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16 Dance Performances to See in April

By: Susan Reiter
Date: Apr 05, 2023
Dance

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See New York City Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company, La MaMa Moves! and more

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April's jam-packed dance calendar includes the return of several popular annual festivals as well as spring runs for New York City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Plus troupes from around the globe drop by The Joyce, New York Live Arts and NYU Skirball.

In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, masks are optional and proof of vaccination is not required unless otherwise noted. While we are trying to keep this article up to date, be sure to double-check the protocols before purchasing tickets so you arrive prepared.

If you're a TDF member, log in to your account daily to see what we're selling as ticket inventory changes frequently.

Faye Driscoll: Weathering

New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Chelsea

Runs April 5-15.

Known for work that upends the audience-performer relationship in delightful and disorienting ways, Faye Driscoll completes her two-year residency at New York Live Arts with the world premiere of Weathering. In this profoundly intimate piece, dancers, singers and crew create a multisensory sculpture made of bodies, sounds and objects on a moveable, raft-like stage. Spectators are invited to view the living artwork up close, so you can literally see them sweat.

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La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival '23

La MaMa's theatres at 66 and 74 East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village

Runs April 6-30. At press time, several La MaMa Moves! performances were available. If you're a TDF member, log in and search for La MaMa Moves to purchase discount tickets.

La MaMa's three recently renovated stages are abuzz with dance all month for this 18th annual festival curated by Nicky Paraiso. The impressively eclectic roster includes offerings by a dozen innovative artists with an emphasis on genre-expanding and political work, including a piece from Norway about our unstable post-pandemic existence, a puppet dance-theatre show about euthanasia and a collaboration with the New York Arab Festival.

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Tom Gold Dance

The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues on the Upper East Side

Runs April 12-13.

Tom Gold, a former soloist with New York City Ballet, celebrates his troupe's 15th anniversary with a program of contemporary classical choreography set to Leonard Bernstein, Felix Mendelssohn and traditional Brazilian music. His company includes dancers from NYCB and American Ballet Theatre performing to live accompaniment.

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Vuyani Dance Theatre: Cion: A Requiem of Ravel's Boléro

The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street in Chelsea

Runs April 12-16. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Hailing from South Africa, Vuyani Dance Theatre originally presented this resonant piece at The Joyce just before the pandemic. Its haunting evocation of grief and transcendence is sure to be even more powerful after all that's transpired. Inspired by Cion, Zakes Mda's novel about a professional mourner exploring the history of American slavery, choreographer Gregory Vuyani Maqoma's adaptation uses an a cappella vocal score modeled after Ravel's Boléro that's sung in three African languages. It's an unforgettable African dance opera.

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Ayodele Casel | Artists at the Center

New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown West

April 13-15. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Tap master Ayodele Casel curates a program of six world premieres for City Center's Artists at the Center series. An acclaimed dancer-choreographer in her own right, Casel shares the spotlight with up-and-comers and peers, including Michelle Dorrance, Torya Beard and Caleb Teicher, as they push the boundaries of the genre by tapping to jazz, house music and even the strains of a toy piano.

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E-Moves: Black Arts Movement: Examined

Harlem Stage, 150 Convent Avenue at 135th Street in Harlem

Runs April 13-15.

For more than two decades, this festival has showcased up-and-coming dance-makers of color. This year's edition is curated by the increasingly busy choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland, a BAM Next Wave alum. She has selected three younger colleagues for this program: Jamal Abrams, Kayla Farrish and Ogemdi Ude, who are all creating boundary-pushing works that interrogate the past while looking toward the future.

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Dancing the Gods: Festival of Indian Dance

Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 West 55th Street at Ninth Avenue in Midtown West

Runs April 14-15.

World Music Institute's exemplary showcase of Indian dance forms returns with two contrasting programs curated by Rajika Puri, who also delivers insightful preshow talks. On April 14, Sreelakshmy Govardhanan offers a solo Kuchipudi performance, a dance-drama genre. On April 15, Praveen Kumar performs in the classical Bharatanatyam style.

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Martha Graham Dance Company

The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street in Chelsea

Runs April 18-30.

The almost century-old modern dance troupe comes to The Joyce for a two-week run, ample time to showcase an array of its wide-ranging repertory, both past and present. The three programs include classics by the great lady herself, including Cave of the Heart, Embattled Garden, Dark Meadow Suite and Every Soul Is a Circus as well as last year's intriguing reimagining of her lost work Canticle for Innocent Comedians, a collaborative effort by seven choreographers. New pieces include world premieres by the talented duo Baye & Asa and former Batsheva Ensemble dancer Annie Rigney that will extend the Graham dancers' movement vocabularies.

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Peridance Center: Legacy Festival

126 East 13th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues

Runs April 19-23.

This venerable East Village dance center—a busy hub for classes and performances—is turning 40 and celebrating its longevity with a festival. In addition to panels, workshops and other special events, there will be a handful of performances by founder Igal Perry's Peridance Contemporary Dance Company featuring contemporary works by Ohad Naharin, Robert Battle, Jessica Lang and newer choreographers.

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Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition

Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues on the Upper East Side

Runs April 18-21. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

See tomorrow's dance stars today! More than 100 aspiring ballet dancers from around the globe convene for this annual competition. Through increasingly competitive rounds, they showcase their skills in both classical and contemporary techniques. The panel of judges includes luminaries such as Nina Ananiashvili, Charles Jude and Adam Sklute, and winners are awarded company contracts and scholarships to international dance academies.

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New York City Ballet Spring Season

David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 63rd Street and Columbus Avenue in Lincoln Square

Runs April 18-May 28. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

NYCB's eight spring programs offer a bounty of delights. The opening all-Balanchine lineup showcases the legend's brilliance and range. Two programs juxtapose works by Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, including Brandenburg, the latter's final ballet. There's also a generous sampling of works by NYCB artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky and the prolific Justin Peck, including performances of the latter's recent full-evening ballet Copland Dance Episodes set to music by Aaron Copland. There are also world premieres by MJ the Musical Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon, who returns to NYCB with a new ballet set to Schönberg's Verklärte Nacht, and Canadian choreographer Alysa Pires.

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Dance Theatre of Harlem

New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown West

Runs April 19-23. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Having passed the half-century mark, this invaluable troupe continues to broaden its repertory under the direction of Virginia Johnson, a founding company member and former leading ballerina. Johnson is overseeing her final season—and will be honored at the April 20 gala—before Robert Garland, the troupe's longtime resident choreographer, takes over. The two dynamic programs include pieces by Garland, William Forsythe, Nacho Duato as well as a commissioned premiere, Sounds of Hazel by Tiffany Rea-Fisher, which is inspired by the life and career of Trinidad-born American jazz and classical pianist, singer and activist Hazel Scott.

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Centre Chorégraphique National Ballet de Lorraine

NYU Skirball, 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South in the West Village

Runs April 21-22. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

France's CCN Ballet de Lorraine performs a pair of pieces for mature audiences. For This Concerns All of Us, the busy Miguel Gutierrez was inspired by France's civil unrest in the summer of 1968. For Four Walls is a reworking of a 1944 piece by Merce Cunningham and John Cage, jointly choreographed by Petter Jacobsson and former Cunningham dancer Thomas Caley.

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Douglas Dunn + Dancers: Garden Party

Douglas Dunn Studio, 541 Broadway between Spring and Prince Streets in Soho

Runs April 24-30.

Endlessly adventurous, Douglas Dunn—a veteran of Merce Cunningham's company and the experimental Grand Union of the 1970s—presents the world premiere of Garden Party, a series of vignettes for 10 dancers created in collaboration with visual artist Mimi Gross and lighting designer Lauren Parrish.

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Shamel Pitts | TRIBE: Touch of RED

New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Chelsea

Runs April 27-29.

Dubbed a ten-round duet, this full-length multidisciplinary piece features Shamel Pitts and Tushrik Fredericks performing inside a contemporary ring created by the Tony-winning Great Comet scenic designer Mimi Lien. Inspired by two distinct disciplines requiring fancy footwork, boxing and the African-American jazz dance style Lindy Hop, Touch of RED explores how Black men are perceived and perceive themselves.

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Dances I Love

Theatre at St. Jean's, 150 East 76th Street near Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side

Runs April 29-30.

Longtime dance publicist and producer Audrey Ross curates this program of small-scale works by Jaime Blanc, Janet Collins, Margie Gillis, Lydia Johnson, Valentina Kozlova, Lorn MacDougal and Eleo Pomare. A rare gem: the solo by Collins, the first Black ballerina to grace the stage at The Metropolitan Opera, which has been reconstructed by Yael Levin and will be performed by Daphne Marcelle Lee of Dance Theatre of Harlem.

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Top image: Richard Villaverde and Lloyd Knight Canticle for Innocent Comedians, part of the Martha Graham Dance Company run at The Joyce this month. Photo by Luis Luque.

Susan Reiter covers dance for TDF Stages.