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Madelyn Ho and Michael Novak and members of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Roses
Photograph: Courtesy Paul B. GoodePaul Taylor Dance Company: Roses

Four top companies return to NYC in a fabulous new dance festival

This month's inaugural City Center Dance Festival presents four of the country's best-loved troupes.

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

New York is up and dancing again. In venues around the city, dance companies that have been forced into restless quiescence are leaping back into action. And New York City Center is leading the charge this month with its first-ever City Center Dance Festival, a three-week feast of movement that features four of the country's most esteemed companies: two modern dance standard-bearers, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Martha Graham Dance Company, and two venerable ballet troupes, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Ballet Hispánico. 

The inaugural City Center Dance Festival, which runs from March 24 through April 10, will mark the first time that three of these four major companies have performed indoors in New York City since the start of the pandemic shutdown in 2020—Martha Graham made its return at the Joyce in the fall—so emotions are sure to run high. Tickets for all performances can be purchased on the City Center website. See below for details about the lineup.

And while you're at it, check out our listings of the best dance shows in NYC this month. There's plenty to choose from: March and April are packed with engagements by companies including Armitage Gone!, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Ailey II, Noche Flamenca, Limón Dance Company and, of course, New York City Ballet.  

City Center Dance Festival 2022 

March 24–27, 29–31:
Paul Taylor Dance Company

Modern-dance legend Paul Taylor died in 2018, but his work lives on through the company he founded. In its first indoor performances in New York since the shutdown began, the company kicks off the festival with three programs presented in rep, each consisting of three dances. Program A (March 24, 26 and 29) offers Taylor's Brandenburgs and Roses alongside the world premiere of Lauren Lovette's Pentimento; Program B (March 25, 27, 30) groups Taylor's Offenbach Overtures and Airs with Larry Keigwin's Rush Hour; the all-Paul finale on March 31 comprises Roses, Offenbach Overtures and Esplanade. Live music is performed at every show by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, under the baton of David LaMarche. 

Paul Taylor Dance Company in Esplanade
Photograph: Courtesy Paul B GoodeEsplanade

April 1–3:
Ballet Hispánico: Doña Perón

The Latinx dance institution Ballet Hispánico concludes its 50th-anniversary season with its very first commissioned full-length work. Choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa to a score by Peter Salem, the piece takes a fresh look at the complex and controversial figure of 1940s Argentine first lady Eva Perón—also, famously, the subject of the Broadway musical Evita—who rose from dance halls to the side of a populist strongman before dying young and leaving a legacy that is still being sorted through today. 

Ballet Hispánico: Doña Perón
Photograph: Courtesy Paula LoboDoña Perón

April 5, 8–10:
Dance Theatre of Harlem

The historic Black ballet company returns to City Center for four performances, all of which include the New York premiere of Robert Garland's Higher Ground and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Balamouk (Extended). The programs on April 5 and 9 also include Odalisques Variations from Le Corsaire as staged by Dylan Santos (after Marius Petipa's classic version); those on April 8 and 10 offer the New York premiere of Claudia Schreier's Passage instead. The Klezmatics perform live music at every show. The multitalented Debbie Allen will be honored with the company's Arthur Mitchell Vision Award at the gala performance on April 5. 

Dance Theatre of Harlem Company in Passage
Photograph: Courtesy Brian CallanPassage

Apr 6, 7, 9, 10:
Martha Graham Dance Company

The festival concludes with a visit from the revered Martha Graham Dance Company, which is devoted to preserving and expanding the legacy of the queen of modern dance. Presented in three different programs, the run includes two stone-cold Graham classics, Appalachian Spring and Chronicle, along with the world premiere of Hofesh Shechter's Cave and the New York premiere of a new version of Graham's lost 1952 dance Canticle for Innocent Comedians as imagined by eight choreographers—led by Sonya Tayeh—and set to an original score by Jason Moran. (Program A, on April 6 and 9, includes Chronicle, Cave and Canticle. Program B, a matinee on April 10, includes Appalachian Spring and Canticle. The Gala on April 7 features excerpts from those two works along with Cave and Graham's Ritual to the Sun from Acts of Light.)

Martha Graham Dance Company: Appalachian Spring
Photograph: Courtesy Melissa SherwoodAppalachian Spring

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