Metro Weekly

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Dance

Everything that moves, sways, and pirouettes in the D.C. region this fall!

Dance Center for the Arts: Taj Express

This fall and winter, dance-happy audiences will have to be on their toes to keep up with a busy season of exciting new work and brilliant artists. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company is back to grace D.C. with a world-premiere, while the Washington Ballet shows off the company’s NEXTsteps, a program of never-before-seen ballets. Adventurous crowds can join the Open Ring Circus for an acrobatic retelling of a little-known slice of circus history, step up to witness the thrilling feats of the aerial artists and acrobats from China’s Cirque Mei, or get down with Mucha Música’s musical journey through Latin America. Swing from salsa to tango, if you like, or get in line with Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show. There are dance parties and workshops and performances for all ages and abilities, and enough Tchaikovsky to keep area sugar plum fairies dancing till spring.


1333 H St. NE

  • Furia Flamenca Dance Company: Café Flamenco — The award-winning dancers of Furia Flamenca supply the explosive movement, and guitarist Torcuato Zamora the passionate music, in this cabaret-style performance (10/5–06, Lab Theatre)
  • Culture Queen’s Dance Party — Jessica “Culture Queen” Hebron teaches kids and tots how to dance The Twist, The Locomotion, and more in this swinging journey through the ’60s via storytelling and music (10/11-12, Sprenger Theatre)
  • Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show — Continuing an eight-year tradition at Atlas, D.C.’s renowned percussive dancers and special guest DJ Frosty the Snowman bring furry characters and a pre-show instrument-making workshop to this family-friendly celebration (12/12-22, Sprenger)


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

  • Clarendon Day Festival — BalletNova students perform at the long-running neighborhood street festival (9/21, Clarendon)
  • The Nutcracker — Members of BalletNova’s pre-professional program Junior and Conservatory divisions present a full theatrical performance of the holiday favorite (December, George Mason High School, Falls Church)


10534 York Road
Cockeysville, Md.

  • The Nutcracker — In its 19th season, the company serves up traditional Tchaikovsky and a pre-show Sunday “Tea with Clara” meet-and-greet for kids (12/7-8, Goucher College Kraushaar Auditorium)


45 West Preston St.
Baltimore, Md.

  • Open Ring Circus — Open Ring troupe pays homage to the heroes and victims of a little-known three-ring tragedy with Coated: 1944 Circus Fire, a show of aerial arts, acrobatic storytelling, and custom-designed set pieces (11/5-6)
  • Full Circle Dance Company — For their all-new REFUGE: Needing, Seeking Finding, the company “known for tackling real-world issues with emotional and physical power” explores ideas of home, loss, and belonging in works by choreographers of diverse backgrounds (11/16-17)
  • ClancyWorks Dance Company & Coppin State University Dance Ensemble — An evening of contemporary dance and community collaboration teaming the ClancyWorks and Coppin State ensembles with dancers from Baltimore-area high schools (11/22-24)
  • 7(x1) Samurai — Soloist David Gaines presents an energetic, acrobatic, wordless one-man rendition of Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai (12/21-22)



  • Dance for Parkinson’s Disease Master Class/Stretch Class at the Kennedy Center — Founding Artistic Director Lucy Bowen McCauley leads two free class sessions as part of the Kennedy Center’s annual National Dance Day celebration (9/21, The REACH)
  • Dance for PD Workshop — Bowen McCauley directs a free workshop (10/6, Dancing Made Easy Studio, Carroll Hospital, Westminster, Md.)
  • Dance Place Encore Performance — An up-close and intimate performance by the professional company, featuring world premiere Crossing by resident choreographer Ilana Goldman, and a surprise new work by Lucy Bowen McCauley (11/16-17, Dance Place)
  • Spring Preview Party (1/26, Location TBD)
  • Dance for PD Master Class at the Kennedy Center (2/15, The REACH)
  • 11th Annual MOVE ME Festival — Bowen McCauley presents a lineup of local artists and performance troupes in a festival of dance, workshops, and classes (2/29, Kenmore Middle School)


Media Lounge
Lansburgh Theatre
700 12th St. NW

  • Miniature Minimalism: Colin Gee — The first in CDP’s Evening with an Artist series features choreographer Gee sharing how he’ll create an intricate physical work with dancers and a string quartet (9/25)
  • The Creation of Prufrock: Diane Coburn Bruning and Matt Torney — Theatre director Torney and CDP artistic director Coburn Bruning screen video from a live performance of their collaborative work Prufrock, and dissect its creation (10/23)
  • Dancer + Choreographer: Christian Denice — New company performer and choreographer Denice discusses his life and career, via photos, performance videos, and rehearsal footage (11/14)
  • Costume Design for Dance: Bekah Nettekoven Tello — Designer Nettekoven Tello illuminates her process of creating costumes for CDP, and for Colin Gee’s upcoming June work (2/11)


Dance Place
3225 8th St. NE

  • Winter Workshop — CKM&A hosts three days of technique classes and repertoire for working professionals, or anyone looking to “get back into your body after the holidays” (1/6–8)
  • APAP Showcases — Before premiering new project Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence later this season, the company presents excerpts at this annual conference of performing arts professionals (1/10-14, New York Hilton Midtown)



  • Gallery — Weaving together disparate stories and experiences of womanhood, six dancers from S.J. Ewing & Dancers and the CityDance Conservatory explore empowerment and vulnerability in athletic dances set to a house music beat (10/3-5, Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW)
  • Creating the Magic Weekend I — A mid-year showcase by the Conservatory, featuring choreography by CityDance faculty, Ignite artists and guests (12/6-8, Strathmore)
  • Creating the Magic Weekend II — The Conservatory’s mid-year showcase continues (12/13-14, Strathmore)


Dance Theatre
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.

  • MFA Dance Thesis Concert — Works choreographed by MFA in Dance students include Heidi McFall’s Corpora Caelestia: A Movement Opera, and Ronya-Lee Anderson’s Black Madonna and Miss America (10/4-6, Kogod Theatre)
  • Doubled Bodies — Choreographers Kristina Harris and Gabriel Mata challenge expectations about female/male partnering and gendered aesthetics in this work playing in a double-bill with Jordan Resnick’s Brechtian drama I Have An Idea for a Play (10/18-20)
  • DCX New Dances — In a fun, supportive environment, students present new and in-progress pieces (10/24-25)
  • Black Grace — Dynamic company from New Zealand brings traditional Polynesian dance motifs onto the contemporary stage with four performance pieces, including choreographer Neil Ieremia’s exploration of toxic masculinity, Crying Men (10/24, Kay Theatre)
  • Madden Dance Project — The dancers of elephant JANE perform choreographer Heidi Henderson’s series of solos and duets, untitled sad piece, and, in Kendra Portier’s Burnish (Magenta #08), NYC-based company BANDportier “renders the phenomenon of magenta into live performance” (11/15-17)
  • Monica Bill Barnes and Company — Dance-show-meets-after-work-party Happy Hour finds Bill Barnes and Company performing small vignettes in a variety of dance styles while the audience enjoys snacks and cocktails (11/21-22, MilkBoy ArtHouse)
  • 37th Annual Choreographers’ Showcase — Experienced choreographers and upcoming talent present their work to a panel of judges for feedback and the chance to show their best to the DMV dance community (1/25)
  • Untitled and Champagne Party for Timetravelers — Gabriela Grant’s Untitled explores how black and brown female bodies have been commodified and appropriated throughout history, and Champagne Party, written and choreographed by Sydney Lemelin and Hana Huie, combines theater and dance for a work based on the real party that Stephen Hawking threw for time travelers (1/31-2/1)
  • NextLOOK: Simone Baron — Baron’s new work for dance and chamber ensemble, ruin gaze, examines the mystery and magic of ruins (2/14, Joe’s Movement Emporium)


  • Transformations Showcase — Third annual presentation of a selection of works by various choreographers (10/26-27, Fredgren Studio Theatre)

“Still Reich” – Focus Cia. de Dança at Dance Place– Photo: Fernanda Vallois


3225 8th St. NE

  • Sabela grimes — Choreographer-composer grimes creates a new interdisciplinary work, collaborating “in real time” with participants at his Bubblin’ Black Joy workshop (9/12)
  • d. Sabela grimes: ELECTROGYNOUS — L.A.-based artist grimes synthesizes ancient and Afro-futuristic soundscapes with his own poetry, video art by Meena Murugesan and digital illustration by Mr. Maxx Moses (9/14-15)
  • Dance Box Theater’s Naked King: Subject to Change – Part 1 — Co-artistic directors Stephen Clapp and Laura Schandelmeier stage an evening-length dance theater work that points a finger at an emperor with no clothes, featuring Ronya Lee Anderson, Valerie Branch, Melissa Lineburg, Tariq O’Meally, and guest artist Pricilla Smith as The Real Donna J. Trump (9/21-22)
  • Project ChArma — Chris and Ama Law and this hip-hop collective of teaching artists close out the Art on 8th season with a free session of their weekly adult classes (9/26)
  • slowdanger — Five dancers, two computational artists, and one responsive LED sculpture adds up to the company’s intriguing new evening-length work titled empathy machine (10/5-6)
  • Focus Cia de Dança — Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, this contemporary dance company brings new work STILL REICH to delight D.C. audiences (10/12-13)
  • AMPLIFY Gala — Dance Place’s Season Gala features performances by The Illustrious Blacks, Coyaba Dance Theater, and more! (10/19)
  • Culture Shock, Washington DC — Searching for the meaning of “home” in Volume V: Home, this multi-faceted company translates into movement the varied perceptions of what home looks, feels, and sounds like to the respective choreographers who contributed to the program (10/26-28)
  • ANIKAYA: Conference of the Birds — Conceived and directed by choreographer Wendy Jehlen, an evening-length movement theater work embodying stories from modern-day refugees and other migrants (11/2-3)
  • SOLE Defined: ZAZ — Inaugural Dance Place Artist-in-Residence SOLE Defined translates global rhythms through tap dance and body percussion, in this premiere performance exploring the events of Hurricane Katrina from a small speakeasy in New Orleans (11/9-10)
  • Baakari Wilder & Kerri Edge: REFORM — A collection of tap dance monologues charting a story beginning post-emancipation at Angola State Prison, then traveling through time to the present-day prison system (11/23-24)
  • Contemporary Viewpoints Festival — Dance Place’s curated mixed-bill showcase of boundary-pushing modern dance presented in a range of work by choreographers from the DMV (12/7-8)
  • Coyaba Dance Theater: Kwanzaa Celebration — An annual holiday tradition at Dance Place that gathers families, friends, and guest performers with the Coyaba dancers, under the direction of Sylvia Soumah (12/14-15)
  • KanKouran West African Dance Company — KanKouran’s annual MLK Day concert celebrates over 35 years of fulfilling the company’s mission of “giving back that which was lost” (1/18-19)
  • darlingdance — An evening of dance theater featuring the premiere TARGET PRACTICE, by a company that reflects humor, community, and realism in its feminist, postmodern works (1/25-26)
  • PASSION FRUIT DANCE COMPANY: Dance Within Your Dance — Choreographed and directed by Tatiana Desardouin, a work that asks, “What is the groove? How do you find it? How much weight does it hold in self-expression?” (2/1-2)
  • Global Perspectives Festival — Dance Place’s mixed-bill evening which gathers groups and artists based in the DMV to highlight a breadth of dances from communities around the world (2/8-9)
  • Cie Hervé KOUBI: Boys Don’t Cry — A dance exploration of societal gender norms through the contrasting arenas of sports and dance, led by Algerian native Hervé Koubi, in collaboration with author Chantal Thomas and musician Stéphane Fromentin (2/29-3/1)


Georgetown University
3700 O St. NW

  • Georgetown University Dance Company — Members of GU’s oldest dance organization present new works-in-progress (12/4 and 12/6)
  •  Black Movements Dance Theatre — Celebrating Legends in music, BMDT performs their annual fall concert (12/7)



  • Fall Forward 2019 — An evening ranging from classical to contemporary dance, featuring world-premiere works by company founder Shawn Short, plus performances by students of the Ngoma School (10/26, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center)
  • Black Dance Festival DMV — Works by African-American choreographers, including DDT 2019-20 resident choreographer Kareem B. Goodwin (11/2-3 and 11/9, Jack Guidone Theatre)
  • Diaspora — An evening celebrating West African, Caribbean, South American, and American music with dances set to soca, blues, samba, and soul, among others (2/21, Atlas Performing Arts Center)


4373 Mason Pond Drive
Fairfax, Va.

  • ARTS By George! — An evening showcasing the talents of Mason students culminates in a benefit performance by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winner Audra McDonald (9/28)
  • Fall New Dances — Every dance is a premiere in this program of works by choreographers at the start of their careers (11/7-9, Harris Theatre)
  • Cirque Mei — Elite circus artists and acrobats from China’s northern Hebei Province pull out all the stops in a spectacular display of flying, diving, and balancing feats to thrill the whole family (10/19)
  • Taj Express — Blending vibrant costumes, rollicking music, and joyous dance, the Bollywood Musical Revue brings the Indian Bollywood movie experience to life onstage in an action-packed romance set to India’s pop hits (11/9)
  • RUBBERBANDance Group — This contemporary company from Montreal stirs up their own mix of classical ballet and improvisational hip-hop in Vic’s Mix, their latest work by founder Victor Quijada (11/22)
  • Dance Innovations (12/5-7, Harris Theatre)
  • Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker — One of the first independent, internationally touring ballet companies to emerge from the former Soviet Union returns to GMU with its renowned rendition of the timeless tale (12/10-11)
  • The Nutcracker — The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the Fairfax Ballet Company throw their chestnuts into the fire with a traditional, winter wonderland take on the classic ballet (12/21-22)
  • Alonzo King LINES Ballet — In collaboration with composer and sound designer Alexander MacSween, choreographer King addresses “the fact that languages of the world are vanishing at an alarming rate” (1/25)
  • Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company — The pioneering ensemble and 2019 Mason Artist-in-Residence performs the world premiere On the Water, a work to provoke thought about belonging versus isolation (2/1)


730 21st St. NW

  • Tango Lovers — Direct from Argentina and Uruguay, an ensemble of 24 world-class musicians and dancers unfurl the history of tango in the distinctive production I Am Tango (10/5)


10960 George Mason Circle
Manassas, Va.

  • Manassas Ballet Theatre — MBT opens its season with Jazz in Motion, a collaboration with the Kim Reynolds Band and vocalist Mark Luna, blending contemporary choreography with jazz standards and originals (10/18-20)
  • Cirque Mei — The elite circus troupe from the People’s Republic of China performs an encore of their extravaganza of acrobatics, contortion tricks, balancing acts, and more (10/24)
  • So You Think You Can Dance Live! — Top contestants from the Emmy-winning FOX TV show’s 16th season hit the stage in a variety of genres, from lyrical to salsa, hip-hop to contemporary (10/22)
  • Taj Express — A second chance to catch the Bollywood Musical Revue this fall in Northern Virginia (11/15)


Theatre on the Run
3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive
Arlington, Va.

  • EyeSoar at Valley Fest — At this celebration of Four Mile Run Valley, the company performs excerpts from the work EyeSoar, which highlights the people and organizations in Four Mile Run (9/29)
  • Splatter — A vibrant, family-friendly journey of spoken word, movement, and music, based on Anna Llenas’ book The Color Monster (11/9, 11/16, and 11/23)
  • Mix it Up — A series of mix-and-match programs of works by Jane Franklin Dance, the socially-conscious Light Switch Dance Theatre, community-based dancers Forty+, and choreographers Emily Crews and Rachel Luebbert (11/9, 11/16, 11/23)
  • The Big Meow — A story told through movement, music, and spoken word about “an ever-hopeful fluff ball who desperately wants to belong to the neighborhood band of cats” (1/25, 2/1, and 2/8)
  • Border — A movement theatre work that explores personal experiences of bias through the real-life stories of its diverse cast (1/25, 2/1, and 2/8)

Mariinsky Ballet’s “Paquita” — Photo: Darian Volkova


2700 F Street, NW

  • Silver Clouds Playground — The Kennedy Center celebrates the legacy of choreographer Merce Cunningham with this exhibit of Andy Warhol’s interactive playroom, which Cunningham incorporated into his 1968 work Rain Forest (10/2-5, Studio J)
  • John Cage: Music for Merce – Margaret Leng Tan, Toy and Prepared Piano — Acclaimed performer Tan interprets Cage’s compositions for Cunningham, on toy and prepared pianos (10/2, Skylight Pavilion)
  • Merce Cunningham at 100 — Compagnie Centre National de Danse Contemporaine-Angers presents Cunningham’s Beach Bird and BIPED (10/3-5)
  • Cunningham on Film — Outdoor screenings of selections from Cunningham’s body of work (10/4-5)
  • Let’s Talk Dance: The Artistic Process and Collaborations of Merce Cunningham — Robert Swinston, former Cunningham dancer and current Artistic Director of Compagnie Centre National de Danse Contemporaine-Angers, and others join a discussion of Cunningham’s creative process (10/5, Justice Forum)
  • Mariinsky Ballet: Paquita — A “glittering showcase of classical technique and non-stop virtuosic turns,” this 19th-century work is rarely performed in its entirety (10/8-13, Opera House)
  • DEMO: by Damian Woetzel: Ballet X — The Philadelphia-based company makes its Kennedy Center debut (10/25-26, Terrace Theater)
  • Dance Fitness — Fitness-focused classes in different styles of dance (11/2, Studio J and 12/7, Studio F)
  • Mark Morris Dance Group: Pepperland — Following its warm reception in Liverpool, MMDG presents this exuberant celebration of 50-plus years of The Beatles (11/13-16, Eisenhower Theater)
  • Dance for Parkinson’s Disease: Mark Morris Dance Group — MMDG offers a workshop of dance classes for people with Parkinson’s (11/16, The REACH)
  • Atlanta Ballet: The Nutcracker — The company makes its Kennedy Center debut with a new production of the holiday favorite (11/27-12/1, Opera House)
  • The Day — Cellist Maya Beiser, dancer Wendy Whelan, and choreographer Lucinda Childs collaborate on a new music/dance work, with music by David Lang (12/6-7, Eisenhower)
  • Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures: Swan Lake — Bourne returns to the Kennedy Center with his audacious hit reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s fairy-tale ballet (1/21-26, Opera House)
  • Gregory Maqoma’s Vuyani Dance Theatre — South African star choreographer Maqoma drew inspiration from the novel Cion for this full-length work, danced to Maurice Ravel’s Boléro (1/24-25, Eisenhower)
  • The National Ballet of Canada — Returning with two different programs, the company performs works including Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, Alexei Ratmansky’s Piano Concerto #1, and a pas de deux to be announced (1/28-2/2)
  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — The beloved company performs Ailey’s signature work Revelations, and a host of other selections (2/4-9, Opera House)
  • American Ballet Theater: Giselle — A new generation of ABT’s stars dances the quintessential tale of unrequited love, heartbreaking loss, and triumphant forgiveness (2/11-16, Opera House)


1212 Cathedral St.
Baltimore, Md.

  • Cirque Nutcracker — Troupe Vertigo’s acrobats, jugglers, and aerialists perform Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic with a circus twist (12/12-15)


5445 Landover Rd.
Cheverly, Md.

  • Mucha Música: A Musical Journey through Latin America — Audiences sing, play instruments, and dance salsa, experiencing the many rhythms from many regions of Latin America (10/10)


5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, Md.

  • Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE — The company performs Brown’s trademark amalgam of African, modern, Caribbean, and social dance styles, accompanied by Arturo O’Farrill Ensemble playing live Afro-Cuban jazz (11/8)
  • The Hip-Hop Nutcracker — Legendary rapper Kurtis Blow joins a troupe of all-star contemporary and hip-hop dancers in giving a hip-hop spin to the Tchaikovsky classic (12/17-19)
  • Step Afrika!: Step Xplosion — One of the region’s finest step squads premieres a new Strathmore-commissioned work, Drumfolk, reflecting on the harsh realities of the American South (1/12)
  • Bereishit Dance Company — The athletic, Seoul-based company presents two acclaimed works, Judo and Balance & Imbalance (2/6)


3515 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

  • Excerpts from Tchaikovsky — During a festive afternoon filled with food, fun, and dance, TWB performs excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballets (9/15, England Studio and 10/6, THEARC)
  • TWB at The REACH Opening Festival — Commemorating National Dance Day, the company performs excerpts from Fives by Choo San Goh (9/21, The REACH)
  • District of Joy at CityCenterDC — TWB and CityCenterDC team up to present free pop-up performances for all ages (9/25 and 10/2, CityCenterDC)
  • TWB at ¡Muévete! Hispanic Heritage Month Community Day — Up-and-coming choreographer, and TWB Studio Company member, Helga Paris-Morales created an original dance for TWB’s appearance at this festive, bilingual celebration (9/28, National Portrait Gallery)
  • TWB at Arlington Valley Fest (9/29, Arlington)
  • Grand Jeté Soiree — Season opening event featuring TWB dancers performing an excerpt from the new work NEXTsteps (10/18, Smithsonian American Art Museum)
  • TWB at Taste of the Harvest Festival — Students from the Washington School of Ballet perform at this event celebrating the harvest season (10/19, THEARC)
  • NEXTsteps — D.C.’s leading ballet company presents a program of never-been-seen ballets by choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, John Heginbotham, and Jessica Lang(10/23-27, Sidney Harman Hall)
  • The Nutcracker — TWB’s acclaimed production adds a D.C.-centric twist to the holiday dance tradition (11/23-24, THEARC and 11/30-12/29, Warner Theatre)
  • Balanchine + Ashton — This program highlighting two 20th-century titans of dance provides a mixed repertoire of styles and moods (2/19-23, Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater)


20 W. Patrick St.
Frederick, Md.

  • Russian Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake — RBT’s dancers bring to life choreographer Nadezhda Kalinina new production of a classic Tchaikovsky ballet that isn’t The Nutcracker (11/8/19)
  • The Nutcracker Ballet — Guest artists from the New York City Ballet join the Maryland Regional Ballet Company for their rendition of the holiday chestnut (12/13-15)

Read more:

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Film

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Music – Pop, Rock, Folk, Blues, Jazz

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Stage

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Museums & Galleries

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Classical & Choral

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Above & Beyond

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