Onstage and Online: Here Are Some Exciting Performances Happening in October

October 8, 2021

Autumn is officially here, and with it comes a slew of fall season openers. Check out some of the exciting world premieres, dancer debuts and streaming events happening in October.

Live-Performance Premieres at Joffrey Ballet

Joffrey Ballet’s Home: a Celebration runs October 13–24 at Chicago’s Lyric Opera House and features performances of works created during the company’s 2020–21 digital season. Chanel De Silva’s Swing Low, set to music by cellist and composer Zoë Keating, draws themes from the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The piece, created for five men, had its live-performance premiere in September; the other two works will be making their live debuts on this program. Nicolas Blanc’s Under the Trees’ Voices highlights the power of community in an age of social distancing, set to Ezio Bozzo’s Symphony No. 2. And company artist Yoshihisa Arai’s Boléro, to Maurice Ravel’s famous score of the same name, includes costume design by fellow Joffrey dancer Temur Suluashvili.The program also includesGerald Arpino’s classic Birthday Variations.

Miami City Ballet Streams Its Underwater A Midsummer Night’s Dream

October 14–31, Miami City Ballet will stream its underwater-inspired rendition of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Viewers can purchase tickets via the MCB website to gain access to the recorded 2019 performance starring Lauren Fadeley-Veyette as Titania.

The Dante Project, Edward Watson’s Farewell and Alessandra Ferri at The Royal Ballet

Edward Watson and artists of The Royal Ballet in Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy ROH

The Royal Ballet presents the world premiere of Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project October 14–30, with a streaming on October 29. A co-production with the Paris Opéra Ballet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the evening-length work takes its theme from Dante’s The Divine Comedy as part of the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death. It includes an original score by composer-conductor Thomas Adés, designs by Tacita Dean, lighting by Lucy Carter and dramaturgy by Uzma Hameed. The Dante Project also marks the farewell of Royal Ballet principal Edward Watson, a longtime collaborator of McGregor’s. Watson, who will become a répétiteur with the company, will give his final performance on October 30.

This month also celebrates Italian ballerina Alessandra Ferri’s 40th anniversary working with the company. Ferri trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the company in 1980, rising to principal by 1984. Since leaving the company in 1985, Ferri has worked with The Royal as a guest artist in Romeo and Juliet, Woolf Works, Marguerite and Armand and more. Ferri returns to the Linbury Theatre October 15–23 to star in Maurice Béjart’s L’Heure exquise, partnered by former Hamburg Ballet principal Carsten Jung.

Giselle Debuts and More at American Ballet Theatre

Herman Cornejo, in white tights and a dark velvet tunic, holds Skylar Brandt's waist as she stretches into a low third arabesque on pointe. She wears a long white Romantic tutu, and both dancers arch back slightly and look up towards the sky.
Skylar Brandt and Herman Cornejo in Giselle. João Menegussi, Courtesy ABT

American Ballet Theatre’s 2021 fall season opens with Giselle from October 20–24. The run is full of role debuts, including Cassandra Trenary and Christine Shevchenko as Giselle, Calvin Royal III as Albrecht and Zhong-Jing Fang as Myrtha. New York debuts include Skylar Brandt as Giselle, Catherine Hurlin as Myrtha and Aran Bell and Thomas Forster as Albrecht.

The season continues October 26–31 with a series of mixed-repertoire programs, including the world premiere of Jessica Lang’s ZigZag, set to music by Tony Bennett. Other works include Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Indestructible Light, Alexei Ratmansky’s Bernstein in a Bubble and Christopher Rudd’s Touché—all of which originally premiered digitally—as well as Lauren Lovette’s La Follia Variations, Clark Tippet’s Some Assembly Required and Antony Tudor’s Pillar of Fire.

State Street Ballet’s Kismet Collaboration

A group of female ballerinas in dance clothing twist their bodies in motion during a rehearsal in a ballet studio.
State Street Ballet dancers rehearsing Kismet. Andre Ye, Courtesy State Street Ballet

October 23–24, State Street Ballet makes its musical theater debut in a collaborative revival of the Tony Award–winning musical Kismet at The Granada Theatre Santa Barbara. Directed by Broadway’s Lonny Price and featuring new choreography by State Street Ballet’s co-artistic director and resident choreographer William Soleau, the reimagined production features members of the company, the Santa Barbara Symphony and a diverse cast of performers from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

Breakin’ Bricks World Premiere at Tulsa Ballet

Tulsa Ballet is partnering with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission for the world premiere of Breakin’ Bricks, a multimedia combination of dance and documentary film by choreographer Jennifer Archibald. Presented October 28–31, the work dives into the significance of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and its longstanding effect on the city, its people and their history. The creation process has involved extensive research, including conversations with descendants of survivors throughout Tulsa’s Greenwood District community. It will be accompanied on the program by Ma Cong’s Flight of Fancy.