9 Performances Heating Things Up This February

January 31, 2024

Brand-new works and U.S. premieres fill February’s jam-packed performance calendar. Here’s what we want to catch most.

Romeo and Juliet and Couples Therapy

A male dancer is on hands and knees, fingers of one hand extended as though to brush the foot of the female dancer standing over him. She stands neutrally, looking down at what he is doing. Upstage is a barebones set of a small table with two chairs and two wooden doors.
Solène Weinachter and Kip Johnson in Lost Dog’s Juliet & Romeo. Photo by Kelsey Carman, courtesy Stanford Live.

STANFORD, CA  What if Romeo and Juliet, instead of dying as star-crossed teens, lived to grow up and had to learn how to deal with each other? Ben Duke’s Juliet & Romeo shows the couple, now roughly 40 years old, putting on a dance theater performance for a live audience to confront their relationship troubles and the pressures of being the overgrown poster children for romantic love. Lost Dog’s critically acclaimed duet makes a rare appearance stateside at Stanford Live Feb. 1–3. live.stanford.edu. —Courtney Escoyne

Raise It Up

Over a dozen dancers pose in back attitude, the women on pointe, working side arm raised in high fifth. All are dressed in shades of blue, while one male and one female dancer near center have purple tops.
Collage Dance Collective in Kevin Thomas’ Rise. Photo by Tre’bor Jones, courtesy Collage Dance Collective.

MEMPHIS  Hope Boykin contributes a premiere to Collage Dance Collective’s RISE program. Also on tap are the ballet that lends the program its name—artistic director Kevin Thomas’ Rise—and Amy Hall Garner’s Saint Glory, which was inspired by her grandparents’ Catholic and Baptist roots. Feb. 3–4. collagedance.org—CE

Desert Rose

A dancer downstage is captured mid-flip, entirely upside down as he flies through the air. A large group of brightly costume dancers cluster upstage, smiling as one foot raises off the ground in unison.
Message In A Bottle. Photo by Helen Maybanks, courtesy Sadler’s Wells.

ON TOUR  ZooNation hits the road, beginning a North American tour of the Kate Prince–choreographed Message In A Bottle this month. Set to songs by Sting newly arranged by Alex Lacamoire, the dance theater work follows a displaced family as three separated siblings venture out on their own. The tour kicks off in Los Angeles Feb. 6–11 and wraps up in Philadelphia May 14–19, with stops in Denver, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Charlotte, Washington, DC, and New York City. sadlerswells.com. —CE

The Jilted Bride

A dancer in an old-fashioned, lacy wedding dress kneels with her arms beseechingly thrust forward, head tipped back as though beseeching something or someone for aid. A blurry cross is visible in the background.
Dance NOW! Miami’s Havisham!. Photo by Kenny Palacios, courtesy Dance NOW! Miami.

MIAMI  To commemorate happy vows, save a piece of wedding cake. But after a jilting, what could a wronged woman do? Freeze the betrayal scene and keep wearing the bridal gown—the wounding of others to follow. Redemption, though, awaits. That’s the premise of Havisham!, Dance NOW! Miami’s site-specific reimagining of the most Gothic character from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Miss Havisham. Here she gains an expiatory backstory—two dancers portraying her at different periods, enamored then broken—seen from company co-director Hannah Baumgarten’s feminist perspective. To South Beach Chamber Ensemble’s pop and classical selections, Pip, Estella, and the brutish Drummle weave in and out as audiences traipse through North Miami Beach’s Ancient Spanish Monastery. Feb. 7– 8. dancenowmiami.org. —Guillermo Perez

Curated by Camille

NEW YORK CITY  Gibney’s DoublePlus continues this month with a pair of premieres by film and theater choreographer Mayte Natalio and multidisciplinary experimental artist Maleek Washington, who were selected for the program and mentored by Camille A. Brown. Feb. 8–10. gibneydance.org. —CE

Maleek Washington poses against a pale backdrop. One heel lifts lightly as he slides to the side, an arm crossed over his ribs as the opposite hand rises toward his face. He looks thoughtfully at the camera from under a wide-brimmed hat; He wears a matching dark blue suit with a pleated skirt or kilt and white sneakers.
Maleek Washington. Photo by Maddy Talias, courtesy Gibney.

Movin’ It On

Ten dancers are arrayed on and inside a loose circle of white benches set before a wooden structure upstage. The dancer at the center smiles as she pushes two hands forward, toward the audience. The dancers around her either reach toward her or stretch away.
Dallas Black Dance Theatre in Matthew Rushing’s ODETTA. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy DBDT.

DALLAS  For this year’s iteration of Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Cultural Awareness program, company member and co-rehearsal director Hana Delong premieres Post Mortem. Joining it are His Grace, a tribute to Nelson Mandela by Christopher L. Huggins, and Matthew Rushing’s ODETTA, set to songs by songwriter and civil rights activist Odetta Holmes. Feb. 9–10. dbdt.com. —CE

New Works in Nashville

A Black ballerina poses en pointe against a dramatically lit grey backdrop. She is in parallel, knees squeezed together as she lifts one foot behind her. She looks over her shoulder to the camera, arms in an elegant "L' shape. She wears a black tutu with dramatic poufs at the upper arms and pointe shoes that match her skin color.
Nashville Ballet’s Claudia Monja. Photo by MA2LA, courtesy Nashville Ballet.

NASHVILLE  For its annual Attitude program, Nashville Ballet will debut commissions from resident choreographer Mollie Sansone, Kidd Pivot dancer Jermaine Spivey, and Camille A. Brown & Dancers member Yusha-Marie Sorzano, all with music performed live by local musicians. Feb. 9–11. nashvilleballet.com. —CE

Bach as Blueprint

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker looks over her shoulder on a dark stage. Her arms are softly raised in front of her, torso just beginning to contract. Her grey hair is pulled neatly back from her face; she wears a sheer dark robe over a nude colored tank top and dark briefs.
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988. Photo by Anne Van Aerschot, courtesy Helene Davis PR.

NEW YORK CITY  In The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker uses one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most well-known compositions as the blueprint for an evening-length solo. De Keersmaeker performs through the aria and 30 variations alongside pianist Pavel Kolesnikov for the North American premiere of the work at NYU Skirball. Feb. 22–24. nyuskirball.org. —CE

Liberating Lilith

Fanny Ara is a blur of motion, loose hair flying and the fringe on her shirt and skirt swirling as she flings one arm upward.
Fanny Ara. Photo by David Charnack, courtesy John Hill PR.

SAN FRANCISCO  In Lilith, flamenco artist Fanny Ara uses the mythological figure—Biblical Adam’s first wife who abandoned Eden, variously interpreted as a force for evil or a symbol of female independence—to consider the weight of expectations imposed by herself and others, and her journey toward liberation. The evening-length solo work, premiering at ODC Theater Feb. 23–25, sees Ara joined by musicians Gonzalo Grau and Vardan Ovsepian. odc.dance. —CE