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OPENINGS: Baryshnikov Dances into the Spotlight...Again!

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One of the biggest names in dance, Mikhail Baryshnikov, is the force behind one of the best-kept secrets in New York City…but not for long.  The Baryshnikov Arts Center located on West 37th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, recently opened the Jerome Robbins Theater.  The 238-seat, intimate performance for dance, music, and theater (it's also the home of the avant-guard theater company The Wooster Group) is state-of-the-art, ravishing to look at, and, most important, has crystal-clear acoustics and perfect sightlines. Now through May 26, the BAC inaugurates the theater with a remarkable mini-festival, May Nights that will show off the space to advantage.

Festival highlights include:

Unrelated Solos, performances by three giants of the dance world, the modern dancers David Neumann and Steve Paxton, and Baryshnikov himself, in works created for him by choreographers Benjamin Millepied, Alexei Ratmansky, and Susan Marshall. (May 19-22)

— Stabat Mater, a landmark work of sacred music by the Italian baroque composer G.B. Pergolesi, performed by singers Joélle Harvey and Jennifer Johnson and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. (May 24-25)

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— Film screening of NY Export: Opus Jazz, Jerome Robbins’ 1958 “ballet in sneakers” re-imagined for a new generation of dancers from the New York City Ballet (still, left).  After the screening, the enterprising young dancer-producers of the film, shot at locations throughout New York and New Jersey, offer a discussion about making the movie.

Movado Hour Concert, a one-hour chamber music concert, starting at 7 p.m., that features Anne-Marie McDermott, piano, Jennifer Frautschi, violin, Edward Arron, cello, and Eric Ruske, horn, in a performance of the Dvorak F Minor Piano Trio and the New York premiere of Mainframe Tropics.  Admission to the Movado concerts are free but require reservations (212/868-444, smarttix.com).

Mario Mercado is the arts editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: Mikhail Baryshnikov “Valse-Fantasie” choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky; Julieta Cervantes Film stills from “NY Export: Opus Jazz”

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