13 Dance Performances to See in February & March
By JUAN MICHAEL PORTER II
Thursday, February 17, 2022  •  
Thu Feb 17, 2022  •  
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See the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Ailey II, eclectic troupes at The Joyce and more

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Shake off the winter doldrums with a baker's dozen of exhilarating dance performances. The pre-spring season features the return of venerable NYC dance companies such as Mark Morris and Paul Taylor, spectacular out-of-town visitors and a farewell to a pair of beloved New York City Ballet principals.

In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, all of these performances require audiences to provide proof of being fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine. Masks are also mandatory. Note that some venues are adding additional rules such as proof of a booster shot. While we are doing our best to keep this article up to date, before buying tickets to any event, double-check the COVID-19 rules to avoid disappointment.

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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Sankofa Danzafro: Accommodating Lie

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

Runs February 15-20. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

The legacy of kidnapped Africans reverberates in Sankofa Danzarfro, a Colombia-based collective of talented performers who blend Afro-Colombian and Afro-contemporary dance. Well known for its potent explorations of what it means to be Black, the company takes its name from a word from the Twi language of Ghana, "sankofa," that loosely translates as the ability to move forward while reflecting on the past. That philosophy is on display in its new piece at The Joyce, Accommodating Lie, choreographer Rafael Palacios' evening-length collection of solos and pas de deux that shatter centuries-old stereotypes about Africans and Black bodies. Rather than simply call out the ugliness of racism, the company uses live singing, music and Palacios' beautifully emotional dances to reinforce the vibrancy of Black lives and the ongoing fight for equality.

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Park Avenue Armory: Assembly

Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets on the Upper East Side

Runs February 16-March 6. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Proof of booster shot required.

When the Park Avenue Armory commissioned interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome to create an installation for its cavernous Wade Thompson Drill Hall, he knew exactly what he wanted to do: transform the arena into a multimedia temple of Black and queer celebration. From noon to 7 p.m. daily, the Armory's walls are covered in holographic sculptures, West African textiles, visual prints, Black queer iconography, poetry and masks. Tuesday through Saturday at 9 p.m., audiences can enjoy a rotating roster of live performances, including singers, musicians and voguers as they dance like their lives and liberation depended on edifying onlookers. In addition to their own singular moves, the dancers are buoyed by Newsome's vision and choreographic phrases created by Kameron N. Saunders, Ousmane Omari Wiles and Maleek Washington.

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New York City Ballet: Winter Season

David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 62nd Street and Columbus Avenue in Lincoln Square

Runs through February 27. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

New York City Ballet's winter season continues through the end of the month with a selection of classics and storybook spectacles created by cofounder George Balanchine. These treasures include the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, The Four Temperaments, Serenade (often cited as a favorite by the women in the company), Prodigal Son, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and his one-act version of Swan Lake. Longtime principal ballerina, Teresa Reichlen, will give her farewell performance as the Swan Queen on Saturday, February 19, followed by principal dancer Gonzalo Garcia, who will take his final bow on the last day of the season, Sunday, February 27, in a program featuring works by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and the company's resident choreographer, Justin Peck.

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Raphael Xavier: The Musician & the Mover

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

Runs March 3-5. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Proof of booster shot required.

More than two decades of break dancing and research have gone into Raphael Xavier's The Musician & The Mover. In addition to showcasing the genre's jaw-jumping stunts, Xavier explores the social, mental and physical aspects of the movement and its relationship to another improvised art form: jazz. A live jazz quartet and two additional break-dancers, Josh Clubreath and Martha Bernabel, join him in this rhapsodic deep dive.

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Artists at the Center: Tiler Peck

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

Runs March 4-6. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Proof of booster shot required.

After recovering from a neck injury that nearly ended her career, New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck is keen to try new artistic adventures. This March, she'll do just that as City Center's inaugural curator of its Artist at the Center series. Peck has gathered some of the most talented dancers working in America today—including Isabella Boylston, India Bradley, Herman Cornejo, Jovani Furlan and Cassandra Trenary—for a diverse program that includes her own choreography, a world-premiere collaboration with award-winning tap genius Michelle Dorrance, a duet by Alonzo King and William Forsythe's The Barre Project, Blake Works II, which was initially created as a dance film during the pandemic. The entire cast (Lex Ishimoto, Roman Mejia, Brooklyn Mack and Peck) returns for this in-person premiere.

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Gibney In Person: Company Created

Gibney 280, 53A Chambers Street at Broadway in the Financial District

Runs March 16-19.

Proof of booster shot required.

Gibney is composed of nine talented soloists who previously performed with such elite troupes as Netherlands Dans Theater, Limón Dance Company, Ballet Hispánico, Sonya Tayeh Dance and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. With Company Created, the group has empowered seven of its dancers (known as artistic associates) to collaborate with each other on seven new works. The evening promises to be athletically enticing and surreal.

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Armitage Gone! Dance: A Pandemic Notebook

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

Runs March 16-19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Proof of booster shot required.

Legendary "punk ballerina" Karole Armitage returns to the stage for the first time since 1989 alongside former New York City Ballet star Jock Soto, who retired in 2005. It's all to celebrate the final season of Armitage Gone! Dance premiering works by its namesake choreographer, after which it will transition to a new mission. Developed over the past 18 months of isolation, the 75-minute program explores the power of celebrity and the connections between film and live dance. Armitage and Soto will perform in In Time/Times, a tribute to slow cinema; the high-tech 6 Ft. Apart features dancers rigged with visible wires and body sensors; and the evening closes with Marc Jacobs showcasing dancers decked out in fantastical pieces from the designer's fall 2021 collection. Even during her swan song, Armitage remains devoted to pushing the boundaries of narrative, collaboration and new media.

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Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE

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

Runs March 22-27.

Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE was one of the last dance companies to perform at The Joyce before the dance mecca shut down due to the pandemic. Almost two years later, Brown returns with most of his core company members intact, including Annique S. Roberts, Demetrius Burns, Joyce Edwards and Keon Thoulouis. Brown is often celebrated for his spiritual dive in the African diaspora, but his multi-rhythmic choreography also inspires audiences to groove in their seats as the performers bump to the beat and dance everyone a little closer to glory. This program includes Upside Down and Come Ye, with music by Oumou Sangaré, Fela Kuti and Nina Simone, and Ebony Magazine: To a Village, which Brown originally created for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance in 1996. The fan favorite showcases dancers breaking free of their self-consciousness to develop a deep communal bond.

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Ailey II in NYC

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

Runs March 23-April 3.

Ailey II may showcase so-called emerging talent, but the vibrant young dancers are often as impressive as members of the main Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company. Last year, the 12-member group welcomed new leadership, with Francesca Harper appointed artistic director and Lakey Evans-Peña named rehearsal director. For Ailey II's first NYC season since 2019, the troupe is performing on its home turf, the Ailey Citigroup Theater, in eight repertory works across three contrasting programs, including a tribute to Robert Battle's 10th anniversary as the artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Highlights include Saa Magni choreographed by longtime Alvin Ailey company member Yannick Lebrun; Andrea Miller's Psukhe; an excerpt from William Forsythe's Enemy in the Figure; Harper's new Freedom Series, created to celebrate her Ailey homecoming (Harper trained at The Ailey School, which her mother, Denise Jefferson, guided from 1984 until her death in 2010); and Battle's Searchlight, choreographed to honor Jefferson and Harper's relationship to each other and the company.

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Mark Morris Dance Group: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

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

Runs March 24-27.

Proof of booster shot required.

Ever since L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato had its US premiere at BAM more than 30 years ago, it's been regarded as Mark Morris' masterpiece. This March, the ballet returns to BAM for the first time in over a decade. Its title literally means, "The Cheerful, the Thoughtful and the Moderate Man," and the piece combines George Frideric Handel's interpretations of two John Milton poems and an except from Shakespeare's The Tempest with Morris' deliriously joyful take on the mythic scenarios embedded within those literary classics. This engagement includes live performances from sopranos Yulia Van Doren and Sarah Brailey, tenor Brian Giebler and bass-baritone Joseph Charles Beutel, backed by the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble and Choir of Trinity Wall Street, under the baton of Colin Fowler.

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Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company: Awakening

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

Runs March 24-27.

Proof of booster shot required.

Despite dancer-choreographer Nai-Ni Chen's untimely and unexpected death late last year, the company she built into a thriving enterprise over three decades continues to share her vibrant vision. Chen was renowned for fusing classical Taiwanese dance with modern and contemporary movement, and well known for nurturing astonishingly talented dancers. These dazzling movers have united under the direction of a trio of new leaders—interim artistic director Greta Campo, director of contemporary/creative dance PeiJu Chien-Pott and director of traditional dance/preservation Ying Shi—to present Chen's final program, Awakening, filled with her longing for society to overcome trauma and division. The evening also includes her seminal work Incense.

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City Center Dance Festival: Paul Taylor Dance Company

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

Runs March 24-31.

Proof of booster shot required.

From March 24 through April 10, the inaugural City Center Dance Festival will showcase NYC-based companies returning to the stage, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company kicks off the event with a weeklong run. Under Michael Novak's direction, the troupe has recruited a diverse crop of exciting dancers who embrace Taylor's athletic daring. The City Center engagement features three of Taylor's ruminations on different types of love: Roses (on tenderness), Airs (on maturity and originally choreographed for American Ballet Theatre) and the beloved masterpiece Esplanade (on community). A world premiere from recently retired New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette and Larry Keigwin's Rush Hour also appear throughout the three-program series. This engagement also marks Michael Apuzzo's final season of performing with the company. After 13 years, he is stepping off the stage to join the Taylor Foundation's development team.

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Cia Suave: Cria

BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place between Lafayette Avenue and Hanson Place

Runs March 29-April 2.

Proof of booster shot required.

Brazil's Cia Suave comes to Brooklyn with Cria, a tour-de-force exploration of what it's like to be young, Black and ready to carve out your own destiny. Under choreographer Alice Ripoll's direction, this full-length dance production uses dancinha—a funky blend of samba, breakdancing and street moves from Brazil's favelas—to reveal the hopes and dreams of its 10 Black cis and trans performers.

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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: Ailey II's Elijah Lancaster. Photo by Nir Arieli.




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