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15 Dance Performances to See This February

By: Susan Reiter
Date: Jan 31, 2020


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Catch two takes on Swan Lake, the Martha Graham Dance Company and a wide range of international dance troupes this month


February is overflowing with worthy dance performances from all over the world. The Joyce goes global with companies from Brazil, Argentina and France; the Harkness Dance Festival is showcasing a different international troupe each week; and the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre makes its U.S. debut with Swan Lake at BAM. There are plenty of domestic dance-makers too, including New York City Ballet and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Of the 15 performances we're highlighting, at press time we have TDF member discounts to three, and we expect to have others in the coming weeks. It's best to check our offers daily as ticket availability changes frequently.


New York City Ballet: Winter Season 2020
David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, enter at 63rd Street

Runs through March 1.

The company interrupts its mixed-repertory programs for 12 performances of Peter Martins' Swan Lake (February 14-23). Look for debuts by younger dancers, notably Joseph Gordon as Prince Siegfried, alongside NYCB favorites such as Sara Mearns, who's always remarkable in the dual role of Odette/Odile. Other highlights this month include Alexei Ratmansky's brand-new Voices; three pieces by Justin Peck, including a world premiere; and works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Christopher Wheeldon.


Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street

Runs February 4-9.

Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker, who was the movement director for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, is known for her athleticism and daring. Her 26-year-old company has only performed intermittently in New York, and not since 2009. For this Joyce run, the troupe presents Cão Sem Plumas (Dog Without Feathers), inspired by João Cabral de Melo Neto's poem of the same name. The striking piece explores the vibrant but challenging lives of the people who live in the Capibaribe River region in Northeast Brazil, with dust-covered dancers moving in front of vivid documentary footage shot in the area.


Karen Bernard Projects: Lakeside
Douglas Dunn Studio, 541 Broadway between Prince and Spring Streets

Runs February 6-8.

Veteran interdisciplinary performer Karen Bernard examines the impact of trauma on women's bodies in her new duet Lakeside, which she performs with Lisa Parra. The two women embody the roles of victim, witness and murderer, switching parts throughout, with haunting videos by Bernard enhancing the exploration of an uneasy and urgent subject.


Ballet Academy East Winter Performance
Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 Ninth Avenue at 55th Street

Runs February 6-8.

See the dance stars of tomorrow today! The talented students of this well-regarded ballet school celebrate the institution's 40th anniversary season with a performance of new works by several high-profile dancers venturing into choreography. Former NYCB principal Charles Askegard, NYCB dancer Silas Farley, Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio and former NYCB dancer Amanda Edge all have pieces on the program, and BAE faculty member Jenna Lavin also contributes two ballets.


Che Malambo
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street

Runs February 11-16.

Bring on the men! This all-male company brings the foot-stomping style of Argentinian gauchos to the stage. The troupe's percussive Malambo tradition dates back to the 17th century, and spotlights the prowess, vigor and competitiveness of these so-called South American cowboys. This family-friendly performance incorporates live drumming and the virtuosic twirling of boleadoras.


New York Theatre Ballet: Chamber Works: REP
Danspace Project, St. Mark's Church, 131 East 10th Street between Second and Third Avenues

Runs February 13-15.

This adventurous chamber troupe presents a theatrical mixed-rep lineup. Highlights include a new version of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, directed and choreographed by former NYCB dancer Robert La Fosse and narrated by downtown performance artist John Kelly; British choreographer Richard Alston's The Small Sonata, a duet to Ravel; and former NYCB dancer Antonia Franceschi's new work Uncaged, set to a Claire van Kampen score.


Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: In the Midst of Life
NYU Skirball, 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South

Runs February 13-15. At press time, discount tickets were available for In the Midst of Life.

The Belgian dance-maker takes a brief break from finalizing the choreographer for her Broadway's West Side Story to perform in her 2017 quintet In the Midst of Life, set to Bach's six cello suites. She applies her formalistic, rigorous style to the music, which is performed centerstage by the exceptional cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, who developed the singular piece with De Keersmaeker.


St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake
Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue between Ashland Place and St Felix Street

Runs February 15-16.

This lauded Russian ballet troupe and its internationally acclaimed star Irina Kolesnikova make their collective U.S. debut at BAM with their rendition of Tchaikovsky's ballet. Odette/Odile is the prima ballerina's signature role, so you can see what critics and audiences have been raving about from London to Sydney to Johannesburg.


Compagnie Hervé KOUBI
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street

Runs February 18-23.

Another all-male ensemble at the Joyce! The 15 men in this French company hail from Algeria, Morocco, Burkina Faso and France. For this week-long run, the troupe performs Les nuits barbares ou les premiers matins du monde, choreographer Hervé Koubi's exploration of the cultural history of the Mediterranean basin. Mostly bare-chested, the dancers move with primal energy and fluidity through the piece's blend of martial arts, capoeira, hip-hop and contemporary steps.


Sara Juli: Burnt-Out Wife
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street between Rivington and Delancey Streets

Runs February 21, 22, 27 and 28.

Sara Juli, a seasoned creator of comedic dance-theatre pieces, performs her most recent solo, Burnt-Out Wife, set in what press materials describe as a "Pepto-Bismol pink bathroom." A commentary on marriage, the piece melds movement and text to explore the challenges of the institution, including issues of intimacy, loneliness, monogamy and lack of sex.


Harkness Dance Festival
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street

Runs February 21-March 22.

This year's edition of Harkness Dance Center's annual fest is titled Passport to Dance, with the work of a different international troupe showcased each week. It kicks off with South Korea's Jaewoo Jung (February 21-22), who performs with his company Braverman, followed by Montreal's Daniel Lévéille Danse (February 28-29) presenting Catherine Gaudet's The Fading of the Marvelous. We'll tackle the March lineup next month.


Florentina Holzinger: Apollon
NYU Skirball, 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South

Runs February 22-23. At press time, discount tickets were available for Apollon.

Austrian-born, Netherlands-based choreographer Florentina Holzinger fuses ballet, giant puppets, performance art and freak show acts (seriously, there may be blood) in Apollon, her deconstruction of the myth of the ideal woman. Though she claims a "hint" of Balanchine in this piece, the tattooed dancers doing hardcore fitness, performing a cyborg bullfight and pounding nails into their noses are the more indelible images.


Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance: Tales of Hopper
DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 West 37th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues

Runs February 25-26.

Cherylyn Lavagnino's latest dance, Tales of Hopper, a collaboration with composer Martin Bresnick inspired by the work of Edward Hopper, is the highlight of this evening. Featuring transparent set pieces and live musical acocmpaniment, the piece unfolds in eight vignettes as characters from the American master's paintings come alive. Two recent repertory dances complete the program.


Martha Graham Dance Company: GrahamDeconstructed
Martha Graham Studio Theater, 55 Bethune Street at Washington Street

Runs February 25-26.

The troupe presents a recent reconstruction of Martha Graham's 1963 piece Circe, in which the mythic soerceress and her cohhorts attempt to seduce Odysseus. The work features one of Isamu Noguchi's iconic sets for the choreographer, and includes roles for company's entire male roster. Artistic director Janet Eilber provides the piece's backstory prior to the intimate studio performance.


Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street

Runs February 25-March 1. At press time, discount tickets were available for Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE.

EVIDENCE kicks off its 35th anniversary with this week-long run at the Joyce. Ronald K. Brown's powerful synthesis of African dance styles and contemporary technique is beautifully illustrated in two of his most enduring works: High Life, about what we leave behind as we move up, and Grace, a tribute to God and Alvin Ailey, whose company first performed the piece. Also on the program, the New York premiere of Mercy, conceived as a companion piece to Grace and set to an original score by Meshell Ndegeocello.


Susan Reiter regularly covers dance for TDF Stages.

Top image: Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker in Cão Sem Plumas (Dog Without Feathers). Photo by Cafi.

TDF MEMBERS: Go here to browse our latest discounts for dance, theatre and concerts.

Susan Reiter covers dance for TDF Stages.