5 Performance Picks to Close Out Summer

August 3, 2022

Bustling festivals, fresh premieres, unexpected team-ups—the dance scene is only burning brighter as we enter the final weeks of summer. Here are our top picks for August.

Reclaiming East-Meets-West

Shadows and sunlight filter into a studio where dancers in dark clothes and white sneakers work with prop swords. Nearest the camera, a woman with a long ponytail thrusts her blade forward as she lunges, free hand raised overhead, gaze intent past where the sword points.
Lai Yi Ohlsen, Pareena Lim and Benjamin Akio Kimitch in rehearsal. Photo by Chris Cameron for MANCC, courtesy The Shed.

NEW YORK CITY  Presented as part of The Shed’s Open Call commissioning program, Benjamin Akio Kimitch’s Tiger Hands reimagines dance’s East-meets-West stereotypes as the choreographer revisits his formative training in non-Western dance and close connection to Peking opera. Aug. 4–6. theshed.org. —Courtney Escoyne

A Smorgasbord in Scotland

Five dancers dressed in blue pose before a white background. One is on his knees, gaze turned down, while behind him another smiles exaggeratedly wide, staring off into the distance. A dancer in a wheelchair gestures as though she is supporting something unseen overhead, while another just behind her raises a circle overhead.
Farah Saleh’s A Wee Journey. Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic, courtesy EIF.

EDINBURGH  Scotland’s capital is positively bursting at the seams as the Edinburgh International Festival descends. Among the highlights for dance aficionados: Scottish Ballet premieres a new take on Coppélia by Jess and Morgs (Jessica Wright and Morgann Runacre-Temple), using the classic to ask questions about artificial intelligence and whether real life can compete with technology; Alan Cumming stars as Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns in the Steven Hoggett–choreographed dance-theater vehicle Burn; and several works engage with themes of migration, among them Akram Khan’s Jungle Book reimagined, Farah Saleh’s A Wee Journey and Akeim Toussaint Buck’s Windows of Displacement. Aug. 5–28. eif.co.uk. —CE

Requiems and Reunions

A cluster of dancers support or imitate a dancer nearer the front, who seems in danger of fainting backward and hitting the ground if not for the other bodies holding them up. Their back leg hovers just off the floor, toes stretched but bent at the knee. The impression is one of exhaustion, but also support.
A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth. Photo by Peter Hönnemann, courtesy Michelle Tabnick PR.

NEW YORK CITY  Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City comes to a close this month with a range of events, including three powerhouse dance programs. Reunions, curated by Kyle Abraham, features the work of A.I.M alums Rena Butler, Kayla Farrish, Vinson Fraley, Nicole Mannarino, Chalvar Monteiro, Jie-Hung Connie Shiau and Maleek Washington, Aug. 6–7. Current A.I.M members take the stage with the New York premiere of Abraham’s Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth, which explores reincarnation and Black Futurism to a reimagining of Mozart’s Requiem in D minor by electronic dance music artist Jlin, Aug. 11–13. And the BAAND Together Dance Festival, Aug. 9–13, is back after last summer’s popular initial outing, with Ballet Hispánico, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem sharing an outdoor stage and a new commission for dancers from all five companies by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. lincolncenter.org. —CE

Doherty and Dread

A face of a young woman is in clear focus in a line of other faces. Everyone stares forward, toward the right frame of the image. All wear identical, utilitarian, navy blue jumpsuits. The lighting has a blue tinge. The space seems dense.
Rehearsal for Oona Doherty’s Navy Blue. Photo by Ghislain Mirat, courtesy Doherty.

HAMBURG  Oona Doherty’s critically acclaimed works, characterized by their gritty realism and visceral movement languages, have explored themes ranging from working-class masculinity to the impact of religion on her native Belfast. However, as she describes her latest, Navy Blue, as “a rebirth” and “a questioning of what to do next,” it seems the choreographer may be preparing to take a new direction. Featuring 12 dancers and a soundtrack created with British DJ and producer Jamie xx, Navy Blue promises to create an unsettling sense of dread while considering where we’ve been, where we’re going and how we can strive for societal change. The evening-length work premieres at Hamburg’s Kampnagel festival on Aug. 10 before touring Europe. oonadohertyweb.com. —Emily May

Under an Open Sky

On a pier with sparkling blue water behind it, Genevieve Penn Nabity balances in a six-o'clock penché en pointe. Her blonde hair is loose to her shoulders. Her long peach skirt flutters around her calves.
National Ballet of Canada’s Genevieve Penn Nabity. Photo by Karolina Kuras, courtesy NBoC.

TORONTO  National Ballet of Canada kicks off its season early with outdoor performances at the Harbourfront Centre. For Sharing the Stage, the company is joined by the soulful Holla Jazz, feminist dance theater troupe Rock Bottom Movement, kathak-trained artist Tanveer Alam and Indigenous dancer-choreographer Samantha Sutherland. NBoC’s contributions to the mixed rep will include choreography by artistic director emerita Karen Kain, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon. Aug. 16–20. national.ballet.ca. —CE