A great beat awaits: Jones troupe, Glover, dancing along Tryon

Shall we dance?

In the past, when I attended a dance performance in the Charlotte area, it was purely for fun.

I'll still have a good time when N.C. Dance Theatre performs a work choreographed by Dwight Rhoden (I'll have three chances this year). And there is a diverse and tantalizing slate of programs that will tempt travel to Winthrop and UNC Charlotte.

This season, however, it will be part of my job. How great is that?

Besides writing local columns, I'll be covering the dance beat at the Observer, taking a handoff from my colleague Steven Brown.

A highlight this year is sure to be a Feb. 24 performance of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in the Belk Theater. It will be the first time this troupe – celebrating its 25th anniversary – visits Charlotte.

The company, based in Harlem in New York, was founded after 11 years of collaboration during which Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane (who died in 1988) created works that brought unique forms to modern dance and featured themes of social commentary.

In 2007, Jones earned a Tony Award for best choreography for steering the young cast of “Spring Awakening” through its sexually repressed paces. “Fela” – co-written by Jones and his longtime dramaturge, Jim Lewis, and directed and choreographed by Jones – was set to open Aug. 28 in New York. It is based on the life of the Nigerian composer and politician Fela Anipulako Kuti.

Tap master Savion Glover returns on Oct. 27, for the first time since February 2007 when he brought “Classical Savion” and an eclectic audience to the Belk. This time, “Bare Soundz” promises jazz and Caribbean beats, and of course, Glover's percussive, hypnotic tap dancing.

I remember Glover's exuberant and witty work in Broadway's “Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk,” for which he won a Tony for best choreography. But tell younger fans his steps brought to life Mumble – the tap-dancing penguin star of the animated hit “Happy Feet.”

Styles will range from tango to belly dancing, flamenco to “Riverdance.” If you don't feel like going inside, the Charlotte Dance Festival promises “Dancing in the Streets” along Tryon.

Getting back to N.C. Dance, Balanchine is balanced with “A Night at the Movies,” the “Nutcracker” and Rhoden's “Othello.” The choreographer returns with a larger audience, courtesy of a collaboration with Desmond Richardson on TV's “So You Think You Can Dance.”

I'll fill you in from a front-row seat.