DM Editors Pick November's Can't-Miss Shows
Our editors' performance picks this month are all about taking what's expected and turning it on its head.
Life After Romeo
The cast of & Juliet in rehearsal
Johan Persson, Courtesy Dewynters
LONDON What if, instead of reaching for a dagger after finding Romeo dead beside her, Juliet got a life? & Juliet, a new pop musical hitting the West End this month, turns Shakespeare's tale of woe on its head. To get over Romeo, the titular heroine takes off to Paris for an adventure with her friends and trusty Nurse. Jennifer Weber's choreography animates a soundtrack spanning '90s chart toppers by Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys to more recent hits by Ellie Goulding and The Weeknd. Previews begin Nov. 2. andjulietthemusical.co.uk. —Courtney Escoyne
A Homegrown Triple Bill
Eva Stone rehearses PNB dancers.
Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
SEATTLE For Locally Sourced, Pacific Northwest Ballet presents three premieres by Seattle-area artists. Donald Byrd, artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater, creates a piece set to music by Israeli composer Emmanuel Witzthum. The founder of Bellevue's CHOP SHOP contemporary dance festival, Eva Stone collaborates with a female design team for FOIL, choreographed to the music of four women composers. And Seattle-born corps member Miles Pertl makes his first ballet for the main stage. Nov. 8–17. pnb.org. —Caroline Shadle
Dancing the Undanceable
Colin Dunne in his Concert
Maurice Gunning, Courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates
NEW YORK CITY Irish and contemporary dance aficionados alike are in for a treat: Colin Dunne is back in New York City. Eight years after co-presenting Dunne's Olivier-nominated solo show Out of Time, Baryshnikov Arts Center and Irish Arts Center again join forces for the U.S. premiere of Dunne's 2017 solo work Concert. Dunne uses fiddle player Tommie Potts' infamously "undanceable" album The Liffey Banks (1972) as the starting point, placing his dance in conversation with Potts' music, and, through the use of sonic and filmic elements, Dunne himself in conversation with Potts. Nov. 14–16. bacnyc.org. —CS
It's All Greek to Me
Dimitris Papanioannou's The Great Tamer
Julian Mommert, Courtesy BAM
NEW YORK CITY Avant-garde dancemaker Dimitris Papaioannou has been pushing and evading boundaries for decades, but his name (not to mention his work) is not well known stateside. Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival will give audiences a crash course with The Great Tamer, his 2017 macabre commentary on existence. Featuring nudity, Apollo-era space suits, stilts, illusions, Strauss' "Blue Danube" waltz and a shape-shifting floor, it hovers in the gray area between nightmare and farce. Nov. 14–17. bam.org. —CE
Bruce Wood's Follow Me
Sharen Bradford, Courtesy Bruce Wood Dance
DALLAS Bruce Wood Dance's Harvest program is bound to be a poignant one. In honor of Veterans Day, the company will restage Wood's 2004 Follow Me, which features servicemen and women performing alongside the company. Also on tap: the premiere of artistic director Joy Bollinger's In My Your Head, an exploration of how American youth are reacting to today's political climate, set to the music of Radiohead, plus a new work by Bryan Arias. Nov. 15–16. brucewooddance.org. —CE
No Lousy Chickens
Michelle Manzanales' Con Brazos Abiertos
Paula Lobo, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick PR
NEW YORK CITY Is West Side Story fever contagious? It spreads to the Apollo Theater this month with the premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's latest work for Ballet Hispánico. Tiburones chips away at the stereotypes surrounding the Sharks to look at the fictional Puerto Rican street gang through a Latinx and gender-fluid lens. The cross-cultural reckonings with identity continue with a restaging of Andrea Miller's Nací and a reprisal of Michelle Manzanales' Con Brazos Abiertos. Nov. 22–23. ballethispanico.org. —CE
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:
We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.
But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)
"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.