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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

Broadway
The "Merde" bag. Courtesy Scenery

Jennifer Kahn knew the theater industry could do better. As a professional stage manager for 17 years she worked on regional, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Nearly each time a show closed, something unsettling happened: "I would watch them throw away our shows. All of the beautiful artwork by my friends in the paint shop would go in the trash." The elaborate backdrops? Gone.

But she had an idea: What if the material used in the backdrops and legs could be upcycled into something new? And what if theater lovers could literally keep a piece of a beloved show?

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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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News
Photo by Gabriel Davalos, Courtesy Valdés

For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.

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Health & Body
Sara Mearns in the gym. Photo by Kyle Froman.

New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.

"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "

She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.

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