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
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
- Performances | The Joyce Theater ›
- 39 Dance Performances to See This Fall - The New York Times ›
- L.A. DANCE PROJECT ›
- Where's the dark heart of RWB's The Handmaid's Tale? - The Globe ... ›
- The Handmaid's Tale | Whats On | Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet ›
- Hope Mohr Dance and ODC Theater Co-Present extreme lyric I ... ›
- Hope Mohr Dance ›
- Napoli | Oct 6-13, 2018 | Oregon Ballet Theatre ›
- 25 to Watch 2018: Eduardo Guerrero - Dance Magazine ›
- Home | Eduardo Guerrero ›
- A Second Quadrille Set to Start the Joyce Theater Season - The ... ›
- NY Quadrille | The Joyce Theater ›
- Fall for Dance Celebrates 15 Years With 6 Premieres - The New ... ›
- 15th Fall for Dance Festival | New York City Center ›
I don't understand why I've lost my motivation to dance at 20 years old. My parents have always encouraged me to have a life plan and ask continuously how my pre-professional training program is going. I feel crushed by their expectations. I'm actually relieved when I get injured and can't dance, even though I miss it.
—Confused, Nashville, TN
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With limited space for luggage on the tour bus, Justin Timberlake dancer Natalie Gilmore makes sure her beauty routine can pull double duty. "Most of the stuff I use day to day I also use onstage," she says, adding that the dancers do their own hair and makeup for every show. "They give us a lot of freedom to use what we want, and I really enjoy getting to play with new products and experiment with different looks." That same freedom she has with her look carries over into her performance. "There's a lot of freestyle in the show," Gilmore says. "We have certain places we need to be, but we're able to map out how we want things to flow—I have a lot of fun with it."
As a dancer going through a mental health challenge, loneliness can feel like your only companion. Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Steven Loch has managed obsessive-compulsive disorder since middle school, and for nearly a decade felt too scared to speak up. "We feel like if we say something people will be horrified by some of the thoughts that we are having," he says.
But according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S. experiences a mental illness each year. Psychologists say that in competitive environments like the dance studio—where perfectionism can make you feel like you're never good enough, and an injury can suddenly strip you of your identity—this likelihood may increase.
Last summer I shared my own story of quitting dance due to untreated depression on the Dance Magazine website. It was met with an outpouring of support and camaraderie that I found both affirming and terrifying. A few weeks later, the magazine published an online survey to learn more about dancer attitudes around the need for mental health support. Readers submitted more than 1,000 comments, demonstrating that these struggles are very much a shared experience.
Considering the demands of a career in dance, it isn't surprising that many professionals find romance in the rehearsal studio. With taxing schedules, perfectionist tendencies and quirky habits, it can be challenging to find true love outside of the art form. We spoke with three non-dancer spouses to hear what it's like sharing their life with professionals from ballet to Broadway.
As a very shy little girl, my happy place was my room, where I would wear improvised costumes and giggle with happiness while dancing for an imaginary audience. I was raised in a family where dancing was "normal." My mom and sisters graduated from the national ballet academy in Poland, and I, of course, wanted to follow their steps. But I was never forced to. I am proud to say I discovered the magic of ballet all by myself.
Photo by Costin Radu, courtesy of Petra Conti
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The midterm elections are less than three weeks away on November 6. If you're registered to vote, hooray!
But you can't fully celebrate before you've completed your mission. Showing up at the polls is what matters most—especially since voter turnout for midterms doesn't have a fabulous track record. According to statistics from FairVote, about 40 percent of the population that is eligible to vote actually casts a ballot during midterm elections.
Many members of the dance community are making it clear that they want that percentage go up, and they're using social media to take a stand. Here's how they're getting involved:
Dancers will do just about anything to increase their odds of staying injury-free. And there are plenty of products out there claiming that they can help you do just that. But which actually work?
We asked for recommendations from four experts: Martt Lawrence, who teaches Pilates to dancers in San Francisco; Lisa-Marie Lewis, who teaches yoga at The Ailey Extension in New York City; physical therapist Alexis Sams, who treats dancers at her clinic in Phoenix; and stretch training coach Vicente Hernandez, who teaches at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet.
With a contemporary air that exalts—rather than obscures—flamenco tradition, and a technique and stamina that boggle the mind, Eduardo Guerrero's professional trajectory has done nothing but skyrocket since being named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" earlier this year. His 2017 solo Guerrero has toured widely, and he has created premieres for the Jerez Festival (Faro) and the 2018 Seville Flamenco Biennial (Sombra Efímera). In the midst of his seemingly unstoppable ascension, he's created Gaditanía, his first work utilizing a corps de ballet. Guerrero is currently touring the U.S. with this homage to Cadiz, the city of his birth.
At our cover shoot for the November issue, Bobbi Jene Smith curated one of the best lineups of YouTube music videos that I've heard in a long time. From Bob Dylan to Tom Waits, they felt like such perfect choices for her earthy, visceral movement and soulful approach to dance.
Dance technology has come a long way from ballet variations painstakingly learned by watching fuzzy VHS tapes. Over the last few years, a dizzying number of online training programs have cropped up, offering the chance to take class in contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop and even ballroom from the comfort of your own living room or studio.
Usually, it takes new recruits a few seasons to make their mark at the Paul Taylor Dance Company. But Taylor wasted no time in honing in on the talents of Alex Clayton. Only a few months after Clayton joined in June 2017, Taylor created an exciting solo for him in his new Concertiana, filled with explosive leaps and quick footwork. Clayton was also featured in new works by Doug Varone and Bryan Arias. At 5' 6" he may be compact, but onstage he fills the space with a thrilling sense of attack.
Scottish Ballet is turning 50 next year, but they'll be the one giving out the gifts.
In 2019, the company will make five wishes from fans come true, as a way of thanking them for their loyalty and support over the years. "It can be anything from the dancers performing at a birthday party or on the banks of Loch Ness, or even the chance to get on stage and be part of a Scottish Ballet show," according to the company.
Some of my favorite experiences as both an audience member and a dancer have involved audience participation. Artists who cleverly use participatory moments can make bold statements about the boundaries between performer and spectator, onstage and off. And the challenge to be more than a passive viewer can redefine an audience's relationship to what they're watching. But all the experiences I've loved have had something in common: They've given audiences a choice.
A few weeks back, I had a starkly different experience—one that has caused me to think deeply about how consent should play into audience-performer relationships.
People have a tendency to think of dance as purely physical and not intellectual. But when we separate movement from intellect, we limit what dance can do for the world.
It's not hard to see that dance is thought of as less than other so-called "intellectual pursuits." How many dancers have been told they should pursue something "more serious"? How many college dance departments don't receive funding on par with theater or music departments, much less science departments?
New York City Ballet fired principal dancers Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro on Saturday. Both had initially been suspended until 2019 for engaging in "inappropriate communications," while principal Chase Finlay, who was the instigator of those communications, resigned. (Although, in a statement on Saturday, NYCB made it clear they had decided to terminate Finlay prior to his resignation.)
The New York Times reports that NYCB says the change from suspension to termination resulted from hearing the concerns of dancers, staff members and others in the NYCB community. Yet it's hard to ignore the fact that a lawsuit against NYCB had been filed in the meantime. A statement from NYCB executive director Katherine Brown and interim artistic team leader Jonathan Stafford stated:
"We have no higher obligation than to ensure that our dancers and staff have a workplace where they feel respected and valued, and we are committed to providing that environment for all employees of New York City Ballet."
Since the news was announced, both Catazaro and Ramasar have spoken out publicly about being fired.
Recently, English National Ballet first artist Precious Adams announced that she will no longer be wearing pink tights. With the support of her artistic director Tamara Rojo, she will instead wear chocolate brown tights (and shoes) that match her flesh tone.
It may seem like a simple change, but this could be a watershed moment—one where the aesthetics of ballet begin to expand to include the presence of people of color.
Flamenco dancer and choreographer Rocío Molina created her first full-length production, Entre paredes ("Between Walls"), at the age of 22. At 26, the prodigy received Spain's National Dance Prize, the most coveted dance award in Spain. Now 34, her rupture with tradition makes her no stranger to controversy. But it, and her fiercely personal and contemporary style, means that each new project is a fascinating voyage.
Molina is the subject of French filmmaker Emilio Belmonte's first feature length documentary, IMPULSO. The film, which makes its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York City's Film Forum on October 17, follows Molina for two years as she tours Europe presenting a series of improvised works. These improvisations ultimately inspired the creation of one of Molina's masterworks, Caída de Cielo ("Fallen from Heaven"), which premiered in 2016.
In a move that was both surprising and seemingly inevitable, New York City Ballet closed its fall season by promoting seven dancers. Joseph Gordon, who was promoted to soloist in February 2017, is now a principal dancer. Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Claire Kretzschmar, Aaron Sanz, Sebastian Villarini-Velez and Peter Walker have been promoted to soloist.
Newly promoted soloist Peter Walker has been showing his abilities as a leading man in ballets like Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB
The announcement was made on Saturday by Jonathan Stafford, the head of NYCB's interim leadership team. These seven promotions mark the first since longtime ballet master in chief Peter Martins retired in the midst of harassment allegations at the beginning of this year. While Stafford and fellow interim leaders Rebecca Krohn, Craig Hall and Justin Peck have made some bold choices in terms of programming—such as commissioning Kyle Abraham and Emma Portner to create new works for the 2018–19 season—their primary focus has appeared to be keeping the company running on an even keel while the search for a new artistic leader is ongoing. Some of us theorized that we would not be seeing any promotions until a new artistic director was in place.
Ryan Steele has a simple rule for demanding days on Broadway: "I listen to my body," he says. "I have whatever I'm craving: If I need more protein, I go straight for that. If I'm tired, I know I need carbs."
This wasn't always Steele's approach. Growing up, shuttling between the studio and school meant relying on McDonald's and Burger King.
For over a decade, husband-and-wife team Pascal Rioult and Joyce Herring, artistic and associate artistic directors of RIOULT Dance NY, dreamed of building a space for their company and fellow artists in the community, and a school for future dancers. This month, their 11,000-square-foot dream opens its doors in the Kaufman Arts District in Astoria, Queens, a New York City neighborhood across the East River from Manhattan.
In the final years of her decade-long career with the Lewitzky Dance Company, University of Arizona Associate Professor Amy Ernst began to develop an interest in dance injury prevention. She remembers feeling an urge to widen her understanding of dance and the body. Soon after retirement from the Company, she was hired by the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Inglewood, California as a physical therapy assistant, where she worked for the next three and a half years. This work eventually led her to pursue an M.F.A. in dance at the University of Washington-Seattle. She remembers growing into the role of a professor during her time pursuing her degree. That incubation phase was critical. Ernst joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 1995, and now as director of the M.F.A. program, mentors the new generation of dance faculty, company directors and innovators.