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
- Lythgoe Family Panto ›
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Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?