupted many Atlanta dance artists’ plans, but most of them didn’t waste time. Supported in part by generous federal grants, many artists went deeper into their creative processes, either alone or in collaboration with others. Rigor — whether physical, intellectual or psychological — is evident in this fall’s offerings that reflect a range of responses to American life during an unprecedented period of time.

“Step the Brain Along a Path.” In a project three years in the making, Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre joins forces with Emory University and Georgia Tech neuroscientists to explore the science and ethics of using advanced biotechnology to cure diseases of the brain and body — advances that are blurring boundaries between our bodies and technology. Choreographer Troy Schumacher envisions neural activity as geometric movement patterns where dancers’ paths comprise larger fields of connectivity. Sergio Mora-Diaz’ stage designs illuminate the ethereal aspects of brain imaging as artists and scientists seek to understand the mystery of human consciousness. Sept. 9 and 11, Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-894-9600, artsgatech.universitytickets.com.

“A Time with Isadora.” Early modern dance innovator Isadora Duncan made a name for herself during the 1890s by giving salon performances in the parlors of New York City’s elite. These small-scale beginnings were part of a revolution in dance that continues to resonate today. In similar salon style, Movement Arts Atlanta will feature Duncan’s ”Narcissus” alongside three of José Limón’s “Dances for Isadora,” showing how a next-generation artist drew inspiration from Duncan the original. Festival producer Carolyn Stine McLaughlin and choreographers Douglas Scott and George Staib offer new works exploring how one artist’s work influences another. Sept. 29, Inman Park Trolley Barn, 963 Edgewood Ave. NE, Atlanta. Atimewithisadora.org.

“Tile.” A lock of hair, a photograph or a line of verse — these are a few things that can send our minds looping into the past to draw memories into the present. In collaboration with poet Nicholas Goodly, Nathan Griswold of Fly on a Wall explores aspects of memory — how we edit and distill memories over time, and how present circumstances can alter how and what we remember. In a starkly lit black box theater, Ptar’s electronic soundscape engulfs the senses as performers seemingly move through windows on their former and future selves. Nov. 4-6, The Windmill Arts Center, 2823 Church St., East Point. flyonawall.buzz.

“Free Bird Being.” Choreographer Lauri Stallings and her performance platform Glo have an uncanny ability to vivify environments and intensify human encounters within those spaces. Presented outdoors at Serenbe, this new live art work takes cues from Pearl Cleage’s poetry while exploring themes of growth — both “immeasurable and elemental,” Stallings says. Inside a billowy tent-like structure, with audience members seated on all sides, a group of women spanning three generations will use the body to stir up movement, memory and possibility as they deepen relationships with each other and the audience. Nov. 5, Serenbe, 9055 Selborne Lane, Chattahoochee Hills. gloatl.org.