12 Dance Performances to See in NYC This Summer, Five Are FREE
By JUAN MICHAEL PORTER II
Thursday, July 14, 2022  •  
Thu Jul 14, 2022  •  
Dance  •   0 comments Share This

Catch Alvin Ailey, the Battery Dance Festival and other performances at no cost

NYC's dance scene is hot this summer. Although the big companies are on break, you can still see major talents for FREE thanks to outdoor events such as the Battery Dance Festival, Lincoln Center's Summer for the City and SummerStage. Plus, The Joyce Theater and Chelsea Factory continue to present stellar artists throughout July and August at accessible prices.

In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, indoor performances require audiences to wear masks and provide proof of full vaccination unless otherwise indicated. Outdoor events do not mandate either. While we are doing our best to keep this article up to date, rules vary and are subject to change. Before buying tickets to any event, double-check the COVID-19 rules so you are prepared.

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

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HopeBoykinDance: Moments By Hope

Chelsea Factory, 547 West 26th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Chelsea

Runs July 15-16

Chelsea Factory Resident Artist and two-time Bessie Award winner Hope Boykin presents Moments by Hope, an intensely personal program inspired by her self-published 2016 collection MOMENTS exploring her thoughts, feelings and emotions as an artist. A longtime leading dancer with Philadanco and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Boykin began choreographing early in her career. Since stepping away from performing full time, she has become celebrated for her quirky yet soulful style. In Moments by Hope, she fuses words and dance to reflect on the inner strength that keeps her moving.

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Ladies of Hip-Hop: Ladies Battle!

Chelsea Factory, 547 West 26th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Chelsea

Runs July 17. FREE but registration required.

Let's hear it for the ladies! Watch the fierce females of hip-hop go head-to-head at this annual dance-off, featuring contestants from around the world competing for cash and bragging rights. Hip-hop battles are communal gatherings with scheduled matches and interactions between pros and fans leading up to the main event. Come in the afternoon to groove to live deejayed sets and marvel at the latest innovations in the genre. Stick around through the evening to see who'll take this year's crown.

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Little Island Music & Dance Festival

Pier 55 in Hudson River Park between 13th and 14th Streets in the Meatpacking District

Runs July 20-31. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Fresh off her Tony nomination for Funny Girl, tap great Ayodele Casel and her longtime collaborator Torya Beard curate an eclectic lineup of performances for Little Island's outdoor Music and Dance Festival. There are three dance programs, each running for two days: Percussive Dance (July 22-23), filled with tap and other noisy genres; Generation Dance! (July 24 & 31), featuring intergenerational collaborations; and Beats, Rhymes, and Tap Shoes (July 29-30), Maurice Chestnut's tribute to the seminal rap group A Tribe Called Quest. It's also worth checking out the music events, which are curated by Broadway Inspirational Voices founder Michael McElroy. Soul to Soul: Black Women in Music (July 27-28) co-hosted by McElroy and Phylicia Rashad and starring Broadway divas Capathia Jenkins and Lillias White sounds particularly thrilling.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Coney Island Amphitheater, 3052 West 21st Street and the Boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn

Runs July 23. FREE but seating is first come, first served.

The iconic Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kicks off its 10-day, five-borough Ailey Moves NYC! celebration with this free outdoor performance featuring the namesake choreographer's seminal work Revelations and hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris' Lazarus, inspired by Ailey's life and legacy. The rest of the no-cost Ailey Moves NYC! lineup includes dance classes, a screening of the documentary Ailey and a performance by Ailey II.

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MOMIX: ALICE

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

Runs through July 24.

MOMIX, Moses Pendleton's more conceptual-minded offshoot of Pilobolus, returns to The Joyce with an eye-popping take on Alice in Wonderland. Rather than follow a strict narrative, the director-choreographer hints at the plot with dances inspired by beloved characters such as the Caterpillar and the Queen of Hearts, and he ties the evening together with the company's patented blend of trippy dance effects and physical daring.

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Dormeshia Tap Collective: Rhythm Is Life

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

Runs July 26-31. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Dormeshia is known as the queen of tap not only for her brio and phenomenal skills, but also for her mission to celebrate the legacies of the hoofers who preceded her. For her new work Rhythm Is Life, she has gathered an incredible group of tappers and musicians to pay homage to dances from the past while creating new moves to the joyful beat that pushes us forward.

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Black Grace

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

Runs August 2-7. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Founded by Neil Ieremia in 1995, Black Grace is one of New Zealand's premiere contemporary dance companies, showcasing vibrant works inspired by his multicultural Samoan and Kiwi background. For the NYC stop on his troupe's international tour, Ieremia is presenting an eclectic trio of works: a reinvention of Vivaldi's Gloria, a piece inspired by lauded Samoan visual artist Fatu Feu'u and a new version of his 1995 opus Handgame, which incorporates elements of traditional Samoan dance.

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Reunions

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

Runs August 6-7. FREE but seating is first come, first served.

As part of Lincoln Center's Summer for the City, the culture hub has invited noted choreographer Kyle Abraham to curate his own two-day dance festival showcasing new works by alumni from his celebrated company A.I.M by Kyle Abraham. Dancers Rena Butler, Kayla Farish, Vinson Fraley, Nicole Mannerino, Chalvar Monteiro, Jie-Hung Connie Shiau and Maleek Washington show off their diverse choreographic skills at these free outdoor performances.

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A.I.M by Kyle Abraham: Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth

Lincoln Center's Rose Theater, 10 Columbus Circle at 60th Street and Broadway in Lincoln Square

Runs August 11-13. Tickets are pay-what-you-can starting at $5.

More Kyle Abraham at Lincoln Center! The MacArthur genius teams up with electronic dance music phenom Jlin for Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth, a meditation on death and reincarnation filtered through a high-tech reinvention of Mozart's haunting Requiem. Ten A.I.M by Kyle Abraham dancers explore mourning and rebirth through movement in this New York premiere.

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Rennie Harris: LIFTED

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

Runs August 9-14. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Rennie Harris is one of the world's leading exponents of narrative hip-hop and house dance. In LIFTED: A Gospel House Musical, he has transformed the story of Oliver Twist into a young Black man's mission to heal himself as well as his community. This evening-length work features live gospel music, a vibrant ensemble, and Harris' innovative blend of hip-hop, house and dance theatre infused with Black traditions.

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BAAND Together Dance Festival

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

Runs August 9-13. FREE but seating is first come, first served.

Part of Lincoln Center's Summer for the City, this free five-day festival spotlights five invaluable NYC dance companies: Ballet Hispánico, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Enjoy different pieces from these lauded troupes every evening at 7:30 p.m. or arrive at 5 p.m. for the nightly family dance workshops.

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Battery Dance Festival

Robert Wagner Park, 20 Battery Place in Battery Park City.

Runs August 13-20. FREE but seating is first come, first served.

Now marking its 41st anniversary, the Battery Dance Festival is NYC's longest-running free dance fest. This year's event features more than 35 artists who hail from around the world. As always, there's a lively evening devoted to Indian dance, while other programs showcase a range of diverse styles. Noted participants include Buglisi Dance Theatre, Ballet Nepantla, Dancing Wheels Company, The Vanaver Caravan, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Fairul Zahid & Lasalle Dance Singapore. Note that the August 20 closing night is indoors at The Schimmel Center and requires advance reservations.

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Juan Michael Porter II is the staff writer for TheBody.com and a contributor to TDF Stages, Did They Like It?, SF Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, American Theatre, them, Into More and SYFY Wire. He is a National Critics Institute and Poynter Power of Diverse Voices Fellow. Follow him at @juanmichaelii. Follow TDF at @ TDFNYC.

Top image: Dancing Wheels Company, one of many troupes performing at the free outdoor Battery Dance Festival. Photo by Steven Pisano.




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