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Bay Area blooming with big dance events — here’s a look

Dance fans are probably in heaven right now. The next two weeks feature some of the Bay Area’s — and the country’s — top performers coming at Bay Area venues. Here’s a partial rundown.

Smuin Contemporary Ballet

The popular San Francisco company is reprising its “Dance Series 1” program this weekend in Mountain View, which is particularly good news for fans of Johnny Cash and Dave Brubeck.  The program includes James Kudelka’s “The Man in Black,” a bittersweet ode to Johnny Cash in which dancers clad in country-western garb (including cowboy boots) perform to songs covered by the singer-songwriter legend. Also included is company member Rex Wheeler’s “Take Five,” set to the songs and distinctive rhythms of Dave Brubeck, and a revival of late company founder Michael Smuin’s lively “Carmina Burana.”

Smuin’s annual new works series Contemporary Showcase is slated for March 6-8 at the company’s new San Francisco digs. All performances are listed as sold out, but check the company website to see if any seats become available.

Details: Dance Series 1 — five performances Feb. 27-March 1; Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; $25-$79; www.smuinballet.org.

Nancy Kar+ Dancers will perform “rain rain” at the Dresher Ensemble Studio Ensemble in West Oakland Feb. 27-March 1. 

Nancy Karp + Dancers

The adventurous East Bay troupe returns with another Karp-choreographed site-specific work, titled “piano piano,” at the Dresher Ensemble Studio in West Oakland. The title, says Karp, is a reference to an Italian expression essentially meaning “take your time,” and the performers will indeed unfold the work at a gradual pace through the building’s halls, balconies and central floor space. The work is set to music by Bay Area composer/sound engineer Jay Cloidt.

Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 27-29, 3 p.m. March 1; Dresher Ensemble Studio, Oakland; $25-$45; www.nancykarp.org.

Wendy Whelan and Carla Beiser perform in “The Day.’ (SF Performances) 

Wendy Whelan and Maya Beiser

Whelan, the former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, teams with Beiser, the so-called “rock star cellist” out of New York, on the moody 9/11-themed “The Day.” The evening-length piece is choreographed by another New York arts icon, Lucinda Childs, and set to music and words by David Lang. It comes to San Francisco this weekend, presented by San Francisco Performances.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27-28; Herbst Theatre, San Francisco; $45-$65; sfperformances.org.

San Francisco Ballet

The company’s next program features a keenly anticipated revival of Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The legendary choreographer’s whimsical and romantic take on the Shakespeare classic, which S.F. Ballet hasn’t performed in 34 years, is a family-friendly production with eye-popping sets and costumes and a cast of more than 100 — including some 25 kids.

Details: March 6-16; War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco; $35-$399; www.sfballet.org.

Joffrey Ballet

The acclaimed Chicago troupe returns to UC Berkeley to perform a program packed with Bay Area or West Coast premieres, including Nicolas Blanc’s “Beyond the Shore,” set to music by San Francisco composer Mason Bates, and Justin Peck’s “The Times are Racing,” set to music by groundbreaking electronic composer Dan Deacon.

Details: Presented by Cal Performances; March 6-8; Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley; $21-$148; 510-642-9988, calperformances.org.

Dorrance Dance

The acclaimed New York tap dance company led by Michelle Dorrance, who has performed with STOMP! and Savion Glover, brings her troupe and her sound/choreography extravaganza “SOUNDspace” to the Bay Area for two shows.

Details: 7:30 p.m. March 7 at Weill Hall at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park; $25-$75; gmc.sonoma.edu; 7:30 p.m. March 10 at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford; presented by Stanford Live; $40-$90; live.stanford.edu.

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