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ARTS San Antonio has been bringing outstanding performing arts companies to town for 25 years, and its current anniversary season is a shining example of the range and quality of the arts they present. The January offerings kick off the new year on a very high note, indeed. Not one but three unique dance companies will populate our stages, two of which have never been here before.

First up on Jan. 12 is Bale Folclorico de Bahia from northern Brazil, which specializes in dance rooted in the region’s mostly African influenced heritage. “The dance form reflects African rhythms and the traditions of the slaves, who were brought to the region by the Portuguese,” said ARTS San Antonio president John Toohey. “It’s very different from other Latin American folk groups.”  Under the artistic direction of Jose Carlos Arandida, the 38-member troupe has vowed audiences for years at home and abroad. Most numbers are choreographed to traditional Bahian music, and include a dance that depicts the creation of the universe, a dance of happiness, a samba, a capoeira and festive Carnival pieces. The concert will take place at the Lila Cockrell Theater.

Another company that promises to be exciting, and the one I most look forward to seeing, is the all-male Compagnie Hervé Koubi, that will perform an original piece by Koubi with the intriguing title of What the Day Owes to the Night.  Through very athletic movement, Koubi, who was born in France, explores his Algerian roots and the blended identity of people like him. (Jan. 28, Charline McCombs Empire Theater).

Between those two, the always amusing and original American company Pilobolus returns to San Antonio with Shadowland, which tells another kind of discovery story using their signature shadow play technique, multiple screens and front-of-the-screen choreography. The show has been seen by more than a million people across the world. “It’s very cool,” said Toohey who also pointed out that the company’s 2015 San Antonio visit was very well received. (Jan. 18, Tobin Center)

All I can say is, thank you ARTS San Antonio for these artistic treats. (