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Dance preview: 6 hidden gems and big-ticket shows to see in 2013

The Nijiinsky Ballet by John Neumeier Dancers.

Holger Badekow Foto

HIDDEN GEMS

Final Savage Land

Sore for Punching You

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Choreography by Allison Cummings

Jan. 23 to Feb. 2

Oz Studios, Toronto

Cummings is the quintessential angry young artist interested in making social statements – hence the provocative name of her company, Sore for Punching You. Her investigations into human nature are many-layered and deep and, while her multidisciplinary works tend toward the experimental, they are always touched by wry humour. Final Savage Land is an installation/site-specific piece that explores the complexities of survival and co-dependency.

Speaking in Ligeti

Marta Marta Productions

Choreography by Martha Carter

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April 18 to 20

Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver

Carter, a contemporary choreographer whose works incorporate ballet, urban dance forms, performance art and multimedia technology, has been known for creating pieces that can best be described as infamous. Thus, the thought of her taking on an icon of classical New Music, namely revered Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006), invites curiosity. This is a big piece, with six dancers and live music provided by the innovative Microcosmos String Quartet.

Endangered Species

Mile Zero Dance

Choreography by Gerry Morita

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May 9 to 11

Ortona Armoury, Edmonton

The always inventive Morita has made a specialty of site-specific works. Take Spatial Pull, the chilling piece she created for the 2009 Festival of New Dance in St. John's: After a dozen dancers hurled themselves down the steep staircase beside Newfoundland's Supreme Court Building, they marched in a trance to the edge of the harbour in anticipation of a "mass suicide." In the new Endangered Species, Morita takes on Edmonton's Ortona Armoury, where she will explore the halls of history and memory.

BIG TICKETS

Still Standing You

Choreography by Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido

Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver

Feb. 5 to 9, Arts Court Theatre, Ottawa

April 23 to 27, Enwave Theatre, Toronto

How can one ever forget watching two naked men manipulate each other's penises in a game of one-upmanship? Belgium's Ampe and Portugal's Garrido have created a duet that is the quintessence of testosterone. The brutal, violent choreographic language is as much gymnastics-cum-wrestling as it is dance – a vicious but hilarious game of "gotcha."

Haptic and Holistic Strata

Choreography by Hiroaki Umeda

Jan. 16 to 19, Theatre Junction Grand, Calgary

Jan. 25, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver

Feb. 26 to March 4, Berkeley Street Theatre, Toronto

Exciting Japanese solo dance artist Umeda is an absolute original – a visionary who designs his own sound, lighting and visuals to striking effect. His ability to make his body seem to convey electric shocks or the ever-changing colour spectrum or colliding atomic particles is uncanny. Umeda's goal is to convey sensations through the fusion of movement and design.

Nijinsky

National Ballet of Canada

Choreography by John Neumeier

March 1 to 7

Four Seasons Centre, Toronto

The great Neumeier has built his ballet about legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) as a dream-like, lyrical, impressionist painting. Six men portray the troubled dancer, so a company needs real depth in the ranks. One Nijinsky remembers incidents in his life, while the others, in authentic costumes, perform excerpts from his virtuoso roles. Both thrilling and tragic.

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