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6 Shows This Month Worth Braving the Cold to See

The Joffrey Ballet's Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez in Anna Karenina. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Unexpected collaborations, celebrations of culture, literary classics that take a turn for the tragic—it might be freezing outside, but the new season is just heating up. Here are six shows we'd happily brave the winter weather for this month.


Criss-Crossing Culture Zones

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Colin Dunne. Photo by Koen Broos, Courtesy Eastman

RENNES, FRANCE Throw two wondrous dancers from different cultures together, give them a couple of musicians, stir the pot and what do you get? With Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Irish step master Colin Dunne, a whole lot. Both are fascinating performers who have journeyed way outside their comfort zones with humor and generosity. Now they come together at Théâtre National de Bretagne to play with sight, sound and motion in Session. Feb. 1–8. east-man.be. —Wendy Perron

An Excellent Hair Day

NEW YORK CITY When Urban Bush Women premiered Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's HairStories in 2001, the performance was raucous, giddy, culturally revelatory and sheer communal fun. The recent revision and expansion, Hair & Other Stories, with choreography by associate artistic directors Chanon Judson and Samantha Speis, has been touring the country and now comes back to its home in Brooklyn. This dance theater work investigates questions about beauty, identity and race with UBW's signature sass and full-out dancing. Jan. 31–Feb. 2 and Feb. 7–9. bricartsmedia.org. —WP

Out of the Shadows

TORONTO What are we when no one is around to see? In who we are in the dark, seven dancers weather intimacy and betrayal in the wake of shifting identities and relationships. Violinist Sarah Neufeld and drummer Jeremy Gara of indie rock band Arcade Fire join Peggy Baker Dance Projects for its latest work, which premieres at Fall for Dance North Feb. 21–24 before traveling to other Canadian venues. peggybakerdance.com. —Courtney Escoyne

When in Doubt, Go to the Library

Dance's love affair with classic literature continues this month with three stories, each "unhappy in its own way."

Anna Karenina

CHICAGO It seemed inevitable that Yuri Possokhov (and his go-to composer, Ilya Demutsky) would adapt Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina for the stage. The seminal Russian novel is replete with courtly intrigue, aristocratic posturing and illicit romantic entanglements—and that's just Anna's storyline. The Joffrey Ballet will present the doomed heroine's passion-fueled fall from grace Feb. 13–24 before co-producer The Australian Ballet takes it into its repertoire next spring. joffrey.org. —CE

The Great Gatsby

PITTSBURGH Obsession, adultery, vehicular homicide and murder/suicide—just in time for Valentine's Day. Tragic romance ensues amid the shifting mores of the Roaring Twenties in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's latest interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. Choreographer Jorden Morris crafts his two-act version—with classical ballet vocabulary, period social dances and theatrical elements including (of course) Gatsby's car—to Carl Davis' original score. Feb. 8–17. pbt.org. —Karen Dacko

Hamlet

TEXAS AND NORTH CAROLINA Shakespeare's epic story of revenge and self-doubt gets a new spin with Beijing Dance Theater's otherworldly Hamlet. Artistic director Wang Yuanyuan works in broad and bold strokes, distilling the central characters to the Ghost, the New King, the Queen, the Prince and the Floral Spirit. The ensemble mirrors the intensity of the play's existential questions and psychological dilemmas. Dallas, Feb. 8; Houston, Feb. 22; Wilmington, NC, Feb. 27. attpac.org, spahouston.org and cfcc.edu/capefearstage. —Nancy Wozny

Dance History
Sergei Diaghilev, who was terrified of the sea, posing with a life preserver aboard a ship. Photo courtesy DM Archives

On August 19, 1929, shockwaves were felt throughout the dance world as news spread that impresario Sergei Diaghilev had died. The founder of the Ballets Russes rewrote the course of ballet history as the company toured Europe and the U.S., championing collaborations with modernist composers, artists and designers such as Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. The company launched the careers of its five principal choreographers: Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine.

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The USC Kaufman graduating class with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gus Ruelas/USC

Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.

Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:

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Dancers Trending
Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light in DESCENT, which our readers chose as last year's "Most Moving Performance." Photo by Jay Newman, courtesy Kinetic Light

Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.

We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.

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Breaking Stereotypes
Courtesy Chiara Valle

Chiara Valle is just one of many dancers heading back to the studio this fall as companies ramp up for the season. But her journey back has been far more difficult than most.

Valle has been a trainee at The Washington Ballet since 2016, starting at the same time as artistic director Julie Kent. But only a few months into her first season there, she started experiencing excruciating pain high up in her femur. "It felt like someone was stabbing me 24/7," she says. Sometimes at night, the pain got so bad that her roommates would bring her dinner to the bathtub.

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