RUBBERBANDance Group in Victor Quijada's Vraiment doucement. Photo by Mathieu Doyon, Courtesy Danse Danse

5 Performances That Aren't The Nutcracker to Catch This December

We love The Nutcracker as much as the next person, but that perennial holiday classic isn't the only thing making its way onstage this month. Here are five alternatives that piqued our editors' curiosity.


A Storm of Dancing

MONTREAL Victor Quijada's hypnotic style of gliding, floating urban dance has expanded into his largest work yet. Vraiment doucement, which premieres at Danse Danse Dec. 5–8, sends 10 dancers into a frenzy of pulling, pushing and tugging. The title means "really gently" (or "ever so slightly"), but the movement is not always gentle. The dancers of Quijada's company, RUBBERBANDance, can play rough with each other, and this piece gathers force as it goes. Those attending will find out why dramaturg Mathieu Leroux says, "Victor's brain is like a giant tornado." dansedanse.ca. —Wendy Perron

A Century of Dreams

MIAMI AND NEW YORK CITY In her 100-year sleep, what did Aurora dream? According to the creators of Sleeping Beauty Dreams, that century may have been more of a nightmare. In this multimedia vehicle for ballet star Diana Vishneva, real-time avatar-mapping projection technology will create a surreal, ever-morphing dreamscape, populated by choreography from Edward Clug and a cast that includes Marcelo Gomes and Nicholas Palmquist. But the work is more than mere spectacle, says Vishneva: "It's a story of facing your own dark side." Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, Dec. 7–8. Beacon Theatre, New York City, Dec. 14–15. sbdart.com. —Courtney Escoyne

Spectre of Nijinsky

Jean-Christophe Maillot's Daphnis et Chloé. Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

MONACO Few dance artists have captured the popular imagination like Vaslav Nijinsky. Through his work with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, both as a leading dancer and precocious choreographer, the elusive star became indelibly associated with numerous ballets that shaped the art form in the 20th century. Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo presents a program of contemporary takes on a handful of these, from Johan Inger's Petrouchka and Jeroen Verbruggen's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (both premieres) to Jean-Christophe Maillot's Daphnis et Chloé and Marco Goecke's Le Spectre de la rose. Dec. 8–9. balletsdemontecarlo.com. —CE

Blood and Guts

Photo by Paula Court, Courtesy New York Live Arts

NEW YORK CITY Blood, screaming and the guts to make razor-sharp political commentary are all hallmarks of a Dancenoise performance. Lucy Sexton and Annie Iobst, that notorious duo who lit up the club scene in the '80s and '90s, bring their latest group work to New York Live Arts. Still (or again) uproariously transgressive, they will no doubt unleash their imagination on the entrenched sexism of the day. The blood, whether spurting or smeared, is fake, but the lampooning is real. Dec. 12–15. newyorklivearts.org. —WP

Down the Yellow Brick Road

Tabitha (left) and Napoleon D'umo. Photo courtesy Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo

PASADENA, CA Mix together characters from The Wizard of Oz, a smattering of recognizable names from "So You Think You Can Dance" and some holiday spirit, and you get the Lythgoe Family Panto's latest production. The Wonderful Winter of Oz features choreography by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo and a dancing cast of "SYTYCD" alums led by "Dance Moms" star Mackenzie Ziegler, plus family-friendly musical theater shenanigans. Dec. 14–30. americanpanto.com. —CE

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Alvin Ailey surrounded by the Company, 1978. Photography by Jack Mitchell, © Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc. andSmithsonian Institution, All rights reserved.

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The collection includes both color and black-and-white images of Ailey's repertoire, as well as private photo sessions with company members and Ailey himself. Altogether, the archive tracks the career development of many beloved Ailey dancers, including Masazumi Chaya, Judith Jamison, Sylvia Waters, Donna Wood and Dudley Williams—and even a young Desmond Richardson. And there's no shortage of photos of iconic pieces like Blues Suite (Ailey's first piece of choreography), Cry and Revelations.

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Our Wish List for the Next Decade of Dance

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As much as the dance world has evolved over the past 10 years, there's still a lot of work to do. So we started pondering: If we could ask Santa for our wildest wishes, what would we want to him to bring us in the '20s?

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