7 Dance Shows to See Heading Into November

October 27, 2023

From major U.S. debuts to premieres that piqued our interest in ballet, musical theater, and beyond, here’s what we’re penciling in as the fall performance season continues full steam ahead.

Remeeting Mowgli

On a dark, sepia-lit stage, one dancer carries another over his shoulder, while a third crawls downstage. The one on the floor pauses, a hand pulled back from the floor as they look over their shoulder, back the way they came.
Akram Khan’s Jungle Book reimagined. Photo by Camilla Greenwell, courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

ON TOUR  In Jungle Book reimagined, Akram Khan recasts the protagonist of the well-loved (if dated) stories by Rudyard Kipling as a refugee child displaced by the climate crisis. Mowgli’s journey of learning to listen to the natural world is charted through video design, animation, and projection and set to an original score by Jocelyn Pook. Following its U.S. debut in Los Angeles Oct. 26–28, it tours to Montreal (Nov. 1–4), Chicago (Nov. 9–11), New York City (Nov. 16–18), and Stanford, CA (Dec. 2–3). akramkhancompany.net

Sticking Point

Five dancers cluster together, grabbing onto each other as they react with fear and trepidation to something out of frame.
2nd Best Dance Company. Photo by Ingrid Holmquist, courtesy Gibney.

NEW YORK CITY  2nd Best Dance Company makes its Gibney Center debut with the premiere of The Myth of Forward Motion (or, The Box Dance). With “very serious play,” the cast examines the feeling of being stuck—physically, mentally, emotionally, existentially—and what creates it. Nov. 2–4. gibneydance.org.

Houston’s Histories

Six dancers with what appear to be plastic bags over their faces cluster together on green grass, a concrete bridge over water visible not far beyond them.
Jocelyn Cottencin and Emmanuelle Huynh’s Lands—Portrait of the City of Houston. Photo by Jocelyn Cottencin, courtesy Resnicow and Associates.

HOUSTON  For Lands—Portrait of the City of Houston, choreographer Emmanuelle Huynh and filmmaker Jocelyn Cottencin interviewed a range of Houstonians to capture their understandings of the city’s history. Engaging with the anthropological concept “the end of modernity,” the longtime collaborators used those interviews—troubling the notion that there’s a singular, progressive viewpoint of the city’s development—as the basis for a performance installation and film, premiering this month at DiverseWorks as part of Villa Albertine’s­ fall season. Nov. 7–9. diverseworks.org.

The Mind of Madame Bovary 

Jenna Savella presses one hand to the small of her back as she twists to look over her shoulder. A figure dressed in black is blurry in the background of the studio, giving direction.
National Ballet of Canada’s Jenna Savella in rehearsal for Emma Bovary. Photo by Karolina Kuras, courtesy NBoC.

TORONTO  Following her well-received adaptation of The Crucible for Scottish Ballet, Helen Pickett turns to another literary classic for her first ballet for National Ballet of Canada: Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Focused on the mind of the 19th-century novel’s titular character, Emma Bovary features an original score by Peter Salem and is co-directed by opera and theater director James Bonas. The new work shares a program with the Canadian premiere of James Kudelka’s Passion, which will mark longtime principal dancer Piotr Stanczyk’s retirement from the company. Nov. 11–18. national.ballet.ca

Recording a Golden Age

Patricia Delgado balances on forced arch, raised foot hooked behind her supporting side knee, a hand raising as though to snap her fingers. Her upstage elbow is caught by Justin Peck, who leans into a slight lunge away from her as he counterbalances her. Both wear sneakers. She is in a yellow dress, he in black pants and a short sleeved button down.
Patricia Delgado and Justin Peck in their Sleep Well Beast. Photo by Paula Lobo, courtesy New York City Center.

NEW YORK CITY  The Buena Vista Social Club and its eponymous 1997 album revitalized interest in Cuban music, spawning tours, two critically acclaimed documentaries, and now a stage musical. Tony Award–nominated director Saheem Ali helms a heavyweight creative team for the premiere at Atlantic Theater Company, including Drama Desk–winning book writer Marco Ramirez, Tony winner David Yazbek, and—most thrillingly—choreography by ballet-and-theater “it” couple Patricia Delgado and Justin Peck. Nov. 17–Dec. 31. atlantictheater.org.

Worlds Collide

A young blonde child in a white dress stands facing upstage, where a figure in a dark suit and a foreboding ram mask covering their entire face sits playing a concertina.
Teaċ Daṁsa’s MÁM. Photo by Ros Kavanagh, courtesy Teaċ Daṁsa.

FAIRFIELD, CT  Michael Keegan-Dolan’s bleak, astonishing Swan Lake/Loch na hEala was met with a rapturous reception when it toured the U.S. in fall 2019. The Irish dancemaker’s penchant for rigorous, theatrical, often absurdist dance theater finally returns stateside this month with the U.S. premiere of MÁM, named for a Gaelic word that can mean “mountain pass,” “yoke,” or “handful.” A dozen dancers from Teaċ Daṁsa share the stage with European music collective s t a r g a z e and virtuoso concertina player Cormac Begley in an evening-length work that toys with the ways seeming polarities—soloist and ensemble, modernity and tradition—can sometimes coexist and resolve. Nov. 17–18. quickcenter.fairfield.edu.

Glass Pieces

Patricia Delgado dances on an open-air stage backed by lush greenery. She is on her back in a hinge, supported by her shoulders and one foot planted on the ground. Her upstage leg and arm point up to the sky. She wears a black, short-sleeved jumpsuit and white sneakers.
Patricia Delgado in Justin Peck’s contribution to The Glass Etudes at Kaatsbaan. Photo by Bess Greenberg, courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates.

NEW YORK CITY  It’s rare to see such disparate and accomplished choreographers as Lucinda Childs, Chanon Judson, Justin Peck, Leonardo Sandoval, and Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber share a single evening. The occasion? Dancing with Glass: The Piano Etudes, a program celebrating popular minimalist composer Philip Glass with fresh choreographic responses to his Etudes, played live by Maki Namekawa. Runs at The Joyce Theater Nov. 28–Dec. 10 as part of the Dance Reflections festival. joyce.org.