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Editor Approved: 7 Dance Shows to Catch This October

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

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

The Conversation
Dance History
Still of Fonteyn from the 1972 film I Am a Dancer. Photo courtesy DM Archives

On May 18, 1919, Margot "Peggy" Hookham was born. She would grow up to become Dame Margot Fonteyn, England's first homegrown prima ballerina. She joined the Sadler's Wells School in 1934 and was performing principal roles with the precursor to The Royal Ballet the next year. Fonteyn was a company-defining figure, dancing Aurora for the re-opening of the Royal Opera House after World War II, creating numerous roles with Sir Frederick Ashton and forging a legendary partnership with Rudolf Nureyev.

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Hive by Boston Conservatory student Alyssa Markowitz. Photo by Jim Coleman

The way we create and consume dance is changing every day. Now more than ever, the field demands that dancers not only be able to perform at the highest level, but also collaborate with choreographers to bring their artistic visions to life. Dancers who miss out on choreographic training may very well find themselves at a disadvantage as they try to launch their careers.

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Dance As Activism
Courtesy #Dance4OurLives

Memorial Day is notoriously one of Chicago's bloodiest weekends. Last year, 36 people were shot and seven died that weekend. In 2017 and 2016, the number of shootings was even higher.

When Garley "GiGi Tonyé" Briggs, a dance teacher and Chicago native, started noticing this pattern, she was preparing her second annual Memorial Day workshop for local youth.

The event's original aim was simple: "I wanted the youth of Chicago to have somewhere they could come and learn from different dancers and be off the streets on the South Side on this hot holiday," she says.

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Rant & Rave

A recent trip I took to Nashville coincided with the NFL draft. As we drove into town, my Uber driver was a fount of information on the subject.

I learned that there are 32 NFL teams and that the draft takes place over seven rounds. That the team that did the poorest during the previous season gets first pick. That during an earlier event called the scouting combine, the teams assess college football players and figure out who they want.

There is also the veteran combine for "free agents"—players who have been released from their contracts or whose contracts have expired. They might be very good players, but their team needs younger members or ones with a certain skill set. All year round, experienced NFL scouts scan games across the country, checking out players and feeding that information back to the teams. Players' agents keep their eyes on opportunities for their clients which might be more rewarding.

While I sat in the traffic of 600,000 NFL fans I got thinking, is there something ballet could learn from football? Could a draft system improve young dancers' prospects and overall company caliber and contentment?

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Sponsored by McCallum Theatre
Last year's winner: Manuel Vignoulle's EARTH. Jack Hartin Photography, Courtesy McCallum Theatre

It's not often that a promising choreographer gets to stage work in a world-class theater, on a skillfully-curated program with professional dancers, and with the possibility of winning a substantial cash prize. But at the McCallum Theatre's Palm Desert Choreography Festival, that's been the status quo for over twenty years.

Since Shea New, the festival's artistic director, founded the festival in 1998, she's worked tirelessly with McCallum's director of education and festival producer, Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, and stage manager and festival production manager Joanna Fookes to build a festival that nurtures choreographers, highlights high quality work, powerfully engages the local community and cultivates an audience base for dance in the Coachella Valley. The trio is backed by a strong team of professionals at McCallum and the brilliant volunteers from the local and national level who serve as adjudicators.

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What Dancers Eat
Getty Images

Despite what you might think, there's no reason for dancers to be afraid of bread.

"It's looked at as this evil food," says New York State–certified dietitian and former dancer Tiffany Mendell. But the truth is, unless you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, bread can be a healthy source of carbohydrates—our body's preferred fuel—plus fiber and vitamins.

The key is choosing your loaf wisely.

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Dancers Trending

It can be hard to imagine life without—or just after—dance. Perhaps that's why we find it so fascinating to hear what our favorite dancers think they'd be doing if they weren't performing for a living.

We've been asking stars about the alternate career they'd like to try in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and their answers—from the unexpected to the predictable—do not disappoint:

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Dance in Pop Culture
Unity Phelan in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Photo by Niko Tavernise, Courtesy FRANK PR

"New York City Ballet star appears in a Keanu Reeves action movie" is not a sentence we ever thought we'd write. But moviegoers seeing John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum will be treated to two scenes featuring soloist Unity Phelan dancing choreography by colleague Tiler Peck. The guns-blazing popcorn flick cast Phelan as a ballerina who also happens to be training to become an elite assassin. Opens in theaters May 17.

News
Walsh's Moon Fate Sin at Danspace Project. Like Fame Notions, the title was derived from Yvonne Rainer's "No" manifesto. Photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy Danspace Project

The Brooklyn-based choreographer Gillian Walsh is both obsessed with and deeply conflicted about dance. With her latest work, Fame Notions, May 17–19 at Performance Space New York, she seeks to understand what she calls the "fundamentally pessimistic or alienating pursuit" of being a dancer. Noting that the piece is "quiet and introverted," like much of her other work, she sees Fame Notions as one step in a larger project examining why dancers dance.

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Career Advice
Via YouTube

What does Mikhail Baryshnikov have to say to dancers starting their careers today? On Friday, he gave the keynote speech during the graduation ceremony for the inaugural class of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

The heart of his message: Be generous.

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Style & Beauty

Launching a dancewear line seems like a great way for professional dancers to flex new artistic muscles and make side money. Several direct-to-consumer brands founded by current or former professional dancers, like Elevé and Luckleo, currently compete with bigger retailers, like Capezio.

But turning your brand into the next Yumiko is more challenging than some budding designers may realize.

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Advice for Dancers
Stock Snap

I injured my foot in class after 10 relaxing days on the beach. I thought vacations were the way to deal with burnout. What am I missing?

—Confused, New York, NY

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Rant & Rave
Not an outsider? No worries. Train yourself to see and think like one. Let go of preconceived notions and old habits of mind. Let dance take you by surprise! Photo by Getty Images

When I first came to dance criticism in the 1970s, the professional critics were predominantly much older than me. I didn't know them personally and, as the wide-eyed new kid on the block, I assumed most had little or no physical training in the art.

As slightly intimidated as I felt at the time—you try sitting around a conference room table with Dance Magazine heavy hitters like Tobi Tobias and David Vaughan—I smugly gave myself props for at least having had recent brushes with ballet, Graham, Duncan and Ailey and more substantial engagement with jazz and belly dance. Watching dancers onstage, I enjoyed memories of steps and moves I knew in my own bones. If the music was right, my shoulders would wriggle. I wasn't just coolly judging things from my neck up.

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