Spring Dance Goes Marvelously Modern

Performances in Boston this May have a decidedly contemporary flair

Boston is alive with dance performances this month, from world-class local group Boston Ballet, to a national tour a la Alvin Ailey, to one big line dance in Le Grand Continental.

May 1-4

New York City’s legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater makes its annual pilgrimage to the Hub. Depending on the day, audiences see two separate programs over five performances: The first features choreographer Aszure Barton’s “LIFT,” the innovative Bill T. Jones’ “D-Man in the Waters (Part 1)” and Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma”; the second sets its sights on two ballets created by founder Ailey that incorporate the music of Duke Ellington: “Night Creature, Pas de Duke” and “The River,” as well as Ailey classic “Revelations” set to traditional spirituals. Citi Wang Theater, 270 Tremont St., 866.348.9738, www.celebrityseries.org

May 8-18

Boston Ballet’s three-part spring repertory mixes classic with contemporary. On the Opera House stage, see two dynamic American premieres: Petr Zuska, of Czech Republic’s National Theatre, piece “D.M.J. 1953-1977” and the transformative Alexander Ekman’s compelling “Cacti.” Following, Harald Lander’s well-known “Études” offers a climactic end to a wonderful show. Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., 617.695.6955, www.bostonballet.org

May 16-18

In the heart of Back Bay, Celebrity Series of Boston wraps up its 75th anniversary season with one zany, high-energy party of sorts. Le Grand Continental, the brainchild of Québécois choreographer Sylvain Émard, stars hundreds of ordinary people (read: not professional dancers) from the Boston community in line dance formation, performing choreographed, but carefree, moves to a techno-pop mash-up of contemporary music. Plus, it’s free to get in. Copley Square, Dartmouth Street at Boylston, 866.348.9738, www.celebrityseries.org