7 Shows You’ll Want to Catch This June

June 7, 2023

The summer performance season is already kicking into high gear with works that take a look back, a pop musical’s long-awaited Broadway opening, an intriguing collision of big-name collaborators, and more. Here’s what we’ve marked on our calendars.

Returning to Form

A diaphanous white dress flares up and around as the woman wearing it is whirled around by a man in a white suit.
Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco. Photo by Marcie González, courtesy SFIAF.

SAN FRANCISCO  Carrying the theme “IN DIASPORA: I.D. for the New Majority,” San Francisco International Arts Festival boasts a dance card that is practically overflowing. On tap are premieres from Liz Duran Boubion’s Piñata Dance Collective, Ranko Ogura, Jessica Fudim, Abhinaya Dance Company, and Annie Kahane’s Alive & Well Productions, as well as performances from Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco, Natasha Adorlee’s Concept o4, inkBoat, Nash Baroque & Dance Through Time, STEAMROLLER Dance Company, Diamano Coura West African Dance Company, and Samudra Dance Creations. June 8–18. sfiaf.org.

Rituals, Remembrance, and Radical Joy

Over a dozen dancers of various ages and body types are seated in a semi-circle, taking various poses from their chairs. The bright jewel tones of their clothing leaps out against the green grasses around and behind them.
SLMDances. Photo by Travis Coe, courtesy Lincoln Center.

NEW YORK CITY  An evening-length choreo-poem inspired in part by the work of Ntozake Shange, PURPLE: A Ritual in Nine Spells premieres at Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater this month. Devised and performed by Sydnie L. Mosley’s SLMDances collective, the dance-theater work features a multigenerational, femme ensemble of 12, illuminating sisterhood as a force for social change. Created in community with senior residents of the nearby Amsterdam Houses, this iteration of PURPLE appears as part of Lincoln Center’s ongoing Legacies of San Juan Hill project, which examines the diverse neighborhoods that were forcefully displaced in the name of the performing arts center’s construction in the 1950s, and is presented in association with Gibney Presents. June 9–11, 16–18, 23–25. lincolncenter.org.

A Triumphant Tribute

A dancer in a white top and short black skirt jumps, arching back and throwing her arm overhead, while a man in white playing a golden saxophone faces her, knees bent so the instrument almost rests on his knees.
South Chicago Dance Theatre’s Kim Davis with Isaiah Collier. Photo by Michelle Reid, courtesy The Silverman Group.

CHICAGO  South Chicago Dance Theatre makes its Auditorium Theatre debut with the premiere of Memoirs of Jazz in the Alley, an evening-length tribute to jazz saxophonist Jimmy Ellis, the father of choreographer and SCDT executive artistic director Kia Smith. June 10. southchicagodancetheatre.com.

What Is Remembered

A blur of dancers in motion, appearing almost like ghosts.
Los Angeles Ballet’s Memoryhouse. Photo by Rachel Weber, courtesy Los Angeles Ballet.

SANTA MONICA  Originally planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust in 2020, Memoryhouse makes its long-awaited debut with Los Angeles Ballet at BroadStage this month. Set to Max Richter’s album of the same name, the work marks artistic director Melissa Barak’s first evening-length ballet, debuting at the end of her first season leading the company. June 15–17. losangelesballet.org.

Fairy Tales Go Feminist

Keone and Mari Madrid face forward as they lean against opposite walls, weight supported on an outstretched arm. Their bodies form an upside-down V intersecting at the center of a narrow hallway. Both gaze solemnly at the camera.
Keone and Mari Madrid. Photo by Little Shao, courtesy Vivacity Media Group.

NEW YORK CITY  Following its pandemic-delayed premiere in Washington, DC, in 2021, Once Upon a One More Time finally heads to Broadway. Keone and Mari Madrid direct and choreograph the Britney Spears jukebox musical, in which a rogue fairy godmother introduces a book club of fairy-tale princesses to the work of feminist writer Betty Friedan—and the idea that there might be more than one path to happily ever after. Opening night is set for June 22 at the Marquis Theatre. onemoretimemusical.com.

Feel the Illinoise

Justin Peck raises both hands above shoulder height, fingers splayed as he illustrates an idea. He wears a long sleeved back shirt and a ball cap. In the background, dancers in rehearsal gear confer with each other.
Justin Peck in rehearsal for Illinois. Photo by Maria Baranova, courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates.

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY  Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens join forces once again for Illinois. Peck directs and choreographs a theatrical journey through the American Midwest, set to a genre-spanning new arrangement of Stevens’ critically acclaimed 2005 concept album and led by a story from Peck and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. The production headlines Bard SummerScape, premiering at the Fisher Center June 23–July 2. fishercenter.bard.edu.

Foxes and Fortune

A dancer dressed in orange, wearing a mask evocative of a rooster, balances several feet overhead on a pole. Dancers in blue and yellow, masks evoking a fox and ram, crouch below, looking up at the cockerel.
FOXY in rehearsal. Photo by DeAnna Pellecchia, courtesy Kairos Dance Theater.

BOSTON  Kairos Dance Theater teams up with vocal ensemble Renaissance Men and sinfonietta Sound Icon Orchestra for its Folktales, Fables & Feasts program. On tap are FOXY, a contemporary cabaret interpretation of Stravinsky’s Renard—a satire based on folktales concerning a cockerel and a hungry, deceitful fox—and Tavernous, a contemporary take on the “In the Tavern” movement of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana featuring gambling, gluttony, and the fickleness of fortune. June 24–25. kairosdancetheater.org.