Best dance shows in NYC this month
Lincoln Center's luminous multidisciplinary fall festival celebrates the spiritual power of dance, music and theater. Terpsichorean offerings in this year's edition include an encore of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Zen-influenced Sutra (Oct 16–18), a combination of dance and martial arts that was part of the first White Light Festival back in 2010; Company Wang Ramirez's Borderline (Oct 19–20), a fusion of dance forms that reflects the influence of Greek and Korean cultures; Akram Khan's Xenos (Oct 31, Nov 1), an exploration of colonialism through kathak and contemporary dance; Casc Gelabert's Framing Time (Nov 1, 2), set to music by Morton Feldman; and Boy Blue's Blak Whyte Gray (Nov 16, 17), an abstract dance-theater fusion of hip-hop and African traditions.
Shannon, whose childhood bout with Legg–Calvé–Perthes disease permanently affected his body's ability to move, explores disability and the specific ways in which it shapes social and physical patterns. In this New York City premiere, he turns his attention to the question of modern digital representation. His crutch choreography is performed by dancer-acrobat Raphael Botelho Nepomuceno, who did a memorable routine on crutches in Cirque du Soleil's Varekai.
A collaboration between choreographer John Heginbotham and puppeteer Amy Trompetter, this inventive pageant features giant babies, heroic rats and blue angels, rendered through a mix of live dancers and puppets large and small.
GDC presents two world premieres: Adam Barruch's Imprint Ghosts, about the reverberations of past events in the physical space of the present, and Shamel Pitts's Menagerie, a collaboration with visual artist and director Deville Cohen that has been created especially for the Gibney's six dancers.
Artistic director Robert Battle continues to present classics while introducing new choreography to the repertory of the venerable company, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Offerings during its monthlong residency at City Center include a new production of Battle's Juba and premieres by Rennie Harris, Ronald K. Brown, Wayne McGregor and Jessica Lang—plus, of course, Alvin Ailey's 1960 signature classic, Revelations, which concludes most of the programs.
In this world premiere, Fellion explores the very contemporary sense of frustration that grows from constant exposure to bad news and hateful ideas. The piece, which features original music by Kevin Keller, is paired with The Warm-Up, a lighter-hearted one about the overlap of dance and exercise.
The Latino dance company returns to the Apollo with a reprise of its first evening-length narrative ballet, 2014's CARMEN.maquia. Choreographed by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, the piece is based on the classic Bizet opera and incorporates Spanish paso doble and flamenco.
The folk-dance company, guided by artistic director Alberto Lopez Herrera, debuts a new piece that celebrates the holiday season as it is experienced by a child of Mexican-American immigrants in New York City. In styles that range from Aztec-inspired movement to ballet, and to music from mariachi to Tchaikovsky, 16 dancers perform sequences created especially for this show by Mexican and Mexican-American choreographers.
Choreographer David Roussève and his company, Reality, visit BAM's Next Wave Festival with a multimedia dance-theater piece that examines the life and legacy of gay African-American songwriter Billy Strayhorn, who wrote or cowrote many of Duke Ellington's most famous songs (including "Take the 'A' Train" and "Lush Life").
Moscow Ballet's take on Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, choreographed by Stanislav Vlasov, departs from the standard version with a second act that takes Masha and the Prince to the Land Of Peace and Harmony instead of the traditional Sugar Plum Fairy. Its centerpiece is "Dove of Peace," in which two performers play a single bird with a wingspan of 20 feet.
With its 1960s setting, comic-book–style art design and cross-dressing lyrical dancers, this is one of the kookiest productions of The Nutcracker. Using the entirety of Tchaikovsky’s composition and including a section from the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story that even the original version of the ballet left out, Mark Morris Dance Group’s annual take is still fresh and very, very fun, especially after a few boozy hot cocoas during intermission.
James Devine, a world-record holder for speed dancing, and David Geaney, a multiple World Irish Dance Championships winner, are the creative forces behind this celebration of super-quick Celtic step dancing. Geaney is joined onstage by Gabriella Wood and AnneMarie Keaney.
The company offers its annual performance of The Yorkville Nutcracker, set in 1895 New York. This year once again features guests Abi Stafford and Ask la Cour—both of whom have been New York City Ballet principals—as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier; Maximilien Baud and Therese Wendler perform the Snow Pas de Deux.
Apparently, there's no Hanukkah in NYC without...a stripshow? For 12 years, burlesque mavericks Darlinda Just Darlinda and Minnie Tonka have teamed up and turnt up the festival of lights as the wicked duo The Schlep Sisters. They return with a night of 100% certified kosher camp at this bananas, all-inclusive dreidel party. They're joined by fellow variety stars Sapphire Jones, Zoe Ziegfeld, The Great Dubini, Allegra and host Bastard Keith.
This magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's incredible score, includes the full New York City Ballet company and two casts of School of American Ballet students, as well as an onstage blizzard and a Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. In the end, however, Balanchine's choreography is what holds it all together. It's enchanting.
Dance titan Tharp gets small in a retrospective devoted to the influence of minimalism on some of the seminal pieces she created from 1965 to 1971. Among the works excerpted in this new collection are Tank Dive, The History of Up and Down and Eight Jelly Rolls.
One of the New Yorkiest things about New York is how we all feel like we just missed the best part of it. “When did you get here?” “Oh, bummer! There was this incredible lightning-strike of culture—punk, the Soho loft scene, etc.—right before you arrived.” For performance lovers, one of the holiest of such flashes was the Judson Dance Theater, a flourish of choreography that lasted from 1962 to 1964. In workshops and performances at Greenwich Village’s Judson Memorial Church, visual artists and dance makers, inspired by the chance-based work of avant-garde composer John Cage, created a torrent of art that became the foundation documents of postmodern dance. This avalanche built itself into a mountain—and though you may have heard the echoes of it everywhere, from Broadway to the Whitney, the theater itself has started to sound more like a legend than reality. So thank your lucky stars for the Museum of Modern Art’s performance-heavy exhibition “Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done,” which throws every modern documentary technique at the problem of bringing a 56-year-old movement back to life. The program includes archival materials, poetry, talks, films (including wonderful footage of one of the founders, Trisha Brown) as well as many live dances, all focused on the enduring influence of the Judson choreographers. Here are some of the performance highlights you won’t want to miss. Yvonne Rainer (Sept 16–Sept 22)MoMA has presented Rainer before—and brilliantly so. In