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5 January Performances to Start 2019 Off Right

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

A man and a woman in green and another pair in blue form a line, standing in tendu crois\u00e9 devant with their left hand on their hips, their right linking through their neighbors elbow, palm up.

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 stares impassively offstage as Alessandra Ferri lunges deeply at his feet, her hands on his hips and her head arched back.

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

Broadway
Courtesy Macy's, Inc.

As you're prepping your Thanksgiving meal, why not throw in a dash of dance?

This year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is stuffed (pun intended) with performances from four stellar Broadway shows, the Radio City Rockettes and students from three New York City dance institutions.

Tune in to NBC November 28 from 9 am to noon (in all time zones), or catch the rebroadcast at 2 pm (also in all time zones). Here's what's in store:

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Sponsored by NYCDA
Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.

"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."

Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.

Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:

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Rant & Rave
Sergei Polunin. Photo by British Broadcasting Corporation and Polunin Ltd., Courtesy Sundance Selects.

Last week, Variety reported that Sergei Polunin would reunite with the team behind Dancer for another documentary. "Where 'Dancer' looked at his whole life, family and influences," director Steven Cantor said, " 'Satori' will focus more squarely on his creative process as performer and, for the first time ever, choreographer." The title references a poorly received evening of work by the same name first presented by Polunin in 2017. (It recently toured to Moscow and St. Petersburg.)

I cannot be the only person wondering why we should care.

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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