Winter Dance Preview: Toe shoes to tap shoes

Winter dance's top 10
By DEBRA CASH  |  December 28, 2010

Doug Varone and Dancers

Whether you're more likely to thrill to '80s funk, to groove on the tap-goes-flamenco experiments of hoofer Savion Glover, or to enjoy classical ballet with a side of buttered popcorn, the winter months' many offerings are guaranteed to keep your spirits up.

NICHOLAS LEICHTER DANCE | Institute of Contemporary Art | January 14-16 | Who knew that the 1980s were coming back to our stages with such a vengeance? World Music/CRASHarts launches a season that — apparently coincidentally — offers a 360-degree re-evaluation of the cultural implications of '70s and '80s funk. New Yorker Nicholas Leichter's high-energy program at the ICA — combining a little house, a little Broadway, and a lot of attitude — includes Killa, with music by M.I.A., Basement Jaxx, Lionrock, and Monstah Black, and excerpts from The Whiz: Emerald City, a subversive, funk take on the The Wizard of Oz. Toto, this street ain't running through Kansas anymore.

100 Northern Ave, Boston |$40 | 617.876.4275 or

BALÉ FOLCLÓRICO DA BAHIA | Boston Opera House | January 22 | This exuberant, 38-performer Brazilian ensemble dons feathered headdresses and the skimpiest of party clothes to celebrate the spirit of Carnival and the African roots of Candomblé. It's the company's first visit to Boston in seven years (courtesy of Celebrity Series of Boston and World Music/CRASHarts). Intermediate- and advanced-level dancers can participate in a special Afro-Brazilian-dance master class taught by company members on Sunday afternoon.

539 Washington St, Boston | $40-65 | workshop @ the Dance Complex, 536 Mass Ave, Cambridge | $20 pre-registration required | 617.876.4275 or

SAVION GLOVER INSOLo IN TIME | Boston Opera House | January 29 | Savion Glover has many disciples but no true rivals — the man remains tap's greatest celebrity and one of the most gifted dancers in any genre. Eclectic in his musical tastes, Glover collaborates this time with young dancer Marshall Davis Jr., the Miami phenom who cut his teeth studying with tap great Steve Condos, and he takes the musical line from flamenco guitarists Garbiel Hermida and Francesco Beccaro and percussionist Carmen Estevez, the daughter of a jazz drummer father and flamenco singer mother. As Glover has said, "The old flamenco cats, they're all hooferz. Their stories are from their souls."

539 Washington St, Boston | $40-$65 | 617.482.6661 or

BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE DANCE COMPANY INBODY AGAINST BODY | Institute of Contemporary Art | February 4-6| When Arnie Zane died of AIDS in 1988, one might have predicted that his important, post-modern work with Bill T. Jones would be lost. After all, these often wry, athletic, and pared-down duets depended on the contrast and intimacy between the tall black man and his short Jewish partner. But as Ezra Pound said, "What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage." With a little help from the National Endowment for the Arts, dances that haven't been seen since their original performances have been brought back into repertory and the work has been remounted for a new generation of performers — and for audiences that know Bill T. Jones primarily as the Tony-winning choreographer of the Broadway musical Fela! Commissioned by the ICA, Body Against Body gets its world premiere alongside new, contextualizing video footage by the company's associate artistic director, Janet Wong.

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Related: Bodies Moving: Boston’s 10 best fall dance events, Boston Conservatory does Graham and Limón; Doug Varone gets literary at the ICA, Live! — sort of, More more >
  Topics: Dance , Institute of Contemporary Art, Tsai Performance Center, Ballet,  More more >
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