March-April 2017 | Performance Corner

Performance Corner: Our sneak peek at dance shows we’d love to see

Che Malambo

The excitement of Che Malambo’s performances includes the visceral sound of bombos, traditional Argentinean drums.
Photo by Slawek Przerwa

Argentinean Dancers on U.S. Tour

When and where: March 24, Schimmel Center, New York, NY; additional dates and locations around the U.S.
Info: dates and venues at; tickets at individual presenter websites

Thunderous, precise ensembles alternate with bravura footwork duels in a dance and music spectacle for fans of percussive dance. This all-male Argentinean company specializes in malambo, a fiery blend of footwork, stomping, drumming, and song that originated among 17th-century gauchos, or cowboys. Hallmarks include zapateo, lightning-fast footwork inspired by the rhythm of galloping horses, and the whirling of boleadoras, throwing weapons made of twined cords weighted with stones.

Paul Taylor American Modern Dance will perform works by Martha Graham (here, Diversion of Angels), Merce Cunningham, and Taylor.
Photo by Paul B. Goode

Paul Taylor American Modern Dance & Lyon Opera Ballet

Three Icons, One Program

When and where: March 19, Koch Theater, New York, NY

The Taylor company’s spring season in New York City (March 8–26) includes a twist—the March 19 program, “Icons: Graham, Cunningham, Taylor,” presents works by three of the 20th century’s major modern dance choreographers side by side. Taylor dancers perform Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels (1948) and Taylor’s Promethean Fire (2002); artists from France’s Lyon Opera Ballet perform Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace (1958). Both Taylor and Cunningham danced with Graham early on; both subsequently went very different ways as choreographers. How will these three works compare? Class, discuss.

“The Beauty of Ballet”

SAB’s Free Lecture-Demo for Kids

When and where: March 11, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, Brooklyn, NY

This free program, recommended for ages 4 and up, is open to the public; seating is first come, first served. Faculty and advanced students of the School of American Ballet demonstrate the process by which talented youngsters develop into accomplished classical ballet dancers. The program includes excerpts from famous ballets and an onstage class in which the dancers showcase training exercises and steps.

Tentacle Tribe

Nobody Likes a Pixelated Squid

When and where: April 1, Maison de la culture Parc-Extension; April 21, Maison de la culture NDG; April 22, Maison de la culture Pointe-aux-trembles; and April 28, Maison de la culture Montreal Nord, Montreal, QC, Canada

The elegant Montreal-based duo Tentacle Tribe, composed of Emmanuelle Lê Phan (B-girl Cleopatra) and Elon Höglund (B-boy Wandering Spirit), calls its style “conceptual hip-hop” or “deconstructed street dance”; the partnership is marked by boneless agility, fluid partnering, and an adept use of technology. Both dancers are alums of Cirque du Soleil and Rubberbandance Group, among others. This ever-evolving 2013 duet is inspired by the fluid movements of land and sea creatures.

Pacific Northwest Ballet

“Ballet on Broadway”

When and where: April 14–23, McCaw Hall, Seattle, WA

Seattle dance lovers who can’t make it to Broadway get to see the fabulous PNB dancers in three classic Broadway ballets. Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance) (2002) distills the dreamy, tragic romance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. George Balanchine’s jazzy Slaughter on Tenth Avenue was created for Rodgers and Hart’s On Your Toes (1936); Balanchine rechoreographed it in 1967. Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite (1995) extracts “Dance at the Gym,” “Cool,” and other dances from Sondheim and Bernstein’s West Side Story (1957). Related events include the Friday Preview (April 7), a studio rehearsal of excerpts; a lecture series and dress rehearsal (April 13); and free pre-show lectures and post-show Q&As.

Copeland & Peck Curate Ballet Across America

Black Iris Project, Joffrey, Complexions, & More

When and where: April 17–23, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

Misty Copeland and Justin Peck each curate a bill of performances exploring American ballet’s innovation and diversity. April 19–21: Copeland selects Nashville Ballet in Paul Vasterling’s Concerto, set to Ben Folds’ new piano concerto; Complexions Contemporary Ballet in Dwight Rhoden’s Strum; and Black Iris Project in Jeremy McQueen’s Madiba, inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela. April 22–23: Peck selects L.A. Dance Project in Benjamin Millepied’s Hearts and Arrows; Abraham.In.Motion in Kyle Abraham’s The Gettin’; and Joffrey Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise. Q&A sessions follow the opening night of each program.

Vangeline Theater uses butoh’s intensity to address coffee shop–generated trash in Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.
Photo by Michael Blase

Vangeline Theater

Butoh Company Tackles New York City’s Coffee Trash

When and where: April 20–22, Triskelion Arts, Brooklyn, NY

How often does a dance show address an environmental issue head-on? That’s what Vangeline Theater does in Wake Up and Smell the Coffee—Butoh for Waste Prevention: Reducing Coffee Trash in New York. New York City’s approximately 1,700 coffee shops are a treasured part of city life, but they also create a daily mountain of trash, most of which ends up in landfills. (Some of it has ended up on Vangeline’s stage; performers dance amid piles of disposable coffee cups.) The show uses butoh’s intensity to confront uncomfortable truths—and aims to inspire positive lifestyle changes in its audience. The final show coincides with Earth Day.