Dance performances

7 dance shows top our must-see lists in October

Latest dances, first collaborations, gatherings of disparate dancers: the October dance map is full of intriguing events. Here are seven of the most appealing performances.

Rainer’s Last Dance

Patricia Hoffbauer, Kathleen Chalfant, Vincent McCloskey, Timothy Ward, Emily Coates, Emmanuèle Phuon and Brittany Engel-Adams in rehearsal for HELLZAPOPPIN’: And the bees? Photo by Paula Court, courtesy New York Live Arts.

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

Hold and let go

Jean Butler is seen in profile, smiling intently while holding a folded sheet of written notes.  In the blur behind her are a number of young dancers, all dressed in white shirts and black pants, leaning against a white wall, listening.
John Butler. Photo courtesy of NYPL Jerome Robbins Dance Division.

DUBLIN at Jean Butler what we hold brings together traditional and contemporary Irish dance. Performed for an audience of 30 by a multi-generational cast in the halls of Dublin’s City Assembly House, this intimate work draws inspiration from the poorly documented history of Irish dancing by considering what is held back by our bodies and the effects of letting go. Co-produced by Butler’s Our Steps, the work premieres October 5-9 at the Dublin Theater Festival. dublintheatrefestival.ie.

A big umbrella

nora chipaumire holds a wired microphone in one hand as she raises her bent arm beside her head.  Her opposite knee is lifted high, as if she's running or overreaching.  Older people who appear to be members of the public are behind her, but are watching something off camera.
Nora Chipaumire. Photo by Ian Douglas, courtesy of Bread and Butter PR.

LONDON Contemporary dance comes to London in a big way with the annual Dance Umbrella festival. It opens with the UK premiere of fantasy by Georgia Tegou and Michalis Theophanous Reverie and ends with the premiere of Alleyne Dance’s Near you: mass dance event, a large-scale outdoor work co-created and performed by an intergenerational cast of a few hundred Lewisham residents. Between the two: the premiere of the dub culture audiovisual adventure by nora chipaumire ShebenDUBby Chiara Bersani In search of unicornsappearing at the National Gallery, and Oona Doherty’s Sadler’s Wells debut with her recent Navy blue. The digital program (available through October 31) is headlined by Abby Z’s movie premiere and New Utility’s Radioactive practicealongside chipaumire #PUNKDoherty’s Hunter and The devil, and panels including a conversation moderated by Dr. Funmi Adewole between the companies Candoco and Boy Blue. From October 7 to 23. danceumbrella.co.uk.

Liar Liar…

In the foreground, a dancer is lying on her side, wrapped around the legs of another.  The standing dancer leans forward, shaking hands with the lying dancer.  Danielle Rowe watches them behind them, gesturing as she gives direction.
Danielle Rowe in rehearsal with Madison Massara and Nigel Tau of Grand Rapids Ballet. Photo by Bailee Columber, courtesy GRB.

BIG RAPIDS With Liar Lear KingDanielle Rowe stages the Shakespearean tragedy of an aging monarch in 1970s New York City. Produced in partnership with Satellite Collective, the work premieres on Grand Rapids Ballet’s Elemental Movement program, which also includes Lar Lubovitch’s play. Elemental Brubeck and Katarzyna Skarpetowska off the canvas. October 14-16. grballet.com.

Dance on by

Dancers Karlie Budge, who wears a black shirt, and Brandon Randolph, who wears a blue shirt, are both standing on one leg with their arms stretched out in front of them.
Karlie Budge and Brandon Randolph of the Mark Morris Dance Group. Photo by Nan Melville, courtesy of the Mark Morris Dance Company.

SANTA MONICA Where are you going after the Beatles? If you’re Mark Morris, the answer is Burt Bacharach. The always musical choreographer follows the years 2017 pepperland with The gaze of love, collaborating with composer Ethan Iverson to survey Bacharach’s chart-topping songbook. The new length of the evening is set to premiere at the BroadStage October 20-23 before touring the Kennedy Center (October 26-29) and beyond. markmorrisdancegroup.org.

Camille A. Brown through town

Two black dancers move across a dark stage, landing on one leg, arms outstretched and gazes downcast.  In the background, a drum set and other instruments.  Paintings in muted colors reminiscent of street art are presented at an angle at the back of the stage on a black background.
Maleek Washington and Yusha-Marie Sorzano in Camille A. Brown ink. Photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy of Resnicow and Associates.

NEW YORK CITY Camille A. Brown’s 2012 Mr. TOL E. Rance-a searing, comedic examination of the minstrel – marked a major turning point in the choreographer’s career. She followed him with BLACK GIRL: Language game in 2015 and ink in 2017, but the three works have never been presented together, until now. In an early partnership between two powerhouse presenters, the first two plays of what Brown has dubbed The trilogy will perform at the Joyce Theater (in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan) from October 25-30, followed by the third at the Apollo (downtown, in Harlem) from November 4-5. Amidst all the premieres, however, there will also be a bittersweet final, as Brown makes his final stage appearances before focusing entirely on choreography and directing. joyce.org and apollotheater.org.

Fall for one

Three dancers pose together on a light gray background.  A flamenco dancer lifts her ruffled skirt, while a dancer twists his arms outstretched in front of her, staring at the camera.  A third dancer is downstage, her head bowed as she catches herself with one hand as she squats, reaching forward.
Members of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Atlantis13 and Threads Dance Project. Photo by Galen Higgins, courtesy Cowles Center.

MINNEAPOLIS The Cowles Center is serving up a feast of Minnesota dancers with the new Fall Forward Festival. Shared programs place Cowles stalwarts alongside newcomers and new works alongside beloved favorites, spanning and often questioning 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 scheduled to perform over four weekends, from October 29 to October 29 november. 20. thecowlescenter.org.