A King Re-Gendered

Setterfield in Lear. Photo by Patrick Moore, courtesy NYLA.

Play King Lear? Valda Setterfield has done so many other things that when she turned 79, she felt ripe for the challenge. At the request of Irish maverick choreographer John Scott, she played (and danced) the plagued king in Ireland two years ago, and now, at 81, she reprises the role in Lear at New York Live Arts. Setterfield, who has performed duets with Merce Cunningham, David Gordon and Mikhail Baryshnikov, will draw on her early training in theater and mime. “She really becomes Lear,” says Scott. “Her performance is utterly believable, with an almost primal honesty.” Naturally, Lear’s three daughters will be played by male dancers. Feb. 17–20. newyorklivearts.org.

Heroes in the Heartland

MADCO’s Lindsay Hawkins and Brandon Fink. Photo by Steve Truesdell, courtesy Dance St Louis.

ST. LOUIS For Black History Month, the enterprising Dance St. Louis has paired three major choreographers with local groups to honor the city’s legendary black heroes. Bebe Miller has choreographed a tribute to Miles Davis for MADCO, the company in residence at University of Missouri–St. Louis. San Francisco’s Robert Moses has created a work for local repertory group The Big Muddy Dance Company, inspired by Rev. Cleophus Robinson, a well-known gospel singer and preacher. Cleveland’s Dianne McIntyre has made a large group work based on the poems of Maya Angelou. Her cast features three former Ailey stars, now living in St. Louis: Antonio Douthit-Boyd and Kirven Douthit-Boyd (who are married) and Alicia Graf Mack. Feb. 26–27, Touhill Performing Arts Center. dancestlouis.org.

Love Is in the Air

Ansa Deguchi and Brian Simcoe of OBT. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert, Courtesy OBT.

U.S. AND ABROAD The ultimate tale of love that knows no boundaries, Romeo and Juliet is a timeless (albeit tragic) Valentine’s ballet. And there’s a version out there for everyone this month: The reigning classics by John Cranko, at Ballet West (Feb. 12–20, Capitol Theatre, Salt Lake City), and Kenneth MacMillan, at Birmingham Royal Ballet (Feb. 24–27, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham, UK); the charming regional remakes, including Malcolm Burn’s at Richmond Ballet (Feb. 12–14, Carpenter Theatre, Richmond, VA) and James Canfield’s for Oregon Ballet Theatre (Feb. 27–March 5, Keller Auditorium, Portland, OR); and the contemporary departures of Jean-Christophe Maillot at Pacific Northwest Ballet (Feb. 5–14, McCaw Hall, Seattle), and Edwaard Liang at Tulsa Ballet (Feb. 12–14, Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Tulsa, OK). balletwest.org, brb.org.uk, richmondballet.com, obt.org, pnb.org and tulsaballet.org.

Tell Me a Story

New and notable narratives taking the stage this month

Justin Peck. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB.

Justin Peck’s The Most Incredible Thing

New York City Ballet

Peck is taking on his first-ever narrative ballet, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale about a young man who dreams up a crazy clock to win a contest. His cast will include more than 50 dancers, including students from the School of American Ballet. Feb. 2, 6, 9–11, David H. Koch Theater, NYC. nycballet.com.

Robert Hill’s The Firebird

Orlando Ballet

Artistic director Robert Hill is tackling the famous story ballet that marked the beginning of Stravinsky’s collaboration with the Ballets Russes. Feb. 5–7, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando, FL. orlandoballet.org.

Choré. Photo by Alice Blangero, courtesy LBDMC.

Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Choré

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

A ballet with Broadway’s flair for sets and costumes, this work is making its U.S. premiere at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA. Feb. 12–13. scfta.org.

Pink at Milwaukee Ballet. Photo by Rachel Malehorn, courtesy MB.

Michael Pink’s Dorian Gray

Milwaukee Ballet

The company’s artistic director adapts Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which shocked critics and readers when it was published in 1891 because of its hedonistic themes. Feb. 12–21, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee. milwaukeeballet.org.

New Christopher Wheeldon Ballet

The Royal Ballet

John Singer Sargent’s sexually suggestive painting Madame X shocked the world when it was unveiled in 1884—so much that he chose to repaint the falling strap on the dress of the woman in the portrait. Now, The Royal’s artist in residence is turning it into a ballet. Feb. 12–19, March 10–11, Royal Opera House Main Stage, London. roh.org.uk.

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