Fall Arts Preview: Dance highlights run from modern to the Bard
The sheer quantity of advance notices piling up over the summer could overwhelm even a committed dance observer. But then come the aha! moments where you grab your pencil to fill in one more slot on the calendar. The Bay Area is still an exceptional place to watch dance, whether you do it at the prestigious Zellerbach Hall or the Mission District's humbler CounterPULSE. By including four local choreographers who have risen to the forefront in recent years, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts's Bay Area Now 5 (BAN5) series just may be the most noteworthy shows of the fall season. The works of the Erika Shuch Performance Project (After All, Part 1, Sept. 1214), Robert Moses' Kin (Toward September, Sept. 1820), Dohee Lee (Flux, Oct. 1618), and Keith Hennessy (Delinquent, Nov. 1315) couldn't be more different from one another. So these world premieres, supported and at least partially commissioned by the YBCA, are a vote of confidence in the health of local dance (check www.ybca.org  for performance details). Read on for more notable dance dates.
Courage Group When longtime dancer and arts activist Todd Courage started his own company some six years ago, his work immediately stood for the breadth of its references and its theatrical savvy. Pinpoint, an evening of three world premieres, is his most ambitious endeavor yet.
Sept. 1113, Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida, SF. (415) 863-9834, www.odctheater.org 
Shawl-Anderson 50th Anniversary Gala With dancers flying in from across the nation, this event is a huge celebration of the lives and works of Frank Shawl and Victor Anderson, who have run Shawl-Anderson Modern Dance Center the Bay Area's oldest dance studio for the past five decades. The gala is preceded by two performance salons Sept. 19.
Sept. 20, St. John's Presbyterian Church, 2727 College, Berk.; www.shawl-anderson.org 
Keyhole Dances Erin Mei-Stuart is a smart, witty, idiosyncratic choreographer. For this series of matinee performances, she takes her EmSpace ensemble to the third floor of a Victorian flat in the Fillmore neighborhood. Buy a ticket and find out location details.
Sept. 2028. private home, SF. www.emspacedance.org/keyhole 
Mark Morris Dance Group Romeo and Juliet without a balcony scene, but with a happy ending? If anyone can bring this off, MM can. His Romeo and Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare, is based on the old standby's recently discovered original libretto and score, and is said to reflect Prokofiev's initial vision for the piece.
Sept. 2528. Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft at Telegraph, UC Berkeley, Berk. (510) 642-9988, www.calperformances.org 
Chitresh Das Chitresh Das has managed to popularize Kathak, one of India's most rhythmic dance forms. For these performances, Das and his musicians will challenge each other to ever-greater heights. It's dance in which improvisation and structure go hand in hand.
Sept. 2728. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF. (415) 978-2787, www.kathak.org 
Nâ Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu Patrick Makuakane is master showman but also a deeply serious practitioner and student of hula. He has gorgeous dancers, and the "Hula Show 2008" promises to be spectacular, witty, and fun. Includes a family show on Sunday.
Oct. 1119. Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon, SF. www.cityboxoffice.com 
Kirov Ballet A superb company (and orchestra) but why such a conservative repertory for an ensemble that these days performs George Balanchine and William Forsythe in addition to the story ballets?
Oct. 1419. Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft at Telegraph, UC Berkeley, Berk. (510) 642-9988, www.calperformances.org 
Merce Cunningham Dance Company This four-program series is superb overview of half a century of dancemaking by a giant of an artist. The Nov. 7 performance includes colloquia and a conversation with Cunningham.
Nov. 715. Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft at Telegraph, UC Berkeley, Berk. (510) 642-9988, www.calperformances.org 
Axis Dance Company Over the years Axis has redefined long-cherished ideas about who can and who cannot dance. They are true revolutionaries. This 20th anniversary concert includes works by Sonya Delwaide, Joe Goode, Alex Ketley, and Kate Weare.
Nov. 1416. Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice, Oakl. www.axisdance.org 
Diablo Ballet With "An Evening on Broadway," featuring the work of George Balanchine, Lynn Taylor Corbett, and Christopher Stowell, Diablo takes a very welcome step away from in-house choreography.
Nov. 2122. Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek. www.diabloballet.org