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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William Forsythe is bringing his multi-faceted genius to New York City in stripped down form. His "Quiet Evening of Dance," a mix of new and recycled work now at The Shed until October 25, is co-commissioned with Sadler's Wells in London (and a slew of European presenters).
As always, Forsythe's choreography is a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual. This North American premiere prompted many thoughts, which I whittled down to seven.
"Law & Order: SVU" has dominated the crime show genre for 21 seasons with its famous "ripped from the headlines" strategy of taking plot inspiration from real-life crimes.
So viewers would be forgiven for assuming that the new storyline following the son of Mariska Hargitay's character into dance class originated in the news cycle. After all, the mainstream media widely covered the reaction to Lara Spencer's faux pas on "Good Morning America" in August, when she made fun of Prince George for taking ballet class.
But it turns out
, the storyline was actually the idea of the 9-year-old actor, Ryan Buggle, who plays Hargitay's son. And he came up with it before Spencer ever giggled at the word ballet.
Just hearing the word "improvisation" is enough to make some ballet dancers shake in their pointe shoes. But for Chantelle Pianetta, it's a practice she relishes. Depending on the weekend, you might find her gracing Bay Area stages as a principal with Menlowe Ballet or sweeping in awards at West Coast swing competitions.
She specializes in Jack and Jill events, which involve improvised swing dancing with an unexpected partner in front of a panel of judges. (Check her out in action below.) While sustaining her ballet career, over the past four years Pianetta has quickly risen from novice to champion level on the WCS international competition circuit.