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    winter arts guide: critics’ pick

    Critics’ picks in Boston-area dance

    Lucky Plush brings “The Better Half” to the ICA in March.
    Cheryl Mann
    Lucky Plush brings “The Better Half” to the ICA in March.


    Gary Sloan
    Jose’ Mateo ballet’s “How Do I Love Thee?”

    JOSÉ MATEO BALLET THEATRE As he did last year, José Mateo celebrates Valentine’s Day with a trio of romantic pieces. This program is titled “How Do I Love Thee.” “Reverie” (2003) is set to the opening two movements of Ravel’s G-major piano concerto, the first jazzy and inebriated, the second smoky and wistful. “Lovers, Fools, Saints, and Sinners” (2007), which hasn’t been seen since its premiere, is set to works by a sextet of Renaissance and Baroque Italian composers that include Claudio Monteverdi. And “Timeless Attractions” (2010) is a quartet of pas de deux set to Alberto Ginastera’s String Quartet No. 2. Feb. 15-March 10. $40. Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. 617-354-7467,

    “WINTER. DANCE!” Boston Ballet did Danny Buraczeski’s “By the Horns” in 1996 and Gerald Arpino’s “Suite Saint-Saëns” in 2001, but neither choreographer has been seen much here lately, so their presence in Boston Conservatory’s annual winter dance showcase is welcome. In “Ezekiel’s Wheel” (1998), Buraczeski pays tribute to James Baldwin, whose taped voice is heard as part of the score. Arpino’s “Light Rain” (1981), with its rock score, has been the Joffrey Ballet’s signature piece since its premiere. Rounding out the program are new works by San Francisco choreographer Robert Moses and Boston Conservatory faculty member and Prometheus Dance founder Diane Arvanites. Feb. 21-24. $10-$30. Boston Conservatory Theater. 617-912-9222,


    SAYAT NOVA DANCE COMPANY OF BOSTON Now in its 27th year, this Armenian troupe presents the story of Armenia in “Journey Through Time,” which begins in pagan times and travels through the adoption of Christianity in the fourth century, the Battle of Vartanantz against the Persians in the fifth century, and up to the Armenian genocide, the Soviet period, and the current independent republic. Stories will be told; drums will be pounded; the ancient double-reed duduk will sound. Feb. 23-24. $30. Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.arsenal

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    GRUPO CORPO This athletic contemporary Brazilian company has performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Now it makes its Boston debut, courtesy of Celebrity Series of Boston, with a pair of works choreographed by one of its founders, Rodrigo Pederneiras. Set to music by Tom Zé and José Miguel Wisnik, “Parabelo” (1997) explores the geometry of human relationships. “Sem Mim” (2011), whose title translates as “Without Me,” takes its inspiration from the 13th-century Galician composer Martín Codax, whose surviving songs describe the grief of women without their lovers, or their joy over the lovers’ return. Feb. 28-March 2. $60-$75. Citi Shubert Theatre. 617-482-6661, www.celebrity

    BALLET FLAMENCO DE ANDALUCÍA World Music/CRASHarts celebrates Flamenco Festival 2013 with the Boston debut of this company from Seville in artistic director Rubén Olmo’s “Metáfora” (2012). Olmo has said that the piece was inspired in part by Friedrich Nietzsche, specifically his observation that dance is a metaphor for thought, and in part by a poem by Federico García Lorca that describes dance as what remains “over the final ashes.” Not that metaphors are likely to come to mind when you’re looking at a quintet of women in extra-long pale-blue bata de cola dresses and matching oversize shawls that they flourish like a matador’s cape. March 1-3. $40-$65. Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-876-4275,

    BOSTON BALLET’S “ALL KYLIÁN” Boston Ballet has shown a clear affinity for the choreography of former Nederlands Dans Theater artistic director Jirí Kylián in its recent performances of “Black & White Ballets” and “Bella Figura,” so it’s good to see the company devoting another evening to his work. On the bill for “All Kylián”: “Wings of Wax’’ (1997), which has a dead tree hanging upside down for a set; “Tar and Feathers” (2006), which features a pianist playing Mozart on a high platform plus snippets from Samuel Beckett; and “Symphony of Psalms” (1978), which is set to the great Igor Stravinsky score. March 7-17. $29-$137. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955,

    LUCKY PLUSH PRODUCTIONS Founded in Chicago in 1999 by artistic director Julia Rhoads, this ensemble dance company offers the Boston debut of “The Better Half” (2011), which it describes as a spin on the classic 1944 noir “Gaslight.” That’s the film in which Charles Boyer marries Ingrid Bergman and then tries to drive her mad, so it’ll be interesting to see how Lucky Plush “playfully captures the tension inherent in domestic relationships” in a piece that’s “filled with clever comedy.” March 8-9. $40. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-876-4275,


    DANISH DANCE THEATER Denmark’s largest modern-dance company and its British artistic director, Tim Rushton, make their second Celebrity Series of Boston appearance (the first was in 2010) with Rushton’s “Love Songs” (2011), whose jazz-party atmosphere extends into the wee hours of the morning as its performers keep looking for love. The score is described as “cherished jazz classics from the good old days,” as originally sung by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday,

    and Sarah Vaughan. March 16-17. $60-$75. Tsai Performance

    Center. 617-482-6661,

    BOSTON BALLET’S “THE SLEEPING BEAUTY” Boston Ballet hasn’t done “The Sleeping Beauty” since spring 2009, and that’s a long time to go without seeing one of the Tchaikovsky classics — especially for a production that Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times called “exquisite in design and text.” This time out, the company is giving “Beauty” three weekends, so there should be multiple casts and the opportunity to see a number of Auroras in the treacherously difficult and heartbreakingly romantic Rose Adagio. March 22-April 7. $29-

    $137. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955,


    SPELLBOUND DANCE COMPANY Italy’s leading contemporary dance ensemble makes its American debut with a program that will include two pieces by company founder and artistic director Mauro Astolfi. “Downshifting” (2009) looks at those “who suddenly opt for another direction, who imagine an alternative future, who rediscover their passions and improve the quality of their lives.” “Lost for Words” (2011/2012) describes the body’s attempt to free itself from an invasion of “empty words.” April 5-6. $60-$75. Citi Shubert Theatre. 617-482-6661,