The Shows Everyone Will Be Talking About This February

February 3, 2020

It’s a short month, but February is jam-packed. From a double-helping of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker to a long-absent Balanchine solo created for the late Paul Taylor, here are the shows that most piqued our interest.

The Lost Episode

Michael Trusnovec poses with his arms raised to shoulder height, elbows bent to 90 degrees and fingers relaxed. He looks to the right but leans slightly away as he hips press forward.
Michael Trusnovec

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

NEW YORK CITY When Martha Graham and George Balanchine collaborated on Episodes in 1959, they borrowed each other’s dancers. Graham supplemented her troupe with four New York City Ballet members for the first part; when crafting the second, Balanchine included a solo for a young Graham dancer named Paul Taylor. Last performed by NYCB in 1989, the “Variations” solo is being revived in tribute to the late dance legend—and in a poignant touch, Taylor veteran Michael Trusnovec has been invited to dance it on Feb. 6 and 9. Also of note during the winter season: the premieres of Alexei Ratmansky’s sixth work for the company and Justin Peck’s first collaboration with composer Nico Muhly. Jan. 21–March 1.

Bringing Jiří Back

In a duet from Jiri Kylian's Claude Pascal, a woman presses her forehead to her knee as she balances in a high attitude on forced arch. Her partner's arms wrap around her and the extended leg, leaving it unclear which arms belong to which person.

Kylián’s Claude Pascal

Joris Jan-Bos, Courtesy NDT

Nederlands Dans Theater continues celebrating its 60th anniversary with a program devoted to one of the company’s most pivotal choreographers. The Sometimes, I wonder program features a trio of works by Jiří Kylián: Bella Figura (1995), Claude Pascal (2002) and Vanishing Twin (2008). The master dancemaker’s style was once synonymous with NDT, though he temporarily withdrew his works from the repertoire in 2014. Their reappearance seems an auspicious sign as the company prepares to enter a new era, with Emily Molnar taking on the artistic directorship beginning next season—but there’s still no telling whether Kylián may yet be lured out of his choreographic retirement. Feb. 6–13, The Hague; Feb. 19–23, Rotterdam.

De Keersmaeker Takes New York

On a broad, grey stage, a cellist watches a woman in black arching on her side on the floor, partially covering a five-pointed star made of tape.

De Keersmaeker’s Mitten wir im Leben sind

Anne Van Aerschot, Courtesy Helene Davis Public Relations

Two major projects from the Belgian dancemaker open in the Big Apple.

West Side Story

The hotly anticipated revival officially opens on Broadway Feb. 20. The Ivo van Hove production raised eyebrows when news broke that it would cut some iconic songs and tighten the plot so the musical could run sans intermission—not to mention the earlier decision to replace Jerome Robbins’ epoch-making choreography with new material from Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Will West Side Story be the Oklahoma! of this season?

Mitten wir im Leben sind

NEW YORK CITY Meanwhile, De Keersmaeker and dancers from her company, Rosas, will land downtown Feb. 13–15 for the North American premiere of her Mitten wir im Leben sind. Cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras plays the entirety of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cello suites live onstage, the intricacies of which are unspooled by five dancers—one of whom will be De Keersmaeker herself.

A Collective Chorus

Samita Sinha and Okwui Okpokwasili sit with their legs dangling off the edge of a stage in a well-lit room. They are shoulder to shoulder, eyes downcast as they open their mouths, as though singing.
Samita Sinha and Okwui Okpokwasili at Danspace Project

Ian Douglas, Courtesy Danspace Project

Danspace Project’s annual Platform series accumulates works across genres to astonishing, thought-provoking effect. The 10th edition promises to be no different. PLATFORM 2020: Utterances from the Chorus, co-curated by Okwui Okpokwasili and Judy Hussie-Taylor, questions how the voice and the body can be sites of both resistance and transformation, and what becomes possible through collective song and gesture. The five weeks of programming feature choreographers Nacera Belaza and Meryem Jazouli alongside a weekly performance of Okpokwasili and Peter Born’s Sitting on a Man’s Head, as well as poetry, music, workshops and artist gatherings. Feb. 22–March 21.

As of March 12, the remainder of PLATFORM 2020: Utterances from the Chorus events have been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

Make Some Noise

Michelle Dorrance smiles at the mirror, where a studio full of dancers is reflected as they imitate her movement.
Michelle Dorrance and Melinda Sullivan in rehearsal with Trinity Irish Dance Company

Chelsea Hoy, Courtesy Auditorium Theatre

CHICAGO Trinity Irish Dance Company is all but guaranteed to make this Leap Day a memorable one. On Feb. 29, the Chicago-based Irish step company debuts American Traffic, a new work created by lauded tap choreographers Michelle Dorrance and Melinda Sullivan. But that’s not all: Listen, by Colin Dunne, and Home, by artistic director Mark Howard and associate artistic director Chelsea Hoy, are also slated to premiere. Rounding out the Auditorium Theatre program are the Chicago debut of Seán Curran’s Goddess and a few other classic rep pieces.