Dance performances

The best of the week… theater and dance performances | To dance

Five of the best… theater shows this week

1 One night in Miami

The year is 1964 and young boxer Cassius Clay, soon to change his name to Muhammad Ali, celebrates his victory in a Miami hotel room with Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and American football star Jim Brown. There’s some exciting acting from everyone involved in this production of Kwame Kwei-Armah, which packs a punch. It’s a compelling, combative yet warmly drawn tale of change in the making; although – as the production makes clear – recent events in the United States highlight the racism that has endured for more than 50 years.

Donmar Warehouse, WC2, to December 3

2 Ockham’s Razor: Tipping Point

This quietly engrossing and lackluster circus piece won a Total Theater award in Edinburgh this summer, and rightly so. As the title suggests, this is a carefully crafted spectacle that follows the performers as they negotiate an ever-changing world where a number of white metal poles are used as seesaws, balancing beams and Moreover. The fun comes from watching a physically skilled cast test themselves and their relationships, but it’s also a treat to see how they deal with gravity and a shifting sense of space.

Lancaster University: The Great Hall, Tuesday to Thursday; tour until November 26

3 The Red Shed

What happens when we start remembering the past and the events that shaped our present? That’s a question posed in Mark Thomas’ solo exhibition, a love letter to the modest red shed that is Wakefield’s Labor Club, a place that played a significant role in the miners’ strike and the formation of Thomas into the activist he is today. Heartfelt, angry and funny, it’s a play that uses theater as a way to change mindsets.

Bow, Stockton-on-Tees, Tue; West Yorkshire Playhouse: Court, Leeds, Wednesday to Friday; tour until December 10

4 moving portraits

Some shows are impossible to categorize: Volker Gerling’s eccentric Portraits In Motion is one of them. In it, he recounts his walk through Germany and shares photographs he took of people along the way. On the one hand, it’s a bit like looking at someone’s vacation snaps, but the trick is that Gerling shows the portraits by holding them under a video camera: as they come to life, you start to feel an intimate connection with these strangers.

Home, Manchester, Thurs-Nov 5

5 The Pleading Women

Aeschylus’ work centered on 50 women fleeing Egypt to Greece is one of the oldest plays in the world. But this new version of the team behind the superb The Events – writer David Greig and director Ramin Gray – couldn’t be more powerful or relevant.

Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne, from Thu to 5 November

Three of the best… theater shows this week

Yang Liping Contemporary Dance: Under Siege Photo: Ding Yi Jie

1 Nitin Sawhney

This concert set to music by Sawhney features the superb dance duo Wang Ramirez as well as guest vocals by Joss Stone.

Royal Albert Hall, SW7, Wednesday

2 Under Siege

Hip-hop, ballet and traditional dance are dramatically fused in Yang Liping’s recreation of a historic Chinese battle. Sets and costumes courtesy of Tim Yip.

Sadler’s Wells, EC1, Wednesday – November 5

3 The Happiness Project

Didy Veldman’s choreography has been widely distributed by companies such as Rambert. Here she works with her own dancers to explore the tragicomic effects of our obsession with happiness.

Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich, Friday; tour until November 17