January dances in New York (addition, 1/4)

I’ve got a busy month coming up and won’t be around here much, so I thought I’d leave you with some shows to see (those of you in New York, at least).
For a long time, New York City Ballet has begun its winter rep season just after New Year’s, so January has long been rich in ballet. What’s a recent development is downtown theaters bringing back some of their best work from the past year. (No coincidence: the Association of Performing Arts Presenters holds its annual, New York convention in January.) So now it’s a great month for dance, whatever your taste.
Modern dance, pomo dance, contemporary dance:
***NEW***Presented by Chez Bushwick [(718) 450-1356 Limited Seating – reserve ASAP)], Brooklyn: Daria Fain and Robert Kocik’s “Components of the Prosodic Body,” January 12. (Why is everything on January 12?! help!) I don’t know about the title, and the explanation for the performance –“an exploration of the manifestation of language in the body”– is even worse. (That could describe half of dance and the stack of nouns– exploration, manifestation, language, body— is hard-going.) But Chez Bushwick is on a mission to push performance’s boundaries every which way. And the presenters are a very smart bunch. So: worth a try.
***NEW***At the Chocolate Factory, Long Island City, Queens: Tere O’Connor’s “Rammed Earth,” Jan. 12-13, on the end of year best-of lists of BOTH Claudia La Rocco and Roslyn Sulcas of the Times.
At Danspace Project in the East Village: 1. Montreal’s Daniel Leveille Danse, Jan. 10-12. Was last here three years ago, before modern dancers took their clothes off so often you began to wish they wouldn’t. This troupe’s naked bodies were still stark–and somehow transporting. 2. Jordan Fuchs, Jan. 24-26. He’s a formalist (and also one of the nice librarians at the performing arts library) without being dry. Why do people assume that formalism is dry, anyway? An attention to structure is a method, not a tone or mood. Fuchs’s stuff is subtle, sure, but also evocative.
At Dance Theater Workshop in Chelsea: Last-chance offer! Best-of-last-year reruns by Miguel Gutierrez (Jan. 14-15), Vicki Shick (11), and RoseAnne Spradlin (10), excellent choreographers all.
PS 122‘s Coil Festival works by a similar best-of principle. Maria Hassabi’s “Gloria” (Jan. 11 and 12)–a mesmerizing rough draft of which I discuss here–was highlighted in the Times when it first played , and mentioned in both Roslyn Sulcas’ end-of-year best-of round up for the Times AND Gia Kourlas’s Time Out best-of. That’s probably some kind of record. [Ed. note: paragraph corrected, 12/31.]
At the Joyce in Chelsea, Jan. 29-Feb. 3: Artistic director Christopher House’s “Timecode Break.” House can be too slick and too conceptual (the combo, at least, is unique), but his dancers are beautiful movers, and even when the dance doesn’t entirely add up, there are always moments you’re grateful to have witnessed.
At the Joyce: The third in Karole Armitage’s dream trilogy to modernist music. The first two, to Bartok and then Ligeti, had moments of such all-over intensity, such rare, storyless depth, that I’m eager to see what she does this time, to eerie, laconic Morton Feldman.
At the New York City Ballet (State Theater), through mid-February: Besides Christopher Wheeldon’s final work for the company (for now, I hope), there’s lots of Balanchine. I don’t think it’s possible to see too much Balanchine. Even lackluster performances, which City Ballet is capable of, are worthwhile. There are ballets of his on almost all the mixed-choreographer programs, but if you want the most bang for your buck (a crude way to put it), try the three-part “Jewels” and the programs Balanchine’s World; Traditions; Matters of the Heart; and Russian Treasures.
If you can’t afford to go to five shows and/or you’re not that familiar with Balanchine–yet–I’d do “Jewels” and Russian Treasures, which includes the early “Serenade” (about which I have written at length here), the late “Mozartiana,” and “Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2,” a late version of the earlyish “Ballet Imperial.” Another reason to see this program: The Kirov will be performing “Ballet Imperial” during its three-week stay at City Center in April. The comparison should be illuminating.
TangoX2, City Center, January 16-24: Okay, so the theater and the story and the costumes are likely to be cheesy, if the troupe’s visit last year is any clue. But chubby, wistful star Miguel Angel Zotto is not to be missed. Last time, he danced in half of the dozens of numbers (partnered by one lithe, long-limbed, faceless member and then another of his harem), and you wished he’d been in all of them. All sorts of tango men are brooding and sweaty. But adorable as a bunny, and touching to boot? Only Zotto.

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