Seattle Times arts writer Moira Macdonald looks ahead to fall dance events, including a Merce Cunningham company farewell tour, a Christopher Wheeldon showcase at Pacific Northwest Ballet and Alonzo King's LINES Ballet.

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Fall dance on Seattle-area stages offers a welcome variety before the post-Thanksgiving “Nutcracker” deluge. Among the season’s highlights are a poignant last farewell: The longtime company of modern-dance legend Merce Cunningham, a Centralia native who died in 2009, makes a Seattle stop on its farewell tour before the group dissolves — giving audiences one last opportunity to view several of Cunningham’s seminal works, performed by dancers he trained. It’ll be at the Paramount, Oct. 27-29.

Neoclassical ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon gets a showcase at Pacific Northwest Ballet, where four of his works will open the company’s 2011-12 season (Sept. 23-Oct. 2, McCaw Hall).

San Francisco-based choreographer Alonzo King brings his LINES Ballet to Meany Hall (Nov. 17-19), with a program that will feature his 2009 work “Scheherazade.” Chamber Dance Company brings works from the ’80s and ’90s to its annual concert Oct. 13-16 at Meany, featuring local choreographer Wade Madsen as well as dances from Bebe Miller, Daniel Shapiro and Joanie Smith. And local favorite Pilobolus, absent for the past four years, brings its twisty dancers back to the UW World Dance Series Oct. 6-8.

And for those looking for seasonally spooky works, two local companies are offering a Halloween program: “The Haunted Theatre” at Tacoma City Ballet (Oct. 22-30) and the return of “Dracula” by the International Ballet Theatre in Bellevue (Oct. 21-30).

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Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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