A pair of finger ballets, a Michelin-starred meal and eight other things to do this week

A pair of finger ballets, a Michelin-starred meal and eight other things to do this week

(Image courtesy of Canadian Stage)

Two touching finger ballets
Belgian choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey and her partner, film director Jaco Van Dormael, have pioneered an art form they call “nano-dancing,” in which hands—not the people connected to them—are the characters. This month, they perform two full-fledged finger ballets, Kiss and Cry and Cold Blood. De Mey and other performers dance the odyssey of an old woman named Gisèle and her five lost loves while Van Dormael shoots the action and projects it onto a screen. The shows are dreamy and delicate: the hands traipse through sparkling snowfalls, miniature trapeze circuses and train stations that seem lifted from a Tolstoy novel. Kiss and Cry: Thursday, February 4 to Sunday, February 7. Cold Bood: Wednesday, February 10 to Sunday, February 14. $30–$99. Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E., canadianstage.com.

A Michelin-starred meal flown in from Italy
The King Street Food Company’s “Sotto una buona stella” (“Under a lucky star”) dinner series flies Michelin-starred Italian chefs to Toronto for drool-worthy one-off meals. This Thursday, Sicilian chef Pino Cuttaia joins Rob Gentile at Buca’s Yorkville location for the series’ fourth dinner (here’s a look at an earlier edition). The night’s proceeds fund a scholarship at the George Brown Chef’s School. $300. Thursday, February 4. Buca Osteria and Bar, 53 Scollard St., kingstreetfood.com.

(Image: Mat Simpson) (Image: Mat Simpson)
 

Chelsea Hotel, a theatrical tribute to Leonard Cohen
A young artist locks himself in a room at New York’s famous Chelsea Hotel—the occasional home of Dylan, Waits, Joplin, Ginsberg and more—with a pad of paper, a bottle of liquor and a resolution to write about love. His solitary mission turns into a journey through the characters of the historic inn, set to the canon of legendary songwriter Leonard Cohen. The production alternates between intimate ballads and energetic anthems as six performers sing, play instruments and playfully weave around luggage trolleys and window panes. Thursday, February 4 to Sunday, February 21. $35–$55. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., theatre20.com.

A Joseph Boyden ballet starring Tanya Tagaq
Throat singer extraordinaire Tanya Tagaq performs in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s adaptation of a story by novelist Joseph Boyden, whose historical fiction explores the lives of Jesuit missionaries and Indigenous people. Going Home Star, which debuted to excellent reviews in Winnipeg, tackles similar subject matter: Annie, a young First Nations woman, falls for Gordon, a trickster disguised as a homeless man. As Annie learns more about Gordon, she also discovers the lingering damage of the residential school system. Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6. $54–$115. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., rwb.org.

Wallis Giunta. (Image: Michael Edwards) Wallis Giunta. (Image: Michael Edwards)
 

Songbook VI, a greatest-hits opera epic
Behind on your opera? Tapestry Opera’s Songbook VI is your best chance to get caught up. Accompanied by emerging conductor Jordan de Souza and 15 other artists, superstar Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta—who has sung with operas in New York, Taipei and Germany—powers through works that date back to 1992. The highlight: Nigredo Hotel, a thriller about a brain surgeon and a neurotic hotel operator. Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6. $25. Ernest Balmer Studio, 9 Trinity St., tapestryopera.com.

Alan Cumming singing sappy songs
The Scottish polymath’s on-screen credits span titles both serious (TheGood Wife) and silly (Spy Kids), his theatrical roles alternate between campy (Cabaret) and canonical (Macbeth), and now he’s back onstage as a singer. Broadway composer Lance Horne directs a show that’s equal parts hammy and sincere, jumping between songs by Stephen Sondheim, Rufus Wainwright, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. Saturday, February 6. $49.50–$139.50. Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., masseyhall.com.

(Image: Alexandre Isard) (Image: Alexandre Isard)
 

A classical act from Drake collaborator Chilly Gonzales
The Canadian-born pianist, rapper and occasional actor (né Jason Beck) began his career fronting the alt-rock band Son before moving to Germany, where he released a trio of rap albums and collaborated with Feist, Daft Punk and Drake. Then he changed his tune again (literally), focusing on instrumental piano work—as displayed at the Pan Am Games opening ceremonies—and classical collaborations like Chambers, the album being toured here with Hamburg’s Kaiser Quartett, which reimagines chamber music as pop. Friday, February 5. $18.95–$29.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., liveatmasseyhall.com.

The Aga Khan Museum’s dazzling Istanbul exhibit
It has been known by many names: Byzantium, Constantinople and, as the most populous city in modern Turkey, Istanbul. This exhibition offers glimpses of the city’s history through the work of contemporary photographer Murat Germen and historical pieces from Turkish philanthropist Ömer Koç. There are romantic 19th-century albums, panoramas and photographs, and modern, futuristic snapshots. Opens Saturday, February 6. $20. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., agakhanmuseum.org.

(Image: Michael Carney) (Image: Michael Carney)
 

A rowdy rock-and-roll set by The Sheepdogs
In 2011, the shaggy-haired Saskatchewan rockers became the first unsigned band to land on the cover of Rolling Stone. Their rise seemed sudden, but the boys spent years finessing their ’70s-inspired, riff-based blues before anyone started paying attention. Though their latest records feature glossier production values, their live shows are still the same raw, rowdy good time. Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6. $45.50–$55.75. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., ticketmaster.com.

Song Dong’s maze-like art exhibition
In the Beijing artist’s avant-garde installation, 100 vintage Chinese wardrobe doors form alleys, rooms and winding walkways. The exhibition explores the creation of community in rapidly growing urban areas by mimicking the city’s intimate communal living spaces, where people are plentiful, storage is scant, and the line between private and public has all but disappeared. To Sunday, July 17. $19.50. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., ago.net.