Of course, the D.C. area will host a world of Nutcrackers this season — festive classical ballets, fresh reimaginings, plus two different versions set in the Capital, including Black Leaves Dance Company’s gay Chocolate City Nutcracker. There’s even a tap-dancing Nutcracker with a jazzy Duke Ellington twist, care of Dorrance Dance Company, coming to the Kennedy Center.
But dance lovers can’t survive on Tchaikovsky alone, so it’s encouraging to see adventurous autumn/winter performance seasons planned for venues and companies both large and small. At The Clarice, queer troupe slowdanger will world-premiere a new work responding to climate change, while, at Hylton Performing Arts, the Manassas Ballet Theatre debuts a powerful new tribute, Colin: Son, Marine, Hero.
Flamenco, as ever, animates the season, with GALA’s 19th Annual Flamenco Festival in November, expanded to three weekends, and Furia Flamenca offering performances at multiple venues. Representing Argentina’s lesser-known gaucho folk dance Malambo, the dazzling all-male drum-and-dance ensemble MALEVO will take the stage at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in February. By then, you might have seen a dozen different Sugar Plum Fairies, or many other thrilling performances listed here that as of now we can only anticipate.
Glade Dance Collective: In the Lab — As part of Atlas’ year-long In the Lab series, members of the company dedicated to creating “intelligent dance about things that matter” present new works-in-progress by members and other D.C. choreographers (9/17 and 12/16, Lab Theatre I)
Encore, a fundraiser for Atlas Arts Lab — Arts Lab alumni join the 2024 Lab cohort to perform works by Gabriel Mata, Christopher Prince, and Maxine Gorman and Gridlock Dance, among others, preceded by a champagne reception, and followed by a panel discussion (10/28-29, Lang Theatre)
Café Flamenco — Dancers of Furia Flamenca, “the most sought-after flamenco company in Metro D.C.,” ignite this cabaret-style celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, with live music by guitarists Maestro Torcuato Zamora and Juan L. Romero, and percussionist Henry Rodriguez (10/21, Lab Theatre II)
Capitol Movement’s DC Artist Exchange — In the company’s mission to “build better lives through dance,” Capitol Movement hosts this evening exploring inclusivity in the arts and our community via expression, discussion, and entertainment (11/18, Lang Theatre)
VOCA Presents ISM II — New VOCA Ensemble of Deaf and Hard of Hearing BIPOC individuals share their real-life stories and experiences in ASL responding to societal “isms,” discriminatory practices, and oppression, and express hope and freedom through Deaf Hip Hop culture: music, dance, poetry, multimedia, and storytelling (11/29-12/17, Lab Theatre II)
Black Leaves Dance Company: Requiem of a Dream II — The all-Black, all-male, queer-inclusive modern ballet company presents a journey through the intimate stories of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, offering “a night of fellowship, anointed singing, dancing, and spoken word…sure to be a blessing to all who attend,” and admission is FREE, though rsvp’s are requested (12/1, Lang Theatre)
Natividad Flamenca — A cast including Furia Flamenca Dance Company, musicians Maestro Torcuato Zamora, Juan L. Romero, and Guillermo Juan Christie on flamenco guitar, and Margarita Osorio and Jorge Porta on vocals present an evening of holiday traditions celebrated in Spain and Puerto Rico (12/9, Lang Theatre)
Black Leaves Dance Company: A Chocolate City Nutcracker — The company’s first-ever re-staging of the classic ballet follows a young, gay man searching for his Prince at his HBCU’s holiday party (12/9, Sprenger Theatre)
Polar Palooza! — A free hip hop dance party hosted by Elements Dance Company, a pre-professional training program for dancers ages 8 to 18, with a live DJ, dance performances, and a host of family-friendly activities (12/16, Kogod Lobby)
The Nutcracker — The company’s 23rd annual production of the Tchaikovsky classic, featuring guest artists, and a Sunday pre-show “Tea with Clara” meet-and-greet for kids (12/9-10, Goucher College Kraushaar Auditorium, Towson)
Full Circle Dance Company: And Still, We Dream — Celebrating its 23rd year in B’more, the company presents the intimate, dream-inspired visions of multiple choreographers, including artistic director Donna L. Jacobs, whose centerpiece work was inspired by dream references in the poetry of Maryland Poet Laureate Lucille Clifton (11/18-19)
Bourbon & Ballet — Artistic director Diane Coburn Bruning and company will unveil two new dance films amidst the twinkle and revelry at this annual Jazz Age fundraising event (11/16, The Arts Club of Washington)
slowdanger: SUPERCELL — Queer nonbinary-led, Pittsburgh-based company slowdanger presents a world premiere evening-length work responding to climate change, media sensationalism, desensitization, and environmental collapse (9/21-22, Kogod Theatre)
MFA Dance Thesis Concert — Fall thesis showcase of “stunning and provocative” works by MFA in Dance students (10/12-15, Kogod Theatre)
TDPS Experimental Performance Series #1 — M.F.A. Dance student concert of new works “serving as an unguarded exploration of these diverse artists’ talents and interests” (10/21, Dance Theatre)
DCX New Dances — Representing many genres of movement, an evening of students’ new choreographic work that may be improvised or set — it’s all a daring mystery (11/2, Dance Theatre)
Faculty Dance Concert — The UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies faculty put on their choreography, performed by students (12/8-10, Kay Theatre)
In Conversation with Dana Tai Soon Burgess at Towson University — Currently on a book tour for memoir Chino and the Dance of the Butterfly, acclaimed modern dance choreographer Burgess shares how his background as a gay, fourth generation, Korean American man inspires work that emphasizes multiculturalism, equity, and social justice (9/28, GMU Center for the Arts)
In Concert at Towson University — The company presents an evening of modern dance, joined by guests Keith Hudspeth, Millicent Scarlett, Dana Scott, and Erin Snedecor (9/30, Stephens Hall Theatre)
Book Talk and Performance — Burgess and company bring a discussion of the choreographer’s memoir plus dance performance to the right place (10/21, Martin Luther King Library)
The Mallorca Suite — Accompanied by pianist Haskell Small, the company premieres a new 30-minute work for ten dancers, inspired by Joan Miró (10/28, Kreeger Museum)
30th Anniversary Performance — An evening of mixed repertory works, including Transformations, Fractures, A Tribute to Marian Anderson excerpted duet number 1, Surroundings: A Tribute to Maya Lin, and Mandala, accompanied by live musicians (11/30, Kennedy Center)
Counterpoint — Choreographed by director Meredith Barnes and company dancers, Counterpoint explores the relationships between dancers as if they were musical melodies and notes, accompanied by the work Lost (11/11, The Vault at Capital One Hall)
Transformations 2023 — The Falls Church-based company showcases new and existing works by selected choreographers (11/17-18)
XIX Fuego Flamenco Festival:La Banda Morisca (Andalusia, Spain) — Surrender to the mesmerizing melodies of La Banda Morisca, and their music, which emanates from the rich tapestry of old Al-Andaluz, a region deeply influenced by Islamic traditions and interwoven connections with the Middle East (11/4-5)
Lo Preciso — Mesmerizing bailaor Rafael Ramírez sets the stage ablaze in a piece that delves into the realm of idyllic and perfect relationships (11/9-12)
Enredo — A new Flamenco masterpiece co-directed by Edwin Aparicio and Aleksey Kulikov, Enredo is a reflection of the dual nature of the human experience, individual and social. Featuring choreography by Iván Orellana, recipient of the GALA Fuego Flamenco Award at the 2022 Competition of Spanish Dance and Flamenco in Madrid (11/17-19)
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR THE ARTS
4373 Mason Pond Drive
Malpaso Dance Company — An associate company of New York’s Joyce Theater, the classically trained Cuban dance troupe serves up a program featuring Indomitable Waltz by Aszure Barton, Why You Follow by Ronald K. Brown, and A Dancing Island by Osnel Delgado (10/20, Concert Hall)
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens — Québec’s first professional ballet company brings their double-bill Dancing Beethoven, featuring contemporary ballet works set to Symphonies No. 5 and No. 7 (2/10/24)
A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham — The contemporary, Black-led company presents visionary works by MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer, and Mason artist-in-residence, Abraham that “uncover the relationships between identity, history, and geography” (2/17)
Kollywood Night 2023 — Champion dancers Navin KC and Luna Shrestha lead KC Dance in a night of Nepalese music, laughs, and entertainment (10/7, Merchant Hall)
Manassas Ballet Theatre: Colin – Son, Marine, Hero — A deeply personal ballet, created by MBT Artistic Director Amy Grant Wolfe in memory of her son Colin, telling his story as an enlisted Marine who deployed to Iraq, but was killed by a roadside bomb only seven weeks later (11/9-11, Merchant Hall)
Axial Dance: Winter Wonderland — The company’s family-friendly exploration of “winter holidays, weather, festivities, and everything in between” (11/19, Gregory Family Theater)
Virginia National Ballet: The Nutcracker — The company’s 11th annual production, a holiday treat for ballet lovers, features international soloists performing alongside pre-professional students from VNB’s school, with upgraded sets and costumes for 2023 (11/24)
Northern Virginia Ballet: The Nutcracker — A traditional Nutcracker featuring exquisite costumes, Russian-produced sets, guest artists, and international award-winning company dancers (11/25, Merchant Hall)
Manassas Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker — Featuring the professional dancers and musicians of the MBT taking all ages on a “dreamy journey of fantasy and sweets” (12/14-23, Merchant Hall)
Cirque Mechanics: Zephyr – A Whirlwind of Circus — In a spectacular circus performance featuring a giant 20-foot-tall rotating windmill, the Drama Desk Award-nominated troupe of acrobats and aerialists dramatizes humanity’s relationship to the element of wind (2/3-4/24)
MALEVO — This all-male Argentinian ensemble, created by choreographer-dancer Matias Jaime, has caused a global sensation everywhere from the 2022 FIFA World Cup to NBC’s America’s Got Talent with their performances merging traditional folk dance Malambo with so many other styles of dance and pulsating percussion that apparently they can’t keep their shirts on (2/17)
Gerson Lanza: Matinee Idylls — Honduran tap dancer-choreographer Lanza performs his love letter to the art form, joined by his jazz quintet (2/27)
National Dance Day — The Kennedy Center marks Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary with a day of free dance classes and performances co-curated with DMV-based movement artists Lauren DeVera, Project ChArma, and Chitra Subramanian, and featuring WBL’s annual Freshest of All Time competition, along with headlining DJ sets by DJ Face, DJ Marc Nfinit, and the legendary DJ Spinderella (9/16, The REACH)
Kalanidhi Dance: Sagarika — Collaborating with one of India’s most esteemed classical dance artists Sharmila Biswas, the company presents a contemporary piece that “envisions the bond between sea and earth as a reflection of the nurturing relationship between mother and child” (9/22, Terrace Theater)
Image China: Dance Drama MULAN — A choreographed re-telling of the quintessentially Chinese tale that celebrates not only the warrior spirit of Hua Mulan, but “also spotlights her strength in pursuit of love and peace (9/29-10/1, Opera House)
Malavika Sarukkai: Anubandh-Connectedness — A new solo dance in the classical Bharatanatyam tradition by renowned artist Sarukkai (11/10-11, Terrace Theater)
LaTasha Barnes’ The Jazz Continuum — Barnes guides an all-star cast of music explorers in a celebration of the fullness of Black American dance, music, and unapologetic being, with musical direction by Christopher McBride and emceed by dramaturg Melanie George (11/17-18, Eisenhower Theater)
Ballet West: The Nutcracker — Continuing the Kennedy Center’s annual presentation of the nation’s best Nutcrackers, Ballet West presents America’s first and longest-running Nutcracker (11/22-26, Opera House)
Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company 30th Anniversary — An evening of mixed repertory works, including Transformations, Fractures, A Tribute to Marian Anderson excerpted duet number 1, Surroundings: A Tribute to Maya Lin, and Mandala, accompanied by live musicians (11/30, Eisenhower Theater)
Dorrance Dance: Nutcracker Suite — A Nutcracker that taps, boogies, slides, struts, and dives into Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s riff on Tchaikovsky’s score sounds like our pick for freshest Nuts of the season (11/30-12/2, Eisenhower Theater)
The Other Side — Adapted from the children’s book by Education Artist-in-Residence Jacqueline Woodson, this return engagement of the 2022 Kennedy Center world premiere brings Woodson’s poignant story about racial segregation to life via an evening-length dance piece from choreographer and Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor for Dance Education Hope Boykin (1/13-14/24, Family Theater)
Shen Yun — Classical Chinese dance doesn’t get more spectacular and crowd-pleasing than Shen Yun, at least according to ubiquitous TV ads and billboards for this company who offers another epic, dance-filled journey through five millennia of traditional Chinese culture (1/26-2/4, Opera House)
Nihon Buyo in the 21st Century: From Kabuki Dance to Boléro — Japan Society presents Nihon Buyo (literally “Japanese dance”), an art form performed by artists trained in kabuki dance, delivering dance pieces Toba-e and Boléro, accompanied by musicians playing traditional Japanese instruments (1/29)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — See signature opus Revelations, if you haven’t, or see it again with a program of new modern dance works in the Ailey Company’s annual visit to the Opera House (2/07-12, Opera House)
American Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake — ABT’s quintessential production of Swan Lake returns to enchant with soaring choreography, beautiful music, and extravagant sets (2/21-25, Opera House)
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral St.
The Nutcracker: A Magical Tale in Mount Vernon — Dancers from the Baltimore School for the Arts perform to Tchaikovsky’s score in a reimagined version of the classic choreographed by Amy Hall Garner and set in the Baltimore neighborhood of Mount Vernon (12/6)
Cirque Nutcracker — Troupe Vertigo’s acrobats, jugglers, and high-flying aerialists join the BSO for a high-flying twist on Tchaikovsky’s holiday perennial (12/16-17)
Cirque Magic — Jack Everly conducts the BSO, Troupe Vertigo performs spellbinding physical feats choreographed to the music (2/24-25/27)
Tablao Flamenco — AMP is transformed into an Andalusian hideaway for this performance featuring sought-after flamenco artists showcasing the power and passion of the form (10/1, AMP at Pike & Rose)
Annual MCPS Latin Dance — In this annual dance competition, MCPS students compete in Junior and Senior categories showcasing their Salsa, Cha-cha, Merengue, Bachata, and other styles (11/20, Music Center)
Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet — An international cast featuring Ukrainian principal artists performs in classical European style with an assist from jaw-dropping acrobatics, larger than life puppets, and stunning hand-crafted sets and costumes (12/2, Music Center)
Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs — Classic Arts Entertainment presents the fairy tale ballet with dance and direction by the State Ballet Theater of Ukraine (12/13, Music Center)
Ballet Hispánico — Renowned company performs artistic director Eduardo Vilaro’s choreography, expressing “the spiritual, sensual, and historical essence of Latino cultures” (2/8/27)
Beyond Babel — A critically acclaimed dance theater show inspired by Romeo & Juliet, created by Keone & Mari Madrid and Josh & Lyndsay Aviner of Hideaway Circus, featuring music from Billie Eilish, Mumford & Sons, Chance the Rapper, A Tribe Called Quest, and Busta Rhymes (2/16)
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Troupe Vertigo — Two performing arts powerhouses team up for Cirque Magic (2/22, Music Center)
Pop Up Performance at Dupont Underground — A pre-season showcase of groundbreaking choreography by Tamás Krizsa & Mimmo Miccolis, paired with original melodies by Emmy-winner Blake Neely (9/28-30, Dupont Underground)
Such Sweet Thunder — Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Brett Ishida, and Silas Farley to honor Shakespeare and the 125th Anniversary of D.C. native Duke Ellington (10/26-29, Warner Theatre)
The Nutcracker — Former TWB artistic director Septime Webre’s acclaimed production whisks audiences back to historic Georgetown for a Capital take on Tchaikovsky’s ballet (11/25-26, THEARC and 12/2-12/30, Warner Theatre)
Jazz Icons: A Fine Romance — A unique blend of ballet and jazz music featuring two highly anticipated world premieres by renowned choreographers Jessica Lang and Dwight Rhoden (2/14-18/24, Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater)
Tablao Flamenco — The first of two chances this season to “experience the magnetic energy of flamenco” as these artists offer an evening of performance, improvisation, and passionate music (9/29, New Spire Arts)
World Ballet Series: Cinderella — A multinational cast of 40 professional dancers perform a production for all ages accompanied by Sergei Prokofiev’s celebrated score (9/30, Weinberg Center)
Versa-Style Workshop — L.A.-based dance company Versa-Style leads this already sold out workshop exploring the foundation and culture of Hip Hop dance (10/7, New Spire Arts)
Versa-Style Dance Company — Educating as they entertain with Locking, Popping, Hip Hop, and Krump, the company presents a two-act work illustrating how hip hop dance culture unites us all (10/7)
PUSH Physical Theatre Workshop — Workshoppers can pick up PUSH’s practice and discover the troupe’s unique approach to generating new performances (11/4, New Spire Arts)
PUSH Physical Theatre: Generic Male — In this two-man show, founding artistic director/PUSH-er Darren Stevenson and PUSH-er Ashley Jones weave intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics, and hilarious hijinks into a satire on masculinity (11/4, New Spire Arts)
The Nutcracker — Guest artists from the New York City Ballet join the Maryland Regional Ballet Company and students from the Frederick School of Classical Ballet for a transporting performance of Tchaikovsky’s chestnut (12/08-10, Weinberg Center)
World Ballet Series: Nutcracker — A diverse cast of 50 professional dancers performing Lev Ivanov’s noted choreography lead audiences to Tchaikovsky’s Land of Sweets (12/22, Weinberg Center)
World Ballet Series: Swan Lake — A Valentine’s Day treat featuring a multinational cast dancing to Tchaikovsky’s sweeping score (2/14, Weinberg Center)
Performing Sons of Douglass, an original ballet by choreographer Steven Wilson, at this year's Intersections Festival, the dancers of the Black Leaves Dance Company presented powerful images of grace and defiance, talent and beauty.
Founded by Wilson, D.C.'s resident all-Black, all-male, queer-inclusive company specializing in modern ballet had made its debut with a performance at the 2022 edition of Intersections. The fulfillment of a life's dream for dancer, choreographer, educator, and activist Wilson, Black Leaves established a space for other artists to express their dreams, too, says artistic director Camal Pugh.
As we tipped off in our Fall Preview issue, opportunities abound this season to catch some of the world's foremost flamenco dancers and musicians in and around D.C., including this month at GALA Hispanic Theatre's 19th Fuego Flamenco Festival.
Among the international artists on the festival bill -- in addition to local favorites, the Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company -- dancer-choreographer Rafael Ramírez, of Málaga, Spain, will make his GALA debut performing the solo work Lo Preciso.
Accompanied in the show by singers Rosa Linero and Fabiola Santiago, guitarist Isaac Muñoz, and percussionist Alex Otero, Ramírez sparks a dialogue through movement exploring the quest for perfection -- in art, work, or interpersonal relationships.
Adding its voice -- literally -- to the District's Shakespeare Everywhere festival, the Washington National Opera charms with a delightful rendering of Charles Gounod's Romeo and Juliet.
The co-production with the Glimmerglass Festival is filled with cavorting Capulet partiers as fun as Madonna's Celebration Tour dancers and an energized cast with fabulous voices. It is impending doom delivered with entertainment and style.
In his debut as an opera director, Simon Godwin -- normally seen leading the Shakespeare Theatre Company -- brings a naturalness to the performances, which feel almost as if the singers are playing themselves.
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