Performances Onstage this Month

Principal Lorena Feijoo and members of San Francisco Ballet rehearse Possokhov’s new work. PC Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Gravitas, Russian-Style

SAN FRANCISCO During last fall’s World Ballet Day LIVE, San Francisco Ballet’s choreographer in residence, Yuri Possokhov, talked to the dancers about his new work, Optimistic Tragedy. It’s inspired by what the Russian raised expat describes as the “monumental hope” of the 1917 Russian Revolution, saying, “We still hope of the best future.” In the choreography, masses of men surge around the heroic lead women, reminiscent of Massine’s controversial symphonic ballets of the 1930s. This new work, with music by Russian composer Ilya Demutsky, shares SFB’s Modern Masters program with Alexei Ratmansky’s beguiling Seven Sonatas and William Forsythe’s pure-dance excursion, Pas/Parts 2016. Jan. 26–Feb. 5.


Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. PC Trudie Lee, Courtesy DJD.

Jazzy Juliet

CALGARY Two of the most famous lovers in English literature are getting a new treatment this month with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks’ premiere of Juliet & Romeo. Artistic director and choreographer Kimberley Cooper has promised unexpected twists in this reimagining of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, with fresh narration and original music performed by a live jazz ensemble. Jan. 18–28.


Something for Everyone

Company | E, PC Paul Gordon Emerson, Courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates.

NEW YORK CITY The American Dance Platform gives New Yorkers a chance to catch up on dance in the rest of the country. Coming to The Joyce are the witty Lucky Plush Productions from Chicago; Dallas Black Dance Theatre; Minneapolis Indian troupe Ragamala Dance Company; the globally minded Company | E from Washington, DC; San Francisco’s provocative RAWdance; and the Los Angeles–based Latin company CONTRA-TIEMPO. But the local dance scene is represented, too: There’s the fearless Davalois Fearon with her group, and the dramatic Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre. This small festival offers big diversity. Jan. 3–8.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, PC Jay Brooks, Courtesy ROH.

We’re All Mad Here

LONDON It’s not the first choreography inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but it might be the funkiest. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party uses hip hop to bring Lewis Carroll’s beloved characters to life, recasting them as inmates in an insane asylum who kidnap their new psychotherapist to Wonderland. ZooNation, a British dance company dedicated to using hip hop to tell family-friendly, humorous stories, has reconfigured its witty, madcap show for the Roundhouse’s protean space after its successful premiere at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre. Dec. 30–Jan. 22.

Bunny Masks and a Ballet Barre

Lidberg’s Rabbit, PC Tristram Kenton, Courtesy BalletBoyz

U.S. & CANADA Life is an ambitious title for a program—but that’s just the sort of cheeky daring that makes the all-male company BalletBoyz so irresistible. The production, which debuted in London at Sadler’s Wells last spring, comprises a pair of commissioned works: Pontus Lidberg’s Rabbit and Javier de Frutos’ Fiction. The former is a subtly nonsensical investigation of loneliness as a man interacts with figures clothed in waistcoats and bunny masks. The latter deals with the aftermath of loss—here, the fictional demise of the choreographer, whose imagined obituary forms part of the score as the dancers react to the news. Its North American tour takes BalletBoyz along the West Coast and through Canada. Jan. 20–Feb. 25.

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