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The best free dance performances and series in NYC

Discover NYC’s free dance performances, ranging from traditional to experimental, all while keeping your purse firmly shut

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New York City is (arguably) the dance capital of the world. But you don't have to always pay your way to the stage. Check out our lineup of the best free dance shows taking place at venues like the David Rubenstein Atrium and WeisAcres happening this weekend, this week and this month.

RECOMMENDED: See all free things to do in NYC

Free dance shows in NYC

  • Dance
  • Contemporary and experimental
  • price 0 of 4
  • Battery Park City

The free annual Battery Dance Festival, formerly known as the Downtown Dance Festival, takes place outdoors at Robert F. Wagner Park, in front of the sparkling New York Harbor. For its 41st edition this year, it is offering both in-person and streaming options. The lineup includes multiple U.S. or world premieres, and the participating companies include visiting groups from Singapore, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada. The first seven shows are general admission, but reservations are required for the 6pm finale on August 20 (which is held indoors at the Schimmel Center). Here is a full schedule of the artists and companies that will be performing. Visit the festival's website for additional details. Saturday, August 13 (Young Voices in Dance):Sydney Burtis, The DifferenceZachary Seto, Nostalgic Beings of SynesthesiaCamryn and Courtney Spero, DistanceKate Louissaint, Bird’s EyeLerato Ragontse, In Between ChangeAnya Susan, In ConversationMyles King, The Last FoundryShannon Harkins, Dreams and Nightmares of a Mutant People Sunday, August 14:Dancing Wheels Company, Unconquered WarriorsBallet Nepantla, Let Down and Huasteca SuiteLinotip, Diagonal & CainGaudanse, nanibuPeridance Contemporary Dance Company, Just Above the SurfaceThe Vanaver Caravan, Vanaver Caravan Retrospective Dancing Wheels | Photograph: Courtesy Steven Pisano Monday, August 15 (India Independence Day):Lineup to be announced Tuesday, August 16: Christina Carminucci, The Solidarity Series IV: Free Spirit

  • Dance
  • price 0 of 4
  • Hell's Kitchen

The City Parks Foundation's free outdoor festival SummerStage graces various green spaces around the city with dance, music and theater. In the dance department, the offerings include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Coney Island Amphitheater, July 23), Maimouna Keita African Dance Company (Corporal Thompson Park, August 5), Urban Bush Women (Crotona Park , August 12), excerpts from The Jazz Continuum (Marcus Garvey Park, August 19), a tribute to Greg Tate featuring Burnt Sugar/Danz (Marcus Garvey Park, August 20) and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Central Park, August 28). Visit the SummerStage website for details. 

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  • Dance
  • Modern
  • price 0 of 4
  • Rockaways

Rockaway Beach's annual outdoor dance festival returns with another free, sandy offering. This year's edition celebrates the natural-world inspirations of the late Trisha Brown with a program that includes multiple early Brown works—staged along the shore from Beach 97th Street to Beach 110th Street, with audiences following the dancers from site to site—and concludes with 1980's Opal Loop (1980), the first piece from her Unstable Molecular Structure cycle. An afterparty follows at the Rockaway Hotel. (Beach Sessions and Rockaway Film Festival also present, as a companion piece, a screening of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson's long 1976 experimental opera Einstein on the Beach on Friday, August 19, at 7:30pm, at the outdoor Arverne Cinema.) 

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