Vital Signs

February 10, 2011





Dans-ing to the U.S.

Nederlands Dans Theater embarks on the company’s first American tour since 2009. On the program is the exquisite Silent Screen by Lightfoot/León, set to music by Philip Glass. Jirí Kylián’s Whereabouts Unknown completes the bill on the first stop, at Cal Performances in Berkeley (March 18–19). Crystal Pite’s The Second Person replaces the Kylián piece for the remaining dates at the Music Center of Los Angeles (March 23–24) and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (March 29–30). See


I Got Rhythm

Choreographer Viktor Plotnikov premieres his first ballet for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre this month. The former Boston Ballet principal and former resident choreographer of Festival Ballet Providence set his evening-length A Gershwin Fantasy to the music and lyrics of Ira and George Gershwin. Although his titles aren’t as brazen as they were back in 2005, when he debuted a piece called Crazy Nun, his work still can pack a punch. March 17–20. See


Bern, Baby, Bern

The eighth Swiss Contemporary Dance Days festival lands in the capital city of Bern this month. Fourteen companies from across Switzerland perform at seven theaters over four days, from up-and-coming choreographers to established companies, including Bern Ballet. The local troupe, under British director Cathy Marston, has recently acquired works by Karole Armitage, Jirí Kylián, and Andrea Miller. March 3–6. See


Reinking Returns to Chicago

Broadway queen Ann Reinking returns to work with Thodos Dance Chicago, co-choreographing The White City: Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 with director Melissa Thodos. Their fourth collaboration—the last one, 2009’s Fosse Trilogy, debuted to a sold-out audience—is TDC’s first narrative ballet. With a live onstage quartet, the characters take their cues from the political figures, assassins, and architects who made the 1893 World’s Fair momentous. Feb. 19 in Skokie, IL, and March 4 at the Harris Theater in Chicago. See


Wonderboy’s Wonderland

Christopher Wheeldon’s highly anticipated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland lands at the Royal Opera House this month. The ballet is the first new evening-length production for The Royal Ballet in more than 15 years. Alice, with a commissioned score by Joby Talbot, who previously collaborated with Wheeldon on his enchanting Fool’s Paradise, will travel to the National Ballet of Canada in June for its North American debut. March 2–15. See


Going for the Gold

Hundreds of starry-eyed dancers descend on New York City this month for the finals of the annual Youth America Grand Prix. Now in its 12th year, the competition provides a chance to be seen by an international crop of schools and companies and win scholarships totaling over $250,000. The guests for the gala, on March 22, are always top-notch—scheduled this year are students from Beijing Dance Academy, Theater Basel’s powerful Roderick George with a world premiere, and the amazing Viengsay Valdés of Ballet Nacional de Cuba. March 17–23. See


We’ve Only Just Begun

Mathew Janczewski and his fearless ARENA Dances debut I hate myself. Will you please love me? at the Southern Theater March 4–6. Named a “25 to Watch” in 2008, Janczewski draws inspiration for his new work from the complex relationship between the tragic singer Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard. The piece is set to music by The Carpenters and the duo’s indie descendents Four Tet and Bright Eyes. See


Warm Southern Nights

South Carolina’s Columbia City Ballet rounds out its 50th anniversary with . Director William Starrett, who has increased the number of African American dancers in his company’s roster during his 25 years as director, lends his choreography to the classic Shakespearean tale of mischief and romance. University of South Carolina, March 4–5. See



Joeri de Korte and Shirley Esseboom in
Silent Screen. Joris-Jan Bos Photography, courtesy Cal Performances