7 Shows Marked on Our Calendars This May

May 3, 2022

There’s much to celebrate in May’s packed performance calendar, from previously postponed premieres to big anniversaries to collaborations pulling artists out of their usual haunts. Here’s what we’re most excited to see.

Forsythe + Blake, Redux

On a darkened stage, Chyrstyn Fentroy balances in first arabesque, her front arm raised to her head in a gesture reminiscent of Swan Lake. She rests her other arm on Roddy Dobble, who hovers in a side lunge, facing forward, with his arms floated to the side, gaze downturned.
Chyrstyn Fentroy and Roddy Doble in William Forsythe’s Blake Works I. Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy Boston Ballet.

BOSTON  William Forsythe delves back into the music of James Blake with the premiere of Blake Works II at Boston Ballet. It’s joined on the MINDscapes triple bill by (naturally) Forsythe’s Blake Works I, which the company first tackled in 2019 with aplomb, as well as a new work by resident choreographer Jorma Elo. May 5–15. bostonballet.org.

A Bold Finish

Four dancers form a chain in an industrial-seeming space. The women are lifted, reaching to the left side, while the men support them in deep lunges. The overall effect is that of an extended diagonal line.
Cincinnati Ballet’s Samantha Griffin, Jhaelin McQuay, Luca De-Poli and Samantha Riester. Photo by Aaron M. Conway, courtesy Cincinnati Ballet.

CINCINNATI  The inaugural Bold Moves Festival closes Cincinnati Ballet’s season with six rotating productions, including Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, a premiere by company member David Morse, and works by Helen Pickett, Twyla Tharp and departing artistic director Victoria Morgan. Guest appearances from AXIS Dance Company and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, as well as supplemental activities, talkbacks and classes, are also on tap. May 12–22. cballet.org.

Allegorical Ideal

Color photo of Jerron Herman, a dark-skinned Black man with kinky hair and a beard in a dramatic profile lean wearing an athletic top.
Jerron Herman. Photo by Dan Kim, courtesy Abrons Arts Center.

NEW YORK CITY  How does history live in the body? In the allegorical solo performance VITRUVIAN, premiering at Abrons Arts Center May 19–21, Jerron Herman traces the life cycle of the Vitruvian man as he traverses hemispheres. Video of the work will be available to stream on demand July 6–30. abronsartscenter.org.

On the Come-Up

This photo is of a woman leaning backward with her bottom leg straight and her top leg bent in attitude and facing the ceiling. She has long black hair that is swinging out and away from her body with her focus looking upward. She is posing against a blue background.
South Chicago Dance Theatre’s Kim Davis. Photo by Michelle Reid, courtesy South Chicago Dance Theatre.

CHICAGO  The Harris Theater debut of South Chicago Dance Theatre features a panoply of premieres from executive artistic director Kia Smith, longtime local mainstay Ron De Jesus, PARA.MAR Dance Theatre founder Stephanie Martinez, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company associate artistic director Crystal Michelle Perkins and Chicago Repertory Ballet founder Wade Schaaf. May 20. southchicagodancetheatre.com.

Oh! You Pretty Things

Ten male dancers strike poses at various levels, from prone on the floor to standing atop a raised platform, as they reach towards the upstage right corner of the stage with open hands. The backdrop is red with a large blue disco ball. Confetti flies from stage right.
Houston Ballet in Trey McIntyre’s Pretty Things. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy Houston Ballet.

HOUSTON  More than two years after the pandemic forced its postponement on the day it was meant to premiere, Trey McIntyre’s Pretty Things is set to finally debut at Houston Ballet. Performed by an all-male cast to the music of David Bowie, the ballet will close a playful program that also includes Jorma Elo’s ONE|end|ONE and Christopher Bruce’s Hush. May 20–29. houstonballet.org.

Remembering Roots

An Asian woman with a chic black bob in 1940s period-wear sits at a typewriter. Three other women, similarly dressed, pose in the overgrown outline of what used to be a building behind her.
Mia J. Chong and artists of ODC/Dance in Island City Waterways: Uprooted. Photo by Andy Mogg, courtesy John Hill PR.

BAY AREA  ODC/Dance’s contribution to Island City Waterways: Uprooted is deeply personal for Kimi Okada. The ODC associate choreographer drew from letters written by her mother in the 1940s while living in an internment camp for Japanese Americans. Co-created with Brenda Way, the site-responsive piece will unfold at a former naval air station in Alameda, California, as part of a performance experience also featuring 13th Floor Dance Theater, Akira Tana Trio and Maze Daiko. This year’s iteration of the series, produced by Rhythmix Cultural Works and the City of Alameda, places the World War II–era heroism and injustices that occurred in Alameda—and elsewhere—side by side. May 21–22. islandcitywaterways.org.

50 Years of Trisha

Five dancers in baggy, iridescent costumes fly, shift, and lean to the left of the space framed by the photo, the floor and backdrop a black void.
Trisha Brown’s Foray Forêt. Photo by Julieta Cervantes, courtesy Trisha Brown Dance Company.

NEW YORK CITY  At The Joyce Theater, Trisha Brown Dance Company celebrates its 50th anniversary with a pair of works for which its founder collaborated with Robert Rauschenberg: Foray Forêt and Astral Converted. May 24–29. joyce.org.