Lift-off: the must-see dance shows of 2017

Carlos Acosta’s Cuban company comes to the UK, Javier de Frutos assembles a dream cast for Philip Glass’s dance opera and Shobana Jeyasingh explores the Indian diaspora … the best dance to come in 2017

Royal Ballet – Les Enfants Terribles

Philip Glass’s dance opera, based on the surrealist 1929 novel, is the third in a trilogy of works inspired by Jean Cocteau’s writings and a dream commission for choreographer Javier de Frutos, who has long been fascinated by Cocteau’s life and imagination. It also comes with a dream cast, with Royal Ballet principals Edward Watson and Zenaida Yanowsky as the deviant siblings immersed in their dark and mysterious inner life, and with support from superb contemporary dancers including Jonathan Goddard and Clemmie Sveaas.
Barbican, London, 27-29 January (020-7638 8891).

Shobana Jeyasingh – Material Men redux

In an early version of this piece, Shobana Jeyasingh contrasted the styles and personalities of two virtuoso performers: Sooraj Subramaniam and Shailesh Bahoran, one trained in classical Indian dance, the other a dynamic hip-hop performer. In this longer piece, Jeyasingh works with archive film footage to develop their shared family histories in the colonial era. Elena Kats-Chernin’s score is played live by the Smith Quartet.
Lakeside, Nottingham, 7 February (0115-846 7777). Then touring.

Scouring study of grief … Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young’s Betroffenheit.
Scouring study of grief … Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young’s Betroffenheit. Photograph: Michael Slobodian

Crystal Pite

It’s taken a while for the magisterial talent of Crystal Pite to get a proper showing in the UK, but next year her work appears on three stages. There’s her debut commission for the Royal Ballet, an ensemble piece for 40 dancers, set to Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, which matches the epic scale of Emergence, a work revived for Scottish Ballet and getting its London premiere in the summer. Finally, there’s a return showing of Betroffenheit, the transfixing, scouring study of grief and redemption she created with actor Jonathon Young. Grab tickets while you can.
• Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, London, 16-24 March (020-7304 4000); Betroffenheit, Sadler’s Wells, London, 11-12 April (020-7863 8000); Scottish Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, 7-10 June.

Company Chordelia and Solar Bear – Lady Macbeth: Unsex Me Here

Kally Lloyd-Jones deserves to be far more widely known outside her native Scotland: her beautifully imagined works tunnel deep into familiar stories and characters, throwing up new gems of insight. In Lady Macbeth, she works with three male performers to create a portrait of Shakespeare’s most unsettling heroine, exploring issues of guilt, power and the potent collision of masculine and feminine forces.
Edinburgh fringe, August.

Acosta Danza rehearse in Cuba.
Ambitious … Acosta Danza rehearse in Cuba. Photograph: Andrew W Lang

Acosta Danza

Carlos Acosta may have hung up his ballet shoes, but he’s still a major force in the dance world, with big plans for his new company. Based in Havana but with a London home at Sadler’s Wells, Acosta Danza has an ambitious brief, combining classical and contemporary influences and showcasing Cuba’s fizzing dance culture within a wider international context. The company’s debut programme will feature works by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Goyo Montero and Cuban choreographer Marianela Boan.
Sadler’s Wells, London, late September (020-7863 8000). Then touring.


Judith Mackrell

The GuardianTramp

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