Vital Signs

December 16, 2010

The Science of Art

Armed with physicist Brian Greene’s book The Elegant Universe and her wild movement vocabulary, Karole Armitage’s Three Theories comes to Hanover, NH (Jan. 14–15), and Burlington, VT (Jan. 28). Each of the piece’s three sections takes its cue from a theory in physics: Relativity (slow and lush), Quantum (frenzied), and String (ordered). At the New York premiere at the World Science Festival last June, Armitage said of the theories, “I certainly don’t understand them, but I think I do understand the poetry.” See


The Heat Goes On

Miami City Ballet is 25 this year and the company’s 2010–11 season is already off to a promising start. The Opus One Orchestra has returned for the full season, courtesy a $900,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant. This month, MCB performs the company premiere of Tharp’s jazzy Baker’s Dozen and dives into Balanchine’s sassy Western Symphony. But if you can’t see the company at home, don’t worry—MCB receives the “Great Performances” treatment this spring. Included in the PBS broadcast will be Western Symphony and another Tharp ballet, the high-flying Golden Section. Jan. 7–30 in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach. See and


Pictured: Armitage Gone!’s Megumi Eda. Photo by Julieta Cervantes


An Earthy Cause

Dancing Earth brings its celebration of Native American cultural heritage to Montana. Of Bodies of Elements, created by the company’s founder Rulan Tangen (a 2007 “25 to Watch”), explores traditions of environmental sustainability using what Tangen calls indigenous contemporary dance. Helena, Jan. 21. Whitefish, Jan. 23. See


Dancing in Circles

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, which mounts the work of Alwin Nikolais, often produces stunning imagery. With Circle Cycle, choreographed by Joan Woodbury, Shirley Ririe, Tandy Beal, and Jerry Pearson, circles dominate the work. Using balloons, hula hoops, and volleyballs, the group performs four free shows for Salt Lake City grade-schoolers as part of their annual January outreach programming, Jan. 26–28, as well as performances for the general public, Jan. 28–29. See


Broadway to Big Screen

Itching to see FELA! before it tours the U.S.? The Tony Award–winning musical dances its way into 300 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 22 countries including the U.S. on Jan. 13, during its engagement at London’s National Theatre. The Afrobeat musical—conceived, choreographed, and directed by Bill T. Jones—celebrates the life and music of Nigeria’s renegade singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. To top it off, it’s a second chance for American audiences to see the astonishing original Fela, Sahr Ngaujah, who left for London last October. For a list of participating locations, see


Uncage New Dance

White Bird Dance presents Oslund + Co/Dance in their Uncaged series at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall. Mary Oslund, whose work has been dubbed a humanistic yet edgy approach to Cunningham-based movement, premieres Childhood Star. Eight dancers perform Oslund’s highly physical and intricately designed group work. The piece includes sculpture and projections created by visual artist Christine Bourdette. Jan. 20–22. See


A Lit Fuse

California-based Company C Contemporary Ballet, a 2010 “25 to Watch,” tours its home state this month. Indoor Fireworks, a world premiere by Charles Anderson and Benjamin Bowman for 10 dancers, stops in Walnut Creek Jan. 21–22 and Castro Valley Jan. 29–30. Anderson, who is Company C’s artistic director, and Bowman, who was in the original cast of Tharp’s Movin’ Out, set the ballet to various Elvis Costello tunes (including the title song), each a self-contained vignette. See


Order and Chaos

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet revisits the old and presents the new this month. The company restages Jacopo Godani’s Unit in Reaction, set to an experimental electro-acoustic score; performs the cheeky, self-referential Hubbub by Alexander Ekman; and brings back excerpts of the piece that put the versatile troupe on the map—Ohad Naharin’s Decadance 2007. Richmond, VA, Jan. 14–15. St. Louis, MO, Jan. 28–29. See