Aakash Odedra and Hu Shenyuan

Chris Nash, Courtesy Martha Oakes PR

5 Perspective-Shifting Shows We're Looking Forward to This Month

Feminist takes on The Graduate and The Godfather, international collaborations and a whole lot of flamenco. The shows we're most excited to see this March are all about unexpected takes on familiar ideas.


The Roadless Road

MELBOURNE The 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West recounts a Chinese monk's pilgrimage to India in search of sacred Buddhist texts. That cultural and spiritual exchange is at the center of Samsara, a new collaboration between Aakash Odedra and Hu Shenyuan. Odedra, one of the foremost choreographers working from a kathak and bharata-natyam base outside India, and Shenyuan, most recently seen stateside as the concubine in Yang Liping's Under Siege, meld their mesmerizing movement vocabularies. Their meditation on samsara, a term that commonly refers to the reincarnation cycle governed by karma but that has subtler meanings (such as the rough Mandarin translation "the roadless road"), premieres at Australia's Asia TOPA Festival March 5–7 before traveling to Shanghai and the UK later this year. aakashodedra.co.uk.

A Dancer's Composer

Two dancers are caught mid-jump, both legs folded underneath them. The male dancer balances a cello against the floor, while the female dancer brings a bow toward the strings.

Hugo Glendinning, Courtesy Sadler's Wells

LONDON Sadler's Wells has brought together three wildly different choreographers to create new works to the music of Nico Muhly. Michael Keegan-Dolan, who creates strange, searing works of dance theater, selected "The Only Tune," a dark, folksy arrangement of a classic murder ballad. Julie Cunningham, formerly of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, takes on "Drones," a collection of pieces Muhly wrote as an attempt to honor "the subtle but constant humming found in most dwelling-places." A new work by Justin Peck to an original score completes the triple bill, crossing the pond with a dozen New York City Ballet dancers in tow just weeks after its premiere in New York. Muhly himself conducts Britten Sinfonia to accompany all three works. March 19–21. sadlerswells.com.

Update: New York City Ballet has cancelled its appearances in this program, due to concerns surrounding international travel in the wake of coronavirus. Justin Peck's Rotunda will be replaced by Natalia Osipova in Ivan Perez's Flutter, set to Nico Muhly's "Mothertongue."

Update (3/16/20): Sadler's Wells has cancelled all performances through June 9.

Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson

A barefoot Cathy Marston gestures with an open palm as she steps forward. Three women in leotards, tights and pointe shoes watch and imitate the arm movement.

Cathy Marston rehearsing Mrs. Robinson at San Francisco Ballet

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

SAN FRANCISCO Cathy Marston's penchant for literary story ballets returns to San Francisco Ballet with Mrs. Robinson. The new one-act is based on the 1963 novella and 1967 film The Graduate. But instead of focusing on Benjamin (the Dustin Hoffman role), Marston re-centers the narrative on the impenetrable older woman with whom he has an affair (played by Anne Bancroft in the film). The premiere appears alongside artistic director Helgi Tomasson's 7 for Eight and David Dawson's Anima Animus. March 24–April 4. sfballet.org.

Update: San Francisco Ballet has cancelled performances of this program, as well as its Present Perspectives triple bill, due to a California policy banning public gatherings of more than 250 people in the wake of coronavirus.

An Offer She Couldn't Refuse

A woman in a red jumpsuit in pointe shoes balances in a parallel forced arch fourth position. Her eyes are intent on the man's whose wrist she is grabbing. Dressed in a matching red vest and tie, he leans toward her, holding a finger over his lips.

Tulsa Ballet in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Vendetta, A Mafia Story

Jeremy Charles, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

TULSA Pitched as Romeo & Juliet meets The Godfather, or a mixture of Broadway and film noir with a hint of vaudeville, Vendetta, A Mafia Story is not your typical night at the ballet. In 1950s Chicago, Rosalia Carbone takes over her family's organized crime syndicate after a rivalry turns bloody on her wedding day, leaving the family patriarch dead. Created for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in 2018, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's high-octane full-length gets its American premiere at Tulsa Ballet, March 26–29. tulsaballet.org.

Update: Tulsa Ballet has postponed performances of Vendetta, A Mafia Story in accordance with city directives limiting public gatherings. The ballet has been tentatively rescheduled for May 21–24.

A Feast of Flamenco

Roc\u00edo Molina tumbles to the ground, legs in the air and the folds of her voluminous white flamenco skirts flying.

Rocío Molina in her Caída del Cielo

Simone Fratini, Courtesy New York City Center

NEW YORK CITY The 20th anniversary of New York City Center's Flamenco Festival is coming in hot, with four programs across two weekends. Rocío Molina brings her critically acclaimed interrogation of the female body, Caída del Cielo, for one performance only on March 27. María Pagés Compañía interweaves flamenco with references to music, philosophy and dance that span eras and cultures in An Ode to Time, March 28–29. Flamenco's traditional approach to gender expression is turned on its head in ¡VIVA!, performed by Compañía Manuel Liñán April 3. And for the grand finale, rising dancers and singers Eduardo Guerrero, María Moreno, Mercedes Ruiz and Maria Terremoto join the legendary La Chana, now 73 years old, for the Gala de Andalucia, April 4–5. nycitycenter.org.

Update: New York City Center has cancelled Flamenco Festival 20/20, due to a New York policy banning gatherings of more than 500 people and international travel restrictions in the wake of coronavirus.

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