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6 March Performance Picks From Our Editors

Boston Ballet in Forsythe's Pas/Parts 2018. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet

A feast of Forsythe, a surfeit of Dorrance Dance, a challenge to how we perceive refugees. Our editors' performance picks this month run the gamut.


Boston's Mixtape Master

BOSTON Halfway into his five-year partnership with Boston Ballet, William Forsythe is gifting East Coast audiences with his first new work for an American company since 1992. Playlist (EP) expands on ideas from Playlist (Track 1, 2), a short work he created for English National Ballet last spring. Also on Boston Ballet's Full on Forsythe program: the U.S. premiere of Blake Works I, the 2016 debut of which was hailed by The New York Times as "a moment as important as the premiere of Mr. Forsythe's 'In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated,' " and a reprisal of his Pas/Parts 2018. March 7–17. bostonballet.org. —Courtney Escoyne

Fleeing Made Visible

Zahra Saleki, Courtesy Jaberi Dance Theatre

PETERBOROUGH AND TORONTO We hear about the growing number of refugees, but most of us do not see them or the lives they lead. Iranian-Canadian choreographer Roshanak Jaberi and her Toronto-based interdisciplinary group Jaberi Dance Theatre delve into refugee women's lives in No Woman's Land, showing us their hardships and their strengths. March 9–10, Market Hall Theatre in Peterborough; March 14–16, Harbourfront Centre Theatre in Toronto. jaberidt.com. —Wendy Perron

Two By Eight

Regina Brocke, Courtesy Freie PR

STUTTGART What's a company to do if it wants to commission eight new works, but the choreographers are too busy to come to the company? Gauthier Dance's answer: Send the dancers to the dancemakers. Nacho Duato, Marco Goecke, Mauro Bigonzetti, Richard Siegal, Rui Horta, Ed Wubbe, Roni Haver and Guy Weizman, and Barak Marshall all contributed new pas de deux to Deuces. After being created all over Europe, the program comes together at Gauthier Dance's home, Theaterhaus Stuttgart, March 16–24. theaterhaus.com. —CE

Queering the Kingdom

The NWA Project in Oba Qween Baba King Baba, Excerpt #1

Ian Douglas, Courtesy Danspace Project

NEW YORK CITY Gender nonconforming dancemaker Ni'Ja Whitson's Oba Qween Baba King Baba interrogates masculinity and how it impacts our perception of religion. This interdisciplinary work takes inspiration from the stories of queer and transgender children of preachers. On March 23, Danspace Project will host a free preview of the work for self-identified queer and transgender people of color. March 28–30. danspaceproject.org. —CE

A Match Made in Heaven

Mearns in a Bergasse-choreographed piece at Fire Island Dance Festival

Whitney Browne, Courtesy KPM Associates

NEW YORK CITY When Vera Zorina starred in the original 1938 production of I Married an Angel—Rodgers and Hart's musical comedy about a wealthy banker who weds a guileless angel—the choreography was handled by none other than her then-husband George Balanchine. Who better, then, to headline and choreograph New York City Center's revival than newlywed super couple Sara Mearns and Joshua Bergasse? March 20–24. nycitycenter.org. —CE

A Heaping Dose of Dorrance Dance

Dorrance Dance in Michelle Dorrance's Jungle Blues

Dana Lynn Pleasant, Courtesy New York City Center

NEW YORK CITY A surfeit of Dorrance Dance is coming our way, with three programs at New York City Center. Michelle Dorrance's innovative works, old and new, will be interspersed with contributions from guest artists. Master tap dancer Brenda Bufalino brings her jazzy Jump Monk. A premiere by America's greatest tapping clown, Bill Irwin, is bound to be the most fun Harlequin & Pantalone you've ever seen. March 28–30. nycitycenter.org. —WP

Dancers Trending
Rachel Papo

In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.

And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.

"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."

The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.

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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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Health & Body
Getty Images

Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.

"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."

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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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