7 Shows Worth Catching Before Summer Comes to a Close

July 31, 2023

Eclectic festivals, outdoor offerings, a Broadway transfer, a rare London tour—and more than a handful of brand-new works pulling from an intriguing array of source material. Here’s what we’re looking forward to as summer winds to an end.

Sparkling at 60

A female dancer lunges to the side en pointe, supported by her partner standing behind her, his arm around her waist as he matches her angular pose. Both look towards their entwined arms as they extend on a downward diagonal. They are cheek-to-cheek. She wars a ruby red short dress, pink tights, and pointe shoes. He wears white tights and a tunic in a matching ruby red.
The Australian Ballet’s Ako Kondo and Brett Chynoweth in “Rubies.” Photo by Rainee Lantry, courtesy The Australian Ballet.

LONDON  The Australian Ballet embarks on its first international tour since before the pandemic, bringing George Balanchine’s Jewels to the Royal Opera House Aug. 2–5. The company’s return to the venue after a 35-year absence is part of its 60th-anniversary celebrations, and will close with a one-night anniversary gala on Aug. 6 featuring works from choreographers ranging from Rudolf Nureyev and Yuri Possokhov to Pam Tanowitz and Alice Topp. australianballet.com.au.

A School Dance, a DeLorean, and Doc Brown

Doc Brown is surrounded by ensemble members wearing exaggerated versions of his white lab coat and goggles. The ensemble leans towards him as they sing, their headpieces recalling quintessential mad scientist villains. Doc Brown is in a dynamic stance, a look of concern on his face as his hands rise.
Roger Bart as Doc Brown in the West End production of Back to the Future. Photo by Sean Ebsworth Barnes, courtesy Polk & Co.

NEW YORK CITY  After winning the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Back to the Future flies from the West End to Broadway. The adaptation of the 1985 film follows the adventures of Marty McFly (Broadway’s Almost Famous breakout star Casey Likes) as he accidentally goes back to 1955 in a DeLorean that can travel through time and the hijinks that ensue as he tries to save the inventor, Doc Brown (Tony winner Roger Bart), make sure his parents fall in love, and return to the future. On the Town director John Rando is at the helm, with choreography by Chris Bailey. Opening night is slated for Aug. 3. backtothefuturemusical.com.

Fresh Air

A dancer's foot blurs as it extends towards the sky, the dancer's torso parallel to the ground as they support their weight on a knee and a forearm. On either side, other dancers stand facing upstage, one hand tucked behind their backs, the other extending in high fifth with the palm pressing the ceiling away.
Trainor Dance Inc. Photo courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

NEW YORK CITY  Battery Dance Festival presents more than two dozen artists and companies in live and livestreamed performances at Rockefeller Park. Among the offerings during this year’s iteration of New York City’s longest-running free public dance festival are the premieres of Jerron Herman’s Lax, billed as “a punk concert in a sleep store”; Trainor Dance Inc.’s Under Pressure, set to a remix of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie’s a capella version of the titular song; and a new solo from Curaçao’s Reuel Rogers, Power. U.S. and local debuts abound, while a special Turn of the Century Dance Pioneers evening features works by Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and Ted Shawn as well as Lori Bellilove’s Duncan-inspired Tribute to Ukraine and Jody Sperling’s climate-engaged, Loïe Fuller–styled solo, American Elm. Aug. 12–18. batterydance.org.

Beach Birds in Their Natural Habitat

On a rocky outcropping leading to the see, a single-file line of dancers in cerulean blue stand facing the camera. They stand with their legs in parallel, arms raised to shoulder height and bent at the shoulder so their fingertips arc toward their heads. The sky is cloudless and pale blue.
Trisha Brown Dance Company performing In Plain Site at the 2022 Beach Sessions Dance Series. Photo by Elena Mudd, courtesy Beach Sessions.

NEW YORK CITY  What if Merce Cunningham’s 1991 Beach Birds were performed on an actual beach? Patricia Lent and Rashaun Mitchell stage the naturalistic work, one of Cunningham’s early experiments with LifeForms software as a choreographic tool, for this year’s iteration of Beach Sessions Dance Series, which returns to Rockaway Beach for a day of free performances on Aug. 26. In addition, choreographer Sarah Michelson, who began making dances in New York City in the early ‘90s, will premiere a choreographic response to the work, contemplating her personal connection to Beach Birds, Cunningham, and his legacy. beachsessionsdanceseries.com.

Living Water

Jodi Melnick is shown from the sternum up, one hand covering her face as she twists back and away from the camera. She wears a brown turtleneck; her brown hair curls over her left shoulder.
Jodi Melnick. Photo by Stephanie Berger, courtesy Hudson Hall.

HUDSON, NY  Dancemakers Jodi Melnick and Maya Lee-Parritz join forces in Água Viva, a duet inspired by the novel of the same name by Ukrainian-born Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. Published in English translation under the title The Stream of Life, the novel has an unconventional structure, a fluid, directionless monologue that eschews plot and named characters. Melnick and Lee-Parritz expand upon its musings on virtuosity, sexuality, and the spectacular in their new work, premiering Aug. 26–27 at Hudson Hall. hudsonhall.org.

Late Summer Gatherings in San Francisco

ODC Theater plays host to two festivals this month.

State of Play

A dancer in baggy white overalls poses on a narrow, sun-drenched porch. Their legs bend their feet toward the sky behind them as they hug the floor, elbows bent and palms pressing down to give them leverage.
gizeh muñiz vengel. Photo by Miguel Zavala, courtesy John Hill PR.

Guest curated by Maurya Kerr and Leyya Mona Tawil, ODC’s signature summer festival returns with, in the curators’ words, “dance that sits and stares back at you.” International collective Tableau Stations premieres the evening-length Home Waves, about affordable housing and featuring residents of the local Mercy Housing development alongside creators Isak Immanuel, Marina Fukushima, and Surjit Nongmeikapam. Ajani Brannum’s the wasp project, a solo inspired by an African American folktale, also premieres. Kensaku Shinohara, Marissa Brown/Lone King Projects, and Yanira Castro/a canary torsi present evening-lengths; Baye & Asa, DANDY (David Rue and Randy Ford), and Jerron Herman shorter works; and Audrey Johnson, gizeh muñiz vengel, and pateldanceworks offer works in progress. Aug. 3–13. odc.dance.

FACT/SF Summer Dance Festival

Three dancers holding multicolored ribbons are caught midair, legs in loose fifth positions. They are outdoors on grass, and the Golden Gate Bridge is visible in the background. The dancers wear matching red shirts, black shorts, and black sneakers.
FACT/SF. Photo by Crystal Barillas, courtesy Charles Slender-White.

Eight premieres are promised over the two weekends of this festival, kicking off with FACT/SF and Shaun Keylock Company sharing a double bill, Aug. 18–20, part of the former’s Peer Organized Reciprocal Touring program. Local choreographers Emily Hansel and Mia J. Chong, Brianna Torres, and Héctor Jaime join the mix alongside visiting dancemakers Alfonso Cervera and Taylor Donofrio for the second weekend of performances, Aug. 25–27. factsf.org.