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Four irresistible dance performances; Erika Lee at St. Kate’s

Black Grace
Courtesy of the artist
Black Grace is New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company.

Is there some kind of dance explosion going on? Because after mid-October’s big weekend for dance, then the Twin Cities Tap Festival, Dorrance Dance and Ireland’s Teaċ Daṁsa, here come four more irresistible performances. If you time it right and your budget allows, you can see all four, each expressing different perspectives and aspects of humanity.

Thursday (Nov. 7) at Northrop: Black Grace. Founder and artistic director Neil Ieremia is part Samoan, and most of his dancers are of Samoan, Tongan and Maori heritage and descent. His personal hero is Bruce Lee. Black Grace is New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company. New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert saw them last week in the program they’ll bring to their Northrop debut. He wrote, “The distinguishing spirit of this troupe is incredible speed and stamina, an exhilarating, seemingly inexhaustible energy.” The dances explore masculinity, hope and the company’s history. The music includes live drumming, hip-hop and selections from Bach’s Brandenburgs. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($21-50). Free performance preview at 6:15 in the Best Buy Theater.

Thursday through Saturday in the Tek Box at the Cowles: Mathew Janczewski’s Arena Dances: “One Room.” Launching Arena Dances’ 24th season, this new evening-length work meditates on a main question of our divisive times: “How do we come together in one room, face conflict and negotiate so that we can find strength as one collective voice?” Created collaboratively by Janczewski and the all-female sextet of dancers, it will be performed to music by Nils Frahm. Janczewski has said that seeing Frahm live at the Cedar brought him “transcendent joy.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, also 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets here ($24/15).


Friday and Saturday at the Lab Theater: Ashwini Ramaswamy: “Let the Crows Come.” A dancer and choreographer with Ragamala Dance, the internationally known, Minneapolis-based company led by her mother, Ranee, and her sister, Aparna, Ashwini Ramaswamy is the only member of her family who wasn’t born in India. Like a petite colossus, she has a foot in both worlds. Ragamala treats the ancient dance form of Bharatanatyam as a living thing; in this new project, the culmination of a two-year Liquid Music residency, Ashwini pushes it further, creating three unique choreographic and sonic worlds with herself as the through line. With dancer/choreographers Alanna Morris-Van Tassel and Berit Ahlgren, a Carnatic chamber ensemble, electro-acoustic cellist Brent Arnold and DJ Jace Clayton. This will be the U.S. premiere. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/20; free for students and children 6-17).

Bruno Beltrão/Grupo de Rua
Courtesy of the artist
A rare U.S. performance by the 10-member, all-male Rio-based Bruno Beltrão/Grupo de Rua famed for its popping, breaking and apparent indifference to gravity.
Friday and Saturday at the Walker: Bruno Beltrão/Grupo de Rua: “Inoah.” A rare U.S. performance by the 10-member all-male Rio-based group famed for its popping, breaking and apparent indifference to gravity. Founder and choreographer Beltrão created “Inoah” in 2017, before Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil’s president and parts of the Amazon rainforest were set ablaze. He recently told the New York Times, “If we were not having [much] support before, now it’s totally unthinkable to have any kind of financial support in Brazil. We don’t have … one single invitation [to perform] in our country.” The dance includes moments of profound stillness; it’s not all bouncing, spinning and sliding. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($28/$22.40).

The picks

Tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 6) at St. Catherine University: Erika Lee: “Americans First, Immigrants Last: A History of Xenophobia in the United States.” St. Kate’s expects a big turnout for this core convocation event, so plan accordingly. In her book, Lee argues that Americans have feared and hated immigrants from the colonial era to the Trump era. How did this come to be, and what is at stake today? 7 p.m. in the Rauenhorst Ballroom, Coeur de Catherine building. FMI. Free.

Thursday at the Mall of America: Santa’s Arrival Ceremony. Don’t blame us for what seems like a way-too-early start to the holiday season. But Santa’s arrival in a parade led by the Eden Prairie High School Marching Band sounds pretty darned magical for little ones. Here are the details. 6-7 p.m. in the Rotunda.

Yunomis are handleless Japanese-influenced ceramic teacups.
MinnPost file photo by John Whiting
Yunomis are handleless Japanese-influenced ceramic teacups.
Friday at Raymond Avenue Gallery: Opening reception for the 6th Annual Yunomi Invitational. Each year, countless pottery fans and collectors squeeze into a small gallery in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone to look at hundreds of small cups without handles. What bizarre behavior is this? Yunomi – the clay or porcelain cups in question – are traditionally used for tea, but Minnesotans use them for all sorts of things: tea, whiskey, wine, pencils. They’re reasonably inexpensive, highly collectible, and they make great gifts. Each is a little window into the soul and aesthetic of its maker. This year’s invitational will feature work by 38 area potters. Many will be at the reception. 6-8 p.m. Exhibition closes Dec. 20, with extended gallery hours between now and then.

Starts Friday at the Guthrie: Theater Mu’s “Fast Company.” Theater Mu returns to the Guthrie’s Level Nine to open its 2019/20 season with a play by Carla Ching (“The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up”). This time, she gives us a family of grifters and a story about dysfunction, destiny, perseverance and redemption. The award-winning play has been described as “savvy, sharp-fanged and entertaining.” Ming Montgomery, Eric “Pogi” Sumangil, Brian Kim and Jeannie Lander star; Brian Balcom is the director. In the Dowling Studio. FMI and tickets ($32-22; $9 on Nov. 8 and 13). Seating is general admission.


Sunday at Bethel University’s Benson Great Hall: Minnesota Youth Symphonies Annual Fall Concert. For this year’s offering, MYS will perform the North American premiere of “Mojito con saoco” by UNESCO Medal-winning composer Guido López-Gavilá, a work that had its world premiere in Cuba in May. MYS is co-directed by Minnesota Orchestra principal trumpet Manny Laureano and his wife, Claudette Laureano, who leads the string programs at Breck School. 2 p.m. Tickets here ($20-6).

Junauda Petrus
Junauda Petrus
Sunday at Magers & Quinn: Writing the YA Novel: A NaNoWriMo Panel with Shannon Gibney, Junauda Petrus and Andrew Karre. A terrific opportunity for anyone who writes YA novels, wants to write YA novels, or is curious about how YA novels happen. Karre is executive editor at Dutton Books for Young Readers. Gibney is the author of “Dream Country” and “See No Color,” Petrus is the author of “The Stars and the Blackness Between Them.” Both Gibney and Petrus live in Minneapolis. 5 p.m. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place in November.

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