8 Performances We’ve Got Our Eyes on This Month

May 3, 2023

Queer histories and futures, science fiction and fantasy, techniques and storytelling devices rooted in Black and African culture, and more—our performance picks this month run the gamut. Here’s what we’re looking forward to most.

A Queer Oasis

Three performers pose on a metal stair in a richly decorated, red-lit room. They hold each other as they gaze at the camera, wearing a motley assemblage of face paint, sailor caps, fishnets, and harnesses.
We Build Houses Here performers Cheetah Biscotti, Mudd and Saharla Vetsch. Photo by Robbie Sweeny, courtesy John Hill PR.

SAN FRANCISCO  Devised theater and dance company Detour takes over drag nightclu­b Oasis for We Build Houses Here. In the immersive dance theater performance, crafted by Detour co-founder Eric Garcia in collaboration with the work’s 10 performers, the nightclub becomes a desert island playing host to “a band of glittering castaways,” celebrating and honoring sanctuaries for queer communities—like nightclubs. Choreographers Cornelius (aka drag queen VivvyAnne ForeverMORE) and Maurya Kerr (artistic director of tinypistol) act as contributing directors. May 4–20. detourdance.com. —Courtney Escoyne

Approaching the Sun

Two shirtless dancers rehearse on an otherwise empty stage. One lies on his side facing upstage, his top leg raised slightly. The other dancer threads his torso between the other's legs, facing downstage. He raises his torso using one arm and reaches the other out to the audience.
Dance NOW! Miami’s David Jewett and Anthony Velazquez rehearsing The Relativity of Icarus. Photo by Hannah Baumgarten, courtesy Dance NOW! Miami.

SOUTH FLORIDA  To heat up stages across South Florida, Dance NOW! Miami has gone solar. For its Masterpiece in Motion series, the company joined forces with Cameron Basden, a Gerald Arpino Foundation répétiteur, to rescue from near loss Arpino’s 1974 The Relativity of Icarus. Contentious upon debut, its sexually charged male duet draws from the myth of the youth who, on wings his father crafted, flew too close to the sun and fell into the sea. Part of Arpino’s centennial, the reconstruction appears alongside Gli Altri/The Others, a premiere by DNM’s artistic co-directors Hannah Baumgarten and Diego Salterini in collaboration with Italy’s Opus Ballet. May 11–13. dancenowmiami.org. —Guillermo Perez

Divining Home

Leslie Parker lies on her side with her knees tucked up to her chest, upper arm resting long against the length of her torso. Yellow fabric is draped over her hips and underneath her. Her head is tucked under, eyes closed, as though she is asleep.
Leslie Parker. Photo courtesy Walker Art Center.

MINNEAPOLIS  Leslie Parker’s Divination Tools: imagine home draws on Black pedagogy, conjuring and activism as it reflects on divinity and lineage. The latest iteration of her multiyear Call to Remember initiative, which considers different perspectives on improvisation through a Black femme lens, is Parker’s first major new dance work since before the pandemic debuts at the Walker Art Center May 11–13. walkerart.org. —CE

Isn’t It Romantic?

A dancer in pink tights and pointe shoes and a white skirt and leotard ensemble arches back, arms overhead, as she balances en pointe with her leg extended ninety degrees to the front. Her partner, in tights and a white tunic, lunges to support her at the waist as he tenderly touches his head to her ribcage.
Jonah Hooper and Tara Lee in Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes. Photo by Kim Kenney, courtesy Atlanta Ballet.

ATLANTA  The final program of Atlanta Ballet’s season is named for Remi Wörtmeyer’s new work. Significant Others, set to music by Fanny Mendelssohn (sister to Felix), celebrates creatively fruitful relationships, romantic or otherwise. Choreographer in residence Claudia Schreier also contributes a premiere to the triple bill, which is rounded out by Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes, a pas de deux about two dancers falling in love in the studio. May 12–14. atlantaballet.com. —CE

Futures Foretold

Two dancers pose against a grey backdrop. Caitlin Hicks, in reds and pinks, hinges toward the floor, listing toward her left side. Julie Crothers catches her head with one hand as she faces away, her body mirroring Caitlin's arc.
Caitlin Hicks and Julie Crothers. Photo by RJ Muna, courtesy John Hill PR.

SAN FRANCISCO  What if your friend could suddenly see the future? Sharp & Fine co-founders Megan and Shannon Kurashige explore the possibilities with their latest work, Imaginary Country. An eclectic cast of San Francisco–based contemporary artists—Sonja Dale, Julie Crothers, Caitlin Hicks, Molly Levy and Meredith Webster—unravel­ the impact clairvoyance could have on a person’s relationships, and how they think about the future, in the work’s premiere run at Z Space. May 12–14. sharpandfine.org. —CE

Through a Crystal, Darkly

Wayne McGregor stands to one side of a mirrored ballet studio, a hand thoughtfully raised to his chin as he leans against a barre.
Wayne McGregor. Photo by Andrej Uspenski, courtesy ROH.

LONDON  Wayne McGregor’s dance adaptation of Jim Henson’s 1982 film The Dark Crystal finally arrives at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre this month. UniVerse: A Dark Crystal Odyssey reimagines the cult-classic fantasy, trading Henson’s groundbreaking puppetry for dancers while considering its characters’ journey to restore balance to a broken world in the context of our own planet. The Studio Wayne McGregor and Royal Ballet co-production, in association with the Jim Henson Company, runs May 13–June 4. roh.org.uk. —CE

Not Your Usual Rite

Five dancers face stage right, knees bent slightly and hands raised so their forearms are parallel to the ground. The backdrop is a deep purple, with silhouettes of a branching, leafless tree.
Dada Masilo’s The Sacrifice. Photo by John Hogg, courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates.

NEW YORK CITY   Known for her feminist reimaginings of classical ballets through a South African lens, Dada Masilo returns to The Joyce Theater for the U.S. premiere of The Sacrifice. Inspired by the endlessly revisited Rite of Spring, the work fuses the traditional narrative of a young girl ritualistically dancing herself to death with Tswana, the traditional dance of Botswana, and is set to an original, contemporary score—rather than the iconic Stravinsky—played live onstage. May 23–28. joyce.org. —CE

Celebrating Ghana

Two dancers downstage lunge toward each other, upstage arms raising high overhead in a swing. Other brightly costumed dancers do the same in pairs upstage.
RestorationArt Dance Youth Ensemble in Abdel R. Salaam’s A Question of Modesty. Photo by Nate Palmer, courtesy BAM.

NEW YORK CITY  DanceAfrica, the largest African dance festival in the U.S. and Brooklyn Academy of Music’s longest continuous program, returns for its 46th edition over Memorial Day weekend. This year’s extravaganza focuses on Ghana, with National Dance Company of Ghana headlining with both traditional performances from across the country and West Africa and a new work choreographed for the occasion by DanceAfrica director Abdel R. Salaam. Appearances by the DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers, RestorationArt Dance Youth Ensemble and more are also on tap. May 26–29. bam.org. —CE