The Best Dance Performances in NYC This Fall


Critic’s Pick: John Jasperse, who’s shown his crafty, enigmatic dances at BAM since 2000, returns to the Next Wave Festival with Remains (September 21–24, BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn,, an hour-long piece that references both his thirty-year career as one of the bravest, brightest, most engaged choreographers working today and his vision for the future. He recognizes that “the past comes to us” and that dance leaves very little behind. Drawing from powerful images in the Western canon of visual art — the Madonna and Child, the lounging nude, women in wartime as victims of rape — he wrestles with issues of ego and of pedigree, seeking and finding his spot in our multicultural, postcolonial scene. Following Jasperse into the Harvey is Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, with their brand-new Citizen (December 14–17). The nearby Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue) offers Shen Wei Dance Arts’ Neither, to music by Morton Feldman (October 5–8); Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s new Vortex Temporum, with roving musicians from Ictus (October 14–15); Rules of the Game, a collaboration among Jonah Bokaer, Daniel Arsham, and Pharrell Williams that promises to mobilize a whole lot of ping-pong balls (November 10–12); and of course Mark Morris’s modern Christmas classic, The Hard Nut (December 10–18). And at the smaller, more flexible BAM Fisher (321 Ashland Place), look for cutting-edge work by Kyle Abraham (November 2–5), Faye Driscoll (November 16–19), and Zvi Gotheiner (November 30–December 3).

Jennifer Monson/iLAND September 23–October 1 The title of Jennifer Monson’s nonprofit is an acronym for “Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature, and Dance.” She and her collaborators, who this season include ten artists she’s worked with since 1983, plan to destabilize the familiar, test new ground, define difference, and create a shared practice; she’s looking to discover how movement, sound, and image illuminate “perceptual, philosophical, and social constructs in our current political and aesthetic contexts.” One thing’s for sure: Every performance in this two-week run of her project in tow will be different. Danspace Project, at St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street,

Dzul Dance September 23–24 A Mexican trained in Mayan ritual dances, acrobatics, and contemporary ballet technique, Javier Dzul has performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Ailey Rep, and other troupes. The world premiere of his Rites of Passage, part of Hispanic Heritage Month, features his ensemble of dancers, aerialists, and contortionists, masked and painted by Darrell Thorne and joined by former Limon dancer Kurt Douglas and former Cirque soloist Anna Venizelos. The Friday show, at 11 a.m., is a free preview featuring excerpts from the complete work followed by a Q&A; Saturday brings the premiere proper. Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 524 West 59th Street,

Maria Hassabi  October 4–8 Rarely will you see so many fine dancers do so little to such powerful effect as in Maria Hassabi‘s new Staged. The award-winning choreographer, a native of Cyprus with a degree from CalArts and a long catalog of presentations in museums, interrogates the relation of the body to the still image. A coproduction of the Kitchen and the French Institute Alliance Française’s Crossing the Line Festival, Staged deploys Simon Courchel, Hristoula Harakas, Molly Lieber, and Oisín Monaghan to perform simultaneous solos, together composing a living sculpture. The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street,

New York Theatre Ballet October 6–8 The little ballet company that could commemorates its new home at St. Mark’s Church with a premiere by Antonia Franceschi, to music by Claire Van Kampen. Completing the bill Thursday and Saturday are dances by Jerome Robbins, Zhong-Jing Fang and Steven Melendez (to Philip Glass’s Piano Etudes, played live by the twelve-member percussion ensemble NYU Steel), and Pam Tanowitz. On Friday, the Diana Byer Legacy Celebration marks the seventieth birthday of NYTB’s founder with a party in the church’s garden; a performance featuring choreography by Franceschi, Antony Tudor, Keith Michael, David Parker, Gemma Bond, Alexandra Damiani, Marco Pelle, and Richard Alston; and dancing, until midnight, with DJ Imogene Strauss. Danspace Project, at St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street,

Company Wang Ramirez October 12–15 An autobiographical duet by and about ballerina/martial artist Honji Wang (born and raised in Germany by Korean parents) and B-boy Sébastien Ramirez (a Frenchman with Spanish and Catalan parents), Monchichi combines hip-hop with tanztheater, and choreography with language and a synth-heavy score. Veterans of Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, the pair already brought this piece to Jacob’s Pillow and the American Dance Festival in 2015, before making this Next Wave debut. BAM Fisher, Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn,

‘Platform 2016: Lost and Found’ October 13–November 19 Working in a genre known for ephemerality, the Danspace Project has for a decade mounted annual platforms celebrating aspects of the downtown scene that help solidify its history. This year’s undertaking, six weeks long and curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones and Will Rawls, examines the impact of AIDS on the city’s dance life between 1981 and 1996 and includes performances by Neil Greenberg, Bill T. Jones, Archie Burnett, Mariana Valencia, Raja Feather Kelly, Katy Pyle, Narcissister, DANCENOISE, Antonio Ramos, Brother(hood) Dance!, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez, and Jasmine Hearn, as well as screenings, readings, discussions, vigils, and more. Danspace Project, St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street,

Dance and Myth October 14–16 This program honors Jean Erdman, an avant-garde choreographer and theater director who recently turned 100 and who, with her husband, Joseph Campbell, explored archetypal themes through modern dance. On the schedule are her rarely seen 1942 solo, The Transformations of Medusa, performed by former Graham soloist Christine Dakin; a filmed adaptation of her 1948 Hamadryad by Nancy Allison and Paul Allman; Gloria McLean dancing a section of Erick Hawkins’s Black Lake; and a showcase of contemporary works inspired by myth. All this also celebrates the sixtieth year of the American Dance Guild, which helped to shepherd modern dance into the educational mainstream. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue,

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company October 25–November 6 Bill T. Jones, who runs his own New York Live Arts space around the corner, moves to the larger precincts of the Joyce for this double feature of two sections of his recent Analogy Trilogy. The first part, Dora: Tramontane, focuses on the story of Jones’s mother-in-law, the French Jew Dora Amelan, who survived the atrocities of World War II working as a nurse. The new second section, Lance: Pretty a/k/a the Escape Artist, reveals the struggles of Lance T. Briggs, Jones’s nephew, with drugs and other demons of youth. Both parts draw on movement, text, and singing. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue,

Brooklyn Touring Outfit November 16–18 Dance-world talents David Vaughan (for decades the archivist of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, as well as a critic and an urbane cabaret performer himself) and Pepper Fajans (an artist and entrepreneur currently running Brooklyn Studios for Dance) are joined by Cunningham and Tharp alumna Holley Farmer and actor-dancer David Neumann in Co. Venture. An award-winner at last year’s Montreal Fringe Festival, the piece incorporates sculpture, puppetry, and storytelling. Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street,

Lucinda Childs Dance Company November 29–December 11 More than 35 years after its appearance at BAM, Lucinda Childs’s Dance — here presented with a commissioned score by Philip Glass and fronting film décor by artist Sol LeWitt — remains an icon of dance minimalism, lush and formal and irresistibly rhythmic. (Members of the original audience, many of them performers themselves, reproduced the choreography outside in the snow after the show.) It plays nightly in the second week of this two-week run; the first is devoted to Lucinda Childs: A Portrait (1963–2016), a retrospective of Childs’s five-decade career, ranging from her witty work with the Judson Dance Theater to the New York premiere of her new piece, The Sun Roars Into View. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue,

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater November 30–December 31 More than just a dance troupe, the AAADT is a conglomerate — and the aspirational peak of many a young dancer’s career. This five-week season unveils a new work by Hope Boykin inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and brings all three installments of Kyle Abraham’s trilogy Untitled America. Mauro Bigonzetti shows us Deep, which blends European, American, and African cultures to music by Ibeyi, and Swedish choreographer Johan Inger offers the company premiere of Walking Mad, his 2001 take on Ravel’s Bolero. Then, of course, there’s a handful of Ailey classics, including the 1969 Masekela Langage and the earlier masterwork Revelations, the latter showing at 27 of this season’s 37 performances. On December 11, 15, 17, and 21, all the new stuff comes at you at once; on December 14, see a whole evening of works by Ronald K. Brown. New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street,