Best of Boston

2011 Best Performance, Dance

Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre

This 25-year-old company is the antithesis of stuffy, overpolished dance—and its venue, the minuscule Sanctuary Theatre inside the Old Cambridge Baptist Church, provides an almost religious experience. The seats are so close that you can see every slash of muscle, hear each clack of a pointe shoe, and practically feel the performers’ exhalations. The intimacy lends Mateo’s dynamic choreography a raw power that’s compulsively watchable, whether you’re a ballroom expert or have two left feet.

400 Harvard St., Cambridge, 617-354-7467,