Who in their right mind comes to New York in August? Well, that would be your friend artsmeme. Yes, it is a blazing inferno here. But that doesn’t stop the dance presentation. We’re mostly “off” season, but there’s still so much to see. There’s a three-part program presented at Lincoln Center on a neat out-of-door stage; there’s a Battery Park dance festival. And for those who crave air conditioning, there are the end-of-summer showcases at the venerable Joyce Theater, the House that Dance Built (in fact, it is a repurposed movie theater) which has served the dance community for three decades. The Joyce’s annual season of about 48 weeks of dance now includes over 340 performances — and we’re going to two of them!
First up is a huge favorite choreographer of mine, the Godfather of Hip Hop and House, Rennie Harris. Harris’s latest work sounds so good! LIFTED: A Gospel House Musical, in which spirituality and movement traditions intertwine. Inspired by the tale of Oliver Twist, this story of a young Black man’s healing and redemption through community is told through live gospel music, hip-hop dance theater, and the rich movement history of house dance, celebrating how these traditions hold our histories and strengthen our reawakenings.
Rennie Harris LIFTED: A Gospel House Musical | The Joyce Theater | Aug 9 – 14
Then next week for a string of performances, something very special and rare on this side of the pond. It’s The Sarasota Ballet, a major exponent of the choreography of Sir Frederick Ashton (1904-1988), the great ballet maker of London’s Royal Ballet. The Sarasotans will present Ashton’s 1956 pièce d’occasion Birthday Offering, choreographed in celebration of The Royal’s 25th Anniversary. Also on the bill is a gone missing work in its first viewing in NY since 1983, Ashton’s charming and boisterous Varii Capricci. The icing on this delicious cake? A world premiere by choreographer Jessica Lang. I was impressed by the tasteful historic repertoire the company has planned for its 2022-23 season in Florida.
The Sarasota Ballet | The Joyce Theatre | Aug 16 – 20