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to nov. 8

Arnold Schwarzenegger, beer, and the waltz have, arguably, been among the best of Austria’s exports to the United States. Yet over time, each of those once-fabulous things has become less interesting. An outspoken bodybuilder has turned into an ineffectual politician, rare brews have become predictable bar standbys, and a curious folk dance has become the most staid ballroom staple. But rather than lament the dulling of some of Austria’s finest creations, Americans need to turn their eyes toward some of the country’s newer cultural contributions. The dance festival “Beyond the Waltz” was organized just for that purpose—to expose U.S. audiences to the world of contemporary Austrian dance. According to the festival’s planners, the idea for the event came from the realization that no major dance company from Austria had performed in Washington in more than 30 years. To celebrate the arrival of Austrian modern dance in the states, a variety of performers are presenting the best works of their companies and several world premieres. Vienna’s Company Bernd R. Bienert debuts Frames: Counter Memory/Hippolytos, a piece about “remembering,” “being alone with oneself,” and “being imprisoned within one’s Beings,” and also screens “Ice Storm, Sculpture and Tides,” a series of videos that mix dance and architectural works. Willi Dorner offers up No Credits, a duet inspired by video games, and Washington choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess presents Images From the Ember, which was inspired by French novelist Marguerite Duras and features an original score by Washington City Paper staffer Aaron Leitko; neither piece could be further from a routine of steps and turns done in 3/4 time. The festival runs to Wednesday, Nov. 8, at various locations; see City List for details. Free. For reservations call (202) 895-6714. (Sarah Godfrey)