The Best Dance of 2017

SUJATA MOHAPATRA Every year many superlative dancers come to New York. If I had to choose one to single out this year, it would be Ms. Mohapatra, the illustrious Odissi dancer who opened the Drive East season at Dixon Place in August. I have seen Ms. Mohapatra dance in India and in New York, but too seldom. The layers of communicative beauty in her dancing are innumerable.

Five other dancers, previously out of my orbit, opened up new zones of interest.

MOLLY LIEBER AND ELEANOR SMITH Sometimes naked — or rather nude (I thought of Degas’s female bathers) — Ms. Lieber and Ms. Smith made their hourlong “Basketball” at the Baryshnikov Arts Center a suspenseful study of symbiosis.

SALLY SILVERS “If You Try” and “Tenderizer” at Roulette, arresting works of consequence, claimed attention because of footwork, eyes, balance, projection and mystery.


Dimple Saikia performed as part of the Erasing Borders festival in Manhattan.

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

DIMPLE SAIKIA Ms. Saikia made me a convert to Sattriya, a style of Indian classical dance rarely seen outside its native state, Assam. In her performance at the Erasing Borders festival, dance and mime converged in a tale of the young Krishna, with her footwork, torso, arms and spiraling turns wafting the gestures into the sublime.

CHRISTOPHER GURUSAMY Born in Australia and based in Chennai, India, Mr. Gurusamy is a practitioner of Bharatanatyam, the best known of India’s classical genres. At the Drive East festival, he subordinated himself to tradition with touching humility — and yet the power of his jumps, the pliancy of his torso and the acuity of his rhythm gave it new and electrifying force.

ROMAN MEJIA This prodigy is now an apprentice with New York City Ballet. At the Vail Dance Festival this summer, dancing Balanchine’s “Tarantella” pas de deux and a Matthew Neenan world premiere, he blew his audience away with speed and brilliance, charm and nonchalance.

Gia Kourlas

A best-of sampler, in alphabetical order.


Danielle Goldman removing layers in Beth Gill’s “Brand New Sidewalk,” at Abrons Arts Center.

Maria Baranova

‘BRAND NEW SIDEWALK,’ BETH GILL This meticulous triptych is Ms. Gill’s most spellbinding work yet. In it, she turns time on…

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