The Trocks in Swan Lake. Photo by Sascha Vaughn, Courtesy Les Ballets Trockadero.
En Travesti, A Treat
Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to laugh or marvel at the Trocks. So why not do both? Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo bourrée into Philly’s Annenberg Center Dec. 13–15, then post up to NYC’s Joyce Theater Dec. 18–Jan. 6. Among the company’s various interpretations of the classical canon, Ida Nevasayneva’s Dying Swan still stands alone as the ultimate send-up of an aging diva. www.trockadero.org.
While the Kennedy Center has been overflowing with great dance for over 40 years, it has yet to host a full-length tap concert in its main theaters—until now. On Dec. 7, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project presents JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance in the Eisenhower Theater. Stars include 2012 Dance Magazine Award recipient Dianne “Lady Di” Walker (see “Awards”), Derick K. Grant, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, and Michelle Dorrance, as well as CHRP’s BAM! Ensemble, D.C.’s Step Afrika!, and Rasta Thomas’ TAP STARS. Members of youth tap companies from across the country will also get their chance to sound off. www.kennedy-center.org.
Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. Photo by Eduardo Patino, Courtesy CHRP.
A Constant Flame
For 25 years, Prometheus Dance has been performing its theatrical, highly physical works that address hard-hitting issues—refugee displacement, oppressed women, and those afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, among others. Co-directors Diane Arvanites and Tommy Neblett have made the company a resolute presence in Cambridge, MA, through its performances and educational programs—as well as its Elders Ensemble of dancers 60–85 years old. On Dec. 15, the company throws itself a birthday party/gala at the Multicultural Arts Center. Visit www.prometheusdance.org to view the company’s virtual retrospective, with images, videos, and interviews commemorating its quarter-century milestone.
Jennifer Kelble in Arvanites and Neblett’s Desiderare. Photo by Donny Zaltzberg, Courtesy Prometheus.
About Comedy, By Camille
White Bird, celebrating its 15th anniversary as the Pacific Northwest’s leading dance-only presenter, has several big-name choreographers coming through Portland, OR, this season. But they’ve also saved room for smaller groups that pack a big punch, like Camille A. Brown & Dancers, which performs her latest work, Mr. TOL E. RAncE, Dec. 6–8. In its West Coast debut, the company tackles the history of African-American comedic performance—both the humor and underlying darkness—with Brown’s characteristic theatricality. www.whitebird.org.
Camille A. Brown. Photo by Matthew Karas, Courtesy White Bird.
No Rest for Bourne
It’s been 25 years since Matthew Bourne made his first piece for his company, now known as New Adventures. His latest work, Sleeping Beauty, the pièce de résistance of NA’s 25th-anniversary season, runs Dec. 4–Jan. 26 at Sadler’s Wells, and will tour internationally next year. Like his most famous work, the homoerotic Swan Lake (also set to Tchaikovsky), this Beauty is a modern-day production, as Aurora awakes from her century-long slumber to the present. www.sadlerswells.com.
Keith Brazil and Matthew Bourne in Bourne’s Spitfire, his first hit, in 1988. Photo by Chris Nash, Courtesy Sadler’s Wells.
A party scene gone awry in Texas Ballet Theatre’s Nutty Nutcracker. Photo by Ellen Appel, Courtesy TBT.
You can’t turn right in December without running into a Nutcracker—also known as the bread and butter of companies around the country. After weeks of glittering snowflakes, some troupes switch it up with a “Nutty Nutcracker”—a one (or few)-night-only pop-culture parody that leaves some choreography intact and basically follows the story, but with unexpected cameos. On Dec. 21, the dancers of Texas Ballet Theater will take a break from Nutcracker as usual (which they will have been performing since Nov. 23), for their Nutty Nutcracker. Last year’s production (put together in a mere week) reportedly featured then-newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton, characters from The Wizard of Oz, and (obviously) Black Swan’s Black Swan. Expect more of the same this year. www.texasballettheater.org.
Like individual snowflakes, every Nutcracker production is unique. Here are three more done with a twist:
The Jewish Nutcracker in San Francisco, which tells the story of Hanukkah and incorporates world dance styles into its production. Dec. 18–23. www.jewishnutcracker.com.
Of Mice & Music: A Jazz Nutcracker in Austin, presented by the hard-hitting tappers of Tapestry Dance Company. Dec. 6–16. www.tapestry.org.
Boston’s Urban Nutcracker adds Duke Ellington to the Tchaikovsky score, along with hip-hop, ballroom, and Bollywood. Dec. 8–23. www.urbannutcrackerboston.com.
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.
I'm a Broadway dancer with a long second toe and the nail is always bruised. I had thought switching from pointe work to dancing in character shoes was the answer—I felt great for several years until recently. What's the problem?