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16 Dance Performances to See This May

By: Susan Reiter
Date: May 03, 2024


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Catch a dance interpretation of The Winter's Tale, immersive movement installations, up-and-comers and more


May brings annual favorites DanceAfrica in Brooklyn and the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival in the East Village. Up-and-comers display their skills in showcases for Ballet Tech and the ABT Studio Company. The high-flyers at STREB have a new acrobatic piece, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance takes on Shakespeare and there are FREE dance performances on Fifth Avenue. And remember, two of our picks for April, New York City Ballet's spring season and Kate Prince's Message in a Bottle featuring songs by Sting, continue this month.

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ABT Studio Company

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

Runs May 1-5.

The dozen up-and-coming dancers of American Ballet Theatre's junior company show off their range during this weeklong Joyce run. They don tutus and tights for classical excerpts from Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, take on challenging pieces by Twyla Tharp and Alexei Ratmansky, and perform new works by Amy Hall Garner, Jamar Roberts and James Whiteside. If you want to see even younger promising dancers, the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School Pre-Professional Division performs at the weekend matinees.


Danspace Project's Platform 2024: A Delicate Ritual

Danspace Project, St. Mark's Church, 131 East 10th Street between Second and Third Avenues in the East Village

Runs May 2-June 8.

Always ambitious and thought-provoking, Danspace Project's expansive Platform Series returns, this year curated by acclaimed choreographer Kyle Abraham. Subtitled A Delicate Ritual, the performances explore traditions, desires and collaboration. Highlights include choreography by Vinson Fraley, Bebe Miller and Shamel Pitts, along with "artistic exchanges" between Abigail DeVille, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko and Samora Pinderhughes. On May 11, there is a celebration in honor of the late choreographer and educator Kevin Wynn followed by a FREE class taught by former student and Pose star Jason A. Rodriguez.


Ice Theatre of New York

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, 21st Street and Eleventh Avenue in Chelsea

Runs May 3-6. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Under the direction of founder Moira North, this singular ensemble has expanded the possibilities of dancing on ice for decades. This program showcases an array of inventive, small-scale and ensemble works that illustrate the beauty and breadth of skating choreography. The May 6 gala includes a solo performance by celebrated competitive figure skater Ilia Malinin.


FREE Dance Performances at Fifth Avenue Blooms

550 Madison Avenue Garden, 56th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues in Midtown East

Runs May 4-5, 11-12 and 18. FREE

The Fifth Avenue Association's celebration of spring kicks off with a series of no-cost dance performances in Midtown. Catch Némo Flouret's 900SATELLITES on May 4 and 5, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company in In Plain Site on May 11, 12 and 18. All performances start at noon and 2 p.m. and are 100% FREE.


Jody Oberfelder: And Then, Now

Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street at Fifth Avenue in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn

Runs May 4-6.

Innovative choreographer Jody Oberfelder is behind this site-specific performance, a stroll through Green-Wood Cemetery's gorgeous grounds with live music and dance. The six dancers and three musicians of the Glass Clouds Ensemble will interact at key monuments along the route to celebrate life, loss and community. Costumes are by the ace design team Reid & Harriet.


Gibney Company

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

Runs May 7-12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

This lauded downtown troupe of contemporary dancers performs a world premiere by the duo Jermaine Spivey and Spenser Theberge, A Measurable Existence, a 2022 piece by Yue Yin and restagings of two vintage Twyla Tharp works: the rigorous classic The Fugue (1970) and the rarely seen Bach Duet (1974).


Beyond Ballet, Beyond Hip-Hop

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues in Midtown East

Runs May 10-11.

Contrasting styles are on view in this double bill of genre-defying works by contemporary Japanese artists. In Dying Swan & Its Cause of Death, dancer Hana Saka puts her own spin on this ballet classic in a work created by internationally acclaimed experimental theatre-maker Toshiki Okada. In juxtaposition, Encounter, by Moto Takahashi's all-female group, shows off the dancers' amazing hip-hop moves.


Dancing the Gods 2024: Festival of Indian Dance

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street on the Upper East Side

Runs May 10 and 12.

World Music Institute and Asia Society join forces for two exhilarating evenings of classical Indian dance styles. May 10 features a Kuchipudi recital by Kasi Aysola and Archana Raja. On May 12, there will be a solo by the award-winning Bharatanatyam dancer Rama Vaidyanathan. Live musicians accompany both performances.


STREB Extreme Action: Ringside

SLAM (STREB Lab for Action Mechanics), 51 North 1st Street, between Kent and Wythe Avenues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Runs May 10-June 2. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

The daredevils of STREB, Elizabeth Streb's high-energy company that fuses dance with acrobatics and circus machines, strut their fearless stuff in the brand-new spectacle Ringside. Watch them fly, twirl, swing and even surf on the troupe's latest machine that simulates the turbulence of waves.


Parsons Dance

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

Runs May 14-25. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

David Parsons' vibrant namesake company returns to The Joyce with a trio of world premieres. Parsons' The Shape of Us is set to the experimental sounds of Son Lux; Penny Saunders' Thick as Thieves features a commissioned core by Michael Wall and the prolific Jamar Roberts' Juke is danced to Miles Davis. Classic repertoire, including Parsons' solo Caught with eye-popping strobe effects, round out the program.


Limón Dance Company

Gerald Lynch Theatre at John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Midtown West

Runs 17. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

This venerable modern dance troupe performs three of Jose Limón's richly humanistic works: Missa Brevis, a tribute to resilience in the face of war set to music by Zoltán Kodály; The Exiles, which explores themes of displacement and excerpts from There Is a Time, an uplifting piece set to a score by Norman Dello Joio. Note: This performance was moved from City College to John Jay College.


La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre and The Downstairs, 66 East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village
La MaMa's The Club, 74 East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village

Runs May 16-June 2

Nicky Paraiso curates this annual fest, which always offers a diverse array of adventurous work. This year includes new or recent pieces by 11 choreographers and companies from NYC and beyond, including Bessie Award winner Arthur Avilés from BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance reimagining several of his classic nude solos; director Ilaria Passeri and performer Eveleena Dann's Y, an installation featuring dance, music, sound and video; the queer, feminist Pioneers Go East Collective and emerging choreographers from the Hunter College MFA Dance Program.


nora chipaumire: ShebeenDUB

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

Runs May 17-18

The fiercely unique nora chipaumire comes to Harlem Stage's E-Moves series with the New York premiere of ShebeenDUB, which explores the evils of empire and colonialism through immersive dance and sound. The many-hours-long experience unfolds in three parts that culminate in a dub dance party.


DanceAfrica 2024

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Runs May 24-27.

This annual favorite features multiple events and activities, anchored by the Memorial Day Weekend dance performances. This year's program features the Brooklyn-based Siren - Protectors of the Rainforest alongside DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers, The Billie's Youth Arts Academy Dance Ensemble and the Women of the Calabash.


Ballet Tech Kids Dance

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

Runs May 30-June 2.

Expect exuberance and aplomb at this annual showcase for dedicated students from Ballet Tech, NYC's only public school with a rigorous dance curriculum. In honor of the institution's 30th anniversary, the dancers will perform founder Eliot Feld's Apple Pie, along with work created specifically for their talents by artistic director Dionne Figgins, Karisma Jay, Men Ca, Brian Reeder, Ximena Salgado and Kathy Xia.


Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 West 37th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues

Runs May 30-31, and June 5-6.

Cherylyn Lavagnino's 11 dancers perform two stunning works to scores by Martin Bresnick, which are performed live by a chamber ensemble. The first weekend, catch Tales of Hopper, a theatre-dance piece inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. The second weekend marks the world premiere of The Winter's Tale, a dance interpretation of Shakespeare's haunting problem play exploring jealousy and forgiveness.


Susan Reiter covers dance for TDF Stages.