7 Performance Picks to Kick Off the Year

January 11, 2023

A plethora of premieres and a pair of limited engagement touring appearances add up to a packed dance calendar, from coast to coast and even across the pond. Here’s what has us most intrigued.

Gone Tomorrow

A dancer clothed in bright pink and orange closes his eyes as he tips his head back, grooving alone on a set designed to evoke a small apartment painted entirely in lime green.
Bashaun Williams in Molly Heller’s Full View. Photo by Marissa Mooney, courtesy Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.

SALT LAKE CITY  The trio of works featured in Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s Here Today program will be performed onstage for live audiences for the very first time. Charles O. Anderson’s chilling Rites and Molly Heller’s quarantine-inspired Full View make the leap from 2021 film projects to full stage productions (the former with the addition of students from Westminster College), while Raja Feather Kelly‘s Scenes for an Ending premieres. Jan. 12–14. ririewoodbury.com.

High Drama From Hong Kong

A male dancer in a blue suit dips his partner, a woman in a long red dress and pointe shoes; the fashion is decidedly mid-century. They each hold the ends of a short red ribbon. Upstage is a small shrine.
Hong Kong Ballet’s Ye Feifei and Garry Corpuz in Septime Webre’s Romeo + Juliet. Photo by Conrad Dy-Liacco, courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

NEW YORK CITY  Hong Kong Ballet makes a rare appearance stateside at New York City Center, offering a tantalizing glimpse of what Septime Webre has made of the company since becoming artistic director in 2017. His Romeo + Juliet, which premiered in summer 2021, sets the star-crossed lovers and their warring families in 1960s Hong Kong. Jan. 13–14. nycitycenter.org.

Spice at Sadler’s Wells

Three dancers in matching unitards that appear as textured, molten silver in the light pose against a black backdrop. One faces forward, eyes downturned, while the other two are to either side, facing the center and smiling slightly.
Jules Cunningham, Melanie C and Harry Alexander in how did we get here? Photo by Dolly Brown, courtesy Sadler’s Wells.

LONDON  The announcement of a new dance work featuring experimental choreographer Jules Cunningham, frequent collaborator Harry Alexander and pop star Melanie Chisholm (“Melanie C,” of Spice Girls fame) elicited for many the question posed by the piece’s title: how did we get here? The collaborative work, premiering at Sadler’s Wells, will dig into the stories the performers hold in their bodies—subject matter that seems perfectly aligned with Cunningham’s searching, identity-driven work, in an arena wildly outside of what one would expect of Sporty Spice (despite her early dance training). Jan. 19–29. sadlerswells.com.

New, Now, Next

In a rehearsal shot, a woman poses in a high first arabesque en pointe, front arm reaching to the ceiling, which her eyes follow. Her partner grasps her back hand for balance and matches her raised arm with his. Other dancers appear mid-run in the background.
San Francisco Ballet rehearsing Robert Garland’s Haffner Serenade. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy SFB.

SAN FRANCISCO  The much-anticipated next@90 festival, boasting three triple bills of brand-new works, kicks off at San Francisco Ballet this month. The first program features Haffner Serenade by Robert Garland, which includes a solo for Esteban Hernández that places West African movement in a classical context; Jamar Roberts’ theatrical Resurrection, in which an attempt­ to raise the dead goes awry; and Danielle Rowe’s MADCAP, inspired by clowns. Longtime SFB artist Val Caniparoli contributes Emergence, while new-to-the-company dancemakers Bridget Breiner and Yuka Oishi offer a new take on the Biblical tale of Salome and on Maurice Ravel’s iconic Bolero, respectively, to program two. The festival closes with Nicolas Blanc’s Gateway to the Sun, modeled after a poem by Rumi that is excerpted in composer Anna Clyne’s 2019 “DANCE,” to which it is set; Claudia Schreier’s Kin, to a commissioned score by Tanner Porter; and resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov’s fresh take on the music famously associated with Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Jan. 20–Feb. 11. sfballet.org.

One Night With Osipova

Natalia Osipova wears a flowing blue dress, holding a long stretch of red fabric that wraps around her neck and flows behind her. She poses in plié, her back leg extended long behind her, barefoot.
Natalia Osipova. Photo by Ray Burmiston, courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

NEW YORK CITY  Ballet superstar Natalia Osipova brings the U.S. premiere of her Force of Nature program to New York City Center Jan. 21. Among the solos and duets on offer are the third-act grand pas de deux from Don Quixote, Fokine’s seminal The Dying Swan and Ashes, a work co-choreographed by Osipova and Jason Kittelberger. A percentage of ticket sales are to be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort. nycitycenter.org.

Peck, Copland, Jinakunwiphat

Justin Peck glances over his shoulder toward the front of the room as he demonstrates a gesture to two dancers in the studio just behind him. All wear rehearsal gear and masks over their noses and mouths.
Justin Peck (left) in rehearsal at New York City Ballet. Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy NYCB.

NEW YORK CITY  Winter at New York City Ballet promises repertory staples, recent additions and a pair of notable premieres. Resident choreographer Justin Peck returns to the music of Aaron Copland after 2015’s electric Rodeo: Four Dance Episodesfor his first evening-length ballet for the company, premiering Jan. 26. Keerati Jinakunwiphat, who dances with A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, will debut her first work for NYCB during the 21st Century Choreography program (Feb. 1, 8, 9 and 11), which also includes Alexei Ratmansky’s distinctive Voices and Peck’s playful Everywhere We Go. nycballet.com.


Two dancers in costumes evocative of Victorian-era dress pose on a white background. The woman is lifted, her leg extended straight up so her green skirts flare, on the hip of her male partner, who shallowly lunges and arches back to support her.
The Big Muddy Dance Company. Photo by Kelly Pratt, courtesy Big Muddy.

ST. LOUIS  What happens when Joshua Peugh, a choreographer lauded for his theatrical yet honest works on queer themes, turns his attention to the great Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes? The Big Muddy Dance Company is on the case with the premiere of the evening-length My Dear Watson—though the title is, perhaps, suggestive. Jan. 27–28. thebigmuddydanceco.org.