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Things to do in New York City: Spring dance shows

Spring dance showcases some of the best things to do in New York City, from French experimentation to the finest in ballet

If you're looking for things to do in New York City, dance comes to the rescue with dueling Lincoln Center seasons featuring both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet—including the return of Justin Peck's wonderful Year of the Rabbit—as well as Danse: A French-American Festival of Performance and Ideas. It's time for a thaw, and spring dance will be fresher than ever.

Faye Driscoll

Driscoll's Thank You for Coming—created with the performers Giulia Carotenuto, Sean Donovan, Alicia Ohs, Brandon Washington and Nikki Zialcita, and designers Nick Vaughan, Jake Margolin and Amanda K. Ringger—reflects on the experience and event of performance. In the piece, the collaborators draw from dance ritual throughout time and genre, from cultural ceremony to story ballets, all while questioning dances influence and influences, including the role of the audience.

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Thu Mar 6 - Sat Mar 15

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Taylor is the last living modern-dance legend of the 20th century, and he's still going strong. For his troupe's three-week New York season, the company's transcendent dancers perform two new works, as well as a repertory classics, including rare sightings of Fibers, Private Domain and Dust, and favorites such as Esplanade, Cloven Kingdom and Arden Court. The Mar 13 gala showcases New York City Ballet principals Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in an excerpt from Airs. On Mar 23, in celebration of the company's 60th-anniversary season, 47 former Taylor dancers—Carolyn Adams, Ruth Andrien and Bettie de Jong are among the mix—revive 1965's From Sea to Shining Sea; tickets are half price.

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Wed Mar 12 - Sun Mar 30

Martha Graham Dance Company 2014

The queen of modern dance's legacy lives on. This season, the company performs a variety of classic Graham works, including the 70-year-old Appalachian Spring and 30-year-old The Rite of Spring. Highlights also include 1990's Maple Leaf Rag—the last work Graham choreographed—and a new one-act version of Clytemnestra (1958), arranged by artistic director Janet Eilber and former Graham company member Linda Hodes. In a new approach to programming, the company will also perform new works by guest choreographers; this year's artists are Nacho Duato and Andonis Foniadakis.

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Wed Mar 19 - Sat Mar 22

New York City Ballet Spring 2014

The company's spring season focuses on 21st-century choreographers, with selections by Mauro Bigonzetti, William Forsythe, Peter Martins, Benjamin Millepied, Justin Peck, Angelin Preljocaj, Alexei Ratmansky, Liam Scarlett, Richard Tanner and Christopher Wheeldon. To balance, entire programs are also dedicated to the choreography of Balanchine and Robbins, including works from the company's 1964 inaugural Lincoln Center season: The Four Temperaments, Raymonda Variations, Symphony in C and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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Tue Apr 29 - Sun Jun 8

DANSE: A French-American Festival of Performance and Ideas

France invades New York for a three-week festival of performances and talks that also unveils two publications: an anthology of existing writing, and a catalog documenting aspects of the festival. Events take place at venues throughout town, and the artists are a diverse, experimental crew, including Christian Rizzo, Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud, David Wampach, Ashley Chen, Cédric Andrieux, Christophe Ives and Lyon Opera Ballet. Visit the website for details.• frenchculture.org

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Thu May 1 - Sun May 18

American Ballet Theatre Spring 2014

The company—including dancers Roberto Bolle, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Polina Semionova, Hee Seo, Daniil Simkin, Cory Stearns, Ivan Vasiliev, Diana Vishneva and the newest principal, James Whiteside—returns for its spring season. Highlights include the company premiere of Frederick Ashton's Cinderella, as well as a "Shakespeare Celebration," featuring Ashton's The Dream and Alexei Ratmansky's The Tempest. The lineup also features Leonide Massine's Gaîté Parisienne and Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, and guest performers Alina Cojocaru, Maria Kochetkova and Denis Matvienko.

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Mon May 12 - Sat Jul 5