7 Performance Events on Our Must-See Lists This Month

October 4, 2022

Last dances, first-time collaborations, gatherings of disparate dancemakers—October’s dance card is full of intriguing events. Here are seven of the most enticing performances.

Rainer’s Last Dance

Six dancers of varying ages, genders, and ethnicities are in the midst of what seems to be a pillow fight. All wear variations of athletic clothes and sneakers.
Patricia Hoffbauer, Kathleen Chalfant, Vincent McCloskey, Timothy Ward, Emily Coates, Emmanuèle Phuon and Brittany Engel-Adams in rehearsal for HELLZAPOPPIN’: What about the bees? Photo by Paula Court, courtesy New York Live Arts.

NEW YORK CITY  What Yvonne Rainer says will be her “last dance” is set to premiere this month. HELLZAPOPPIN’: What about the bees? incorporates projected excerpts from 1941 Hollywood musical HELLZAPOPPIN’ and Jean Vigo’s 1933 film Zero for Conduct alongside text and dance as the work reflects on the U.S.’s ongoing racial reckoning. Co-commissioned by Performa, the work for nine performers appears­ at New York Live Arts Oct. 5–8. newyorklivearts.org

Holding On and Letting Go

Jean Butler is seen in profile, smiling intently while holding a folded sheet of written notes. Blurry behind her are a number of youthful dancers, all wearing white shirts and black trousers as they lean against a white wall, listening.
Jean Butler. Photo courtesy NYPL Jerome Robbins Dance Division.

DUBLIN  Jean Butler’s What We Hold places traditional and contemporary Irish dance side by side. Performed for audiences of 30 by a multigenerational cast throughout the rooms of Dublin’s City Assembly House, the intimate work draws on the little-documented history of Irish dance as it considers what is held by our bodies and the effects of letting go. Co-produced by Butler’s Our Steps, the work premieres Oct. 5–9 at the Dublin Theatre Festival. dublintheatrefestival.ie.

One Big Umbrella

nora chipaumire holds a wired microphone in one hand as she raises her bent arm beside her head. Her opposite knee is raised high, as though she is exaggeratedly running or high-stepping. Older individuals who appear to be audience members are behind her, but looking at something off camera.
nora chipaumire. Photo by Ian Douglas, courtesy Bread and Butter PR.

LONDON  Contemporary dance descends on London in a major way with the annual Dance Umbrella festival. It opens with the UK premiere of Georgia Tegou and Michalis Theophanous’ fantastical Reverie and closes with the premiere of Alleyne Dance’s Close to Home: Mass Dance Event, a large-scale outdoor work co-created and performed by an intergenerational cast of a few hundred Lewisham locals. In between: the premiere of nora chipaumire’s audiovisual dub culture adventure ShebenDUB, Chiara Bersani’s Seeking Unicorns, appearing at the National Gallery, and Oona Doherty’s Sadler’s Wells debut with her recent Navy Blue. The digital program (available through Oct. 31) is headlined by the film premiere of Abby Z and the New Utility’s Radioactive Practice, alongside chipaumire’s #PUNK, Doherty’s Hunter and The Devil, and panels including a conversation moderated by Dr. Funmi Adewole between companies Candoco and Boy Blue. Oct. 7–23. danceumbrella.co.uk.

Liar, Liar…

In the foreground, a dancer lies on her side, curled around the legs of another. The standing dancer bends forward, clasping the prone dancer's hand. Danielle Rowe observes from behind them, gesturing as she gives direction.
Danielle Rowe in rehearsal with Grand Rapids Ballet’s Madison Massara and Nigel Tau. Photo by Bailee Columber, courtesy GRB.

GRAND RAPIDS  With Liar Lear King, Danielle Rowe sets the Shakespearean tragedy of an aging monarch in 1970s New York City. Made in partnership with Satellite Collective, the work premieres on Grand Rapids Ballet’s Elemental Movement program, which also features Lar Lubovitch’s Elemental Brubeck and Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s Off the Canvas. Oct. 14–16. grballet.com

Dance On By

Dancers Karlie Budge, who is wearing a black shirt, and Brandon Randolph, who is wearing a blue shirt, are both standing on one leg with their arms outstretched before them.
Mark Morris Dance Group’s Karlie Budge and Brandon Randolph. Photo by Nan Melville, courtesy Mark Morris Dance Company.

SANTA MONICA  Where do you go after The Beatles? If you’re Mark Morris, the answer is Burt Bacharach. The ever-musical choreographer follows 2017’s Pepperland with The Look of Love, collaborating with composer Ethan Iverson to plumb Bacharach’s songbook of chart-toppers. The new evening-length is set to premiere at BroadStage Oct. 20–23 before touring to the Kennedy Center (Oct. 26–29) and beyond. markmorrisdancegroup.org.

Camille A. Brown Across Town

Two Black dancers are in motion on a darkened stage, landing on one leg, arms outstretched and gazes downcast. Upstage, a drum kit and other instruments. Paintings in muted colors that suggest street art are shown at an angle upstage against a black backdrop.
Maleek Washington and Yusha-Marie Sorzano in Camille A. Brown’s ink. Photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy Resnicow and Associates.

NEW YORK CITY  Camille A. Brown’s 2012 Mr. TOL E. RAncE—a searing, comical examination of minstrelsy—marked a major turning point in the choreographer’s career. She followed it with BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play in 2015 and ink in 2017, but the three works have never been presented together—until now. In a first-time partnership between two powerhouse presenters, the first two pieces in what Brown has dubbed The Trilogy will appear at The Joyce Theater (in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood) Oct. 25–30, followed by the third at the Apollo (uptown, in Harlem) Nov. 4–5. Amidst all the firsts, though, will also be a bittersweet last, as Brown makes her final onstage appearances before turning her focus entirely to choreographing and directing. joyce.org and apollotheater.org.

Fall for One 

Three dancers pose together against a light grey backdrop. A flamenco dancer raises her ruffled skirt high, while a male dancer twists with arms spread wide in front of her, gazing at the camera. A third dancer is downstage, head ducked as she catches herself with one hand as she crouches, reaching forward.
Members of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Atlantis13 and Threads Dance Project. Photo by Galen Higgins, courtesy The Cowles Center.

MINNEAPOLIS  The Cowles Center serves a feast of Minnesota dancemakers with the new Fall Forward Festival. Shared programs place Cowles mainstays alongside up-and-comers and new works beside beloved favorites, spanning—and often interrogating—genres. Duniya Drum and Dance Ensemble, Twin Cities Ballet, Rhythmically Speaking, Threads Dance Project, Atlantis13, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Black Label Movement, Crash Dance Productions, HIJACK and Aparna Ramaswamy are slated to perform over four weekends, Oct. 29–Nov. 20. thecowlescenter.org.