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8 Dance Performances to See This August

By: Susan Reiter
Date: Jul 24, 2019


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Catch internationally renowned ballet dancers, companies from India and China, and free outdoor performances

The dog days of summer could be renamed the dance days as there are plenty of performances to see this August, including the Joyce Theater's Ballet Festival, vibrant Indian and Chinese troupes, and no-cost outdoor programs at Lincoln Center and Battery Park City. Of the eight events we're highlighting, three are FREE, we have TDF offers for two others and we expect to have additional discounts in the coming weeks. It's best to check our offers daily as ticket availability changes frequently.


Blak Whyte Gray

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues

Runs August 1-3.

Boy Blue's hip-hop dance-theatre piece was such a hit at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival last fall, the Olivier Award-winning East London troupe is back for an encore run as part of Mostly Mozart. Choreographed by music video vet Kenrick "H2O" Sandy with an electronic score by Michael "Mikey J" Asante, Blak Whyte Gray features three virtuosic sections that weave together popping, krumping and African dance.


Liza with a "Z" / Caleb Teicher & Company / Bob Fosse's "Sing, Sing, Sing"

Damrosch Park Bandshell at Lincoln Center, 62nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues

Runs August 2. FREE

If you're still suffering from Fosse/Verdon withdrawal, this FREE event at Lincoln Center Out of Doors will have you doing jazz hands. The lineup features dance students from LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts recreating "Sing, Sing, Sing," the standout number from Bob Fosse's Tony-nominated revue Dancin', plus a screening of Liza With a "Z", his 1972 Emmy-winning concert film of Liza Minnelli on Broadway. Also on the program, three works by ingenious tapper/choreographer Caleb Teicher, who channels multiple dance eras and styles in his unique contemporary works. Catch his Lindy hop-inspired Meet Ella danced to tunes sung by Ella Fitzgerald, a collaboration with a beatboxer and a sequence of jazz-flavored duets.


Drive East

Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres, 502 West 53rd Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues

Runs August 5-11. At press time, several Drive East events were available. Log in and search Drive East.

Take a deep dive into South Asian culture at this annual festival of dance and music from India. Each day features three different programs that cover a wide range of Indian classical dance styles, including Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi and Kathak. The highlight is Bijayini Satpathy, known for her appearances as part of the hypnotic Nrityagram ensemble, who's doing solo performances on August 5 and 10.


Ballet Festival

Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street

Runs August 6-18.

In recent years, the Joyce has hosted eclectic ballet festivals, introducing New Yorkers to smaller American companies with distinctive voices. But the Chelsea dance venue really ups the ante this August, presenting four programs over two weeks curated by Kevin O'Hare, the director of London's Royal Ballet. Performers include leading dancers from that esteemed company alongside well-known members of American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. The programs include works by former Royal Ballet leaders Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan, as well as celebrated contemporary choreographers Christopher Wheeldon, Liam Scarlett and Wayne McGregor, and classical dance-maker Gemma Bond. It somehow also finds room for Maurice Béjart's 1971 male duet Songs of a Wayfarer, revived for ABT's David Hallberg and NYCB's Joseph Gordon.


Jesús Carmona: Amator & Arooj Aftab

Damrosch Park Bandshell at Lincoln Center, 62nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues

Runs August 7. FREE

A charismatic and much-lauded exponent of flamenco, Jesús Carmona explores his love of Spanish dance in Amator. Known for his spontaneity as well as his fierce footwork, he'll perform the personal piece to live music at Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Also on the bill: Pakistani-born, Brooklyn-based composer-musician Arooj Aftab, who reworks traditional cultural music for contemporary American audiences.


Under Siege

David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza

Runs August 8-10.

China's Yang Liping Contemporary Dance presents the U.S. premiere of this ambitious work depicting an epic 202 B.C. battle between the Chu and Han armies. How's that for an unconventional dance subject? Liping tells the story by fusing martial arts, contemporary and Chinese folk dance, gymnastics and hip-hop! Tim Yip, known for his work on the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is the mastermind behind Under Siege's aesthetic -- he designed the sets and costumes and serves as visual director.


Battery Dance Festival

Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park in Battery Park City, 20 Battery Place between 1st Place and Little West Street

Runs August 11-16. FREE

Presented by Battery Dance, this free alfresco fest offers a different jam-packed program every day, with up to seven companies performing each evening against the backdrop of New York Harbor and Lady Liberty. The roster is a mix of local troupes and ensembles from Argentina, Turkey, Sri Lanka, France, Iran, Lithuania, Curacao and the Netherlands. The lineup on August 15, which is Indian Independence Day, includes Darshana Jhaveri & Drummers and Dancers of Manipuri and other troupes celebrating that South Asian nation. Note: There's also a closing night program on Saturday, August 17 at the Schimmel Center, but it costs $10 and tickets are required.


Guangzhou Ballet

David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza

Runs August 17-18. At press time, discount tickets were available for Guangzhou Ballet.

This large classical ballet company from China is presenting a two-part program of original works. Carmina Burana, set to Carl Orff's pulsating composition of the same name, is by contemporary choreographer Jiang Qi. It should be intriguing to experience an Eastern take on this landmark 20th-century cantata, which has its roots in medieval poetry. The second ballet is Goddess of the Lu River by Canadian choreographer Peter Quanz, set to a violin concerto by Du Mingxin -- another meeting of Western and Eastern sensibilities.


Susan Reiter regularly covers dance for TDF Stages.

Top image: Guangzhou Ballet performing Carmina Burana. Photo courtesy of China Arts and Entertainment Group.

TDF MEMBERS: Go here to browse our latest discounts for dance, theatre and concerts.

Susan Reiter covers dance for TDF Stages.