Take a cross-dressing 18th century French spy, a famous French dancer, a boundary-pushing director, a celebrated choreographer, stuff them all on a stage, and you get Eonnagata, a powerfully original alchemy of theater and dance.  

Inspired by the kabuki theater tradition where men portray super-stylized women, Eonnagata explores the life of Charles de Beaumont, an elusive public figure - soldier, diplomat, Sidney Bristow-esque secret agent - who turned gender-switching into such a long-lived career strategy that eventually people no longer remembered if he was really a man or a woman.

Sylvie Guillem performs Russell Maliphant’s celebrated blend of classical dance and martial arts under the eagle-eyed aegis of Robert Lepage, whose bold genre-mixing direction has earned him an international reputation. Bold and visually striking (the costumes were designed by the late fashion icon Alexander McQueen), Ex Machina’s Eonnagata makes its United States debut at Zellerbach Hall this week. 

February 9-10. Zellerbach Hall, 2430 Bancroft Avenue, Berkeley. Tickets start at $36 at calperfs.berkeley.edu.