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Dance to look forward to in 2015

Shobana Jeyasingh's Bayadere - The Ninth Life. Photo: Chris Nash
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What a happy new year it will be, with a joyous plethora of dance taking us into 2015. As ever, there is far too much to mention, so I have picked out a selection of must-have tickets for the first few months of the year.

For dance film

Those wizards of all-male dance works, BalletBoyz, premiere Young Men at Sadler’s Wells from January 14 to 18. Opening the Sadler’s Wells 2015 programme, this new full-length work choreographed by Ivan Perez is based on themes of war and the relationships of men on the battle field. Combining dance, theatre and film it promises to be a moving portrayal of love, loss and survival.

For collaboration

If I’m totally honest, the classic-modern style of the Richard Alston Dance Company isn’t really my cup of tea. But… from January 26 to 27 the modern dance purist is collaborating with UK hip hop dancer and choreographer Ajani Johnson-Goffe to create Nomadic at Sadler’s Wells. I am intrigued to see how this partnership plays out to the live sounds of urban Gypsy band the Shukar Collective for the company’s 20th anniversary.

For the music

Rambert is boasting the creation of the world’s very first brass band dance work. What it thinks all those jivers were doing to Glenn Miller in the 1940s I’m not sure, but the promise of Tredegar Town Band combined with a new choreographic commission to mark the 2015 general election sounds interesting. The company is also touring Dark Arteries – 30 years after the miners’ strike – inspired by the poetry of Mervyn Peake and choreographed by artistic director Mark Baldwin. The piece looks at how music can bring communities together at difficult times, touring from February 12 until November 2015 – it starts at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro.

For innovation

What the Body Does Not Remember. Photo: Danny Willems
What the Body Does Not Remember. Photo: Danny Willems

Wim Vandekeybus and Ultima Vez are touring their piece What the Body Does Not Remember around the UK from February 10 to March 20. Created in 1987, the piece has been described as “tough, brutal and playful”. It’s an intense piece, certainly not for the faint hearted, but for those who like risk taking and confrontational catharsis in dance theatre, it’s well worth a look.

For modern classical

If like me you are done with full-length narratives now that Christmas is over, these tantalising ballet shorts will reaffirm your love of the classical genre. The English National Ballet brings Modern Masters: Icons of 20th Century Choreography to Sadler’s Wells from March 10 to 15 – a triple bill featuring William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Spring and Fall by John Neumeier and Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort. Technical brilliance, fine choreography and a handful of lush classical scores all in bite-size form. Perfect.

For physical theatre

One of my absolute favourite theatre events of last year was a site specific show in Marylebone by LA-based company Wilderness called The Day Shall Declare It. One of the male performers from that show, Anthony Nikolchev, is coming back with his new company – TDU – with a dance theatre show they’ve created with former Royal Ballet dancer Vivien Wood. The show, All the Things You Said You Never Said Before You Thought You Could Ever Say, will be at Ovalhouse from March 16 to 28.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch is coming back to Sadler’s Wells from April 15 to 18 and 23 to 26, with two pieces of repertory from the dance-maker’s early career, Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehort (On the Mountain a Cry Was Heard, 1984) and Ahnen (1987). For grand-scale scenic delights, emotional rollercoasters and fabulous dancers, this is definitely one to see.

For boundary blurring

If you think you know La Bayadere, originally choreographed in 1877 by Marius Petipa, think again. Contemporary British choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh, known for her fusion of classical Indian movement with modern styles, is reinventing the Indian-themed ballet with Bayadere – The Ninth Life, previewing at Birmingham’s Mac on March 18 before touring the UK until May. Although based on the original story of the ballet, Jeyasingh draws inspiration from the first visit of Indian dancers to Europe in 1838, as recorded by the contemporary critic Theophile Gautier.

For contemporary ballet

The Four Temperaments
The Four Temperaments

One of the hottest young choreographers of the moment, Hofesh Shechter is getting his hands on the dancers of the Royal Ballet this March for a large-scale piece in a triple bill alongside George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth at the Royal Opera House from March 27 to April 14. I can’t wait to see the Israeli-born choreographer’s intense, loping, grounded style on the RB performers for the first time.

Saying au revoir to a legend

I certainly won’t be the first person to say that Sylvie Guillem is one of the reasons I ever picked up a pair of pointe shoes. The journey of this French prima-ballerina has been an incredible one, and her swansong – Life In Progress – will be an emotional celebration and a culmination of the body of her work, both classical and contemporary. Her final piece includes a solo choreographed by Akram Khan, a pas de deux with Italian dancer Emanuela Montanari, choreographed by Russell Maliphant and, Mats Ek’s Bye. Life in Progress runs from May 26 to 31 at Sadler’s Wells.

Read more dance columns from Katie Colombus

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