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The best fall 2021 dance performance in Philly

Nichole Canuso, Kun-Yang Lin, Philadanco — and ‘The Nutcracker’ returns

The Philly-based Asian American contemporary company Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers will perform works from their repertoire at CHI Movement Arts Center in South Philly this November.
The Philly-based Asian American contemporary company Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers will perform works from their repertoire at CHI Movement Arts Center in South Philly this November.Read moreRob Li

This fall brings a long-anticipated reunion of dancers and audiences.

BalletX kicked off the season with a re-creation of the troupe’s 2014 production Sunset, o639 Hours, which wrapped up last week. They’ll be touring for the remainder of the year but are planning local pop-ups, so check for updates.

Two of the city’s longtime favorite companies missed anniversaries due to the pandemic and will finally observe their milestone seasons later this fall. Koresh Dance Company will celebrate 30 years with the premiere of TikVAH, and Philadanco will look beyond its 50-year history by spotlighting a new generation of choreographers in Fast Forward.

The Annenberg Center, now Penn Live Arts, will also begin celebrating its 50th anniversary. The season’s first dance show will be by the innovative New York City tap company Dorrance Dance.

editor's note
Because of the pandemic, a lot of events and openings are still unpredictable, and we expect that many will change. Check with the venue in advance to confirm dates and times, and what COVID-19 vaccination and testing policies are in place.

For those not ready for large theaters, several local companies are holding more intimate events outdoors and at smaller venues, including Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers at the Rail Park and in their South Philly studio, and Pasión y Arte at their West Philly studio and Center City’s Asian Arts Initiative.

The season concludes with the return of Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, bringing back George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

Here are the dance performances to look forward to all season. Check websites for current COVID-19 protocols.

Nichole Canuso Dance Company

In Being/With: Live, two audience members in two different locations are guided by a live feed to converse and dance with one another. Tickets are required to participate, but galleries outside each performance space are featuring interviews with nearby residents and work from local artists that can be viewed for free. (Through Oct. 2, $35, Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University and Trinity Church in South Philly, 3401 Filbert St. or 2300 S. 18th St., 215-413-1318, 🎟️ Buy tickets

Almanac Dance Circus Theatre’s $7 Girl

This multidisciplinary, story-driven performing arts ensemble premieres a semiautobiographical solo work from aerial artist Mae West. The full-length show, appropriate for ages 18 and older, brings to light underrepresented voices in the sex industry. (Through Sept. 25, $10-$50, MAAS Building Studio, 1325 N. Randolph St., 215-413-1318, 🎟️ Buy tickets

Pasión y Arte’s Salka/Duende Juerga

Philly’s all-female flamenco ensemble opens their creative jam sessions to the public, welcoming artists of all backgrounds to share in their creative energy. The event also features performances from Artistic Director Elba Hevia y Vaca and Artist-in-Residence Amanda Pena. This is the first session of a four-part series extending through next spring. (Sept. 24, free, Overbrook Garage Studio, 6411 Overbrook Ave.,

Summer Sunset Series: Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers

Contemporary Asian American company Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers premieres a site-specific work with simultaneous performances along the completed portion of the park. (Sept. 24, free, Rail Park, 1300 Noble St., pre-registration required at 🎟️ Register

Kyle Marshall Choreography

Two works that appeared earlier this year in New York come here as part of Philly Fringe. STELLAR, commissioned by the Baryshnikov Arts Center, is a fictional, Afrofuturistic film blending jazz, improvisational dance, and the cosmos. Rise is a live performance that centers on the joys of dancing and draws inspiration from diverse settings, from churches to clubs. (Sept. 24-25, $35, FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd., 215-413-1318, 🎟️ Buy tickets

Where Is My B-O-D-Y? Project Community Sharing

Wanting to perform as a mature dancer after eight years in retirement, Philly choreographer Kun-Yang Lin collaborated with Swarthmore College’s director of dance, Pallabi Chakravorty, and acclaimed postmodern dancer Gus Solomons Jr. to devise methods for recovering dance abilities that tend to decline with age. In this event, the three will discuss and showcase the practices they developed over the course of their 10-month project. (Sept. 25, free, CHI Movement Arts Center, 1316 S. Ninth St., reservation required by emailing

Almanac Dance Circus Theatre’s Permission to Monster

Almanac welcomes audiences of all ages to the “Keeper’s Zoological Institute” for a fun, interactive show. Geared toward elementary school-aged children, the participatory performance features a cast of acrobatic monsters that have been captured and need help breaking free. (Sept. 25-26, $10, MAAS Building Garden, 1320 N. 5th St., 856-441-2837, 🎟️ Buy tickets

Koresh Dance Company

After pandemic delays, Koresh’s 30th anniversary season finally arrives with Artistic Director Ronen Koresh’s new work, TikVAH, which means “opening for hope” in Hebrew. The premiere will be accompanied by prior works that highlight the company’s legacy. (Oct. 21-24, $45, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St., 215-985-0420, 🎟️ Buy tickets

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers

This Philly-based dance company blends the East Asian notion of universal energy flow, or chi, with contemporary movement to create transcendent pieces. Their Fall Studio Series features choreography from Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin, as well as an original work from dance artist Evalina “Wally” Carbonell. (Nov. 4-5, CHI Movement Arts Center, 1316 S. Ninth St.,

Pasión y Arte’s Philly Fall Tablao

Tablaos are evenings of improvisational flamenco performances in intimate settings similar to a jazz club or poetry reading. The all-female flamenco ensemble Pasión y Arte first brought the event to Philly in 2015 and continues the tradition this year. (Nov. 19-21, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.,

Dorrance Dance

The award-winning New York City tap company is known for pushing the art form forward while staying rooted in tradition. Founded by renowned tap dancer and MacArthur Fellow Michelle Dorrance, the company brings dancers and musicians together in exhilarating improvisational and choreographed performances. (Dec. 9-11, Penn Live Arts at the Annenberg Center, 215-898-3900, 🎟️ Buy tickets


Joan Myers Brown’s globally famous company celebrates its 50th anniversary with Fast Forward, showcasing new work from emerging international choreographers Bakari Lindsay, Thang Dao, Ray Mercer, and Kathy Smith. (Dec. 10-12, $29-$49, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999, 🎟️ Buy tickets

Philadelphia Ballet Nutcracker

Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, returns to the stage with its time-honored tradition: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. The production is the start of the company’s long-anticipated 2021-2022 season, marking their first theatrical performance in over a year. (Dec. 10-31, starting at $25, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999, 🎟️ Buy tickets

» READ MORE: Find more in our complete fall arts guide