Metro Weekly

Dance: Fall Arts Preview 2016

Ballet, Modern and Folk dance -- every performance worth knowing about in Washington, D.C.

The Alden: Errand into the Maze
The Alden: Martha Graham, Errand into the Maze

Edwin Aparicio curates his 12th flamenco festival at GALA. Daniel Singh and Dakshina present the 13th Indian dance festival at Atlas. And there are more variations on The Nutcracker than the sugar plum fairy could begin to dream of. Fall is definitely upon us in Washington.

The new dance season also ushers in Dance Loft on 14, a new venue specifically designed to host rehearsals and workshop performances, aimed at nurturing local dance artists, allowing them more time and space to experiment and hone their craft. Also new this year, not one but two showcases of local dance: The VelocityDC Dance Festival, now in its 8th year at Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Hall, and the debut of D.A.N.C.E. at Georgetown Day School. Even with the news that the American Dance Institute will move to New York next year, taking away one of the area’s leading dance incubators and presenters of new talent, D.C.’s dance scene seems to be taking sure, steady steps forward.


McLean Community Center
1234 Ingleside Ave.
Mclean, Va.

  • Martha Graham Dance Company — An intimate night of spectacular modern dance from a troupe the Washington Post once called “one of the seven wonders of the artistic universe (9/24)
  • Tap Kids — Schooldayz tells the story of the teenage establishment among seniors at a high school (10/1)


1501 East Jefferson St.
Rockville, Md.

  • Steven Reker/Open House — Rememberer is an evening-length immersive music and performance piece, presented as an ADI Incubator premiere (9/30-10/1)
  • Morgan Thorson — Another ADI Incubator premiere, Still Life is a long-form, ensemble choreography piece informed by research into extinction and investigating dance as a living and dying entity (10/14-15)
  • Kate Weare Company — Marksman interprets ancient human senses imperative to survival, including peripheral awareness, reflex, synchrony, repulsion, and the sheer forcefulness of formation (10/28-29)
  • Cynthia Hopkins — Articles of Faith is a work developed after its choreographer lost all record of past performances in a catastrophic fire that destroyed her home and work studio (11/4-5)
  • Okwui Okpokwasili — Poor People’s TV Room is rooted in Nigeria’s kinetic history of collective action and offers an immersive, dystopian environment with movement, song and text (11/18-19)
  • Dan Hurlin — Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed is a puppet theater work, “not suitable for children,” based on four wordless scripts originally written 100 years ago by Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero and featuring original music by Dan Moses Schreier (12/2-3)
  • Stephen Petronio Company — Bloodlines is a five-year initiative to honor an incomparable lineage of American postmodern dance masters (12/9-10)


1333 H St. NE

  • Furia Flamenca Dance Company: Cafe Flamenco — An intimate evening of flamenco “tablao” style, with drinks and tapas served tableside during the performance, accompanied by guitarist Torcuato Zamora (10/1-2)
  •  Joy of Motion’s Youth Dance Ensemble with EcoSono Ensemble — The Ceiling Floats Away, a multimedia work set to music by American composer Matthew Burtner and poetry by Rita Dove (10/16)
  •  Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show — D.C.’s internationally known stepping company presents its annual interactive celebration of the holidays, with furry friends and DJ Frosty the Snowman (12/15-18, 12/20-22, 12/27-30)
  • Sweet Spot Aerial Productions — Shine A Light! A Solstice Circus, a family-focused adventure about a young man discovering the power to bring light and inspire joy (12/17)


Fredgren Studio Theatre
3443 Carlin Springs Rd.
Falls Church, Va.

  • Furia Flamenca Dance Company (9/17)
  • Xuejuan Dance Ensemble, Nrityanjali, and Dancin Unlimited — International Dance from China, India and the U.S. (10/9)


45 West Preston St.
Baltimore, Md.

  • Ashani Dances — A collection of vignettes inspired by five Edward Hopper paintings (10/14-16)


1635 Trap Road
Vienna, Va.

  • An Evening of Indian Dance –Classical and folk dancers from the Indian Dance Educators Association (11/19)


Black Box Theater at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
Bethesda, Md.

  • Winter Showcase: Creating the Magic — The rising stars of CityDance Conservatory and selected Lower School students perform choreography by CityDance faculty, Ignite artists, and guests (2/11-12)


University of Maryland
College Park, Md.

  • Colette Krogol, Matt Reeves: Waking Darkness. Waiting Light — A joint MFA Dance Theatre Concert mixing Krogol’s exploration of her Cuban-American heritage and Reeve’s examination of origin myth and metaphors of darkness (10/7-9)
  • Wallflower: Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company (10/13)
  • Raphael Xavier — Point of Interest, a minimalistic hip-hop piece offering multiple perspectives on the inner workings of dance from the magazine photographer and musician (11/10-11)
  • Sarah Beth Oppenheim: Render Edit, Chris Law: Full Circle: Bridging the Gap — MFA Dance Thesis Concert (12/9-11)



  • Festival of Indian Arts — The 13th annual event features dancers and musicians from India, Bangladesh and the U.S., including Rehan Bashir, Aswathy Nair, Indira Kadambi, Alif Laila, Lakshmi Babu and company namesake Singh (10/21-23, Atlas Performing Arts Center)


Georgetown Day School
4200 Davenport St. NW

An acronym for D.C. Area New Companies Experience, this event shines a spotlight on recently formed troupes, including Gin Dance Company, DC Bhangra Dance, Motion X Dance DC, DanceArt Theater and DancEthos (9/30)


4618 14th St. NW 2nd Floor

  • Open House — A chance for the public to check out the newest venue devoted to dance in D.C., with classes and performances by companies who call Dance Loft home (9/17)
  • Kate Sopoci Drake — A choreographer whose Spacetime Suite has been called “dance experiments in astrophysics and human dynamics” (9/29-30)


3225 8th St. NE

  • Stuart Loungway — Dance Metro DC presents its fall Choreographic Grant Recipient, selected by an independent panel of area dance professionals (9/17-18)
  • Capoeira DC — A Free Art on 8th Event focused on a martial art disguised as a dance, one rooted in the spirit of change (9/23, Brookland Plaza, 625 Monroe St. NE)
  • Culture Shock, Washington DC — Volume III is the latest work choreographed, produced, and directed by current members Greg David and Cameron Bennett and featuring Culture Shock dance troupes (9/24-25)
  • DC Casineros — A Free Art on 8th Event focused on lessons and performances in salsa dancing (9/30, Brookland Plaza)
  • Anniversary Gala — Celebrating outgoing Dance Place founder Carla Perlo and director Deborah Riley with performances by Adrian Galvin, Baakari Wilder, Coyaba Dance Theater, Dance Place Step Team, Daniel Burkholder & Sharon Mansur, DC Casineros, Denyse Pearson, PearsonWidrig DanceTheater, and POP (10/1)
  • UpRooted Dance’s Mosaic Moves — A free video dance installation in Dance Place’s lobby, featuring original music from local artists and interactive technology (10/6-11/10)
  • Jess Curtis/Gravity & Claire Cunningham — U.S. Berlin choreographer teams with leading U.K. disabled artist for an unlikely, humorous duet, The Way You Look (At Me) Tonight, combining movement, video, music, and text (10/22-23)
  • DC Casineros — Cuban Dance Socials on select Friday evenings (10/28, 12/9)
  • Alight Dance Theater — Two repertory works capturing the complexity of women’s relationships (10/29-30)
  • Metro Tap Roots — A weekend-long celebration of the area’s rich history of tap with performances (11/5-6)
  • What’s Going On – Dance Place’s first full-length production features an eclectic mix of choreography by Vincent E. Thomas, Ralph Glenmore, and Sylvia Soumah, set to the music of Marvin Gaye (11/12-13, 11/19-20)
  • El Teatro de Danza Contemporánea — One of D.C.’s first multicultural dance companies reflects on the vision of founding artistic director, Miya Hisaka (12/3-4)
  • Fieldwork — A works-in-progress showing in all artistic disciplines from the peer-to-peer forum for artists (12/6)
  • Agora Dance — The tenuous line between fact and fiction through monologue and highly physical choreography is explored in The Kind of Thing That Would Happen (12/10-11)
  • Coyaba Dance Theater — Annual Kwanzaa Celebration directed by Sylvia Soumah (12/17-18)
  • Gesel Mason Performance Projects — antithesis challenges how female sexuality is perceived, performed, and presented (1/7-1/8)
  • KanKouran West African Dance Company — Visit Casamance portrays the cycle of seasons in one region of Senegal (1/14-1/15)
  • Kimberly Bartosik/daela — Ecsteriority4 (Part 2) explores power and desire and the sense of urgency created by irrational impulses (1/21-1/22)


Georgetown University
3700 O St. NW

  • Georgetown University Dance Company — A prelude to the spring season, this Fall 2016 Works-In-Progress Concert features performances by professional and student choreographers, ranging from ballet to modern (11/30, 12/2)
  • Black Movements Dance Theatre — A dance docu-short celebrating the history of this troupe is the focus of this works-in-progress concert (12/3)
  • Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Georgetown — Posada: Camino a Belen recreates Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem seeking shelter (12/3)


The Jack Guidone Theater
Joy of Motion Dance Center
5207 Wisconsin Ave. NW

  • Dance Noir — Local contemporary ballet company kicks off its 10th season with this mixed-evening program by founder and producing artistic director Shawn Short, built around dark, dramatic classical scores (10/15-16)
  • Wintersteps — Works by emerging choreographers through its New Voices of Dance program, including Kamali Hill and Kareem B. Goodwine (1/21-22/17)


3333 14th St. NW

  • Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company — Salvador/Savior explores festival curator Edwin Aparicio’s personal salvation through flamenco, as the El Salvador-born dancer/choreographer credits the dance style with helping him succeed in his adopted hometown of D.C. (11/4-6)
  • Francisco Hidalgo & Company — The Silences of the Dance delves into the beats of silence and the broken voices that resonate in space (11/10-13)


730 21st St. NW

  • Kalanidhi Dance — Kalanidhi@25 is billed as a breathtaking anniversary retrospective of a Bethesda-based company known for blending tradition and innovation in the Indian style of Kuchipudi (11/6)


3309 Bunker Hill Road
Mount Rainier, Md.

  • J.A.M. The Revue — Choreographed by Jeremy A. McShan, J.A.M. SE7EN pays tribute to some of music’s greatest legends, from Broadway to pop (9/23-24)
  • Flying V — Co-presented by the University of Maryland’s Clarice through its NextLook program, It’s the Rest of the World that Looks So Small uses dance, movement, and physical theater and is built around new arrangements of songs from cult singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton (11/17)
  • Afro House: Ebon Kojo: The Last Tribe (12/9)


2700 F St. NW

  • Heart Stuck Bernie — Sarah Beth Oppenheim leads her company in a new 50-minute work, created through the Kennedy Center’s Local Stage Commissioning Project, drawing inspiration from significant events in JFK’s presidency regarding race, gender and immigration (9/29-30, Millennium Stage)
  • Furia Flamenca (10/5, Millennium Stage)
  •  Dorrance Dance with Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely — MacArthur Genius tap dancer/choreographer and renowned lesbian musician bring their energetic ensembles together for The Blues Project (10/5-6, Eisenhower Theater)
  • Damian Woetzel — Former New York City Ballet principal dancer brings together artists to pay tribute in Heroes (10/10, Eisenhower)
  • Maverick Lemons — New work focused on the achievements and unfinished business of JFK’s presidency (10/14-15, Millennium Stage)
  • Danish Dance Theatre — Black Diamond, a dramatic work with striking scenography and lighting, designed to enhance the full-bodied, athletic choreography (10/18-19, Eisenhower)
  • The Suzanne Farrell Ballet — The Kennedy Center’s resident ballet company celebrates its 15th season with an all-Balanchine program, including company premieres of the rarely seen Gounod Symphony and the patriotic Stars & Stripes (10/21-23, Opera House)
  • San Francisco Ballet — World-renowned company performs with puppets in Christopher Wheeldon’s visually imaginative production, inspired by Brothers Grimm fairy tales and set to music by Prokofiev (10/26-30, Opera House)
  • Debbie Allen — Freeze Frame…Stop the Madness, a relevant theatrical narrative fusing movement, music, art, and cinema to explore violence and race relations (10/27-30, Eisenhower)
  • MotionX Dance (11/2, Millennium Stage)
  • Zip Zap Circus (11/3, Millennium Stage)
  • Streb Extreme Action — SEA is a gripping work from Elizabeth Streb’s company whose performance style the New York Times says “borrows from dance, extreme sports and Hollywood-style stunt work” (11/4-5, Eisenhower)
  • Cincinnati Ballet — The Nutcracker, featuring choreography by Cincinnati Ballet’s artistic director Victoria Morgan (11/23-27, Opera House)
  • American Ballet Theatre — Kevin McKenzie’s lavish, romantic take on Swan Lake (1/25-1/29, Opera House)


5301 Tuckerman Lane
Bethesda, Md.

  • Estampas Portenas Tango Company — Buenos Aires-based company presents Deseos…Stories of Longing and Desire told through Argentine Tango and Music, a celebration of the country’s greatest artistic elements (11/28)
  • The Hip Hop Nutcracker — A dozen all-star dancers, an on-stage DJ, and an electric violinist reimagine Tchaikovsky’s classic score through hip-hop choreography (12/16)
  • Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker — Russian dancers, playful puppets, and the unmatched splendor of handcrafted sets and costumes for the holiday favorite, featuring guest performers from CityDance School & Conservatory (12/21-22, Music Center)


Harman Hall
610 F St. NW

A special partnership with the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, Washington Performing Arts, and host organization the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the festival presents world-class dance of various styles — from ballet to modern to hip-hop. Among the 18 short performances selected this year: Terra Firma Dance Theatre, Company E, SOLE Defined, the Washington Ballet, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, Capitol Movement, Ivy Chow Movement Project, Jane Franklin Dance, and works by Tiffanie Carson, Thomas L. Moore Jr., and Robert J. Priore (10/7-8)



  • 40th Anniversary Celebration — Julie Kent, the company’s new artistic director, narrates an evening featuring works by her predecessor Septime Webre, Choo San Goh, and other favorites from the repertoire (9/30, Kennedy Center)
  • Studio Company: New Works! (10/29-30, THEARC Theater, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE)
  • The Nutcracker — Webre may be gone, but his twist on the family favorite carries on, with D.C. as the backdrop, George Washington as the titular figure, and King George III as the Rat King (11/26-27, THEARC Theater; 12/1-24, Warner Theatre)



  • Step Afrika! — The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, a multimedia program, launches the WPA’s 50th anniversary season and features the dance company and members of the WPA Men and Women of the Gospel Choir, performing in front of projected images telling the story of the African-American migration to the North a century ago (9/30-10/2, UDC Theater of the Arts, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW)
  • Dance Theatre of Harlem — CityDance is a co-presenter of the annual series of performances by the historic ensemble, guided by founding member and former dancer Virginia Johnson, this year featuring the D.C. premiere of a work by Francesca Harper set to the music of John Adams and performed by the Attacca Quartet (10/14-15, Harman Hall)
  • Pilobus — The D.C. premiere of Shadowland, an evening-length multimedia piece following the dreamlike world of a young girl (1/28-1/29, GW Lisner)


20 W. Patrick St.
Frederick, Md.

  • Russian Grand Ballet — Swan Lake, known as the “ballet of all ballets,” performed by some of the best dancers Russia has to offer (9/30)
  • Taps Alive — A one-night-only annual showcase of local and professional acts from around the country, selected by Maryland-based director Joe Dodd and producer Gina Korrell (10/1)
  • Maryland Regional Ballet — Joyce Morrison leads a production of The Nutcracker featuring guest artists from the New York City Ballet and students from the Frederick School of Classical Ballet (12/9-11)

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