Fall's best dance events

Preview Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theatre's new season.

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  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

    Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

  • American Ballet Theatre

    American Ballet Theatre

  • Sophie Flack

    Sophie Flack

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
This season, the famed troupe might appear slightly different, with Robert Battle officially taking the artistic director mantle from Judith Jamison. Along with his own Takademe, pictured here with the gorgeous Yannick Lebrun, he has curated a promising season. Company premieres include Ohad Naharin's Minus 16 (basically anything the man touches warrants a rowdy hooray), as well as a world premiere from the celebrated hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris: Home, inspired by people living with or affected by HIV. New York City Center (alvinailey.org). Nov 30--Jan 1; $25--$135. Tickets on sale Tue 6.

American Ballet Theatre
The company returns to City Center for a brief but mighty season, showcasing Alexei Ratmansky (Seven Sonatas), Merce Cunningham (Duets) and Twyla Tharp, whose In the Upper Room will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The sublime ballet zeroes in on red-and-black-costumed dancers emerging from and retreating into swirls of fog to Philip Glass's hypnotic score. Tharp saw the music as a response to Mahalia Jackson's spiritual, and the references to Heaven are unmistakable. As the music soars, so does the dance. New York City Center (abt.org, nycitycenter.org). Nov 8--13; tickets start at $25.

Bunheads
"It's like he feels the need to break people so they're more obedient." That's how Sophie Flack—a vocal and disgruntled victim of the 2009 New York City Ballet layoffs—describes the company director in Bunheads. The young-adult novel is a fictional account of the life of one Hannah Ward, who is torn between the ballet world and the real world. Flack, who hung up her pointe shoes to study English at Columbia University, danced with NYCB for nine years. Bunheads (Little, Brown; $18) is out Oct 10.

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