Compagnie Hervé KOUBI will perform Barbarian Nights at Fall for Dance. Photo by Pierangela Flisi, Courtesy New York City Center

Editor Approved: 7 Dance Shows to Catch This October

As the fall performance season kicks into high gear, we've been cramming as much excellent dance on our calendars as possible. But if you're feeling overwhelmed by all the options, we've got you covered: From rare U.S. appearances by one of our 2018 "25 to Watch" to an autumn mainstay for New Yorkers, Romeo and Juliet to The Handmaid's Tale, here's what caught our eye.


Intimacy and Insight

A.I.M will perform Kyle Abraham's Dearest Home at The Joyce Theater during NY Quadrille. Photo by Carrie Schneider, Courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates

NEW YORK CITY The good sight lines at The Joyce Theater are ideal for dance, but in 2016 Lar Lubovitch decided the theater needed a change. He created NY Quadrille, a series in which the Joyce space was transformed from a traditional proscenium into a four-sided stage that allowed us to see—literally—more sides to each participating choreographer. Taking part this year: John Jasperse, Kyle Abraham, Beth Gill, Donna Uchizono and Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener. All have tested the boundaries of intimacy in their work, so it will be fascinating to see how each handles this more exposed performance setup. Sept. 24–Oct. 13. joyce.org. —Wendy Perron

Flamenco's New Flame

Eduardo Guerrero. Photo by Marjon Broeks, Courtesy Columbia Artists Management

U.S. TOUR Eduardo Guerrero blazed his way onto our "25 to Watch" list earlier this year with his breathtaking flamenco technique and edgy contemporary sensibility. Now, the boundary-pushing dancer-choreographer is touring the U.S. with his Compania Flamenca Eduardo Guerrero, presenting Flamenco Pasion, an evening-length program of shorter group and solo works. The tour will hit 17 stops beginning Sept. 30 in South Carolina and concluding Nov. 2 in Arizona. eduardo-guerrero.com. —Courtney Escoyne

Take Me Out to the Fall Game

NEW YORK CITY For only $15 a throw, Fall for Dance is a populist's dream. Dance lovers from every neighborhood come to New York City Center and show their appreciation with hoots and hollers. For its 15th year, the festival sprinkles commissions from six choreographers over the two-week, 20-company festival: American Ballet Theatre's Gemma Bond, international favorite Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, New York City Ballet's resident choreographer Justin Peck, commercial powerhouse Sonya Tayeh, tap diva Caleb Teicher, and Jennifer Weber, who is creating a work for Tiler Peck and Lil Buck set to Stravinsky's Petrushka. For extra celebratory fizz, come early on Oct. 1, when audience members are invited for a champagne toast, archive exhibit and pop-up performances. Oct. 1–13. nycitycenter.org. —WP

Out at Sea

Oregon Ballet Theatre performed the third act of Napoli in 2015. Photo by James McGrew, Courtesy OBT

PORTLAND, OR Boy meets girl, girl insists on marrying boy despite parental disapproval, girl is lost at sea, loses her memory and becomes a sea nymph, but is ultimately reunited with boy for a third-act wedding. The plot of August Bournonville's Napoli traces familiar (if zany) contours, but the 1842 ballet, long a classic in Denmark, is largely absent from American stages. Oregon Ballet Theatre becomes the first U.S. company to stage a complete production this month. With former Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Frank Andersen at the helm, Napoli will offer a rare glimpse at the nuanced Bournonville style so rarely seen in the U.S. Oct. 6–13. obt.org. —CE

Nasty Women

Works inspired by radical, revered writings from female authors

extreme lyric I

Hope Mohr's extreme lyric I. Photo by Margo Moritz, Courtesy John Hill PR

SAN FRANCISCO The poet Sappho's unparalleled, incomplete musings on female desire feature in Hope Mohr's latest work, extreme lyric I. Anne Carson's translations are interwoven with an original text exploring questions of gender identity and narrative, delivered by transgender writer Maxe Crandall. Oct. 4–6. hopemohr.org. —CE

The Handmaid's Tale

Lila York's The Handmaid's Tale. Photo by David Cooper, Courtesy Royal Winnipeg Ballet

WINNIPEG Royal Winnipeg Ballet wades into the #MeToo movement with a revival of The Handmaid's Tale, Lila York's 2013 adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel. Through a series of vignettes, audiences follow Offred's struggle to survive in a brutally patriarchal society. Oct. 10–14. rwb.org. —CE

Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity

L.A. Dance Project. Photo by Laurent Philippe, Courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic

LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Philharmonic continues its recent streak of intriguing collaborations with dance artists this month with performances of Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet. L.A. Dance Project will animate the cinematic score with choreography by artistic director Benjamin Millepied, including the iconic balcony scene. Oct. 18–21. laphil.com. —CE

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Paul Liu, Courtesy Pilobolus

Could Augmented Reality Change How We Watch Dance?

Imagine being able to digitally project the world's greatest dancers into your home, and observe them performing virtually, in three dimensions, atop a living room table. Such is the potential of a new class of augmented reality (AR) technologies like the "Magic Leap," a headset that allows users to superimpose digital media atop their seen reality, innovatively combining recorded dance with real space.

Director and founder of the MAP Design Lab Melissa Painter recently collaborated with Pilobolus to produce a bonkers AR choreography called "YouDanceWeDance." This project, which began its life on the Magic Leap, allows viewers to use their smartphones to observe (from any angle, and anywhere) Pilobolus dancers moving according to selectable emotional themes.

What is your dance background?

Creative—not competitive—movement practices have always been where I lived. When I was little (in Northern California, back in the hippie days) my dance classes had provocations like, "Stand tall, like a tree" or, "Imagine that you're a frog, and folk dancing."

Today, my movement practice is yoga, and I feel like I'm still hearing the "stand like a tree" part. I also studied Graham technique, improvisation and Alexander techniques. While I was never a strong performer, I am a strong enthusiast.

Tell us about your collaboration with Pilobolus.

Pilobolus and MAP started playing together, doing motion capture and dreaming up augmented and virtual reality interpretations of their work over a year ago. I love their creative process, the emotional accessibility of their work, and how adventurous the artistic directors Matt Kent and Renee Jaworski are.

Youdancewedance.org (now also available for smartphones) is a good thing for people during this weird moment where everyone is stuck at home. We have a vision that it will foster a different kind of relationship between audiences and theater performance over time.

Next up, it will be part of the "Art Safari" they are staging in their (safely socially distanced) Five Senses Festival this summer (July 31-Aug 2) in Washington Depot, Connecticut. We really made this with kids and families in mind, and I hope people enjoy it. It basically reminds you to move your own body!

How has augmented reality and motion capture changed your view on what choreography is?

For me, augmented and virtual reality have honed my eye, and given me an opportunity to spend additional time with phrases in the context of motion capture. It's similar to how a dancer might live with movement in their body. It provides an opportunity to revisit live movements spatially, instead of through a flat YouTube video or even on a proscenium stage. It's about being able to look at it giant, and then look at it tiny, and from all angles. I adore it. I've always wanted people to view dance with the feeling of exhilaration and joy I've had as a watcher in the rehearsal studio.

Movement, to me, is the most beautiful, direct and instinctual form of human communication. I believe motion capture gets at the essence of who we are in a way that is elegant, accessible and impactful. Especially in this moment when so many people forget that their body is a beautiful, creative tool.

If COVID keeps theaters closed for the foreseeable future, might AR maintain a sense of dancerly liveness in performance?

Currently, live performance spaces being shuttered, it's important to think of ways that spatial computing, three-dimensional capture and immersive presentations can support the work of creators who work with bodies. We can explore potential new audiences and performance opportunities right now.

Once upon a time, there was less of a distinct line between dancers and watchers. I still believe that can be the case, and that it's good for non-experts to have as many chances to be inspired by experts as to move their own bodies.

Are there things that folks can do at home to explore in this new, virtual choreographic horizon?

Dance is one of the most loved, watched and shared forms of social media content that there is. So, share dance! I'm always up for more making and doing and moving, whether it's captured or not. There are emergent forms of dimensional capture and there are also off-the-shelf ways to turn flat videos spatial. They're not perfect, but they're getting better and better.

Who are some other people working in this space that you think Dance Magazine’s readers should know about?

There is a world of immersive makers out there. The media is ripe for it, and as creative technologists, we know that it is dancers and choreographers who are the collaborators we need as we create experiences and technologies of the future that honor embodiment. Some who come to mind are Heidi Bosivert, Michelle Ellsworth, Christine Marie and Gilles Jobin.

How can dancers prepare for this sort of work in the future?

Having inventive improvisational and collaborative skills is a good start. That's part of why Pilobolus translates so beautifully to virtual space. Motion capture can be used in as many ways as there are movers. There's no prescribed form. We have had lots of situations when people are doing complex partnerings, but someone's data for their head ends up attached to someone else's knee. You learn to work through!