Two dance events highlight this month’s calendar: two evenings of dance (Nov. 5 and 6) to celebrate dance legend Denise Jefferson, director of the Ailey School for 26 years, who passed last year of ovarian cancer, and the premiere of INSPIRIT founder Christal Brown’s dance company’s “The Sweet Science Suite: A Scientific Soul Music Honoring of Muhammad Ali” (Nov. 14 and 15), a collaboration with musician Fred Ho made especially for the Guggenheim’s “Works & Process” series.

For what promises to be two glorious evenings of celebration, an impressive list of artists, friends, family and those close to “Ms. J,” as she was affectionately called, will gather to continue her legacy of sharing dance. This evening, titled “The Annual Denise Jefferson Celebration,” in its first iteration includes: LaChanze (Tony Award winner), Margo Jefferson (Pulitzer Prize-winning writer), William Forsythe, Carmen De Lavallade, Ronald K. Brown (artistic director of Evidence and choreographer of “Porgy and Bess”), Karine Plantadit (former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Tony nominee), Nacho Duato, Aubrey Lynch (former associate producer of Disney’s “The Lion King” and director of the dance program for the Harlem School of the Arts), Francesca Harper, Dwight Rhoden, Daniel Gwirtzman, Elisa Monte Dance and the Francesca Harper Project.

Jefferson is remembered as an “impassioned steward of the Ailey School…and a loving mother of Francesca Harper…[who] was instrumental in identifying a child’s potential and mentoring myriad students as they began their journey to become some of the greatest dance artists in the world,” notes the presenters. In her honor and memory, for this event, many “former students and mentees will return to the stage to celebrate this legendary figure in dance, who touched their lives forever and whose spirit will continue on in so many dancers to come.”

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Denise Jefferson Scholarship Fund. The performances run Nov. 5 and 6. For more information, call (212) 868-4444 or visit

Choreographer Brown and award-winning composer Ho pair up for the Guggenheim’s “Works & Process” series with Ho’s newest evening-length composition “The Sweet Science Suite: A Scientific Soul Music Honoring of Muhammad Ali.” Inspired by and in homage to Muhammad Ali and his indomitable spirit, “Ho’s opus features his 20-piece Green Monster Big Band conducted by Whitney George, along with choreography by Brown [set on an all-male cast] that incorporates elements of boxing, hip-hop, martial arts and modern dance.” Brown notes that this experience “has been challenging and wonderful.”

This event is not to be missed. The performances run Nov. 14 and 15. For more information, call (212) 423-3587 or visit


Nov. 4: At the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, the Brooklyn-based Purelements: An Evolution in Dance presents “Elements in 5ive!” For more information, call (718) 488-1624 or visit

Nov. 5: From Spain to New York University’s Skirball Center, the World Music Institute presents Jose Maya and Company in the New York premiere of “Red.” For more information, call (212) 545-7536 or visit

Nov. 6: From Madrid, the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts presents Artistic Director Jose Porcel’s Compania Flamenca in “Gypsy Fire.” For more information, call (718) 951-4500 or visit

Nov. 6: The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College kicks off its Target FamilyFun series with “SOUL STREET DANCE: Breakin’ Backwards” under the direction of co-founders Javier Garcia and Rock Williams. For more information, call (718) 951-4500 or visit

Nov. 8: Downtown at Dixon Place, Francine Elizabeth Ott and many other emerging dance makers are presented in the series “Under Exposed,” curated by Doug Post. For more information, call (212) 219-0736 or visit

Nov. 13: Porcel’s Compania Flamenca makes a trip to the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College as part of their World Stages Series for another performance of “Gypsy Fire.” For more information, call (718) 960-8833 or visit

Nov. 15: Again at Dixon Place, “MOVING MEN,” curated by Niles Ford with works by Andre M. Zachery and other emerging male choreographers. For more information, call (212) 219-0736 or visit

Nov. 20: The South Orange Performing Arts Center presents the Dance Theater of Harlem Ensemble in an afternoon of “interactive performance” to include audience members. For more information, call (973) 313-2787 or visit

Nov. 30: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) will kick off a five-week New York season with a star-studded gala benefit at New York City Center led by Artistic Director Robert Battle. Honorary chairs for the special evening are first lady Michelle Obama and the legendary model Iman. Nine-time Grammy Award-winner John Legend will join Ailey’s Alicia Graf Mack in an exclusive live performance of “If It’s Magic,” choreographed by Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison to the timeless music of Stevie Wonder. The AAADT season runs from Nov. 30 to Jan. 1. For more information, call (212) 581-1212 or visit

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