Check Out These Performances Honoring Women’s History Month

February 29, 2024

As we enter March, six companies across North America prepare to honor Women’s History Month with unique mixed bills that elevate the female voice in ballet. The lineup includes a collaborative program fusing dance and visual art, celebrations of established and up-and-coming female-identifying dancemakers, and a world premiere based on the 1911 event that changed perceptions of International Women’s Day for decades to follow.

Learn more about some of the programs celebrating Women’s History Month in 2024:

Norte Maar and Brooklyn Ballet: CounterPointe11

Onstage, lit only by yellow and red from a central light source, a group of dancers in shiny unitards cluster together around a decorative snake-like art installation.
Dancers in Julia K. Gleich and Meg Lipke’s 2023 Counterpointe piece. Photo by Arnaud Falchier, courtesy Norte Maar.

Since 2012, Brooklyn-based arts organization Norte Maar has partnered with Brooklyn Ballet for its annual CounterPointe series. Occurring during each Women’s History Month, the program exclusively features works created by female creatives, pairing seven choreographers with seven visual artists, and highlights both traditional and nontraditional uses of the pointe shoe. This year, CounterPointe11 runs March 1–3 at Brooklyn’s The Mark O’Donnell Theater at Entertainment Community Fund. The seven artist pairs contributing to the 2024 series are Norte Maar co-founder Julia K. Gleich and Ellie Murphy, Tina Bararian and Estefania Velez-Rodriguez, Chloe Sonnet Brown and Cadence Giersbach, Danielle Diniz and Carol Salmanson, Minnie Lane and Jaanika Peerna, Sarah Marazzi-Sassoon and Nancy Bowen, and Nicole Speletic and Esperanza Mayobre.

The Royal Ballet: International Women’s Day Films

A still from "Colliding Forces: Mothers in Ballet" shows a group of ballerinas with their young children standing in a dance studio.
A still from “Colliding Forces: Mothers in Ballet.” Courtesy The Royal Opera House.

This month, the Royal Opera House celebrates International Women’s Day with a monthlong lineup of performances, films, and educational events. Among the programming is the debut of Colliding Forces: Mothers in Ballet, a new film by director Eliza Schroeder. The film, which will be given a special screening in the ROH’s Clore Studio on March 5, delves into the experiences of dancers who are navigating their careers alongside motherhood. Then, on March 8, The Royal Ballet will release a recording of its recent lecture-demonstration on the life of Bronislava Nijinska, “The Legacy of Nijinska,” on Royal Opera House Stream.

BalletX: Spring Series 2024

Members of BalletX cluster together in a large group in the center of the studio, reaching out to touch each other while looking away at the downstage left corner.
Members of BalletX rehearsing Jennifer Archibald’s new work. Photo by Arian Molina Soca, courtesy BalletX.

From March 6–10, BalletX presents its 2024 Spring Series at The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. The triple bill features two world premieres alongside the return of Jodie GatesBeautiful Once (2017). The first premiere, a currently untitled work choreographed by Jennifer Archibald, nods to William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies; it is part of a two-year commission that will culminate in a full-length ballet to be performed in the company’s 2024–25 season. Then, BalletX 2024 choreographic fellow Nicola Wills’ new work, Two People in Love Never Shake Hands, focuses on themes of love and fate, and was inspired by Japanese multimedia artist Yoko Ono’s “Lumière de L’aube” exhibition.

Ballet BC: NOW

Artists of Ballet BC fill a large studio in rehearsal, each dancer caught in a different moment of motion.
Artists of Ballet BC. Photo by Peter Smida, courtesy Ballet BC.

Ballet BC presents NOW, a triple bill featuring Crystal Pite’s commanding work The Statement and two world premieres, the first by Vancouver-based duo Out Innerspace (Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond), and the second by Micaela Taylor, artistic director of Los Angeles’ the TL Collective. Running March 7–9 at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre and March 22–23 at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre, the program aims to celebrate established and up-and-coming female dancemakers from the North American West Coast, with the Vancouver performance weekend centered on March 8, International Women’s Day.

Deos Contemporary Ballet: Locked Doors

Members of Deos Contemporary Ballet cluster together in rehearsal for "Locked Doors." Their hands touch their cheeks as they look up in grief.
Members of Deos Contemporary Ballet in rehearsal for “Locked Doors.” Photo courtesy Deos Ballet.

Deos Contemporary Ballet of Forest Hills, Michigan, honors Women’s History Month with the world premiere of artistic director Tess Sinke’s Locked Doors. The one-act ballet tells the harrowing story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the tragedy in New York City that helped establish the modern celebration of International Women’s Day. Running March 15–17 as part of the company’s EMBER Series 24 program, Locked Doors features live onstage accompaniment by violinist Letitia Jap and culminates years of Sinke’s research into the factory fire and its victims; each character portrayed in the ballet is based on a real person who was killed in the disaster.

Avant Chamber Ballet: Women’s Choreography Project

In front of a purple backdrop, a female dancer in a white longsleeved biketard is suspended in a split-leg sissone.
Kaylee Skelton. Photo by Jordan Fraker, courtesy Avant Chamber Ballet.

March 29–30 at Sammons Center for the Arts, Avant Chamber Ballet presents its annual Women’s Choreography Project. Since 2015, ACB has featured a program each March with works by all female-identifying choreographers, commissioning 16 new ballets so far and five short works created over Zoom during 2020. This year’s triple bill features world premieres by ACB artist Kaylee Skelton and Dallas-based choreographer Hailey Von Schlehenried, as well as two restaged works by ACB artistic dancer Katie Puder and company dancer Madelaine Boyce. Pianist Kamilya Akhmetova will provide live accompaniment onstage.