Kristin Damrow and Company's Allegra Bautiste. Photo by RJ Muna, Courtesy John Hill PR
If one of your New Year's resolutions was "See more dance" (and really, shouldn't that be everyone's?), never fear. We picked five shows certain to get 2019 off to a brilliant start.
Twyla's Greens and Jerry's Blues
Miami City Ballet in Brahms/Handel. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet
FLORIDA It's rare that two choreographers want to learn from each other so much that they decide to collaborate. But so it was with Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp in 1984. Tharp and Robbins chose Brahms' "Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel" and divided up the variations according to colors—his dancers wore blue and hers wore green. Luckily, they didn't hold to the color scheme for long and intermeshed the roles after the opening statement. When Brahms/Handel premiered, Anna Kisselgoff wrote in The New York Times, "The brilliant sum is greater than the parts." This month, Miami City Ballet introduces its hometown audiences to the work, on the same program as Dances at a Gathering, the Robbins masterpiece with a warm community glow. Miami, Jan. 11–13; West Palm Beach, Jan. 18–20; Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 26–27. miamicityballet.org. —Wendy Perron
When Three Makes Two More Romantic
Herman Cornejo and Alessandra Ferri. Photo by Roberto Ricci, Courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates
LONDON A former American Ballet Theatre star with a luscious, limpid quality and a current ABT star with softly bounding energy, Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo make an exquisite romantic pair onstage. Together they will open the newly renovated Linbury Theatre in the Royal Opera House. For their TRIOConcertDance, they've teamed up with pianist Bruce Levingston to perform duets by Demis Volpi, Russell Maliphant, Wayne McGregor, Fang-Yi Sheu and Angelin Preljocaj, and a solo by and for Cornejo. Placing these dancers in this intimate setting is part of the Royal Opera House's plan to attract wider audiences of all ages. Jan. 17–27. roh.org.uk. —WP
Three Cheers for Carmen
Carmen de Lavallade. Photo by Piper Ferguson, Courtesy Jazz at Lincoln Center
NEW YORK CITY Will we ever stop celebrating Carmen de Lavallade? We certainly hope not! Jazz at Lincoln Center takes its turn to hail the beloved leading lady with a new iteration of its Life of a Legend series. Joined by dancer Maggie Small and a handful of jazz musicians, de Lavallade will speak and dance through her storied career, with a special emphasis on where it intersected with jazz music. Her famous performance in John Butler's Portrait of Billie—which, legend has it, brought Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to tears—is sure to get a nod. Jan. 24–25. jazz.org. —Courtney Escoyne
Curiosity and Awe
Johanna Bergfelt. Photo by Kristy Kennedy, Courtesy Citadel + Cie
TORONTO Choreographer William Yong has an affinity for acronyms. His company is called Zata Omm Dance Projects (Zen and the Actualization of Modern Movement), and the title of his latest work, SKOW, derives from the phrase "Some Kinds Of Wonder." Yong's fascination with performer Johanna Bergfelt and their shared interest in the way seemingly insignificant things can evoke a sense of wonder inspired the work. It's a deceptively simple-sounding concept, but Yong frequently uses spellbinding visual and technological elements to create alternate worlds onstage—if anyone knows how to leave an audience wondering, it's him. Jan. 30–Feb. 2. citadelcie.com. —CE
Bearing the Brunt
SAN FRANCISCO The hulking, monolithic structures that exemplify Brutalism served as inspiration for Kristin Damrow's latest work. The architectural style, prevalent in the 1950s and '60s, is largely associated with mid-century socialist movements and an egalitarian ethos. In IMPACT, 15 dancers chart a dystopian future ravaged by tribalism to a score by Aaron M. Gold that includes found sound recorded at iconic Brutalist buildings in the Bay Area. Jan. 31–Feb. 2. kristindamrow.com. —CE
Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.
Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.
We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.