Richmond's Fall Dance Season Travels From Feminist Mode to Examining Black Maleness 

click to enlarge Dancers of Starr Foster Dance Project reach for Heather Rhea in the performance of “Rose.”

Doug Hayes

Dancers of Starr Foster Dance Project reach for Heather Rhea in the performance of “Rose.”

Richmond’s dance offerings this fall run the gamut from the classic ballet “La Bayadère” at Richmond CenterStage to aerial circus at Dogtown Dance Theatre. You’ll have to leap to keep up with the diverse cache of inspired and disciplined dance-makers and performers, along with stellar visiting artists.

September opens in a feminist mode, with “Oceanic: a Ladycentric Theatrical Dance Adventure” at Dogtown Dance Theatre on Sept. 16 and 17, produced by and featuring Illumination Studio and Lanterna Dance Company, with RVA Dance collective and Claves Unidas.

Days later, the Modlin Center for the Arts presents the hallowed Martha Graham Dance Company on Sept. 20 and 21 with “A Celebration of Women in Dance.” It features classic Graham works and re-imaginings of her famous “Lamentation” by contemporary female choreographers.

Richmond Ballet’s Studio 1 runs Sept. 20-25 with new work by Melissa Barak and the José Limón classic, “The Moor’s Pavane.” The month closes with Richmond favorite Starr Foster Dance Project’s 15th anniversary performance Sept. 29-Oct. 2 at Grace Street Theater. Old loves and new work round out the program.

October sparkles with Host of Sparrows Aerial Circus presenting “The Big Top in the Little Easy: Animals, Clowns and Acrobats — A traditional circus in a contemporary style!” What more needs saying? Go see it, Oct. 14-22 at Dogtown Dance Theatre.

From Oct. 24 to the 28, the Latin Ballet of Virginia presents an ambitious new work, “Poemas,” at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, a dance theater production inspired by the life and poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, Alfonsina Storni, Pablo Neruda, and Federica Garcia Lorca.

On Oct. 28 and 29 at Dogtown Dance Theatre, Virginia Commonwealth University’s dance department presents groundbreaking, Zimbabwe-born, Brooklyn-based Nora Chipaumire in “Portrait of Myself as My Father,” a timely examination of black maleness that asks: What is it about the black male body that we fear?

A November highlight, Richmond Ballet’s “Trio” at Dominion Arts Center, featuring three works accompanied by the Richmond Symphony, including the famous, hypnotic “Kingdom of the Shades” section of Marius Petipa’s “La Bayadère,” as well as George Balanchine’s “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” and Ma Cong’s “Lift the Fallen.”

December brings the Yes Dance Invitational presented by K Dance featuring choreographers from across the country, and of course Richmond Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”

A final tip for this season: Check out the monthly performances of Indian classical dance students presented by Sri Sai Narayana Organization at the Richmond Sai Temple. Visit it at and thank me later.


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