In her absorbing book Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet, Jennifer Homans avers that ballet is a dying art form. Not to James Sewell, a choreographer with a mission to stretch its parameters every which way. In addition to creating his own multifaceted dances, each year he commissions four choreographers whose work challenges his versatile troupe to move on out and explore a variety of styles and genres. This year company member Chris Hannon punks up those plies and pirouettes to music by Sun Ra, Miles Davis, and California ska acts, while Patrick Corbin, who danced with Paul Taylor, creates an original soundscape by deconstructing the likes of Bach and Pink Floyd. Afro-modern hip-hop dance artist Kenna-Camara Cottman explores the foundations of ballet, West African, and hip-hop to discover the primitive core of each form, and the ever provocative Judith Howard does a take on dressage that promises some elegant, if tongue-in-cheek, horsing around.
Thu., Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 25-26, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 27, 2 & 7 p.m., 2011