Dance for the non-‘Nutcracker’ crowd includes hip-hop, flamenco and more

Full Radius Dance will perform as part of MARTA's "Artbound" series.

Credit: Bubba Carr

Credit: Bubba Carr

Full Radius Dance will perform as part of MARTA's "Artbound" series.

This story was originally published by ArtsATL.

Many dance enthusiasts experience the magic of movement-based art for the first time at a performance of “The Nutcracker.” (Check out ArtsATL’s guide to this year’s holiday-themed dance concerts).

The guide below, however, is for those who enjoy an occasional break from sugar and spice and everything nice. From Thanksgiving through December, from hip-hop to flamenco and dance on film to dance battles, the last several weeks of 2023 provide numerous opportunities to explore what Atlanta’s movement-based artists have to offer.

The everything-but-the-holidays selection of dance performances below is organized alphabetically by city or neighborhood.

Buckhead

Articulate Dance Company, “On the Surface

7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, Buckhead Art & Company

Founded by Sam Neas, who began his dance training in Atlanta, Articulate Dance Company is currently based in New York. With a mission to combine contemporary theatrical dance with evocative storytelling, Neas is presenting the company’s first performance this month. It comprises “On the Surface,” which explores relationships that delve into the depths of human experience and emotion.

The SOMOS Dance Company will perform at Buckhead Art & Company on Dec. 19. (Photo by Darvensky Louis)

Credit: Darvensky Louis

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Credit: Darvensky Louis

Several Atlanta-based dance artists will share the bill, including SOMOS Dance Company, which launched this year with an impressive debut show in August. Visual art curated by Caroline Vanstrom, Megan Arizmendi and Katie Jones will also be on display at the venue, a 4,000 square-foot gallery located in the Shops of Buckhead.

Carroll Heights/Old Gordon

Drill Coach X’, “Dance Warrior!

7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, 3800 Wendell Drive SW

Dance battles emerged in hip-hop and have since been embraced by a variety of dance forms, even ballet. Spontaneous, improvised and interactive, they feature dancers — solo or in groups — who match skills by performing in turn for short stints — usually five minutes or less — in a series of rounds. A panel of judges or the audience picks the winners.

Decatur

CORE, “Inside: Out - Together

Nightly through Nov. 30, CORE studios

CORE Dance’s “Inside:Out” activates the square in downtown Decatur with a series of films projected nightly in the storefront windows of CORE’s studios. The current installment, “Together,” was commissioned by Town Hall Seattle and debuted in 2020, and it has since been screened as part of Filmfest by Rogue Dancer, Dance Camera Istanbul and Screen Dance Festival Stockholm.

“Together” features an original score by Judd Greenstein, choreographic direction by Sue Schroeder and film direction, cinematography and editing by Adam Larsen. The cast includes a deep roster of Atlanta’s contemporary theatrical dance talent: Walter Apps, Juana M. Farfan, Humlåo Evans, Dana Lupton, Laith Stevenson, Lori Teague and Nadya Zeitlin.

Full Radius Dance performs as part of MARTA's "Artbound" series.

Credit: Courtesy of Full Radius Dance

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Credit: Courtesy of Full Radius Dance

Downtown

Full Radius Dance, MARTA “Artbound” performance.

4-6 p.m. Dec. 13, Five Points Station

As part of MARTA’s “Artbound” initiative, physically integrated dance company Full Radius Dance will offer a free performance (with MARTA fare) at the Five Points rail station. The company comprises dancers with and without disabilities and seeks to dismantle ableist assumptions about the bodies of dancers who can and cannot dance.

Fly on a Wall, “Astro Show

7 p.m. Dec. 21, Mike Stasny’s Your Mom Said It’s Fine (Underground Atlanta)

This is the tenth performance in Sean Nguyen-Hilton’s astrology-inspired project. Each iteration of “Astro Show” features the sign of the zodiac ascendant at the time of the event, which in this case will be Capricorn. For believers in astrology, or those just interested in an unusual show, co-hosts Nguyen-Hilton and Lucy Smith will parse the monthly forecast for those born under that sign, while the dancers use a process called “dave,” created by Fly on a Wall, to embody the energy, tone and imagery of the reading through improvisational dance.

The Adinkra Project is one of the 'not "The Nutcracker"' performances in December and late November. (Photo by Autumn Alexander)

Credit: Autumn Alexander

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Credit: Autumn Alexander

East Point

The Adinkra Project, “Artistic Excellence

8 p.m. Dec. 8 at 8 p.m., The Windmill Arts Center

Artistic director and Morehouse graduate N. K. Condua founded The Adinkra Project in 2019 to celebrate art of the Black diaspora through dance. After a six-month hiatus, the company is back with a fresh look at repertoire such as “Caged Bird” and “Mercy,” and a company premiere, “As She Goes,” from choreographer Xavier Charles DeMar.

Through his work with The Adinkra Project, Condua aims to challenge assumptions about Black art and diversify the genre’s themes and aesthetics. The pieces in “Artistic Excellence” will explore the many ways in which art embodies the experiences of those who make it. In addition to dance, the program will include spoken word and original music by local artists.

Inman Park

Music and Movement, “Seasons

7 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 3, 7 Stages Theatre

This is the first season and first proscenium stage performance for Music and Movement, a professional intensive dance education program founded by Frankie Freeman and Paul Jenkins, and the multidisciplinary company, Msquared, that emerged from it. Since August, Msquared has been based at the Windmill Arts Center, hosting community cleanups and dance battles along with weekly classes in just about every movement style one might think of, including body mechanics, yoga and martial arts.

“Seasons” develops characters and stories constructed around the strengths of the individual Msquared performers in a series of pieces designed to take the audience on a journey filled with surprises and unexpected turns through fall, winter, spring and summer.

Atlanta Contemporary Dance, “Breathe

8 p.m. Dec. 1-2, 4 p.m. Dec. 3, 7 Stages Theatre

Lauren Overstreet founded Atlanta Contemporary Dance in 2022. This concert is an encore performance of Overstreet’s “Breathe,” which debuted in March. “Breathe” explores the limits of emotional and physical endurance through large ensemble work, intimate duets and trios and solos that showcase the company’s strong foundation in contemporary theatrical dance.

Berdolé Flamenco performed at the MC2 dance festival at Windmill Arts Center in 2021. (Photo by Erik Voss)

Credit: Erik Voss

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Credit: Erik Voss

Roswell

Berdolé Productions, Live Flamenco at Madrid

Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 21, Madrid Spanish Taverna

Flamenco was born and came of age in the tavernas of Spain, and Madrid Spanish Taverna goes to great lengths to reproduce the experience of that cultural context. Throughout the year, Berdolé Productions, led by Julie Galle Baggestoss, brings together flamenco artists living in or visiting Atlanta for performances grounded in improvisation and collaboration, the hallmarks of traditional flamenco. The shows are unrehearsed jam sessions among an always-changing group of performers, each one a singular experience that emerges moment to moment from the interaction among them. The shows take place every other week during the winter months and weekly during spring, summer and fall.

FILM

Finally, as a change from “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Krampus,” “Filmfest by Rogue Dancer: Performance Art,” is available for free through Dec. 3. Rogue Dancer, brainchild of Jennifer and Christopher Scully-Thurston, has been curating selections of dance on film since 2019.

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Robin Wharton studied dance at the School of American Ballet and the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. As an undergraduate at Tulane University in New Orleans, she was a member of the Newcomb Dance Company. In addition to a bachelor of arts in English from Tulane, Robin holds a law degree and a Ph.D. in English, both from the University of Georgia.


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Credit: ArtsATL

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Credit: ArtsATL

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