Lida Winfield's "Imaginary" is a dance piece for five bodies exploring identity in the modern era. Credit: Photo by Colin C. Boyd

As temperatures climb upward of 80 degrees again this weekend, some Mainers will duck into air-conditioned theaters to see dance artists bring world-class cool to the stage.

The 38th annual Bates Dance Festival lifts the curtain on its mainstage performances Thursday, July 25. Running through Aug. 3, Lewiston will play host to seven spectacular dance companies and collaborations, performing in distinct contemporary styles.

In addition to main productions, the festival has numerous satellite shows, galas, dances and concerts. It ramps up Thursday with a public square dance on the grassy Bates Quad, hosted by Portland caller Dela Murphy teaching contra dance basics, and concludes with a youth program Aug. 3. Check the website for more info and bulk ticketing information.

To help you fill out the calendar, we’ve interpreted each mainstage performance with its own distinctive title.

The Emotion-Stirrer

Credit: Photo by Erin Baiano

Doug Varone is a Bates Dance Festival standby, a crowd-favorite artist who’s been performing at the festival since 1992. Varone’s group has won 11 Bessie Awards (a prestigious New York dance world honor) for their emotionally charged productions, which they’ve toured to more than 125 cities across the globe. This year, Varone and his company premier a piece of dance-theater that deals with acts of faith called “in the shelter of the fold/epilogue,” on Thursday, July 25, and Friday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Schaeffer Theatre. Tickets are $35 ($28 seniors; $12 students).

The Playful One

Credit: Photo by Colin C. Boyd

Spoken word artist and choreographer Lida Winfield brings her quirky and kinetic show “Imaginary,” a piece for five dancers that explores the evolving expectations of identity in the modern era, to the stage Friday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 27, at 2 p.m. in the Gannett Theater. Tickets are $20 ($15 seniors; $12 students).

The Dance History Deconstructionist

Credit: Photo by Noor Eemaan

From Israel, the New York-based artist Netta Yerushalmy brings the whopping “Paranormalities,” a contemporary 20-dancer revisit of classic works by dance artists such as George Balanchine, Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. “Paranormalities” is performed Saturday, July 27, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 28, at 1 p.m. at the Schaeffer Theatre. Tickets are $25 ($18 seniors; $12 students).

The Pathbreaker

Credit: Ian Douglas

Reggie Wilson founded the Fist & Heel Performance Group in 1989, a vehicle for exploring the cultures of Africans living in the Americas, creating what he calls “post-African/Neo-Hoodoo modern dances.” He performs the solo work “Introduction,” an excerpt solo from the provocative full-evening work “Citizen” exploring history, identity and belonging, and “the duet” on Sunday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Schaeffer Theatre. Tickets are $25 ($18 seniors; $12 students).

The World-Creator

Credit: Photo by Maria Baranova-Suzuki

Next week, “what will we be like when we get there” is Brooklyn-based choreographer/dancer Joanna Kotze’s dance exploration of desires, expectations and fantasies created after the sociopolitical fallout of the 2016 election. The movement piece is heavy on sound and visual design and will be performed Thursday, Aug. 1, and Friday, Aug. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Gymnasium. Tickets are $20 ($15 seniors; $12 students).

The Afrofuturist

Credit: Photo by Ian Douglas

From Zimbabwe and based in New York City, the artist nora chipaumire brings a noisy, musical and unapologetically Black show called “100% POP”. With the help of two DJs, chipaumire challenges and embraces stereotypes of African culture and “the black performance body,” using Zimbabwean Chimurenga music and the life work of iconic pop singer Grace Jones as source material. “100% POP” is performed Thursday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 3, at 9:30 p.m., and Friday, Aug. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gannett Theater. Tickets are $20 ($15 seniors; $12 students).

The Social Practice Artists

Credit: Photo by Gema Galiana

Finally, the unconventional art/dance team jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham take the festival offsite. Their nomadic piece “Intervention,” described as equal parts performance and public action, is designed to provoke dialogue about Black queer life in public space. Attendance is free, and open to anyone who wishes to follow it through the streets of Portland on Aug. 2 (beginning at Indigo Arts Alliance and Blackstones at 7 p.m.) and Lewiston on Aug. 3 (beginning at Tree Street Youth and New Beginnings at 6:30 p.m.).