7 Performance Picks to Kick Off the Year
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.