The lineup for the upcoming season of dance in Palm Beach County is looking full and varied. Sprinkled throughout our regular favorite dance events, there will be some not-to-be-missed repeats of last season’s highlights as well as some exciting performances that are here for only one night.
Miami City Ballet
Miami City Ballet begins the season early, performing the first of four programs (Nov. 4-5) at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Celebrating tradition and innovation for its 38th season, the company continues its mission to present the works of George Balanchine alongside works of established choreographers in addition to up-and-coming choreographers.
The first program, Fall Mix, is no exception as it includes Serenade, Balanchine’s most iconic work and the In the Upper Room, Twyla Tharp’s most memorable piece, together with a new work by Miami choreographer Jamar Roberts. Choreographed in 1934, Serenade retains its timeless beauty to this day and is credited with launching a new era in classical ballet with its “plotless” movement that emphasized a visual connection to the music, thereby giving a new interpretation to the Tchaikovsky’s score.
Tharp’s In The Upper Room was an absolute sensation when it was first presented in 1986. Tharp, who is also well-known for her Broadway choreography, is a master at engaging the audience. This work, choreographed to a compelling Philip Glass score, is high-energy all the way.
The world premiere of the evening will be by Roberts, a former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artist and choreographer who has returned home to Miami and created a powerful new work, Sea Change, with music by John Adams.
As always there will be a flurry of Nutcracker productions during the holiday season. Miami City Ballet will present its Balanchine version from Dec. 28-30, right after Christmas. The elaborate production (which was revamped in 2017), complete with falling snowflakes, dazzling costumes and 100 dancers merrily dancing to Tchaikovsky’s deathless score, captures the holiday spirit and is a good introduction to the world of ballet. Countless dancers have said this ballet is what inspired them to enter the world of dance.
Program Two (Winter Mix) is set for Feb. 3-4. There is a little something for everyone on the program — a fantastical fairy tale, a Ratmansky/Shostakovich repertory favorite and two world premieres by rising young choreographers.
A few seasons ago, MCB successfully reimagined Balanchine’s Firebird. It is the only company other than New York City Ballet that performs this fairytale ballet of a prince enchanted by a magical bird, with its classic Stravinsky score.
Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH also will be on the program. First presented in 2008 and set to a score by Dmitri Shostakovich, the work beautifully displays the company dancers to their fullest. In addition, there will be two world premieres that adhere to Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez’s mission of supporting talented local choreographers.
Margarita Armas, who was born and raised in Miami, was commissioned to create Analogo, her second commission for MCB, which is set to the music of Aukai, Miss Meadow and Nina Simone. And MCB School resident choreographer Durante Verzola will present Paganini, In Play, which is his third world premiere for the company and is choreographed to the music of the 19th-century superstar violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini.
Next, the Spring Mix program (March 23-24) features Balanchine’s Agon, a tour de force for 12 dancers featured in duets, trios and quartets set to a groundbreaking Stravinsky score.
Also on the program is the San Francisco-based choreographer Alonzo King, who brought his sensational company Lines to the Kravis last March leaving a memorable impression on the audience. MCB will perform King’s Following the Subtle Current Upstream, which is set to the beats and sounds from India and Africa. King says the work is intended to remind us that everything in nature seeks to return to its source.
Finally, Brazilian-born choreographer Ricardo Amarante, who has a reputation for creating impassioned works will present the company premiere of his work Delight, set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
MCB’s season closes May 10-12 with the return of the full evening production of Ratmansky’s Swan Lake, which the company premiered two seasons ago. This rich and sophisticated version of the revered classical ballet has gorgeous new sets and costumes designed by Jérôme Kaplan and uses a cast of 50 dancers dancing to one of Tchaikovsky’s most beautiful scores and performed live by the Opus One Orchestra.[For tickets, visit miamicityballet.org or call the MCB box office at 305-929-7010 (toll-free, 877-929-7010.]
Dance at the Kravis
There is an exciting array of other dance events not to be missed at the Kravis this season, many for just one night only.
On Nov. 21, the fiery Irish dance troupe Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance will present its 25th anniversary spectacular, touting new everything from staging and costumes to cutting-edge technology in its special effects and lighting.
The world’s foremost all-male comic ballet company, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, returns with its 50th anniversary show again this year on Jan. 12. Filled with parodies of classical ballet, they nevertheless display substantial technique en pointe even while the audience laughs at the performers’ on-point display of humor.
Ballet Hispánico will take to the stage Feb. 14 at Persson Hall as part of the PEAK Series, with its show Doña Perón, a portrait ballet of one of the most recognizable and controversial women in Argentinian history, Evita Perón.
Also part of the PEAK Series, but taking place at Dreyfoos Hall on March 11-12 is Step Afrika! Featuring songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation, the performance blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities, traditional West and Southern African dances and an array of other dance and art forms.
Returning this year on March 20 — and not to be missed — is Moses Pendleton’s newest creation, Momix Alice, which was created for his Momix dance company and inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland. Going down the rabbit hole with this creative ensemble, where illusion, acrobatics and magical whimsy blend, makes for a mind-bending adventure.[Tickets: Call 561-832-7469 or visit www.kravis.org.]
Complexions Contemporary Ballet, known for its “wow” factor, is also making a welcome return to Palm Beach. This outstanding company will open the popular Modern Dance Series at the Duncan Theatre — on the campus of Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth Beach — on Jan. 19-20. The company, founded by Desmond Richardson in 1994, presents a show with stellar dancers performing an innovative mix of dance forms that blends methods, styles and cultures in a way that removes boundaries rather than reinforces them.
On Feb. 2-3, the Los Angeles dance company BodyTraffic will present a repertory program with an urban flair by renowned contemporary choreographers. And on Feb. 23-24, Grupo Corpo, a Brazilian dance company from the interior state of Minas Gerais, will perform dance works that assimilate the many different aspects of Brazilian art.
The season ends March 15-16 with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, a longtime favorite on the Duncan series. Paul Taylor (1930-2018) first presented his choreography in 1954 and went on to transform the landscape of modern dance with his uninterrupted and prolific creative output becoming one of the most influential dance makers of our time. The company, now under the artistic direction of former dancer Michael Novak, continues to travel the world.[Tickets: Contact the box office at 561-868-3309. For email inquiries, write to firstname.lastname@example.org]
Ballet Palm Beach
Colleen Smith, founding artistic director of Ballet Palm Beach, plans a fantasy-filled 2023/2024 season with four full-length ballets which will be performed at various theaters at the Kravis Center.
The Palm Beach Gardens-based company will open its ambitious season on Oct. 28-29 at the Kravis’ Rinker Playhouse with Don Quixote, the Marius Petipa-Ludwig Minkus ballet based on Cervantes’ classic 17th-century picaresque novel.
On Dec. 2-3 at Dreyfoos Hall, Ballet Palm Beach presents its production of The Nutcracker, and at the Rinker Playhouse on Feb. 24-25, the company mounts Romeo and Juliet, set to the memorable score by Sergei Prokofiev.
Closing out the season will be Smith’s own ballet, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, based on the J.M. Barrie stories about the boy who never grows up. Set to music of the Baroque and Renaissance, the ballet will be performed April 20-21.[Tickets: Visit www.kravis.org; more information, call 561-312-3115.]
Boca Ballet Theatre
The 2023-24 season for Dan Guin and Jane Tyree’s company will feature concert dance ranging selections from classical ballet to the innovative choreography of contemporary dance. Guest dancers from professional companies across the country will perform alongside a talented cast of local dancers.
On Thanksgiving weekend, November 24-26, at the Olympic Heights High School theater in Boca, BBT presents its annual production of The Nutcracker. On April 20-21, Boca Ballet Theatre will stage Spring Menagerie, a mixed repertory concert that will feature a blend of classical and contemporary pieces, which offers a great way to explore different genres of dance.
Capping off its season on July 27-28 is La Sylphide, one of the oldest ballets still performed today and the first where the ballerina danced en pointe. It tells the story of an otherworldly creature who bewitches a Scotsman called James, who forsakes his fiancée Effie and all that he once held dear. It is as romantic as a Romantic ballet can be.
In addition to the regular season, BBT will present a one-night-only special event on Jan. 7 at FAU’s University Theatre in Boca Raton. The performance, “Liz Dudley Presents Stars of American Ballet,” will feature principal soloist dancers from professional companies across America.[Tickets: Visit www.bocaballet.org or call the box office at 561-995-0709.]
The Boca Raton-based professional dance school presents two shows each year showcasing the talented dancers who come from around the world to train on scholarship at this world-class ballet conservatory. The Winter Performances on Dec. 17-18 will include Act II of The Nutcracker as well as ballet, character and modern dance works. The Spring Performances — which will feature the 2024 graduating class in classical and contemporary ballets — will take place May 24-26. The performances will be at the Countess de Hoernle Theatre at Spanish River High School in Boca Raton.[Tickets: Visit www.harid.edu/performances or call 561-998-8038.]