8 Dance Performances to See in N.Y.C. This Weekend05/23/2019
Our guide to dance performances happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
HADAR AHUVIA at Danspace Project (May 30-June 1, 8 p.m.). When Israel became a state in 1948, creating fresh folk dances was one way it forged a sense of unified national identity. Ahuvia, who was raised both there and in the United States, has used Israeli folk dance as an entry point to examine and critique that process and its impact on Palestinians. She continues this inquiry in “The Dances Are for Us” alongside other dancers with varying relationships to Israel. Here, she also expands her scope to look more broadly at the role folk traditions play in constructing nation building.
AMERICAN BALLET THEATER at the Metropolitan Opera (through July 6). After a week of showcasing the more serious, probing side of its resident choreographer, Alexei Ratmansky, Ballet Theater serves up one of his more frothy and whimsical creations: “Whipped Cream,” a 2017 work inspired by a 1924 ballet that is literally about a kid in a candy store. In the tradition of “The Nutcracker,” the tasty treats dance. Beginning on Thursday, the company takes a stylistic about-face with the start of its Twyla Tharp program, comprising “The Brahms-Haydn Variations,” the virtuoso “In the Upper Room” and the Beach Boys escapade “Deuce Coupe.”
DANCEAFRICA at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (May 24, 7:30 p.m.; May 25, 2 and 7 p.m.; May 26-27, 3 p.m.). Twenty-five years ago, hundreds of thousands were murdered during the Rwandan genocide, devastating a country and a culture. In 2006, the Inganzo Ngari dance company was founded to pass down Rwandan folk dance traditions, partly as an act of rebuilding. The troupe will headline the 42nd annual DanceAfrica festival, which this year spotlights Rwanda and its remarkable rejuvenation. In addition to indigenous dances, like the intore warrior dance, Inganzo Ngari will perform with the BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble. To show off the country’s more contemporary side, the actor and poet Malaika Uwamahoro will deliver a spoken-word component.
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
GRAHAM 2 at Martha Graham Studios (May 30, 7 p.m.; through June 2). Talented students from the Martha Graham School make up this pre-professional troupe, and many of them go on to join the main company. For Graham 2’s spring season, those dancers tackle more than a half-century of Graham’s work, from 1929’s “Heretic” to 1981’s “Acts of Light.” Also on the program are excerpts from Graham’s “Embattled Garden,” the recently revived romantic romp “Secular Games” and a new dance by the French choreographer Brice Mousset.
SIN CHA HONG at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater (May 25, 7 p.m.; May 26, 3 p.m.). The 13th annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival features eclectic local and global artists and is curated, as it was from the beginning, by Nicky Paraiso. This week Hong returns from South Korea to New York, where she spent 20 years dancing and choreographing. On this visit, she brings “Mirror,” a work in which she wonders, “Who am I?” It’s a question she poses to the audience as well, and one she attempts to answer through quiet, contemplative gestures in a minimalist American modern dance tradition that is also shaped also by Korean folk dance and her years of studying meditation in India.
NIALL JONES at the Chocolate Factory (May 27- June 1, 8 p.m.). Jones’s new work, “Fantasies in Low Fade,” explores ideas about temporal and spatial transitions and human proximity by allowing the audience to experience both. Viewers begin in the Chocolate Factory’s basement to observe Jones and two other performers up close before being guided upstairs to two distinct areas, each with its own unique visual design and expressive, sometimes intense lighting. The process of moving through the space, inhabiting its changing scenes and many moods, is meant to evoke the shifting nature of social life.
LIMÓN DANCE COMPANY at the Joyce Theater (May 29, 7:30 p.m.; May 30-31, 8 p.m.; through June 2). This company, founded in 1946, preserves the works of José Limón, the Mexican-born pillar of American modern dance. This season’s offerings include “The Moor’s Pavane,” a 20-minute take on “Othello” from 1949 that is one of Limón’s most enduring works, and “Psalm,” an ensemble work from 1967 that was revamped in 2002. Joining these are “The Weather in the Room” by the company’s artistic director, Colin Connor, and “Radical Beasts in the Forest of Possibilities” by Francesca Harper.
NEW YORK CITY BALLET at the David H. Koch Theater (through June 2). After a few more performances of the “All Balanchine” program, which includes “Scotch Symphony” and “Sonatine” (Friday and Saturday evening), and another program called “Symphonic & Electronic,” with works by Balanchine and Justin Peck (the Saturday and Sunday matinees), City Ballet heads into the final stretch of its spring season with performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” beginning on Tuesday. Balanchine’s 1962 take on Shakespeare’s rom-com features a beloved patchwork score by Felix Mendelssohn, as well as all the requisite fairies, frolicking and enchanting pas de deux that remind us how well ballet is suited for conveying the meeting of magic and love.
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