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The best dance shows this fall in NYC

A glut of wonderful shows forces us to make tough choices for this fall season’s best dance picks in New York

Photograph: Ravi Deepres
Tree of Codes

New York is brimful of wonderful dance offerings this fall starting in September, and there will be plenty of ballet, contemporary and postmodern dance performances to keep even the hungriest culture fan satisfied. You’ll find perennial favorites, like Fall for Dance, and New York icons, like Miguel Gutierrez; you’ll find politically astute dance-theater provocations and a frothy Swan Lake. Be sure to check out these fall events, but also keep abreast of the best dance show this week—we’re in a golden age, people, and you’ll want to see as much as you can. Read our list of the top shows to see, ranked chronologically.

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Dance shows this fall

Mark Dendy Projects: Whistleblower

Dixon Place commissioned theater-minded dance maker Mark Dendy to make this complex, dreamy docu-portrait of controversial figure Chelsea Manning, showing her as her mind roils as she is sentenced for her role in exposing state secrets. Coming to grips with Manning's deeds and whether we condone them or punish them is one of the issues we should keep constantly before our eyes; it is a blessing that Dendy has found a way to do so while also ravishing our senses.

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Dixon Place, Lower East Side Friday September 11 2015 - Saturday September 26 2015

Tree of Codes

There is no space in New York quite like the Park Avenue Armory—programming it can sometimes be its own act of choreography. This fall, it holds Wayne McGregor's treatment of Jonathan Safran Foer's cut-up novella, in which the dancemaker places performers from both his company and the Paris Opera Ballet into a supersaturated, constantly shifting Olafur Eliasson environment that transmutes the movers into a kind of performing geometry. The stark music is by electropop adventurer Jamie xx.

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Park Avenue Armory, Lenox Hill Monday September 14 2015 - Monday September 21 2015

Miguel Gutierrez: The Age & Beauty Series

Miguel Gutierrez's reflective, hilarious dance trilogy about the dancer's body, queer aesthetics, aging and the ins-and-outs of administration appears in its full-blown, tripartite form. Even if you saw the other parts—performed at the Whitney and Abrons Arts Center—you'll still want to see what new transgressions Gutierrez has invented; in the first two sections, he's already bickered with his agent onstage and exposed the deep flaws in the dance-presenting ethos—we can only expect Part Three to be similarly explosive. All of the work's three parts appear in rep, so be sure to check the website for the full schedule.

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New York Live Arts, Chelsea Wednesday September 16 2015 - Saturday September 26 2015

New York City Ballet Fall 2015

The company's fall season includes a week of Peter Martins's luscious Swan Lake, two Balanchine programs, Jerome Robbins's N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz and a flurry of premieres by choreographers Justin Peck, Troy Schumacher, Robert Binet, Myles Thatcher and Kim Brandstrup, the last of which will be set to Debussy's Jeux.

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David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center), Upper West Side Tuesday September 22 2015 - Sunday October 18 2015

Fall for Dance

The super affordable festival offers a smorgasbord approach to dance-o-philes, so each evening features a tasting menu of international superstars and local favorites. This year, 20 companies and dancemakers take part, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the San Francisco Ballet, Dorrance Dance, Steven McRae, Miami Ballet, La Compagnie Hervé Koubi and even the great clown Bill Irwin, who premieres a collaboration with Tiler Peck and Damian Woetzel.

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New York City Center, Midtown West Wednesday September 30 2015 - Sunday October 11 2015

José Limón International Dance Festival

In celebration of its 70th anniversary season, the José Limón Dance Foundation invites guest artists from the Royal Danish Ballet (performing The Unsung) and the Bavarian State Ballet (performing The Exiles), as well as students from all over the world, to perform with the Limón Dance Company in a magesterial retrospective of major works from the repertory.

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Joyce Theater, Chelsea Tuesday October 13 2015 - Sunday October 25 2015

American Ballet Theatre Fall 2015

A stupendous fall season from American Ballet Theatre includes a premiere by Mark Morris, as well as modern classics, like the elegantly modern Frederick Ashton's Monotones I and II, Balanchine's Valse-Fantaisie, Kurt Jooss's anti-war masterpiece The Green Table, Paul Taylor's Company B and Twyla Tharp's The Brahms-Haydn Variations. Many of these are crucial works that changed the form itself, and it would be madness for anyone interested in the 20th Century and its movements to miss them.

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David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center), Upper West Side Wednesday October 21 2015 - Sunday November 1 2015

Okwui Okpokwasili: Bronx Gothic

After an earlier run at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, the dancer and theater-muse Okwui Okpokwasili brings her solo storytelling dance work about youth, terror and the erotic to New York Live Arts. In the piece, Okpokwasili plays strange games with her own autobiography, using both her past and her own body (which she taxes to its limits) to explore notions of truth and revelation. Anyone who hasn't seen it already should seize the chance—it casts a potent spell.

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New York Live Arts, Chelsea Wednesday October 21 2015 - Saturday October 24 2015

Ralph Lemon: Scaffold Room

This multimedia theatro-dance work by Ralph Lemon was made in collaboration with April Matthis, Roderick Murray, Okwui Okpokwasili, Marina Rosenfeld, Mike Taylor and Philip White—electric performers and thinkers who help Lemon investigate the representation of black women in popular culture—drawing on such diverse sources as Moms Mabley and Samuel R. Delany. Elements of the piece will be on view in various Kitchen spaces during the day, while a more formal performance-presentation will take place (Nov 3–10) in the downstairs theater.

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The Kitchen, Chelsea Friday October 30 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

luciana achugar: Church

Gibney Dance's fall season concludes with a bang—or possibly a strange, ululating cry. After the triumph of her weirdly magical Otro Teatro, luciana achugar returns with its epilogue, Church, which looks to the ancient, ritual roots of dance in a quest for collective healing. The Bessie Award–winning, Uruguyan dance maker's event continues for four to five hours, but audiences are welcome to enter and exit at will; if you need a break from the intense rite of passage, you can go get fresh air at will.

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Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, Downtown Thursday December 10 2015 - Saturday December 19 2015
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