At 20, Smuin Ballet has begun to make major inroads into drawing audiences with a repertoire that pushes the boundaries of ballet without disowning late founder Michael Smuin's heritage. Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián's Return to a Strange Land is a case in point. Oct. 4-12, Palace of Fine Arts, SF; www.smuinballet.org.
To honor Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company's three decades of rethinking dance, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has scheduled exhibits, conversations, master classes, video screenings, a site-specific piece at CounterPULSE (Oct. 10), and a rethinking of a classic. In A Rite Jones works with theater pioneer Anne Bogart for a fresh take on Stravinsky's masterwork The Rite of Spring. Oct. 7-13, YBCA and CounterPULSE, SF; www.ybca.org.
For its 40th anniversary, Oakland-based Dimensions Dance Theater makes a rare appearance in SF. At this year's SF Ethnic Dance Festival, the company just about tore the roof off YBCA with its explosively joyous take on a New Orleans funeral. The anniversary program offers glimpses into past — going back to 1973 — and the world premiere of Rhythms of Life Down the Congo Line. Oct. 5, YBCA, SF; www.dimensionsdance.org.
Flamenco's La Tania and ODC/Dance (with Waving Not Drowning: A Guide to Elegance, featuring paper dresses) are among the participants in Cal Performances' annual hit show, Fall Free for All, an all-day open house of live performances on the UC Berkeley campus. Sept. 29, UC Berkeley, Berk; calperfs.berkeley.edu.
Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton of Garrett + Moulton Productions seem to inspire each other in pursuing the unknown with a common language. A Show of Hands is their latest endeavor — daytime performances exploring gestures with the help of Dan Becker's commissioned score, performed live by the Friction Quartet. Oct. 17-26, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, SF; www.garrettmoulton.org.
Offered at noon every first Friday, the Rotunda Dance Series, presented by Dancers' Group and World Arts West, makes City Hall sing in a dance-by-the-people, for-the-people sort of way. Kicking off the new season is Peruvian dance company Asociación Cultural Kanchis. Starts Sept. 6, City Hall, SF; www.dancersgroup.org. *