Vital Signs

November 27, 2011




Saying Good-Bye (to a production)

In Mikko Nissinen’s 10 years at the helm of Boston Ballet, he navigated the strained separation from the company’s former residence, the Wang Theater, among many other things. Now that the company is happily ensconced in The Boston Opera House, Nissinen has decided to make a new Nutcracker specifically for the company’s new home, to premiere in 2012. The curtain will fall on the popular current production, with sets and costumes that have been used for over two decades, this year. See it for the last time Nov. 25–Dec. 31.


Lia Cirio and Pavel Gurevich in Boston Ballet’s current snow scene. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor, Courtesy BB.



Roots Run Deep

As the final celebration of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater’s 15th anniversary, the company has put together Chicago Women of Song, honoring the many female singers with roots in the Windy City, which premieres on Dec. 9. Artistic director Kevin Iega Jeff, associate artistic director Gary Abbott, and three other choreographers have each made a solo to the music of a songstress, including Chaka Khan and Mavis Staples. The program also includes I Am Deeply Rooted, Jeff’s love letter to the artists and supporters of the company.


Joshua L. Ishmon and Cecelia Jones.

Photo by Sandro, Courtesy DRDT.



From the Rink to the Rodeo

Take a romantic spin on the ice rink with Sarasota Ballet, whose bundled-up dancers perform Ashton’s sweet Les Patineurs on the mixed bill dubbed “From the Park to the Prairies.” The holiday favorite is joined by a celebration of the Wild West, with Christopher Wheeldon’s lyrical The American and the company premiere of Agnes de Mille’s spirited Rodeo. Will the spunky cowgirl be as lucky in love as the Patineurs? Find out Dec. 9–10.


Jamie Carter and Victoria Hulland in
Les Patineurs. Photo by Frank Atura, Courtesy SB.



Getting to Know You

Taking a break from Nutcracker for one evening, Houston Ballet mounts its annual celebration of the company on Dec. 2. All of the dancers perform in “Jubilee of Dance,” a smorgasbord of works both beloved (including an excerpt from director Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly) and new—a pas de deux by rising soloist Melissa Hough and a work for HB’s male dancers by Welch. The latter honors managing director Cecil C. Conner, Jr., who retires in February after 17 years of service. After the performance, it’s back to snowflakes and flowers through Dec. 27.


Melissa Hough. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy HB.



Going Nuts

Two cities that have their Nutcracker plates more than full this month are L.A. and DC. While Los Angeles Ballet’s production by directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary runs Dec. 3–24 at three venues around town, The Joffrey Ballet, which was the resident company of L.A.’s Music Center from 1982 to 1992, brings its version by Robert Joffrey back Dec. 1–4 (at home in Chicago, it runs Dec. 9–27). In addition to The Washington Ballet’s version, which includes George Washington as a character, at two theaters in DC Nov. 25–Dec. 24, whirling into the Kennedy Center’s Opera House is American Ballet Theatre’s production by Alexei Ratmansky, in its first trip outside of Brooklyn Dec. 8–11 (see “New York Notebook,” p. 20, for its dates at home).,,, and

Victoria Jaiani and Miguel Angel Blanco of The Joffrey. Photo by Herbert Migdoll, Courtesy Joffrey.



Two Decades of Koresh

Koresh Dance Company celebrates 20 years of explosive modern dance this month, at home in Philadelphia. The program is a retrospective of director Ronen Koresh’s greatest hits, from Facing the Sun (1992), a commemoration of the Holocaust, to Through the Skin, a work that’s equal parts sensual and hard hitting that premiered in May. The company of nine dancers perform Dec. 1–4.


Melissa Rector and Micah Geyer in
Evolution. Photo by Pete Checcia, Courtesy Koresh.




A Vision of Pina

, the Cuban-inspired work by the late granddame of dance theater, Pina Bausch, hasn’t been performed in the U.S. for over 10 years. One of the more lighthearted works for her company, Tanztheater Wuppertal, the piece explores evolving views of sexual behavior as we progress from innocent child and curious adolescent to wizened adult. In what will be a bittersweet moment, a lustrous solo against a projection of fish that used to be performed by Bausch herself will be performed by a company dancer. Danzón runs at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Nov. 25–26 and at Cal Performances Dec. 2–3. The film PINA, by Wim Wenders, also opens in New York this month (see “Plugged In”). and


Pina Bausch in
Danzón. Photo by Maarten Vanden Abeele, Courtesy Cal Performances.