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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.