ANNUAL VISIT: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform Maurice Béjart’s Firebird and new work by Robert Battle.
Inaugurate the year of the Rat (representing spirit and alertness) with the 100 classical Chinese dancers, musicians, and vocalists assembled for a CHINESE NEW YEAR SPECTACULAR at the Opera House (January 10-12; 800.954.4606) and the GOLDEN DRAGON ACROBATS at Symphony Hall (January 13; 617.482.6661). In February, the New Year celebrations continue with DANCE REVELASIAN AND BOSTON GUZHENG ENSEMBLE at Springstep in Medford (February 23; 781.395.0402).
If you’re hot for Victoria’s Secret ads and addicted to Dancing with the Stars, Tango Fire will be right up your alley. The Argentine dancers of ESTAMPAS PORTEÑAS appear at the Cutler Majestic (January 11-13; 800.233.3123).
Eight mostly veteran Massachusetts troupes (Andary Dance, Caitlin Corbett Dance Company, CrabtreeDance, EgoArt, Inc., Kelley Donovan & Dancers, Kelli Edwards, Megan Schenk and Nell Breyer) provide a tasty sampler of local talent in “TEN’S THE LIMIT” at the ICA (January 18-19; 617.876.4275). If your appetite is whetted by EGOART’s offering, you can venture further into Nicole Pierce’s contemporary dance and video sensibility at Green Street Studios in Cambridge (January 25-26; 617.864.3191).
Expect to hear Russian spoken in the lobby of both the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford and Boston’s Symphony Hall when the MOISEYEV DANCE COMPANY comes to New England (January 19 at the Zeiterion, 508.994.2900; January 20 at Symphony Hall, 617.482.6661). MOMIX brings its humor and black-light stage illusions to the Cutler Majestic (January 25-27; 800.233.3123). Love indeed triumphs — and so does historically informed performance — when the world of Louis XIV’s court is evoked by the KEN PIERCE BAROQUE DANCE COMPANY and ENSEMBLE CHACONNE performing at Springstep in Medford (January 26; 781.395.0402).
BREAK! AN URBAN FUNK SPECTACULAR traces hip-hop’s 30-year journey from the street to global prominence at Northeastern University’s Blackman Theatre (February 1-2; 617.373.4700). Choreographer ELIZABETH STREB and theoretical physicist BRIAN GREENE discuss “Movement and the Calculations of Truth” at the ICA (February 6; 617.478.3103).
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER makes a brief Black History Month stop at the Zeiterion (February 5; 508.994.2900) before its annual Celebrity Series visit to the Wang Theatre (February 7-10, 617.482.6661). In addition to Ailey’s own works, this year’s offerings include the Firebird of the recently departed Maurice Béjart, the important revival of Talley Beatty’s The Road of the Phoebe Snow, and Unfold, a new work by Robert Battle. Battle brings his own energetic company, BATTLEWORKS, to the ICA soon after (February 22-23; 617.876.4275).
The African heritage of slaves who built new lives — and discovered new musical traditions — in the Andes forms the foundation of PERU NEGRO appearing at Weston Auditorium at Fitchburg State College (February 7; 978.665.3347).
World Music/CRASHarts’ winter FLAMENCO FESTIVAL at the Cutler Majestic brings back two superb female dancers, Eva Yerbabuena and Soledad Barrio. Yerbabuena’s troupe presents Santo y Seña (Signs and Wonders) (February 9-10); Barrio fronts the troupe Noche Flamenca in a program of stirring flamenco puro (February 15-17; both concerts 617.876.4275).
The BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE DANCE COMPANY’s Chapel/Chapter “proceeds from the assumption that we always live in the court of public opinion, transgression, and judgment” as it explores a media-saturated world. This not-to-be-missed event at the ICA features set design by Jones’s partner, Bjorn Amelan, video by long-time Jones associate Janet Wong, and a score by Haitian-American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (February 13-16; 617.478.3103).
Meanwhile, the Zeiterion, in case you hadn’t noticed, has stepped up its mainstream dance programming. During February, it’s bringing in the TRINITY IRISH DANCE COMPANY (February 17), the LIMÓN DANCE COMPANY (February 23), and the NEW SHANGHAI CIRCUS (February 29; for all programs call 508.994.2900).
Harvard celebrates Paul Taylor as PAUL TAYLOR 2 DANCE COMPANY performs his works February 14 and Jacob’s Pillow director of preservation NORTON OWEN speaks about the modern master February 22, both at the Harvard Dance Center in Cambridge (617.495.8683).
The highest-visibility Romeo and Juliet on the horizon is Mark Morris’s promised version to the uncensored original Prokofiev score, but there’s love and loss aplenty in John Cranko’s briskly told version, which will celebrate its 50th birthday in a lavish production (opening Valentine’s Day) by BOSTON BALLET (February 14-17; February 28–March 2; 800.447.7400). Boston Ballet’s “Next Generation” program offers world premieres by Jorma Elo, Heather Myers, and Helen Pickett plus Sabrina Matthews’s Ein von Viel (March 6-9; 800.447.7400).
African-dance theorist BRENDA DIXON GOTTSCHILD comes to MIT for a series of lectures and a performance of Tongue, Smell, Color with her husband, Helmut Gottschild (February 15-29; 617.253.6957).
The centennials of the births of Jose Limón and Antony Tudor inspire the winter production of the pre-professional students at the BOSTON CONSERVATORY DANCE THEATRE: they’ll perform Tudor’s Continuo, Little Improvisations, the gorgeously restrained Dark Elegies, and Limón’s magisterial Missa Brevis (February 21–24; 617.912.9222).