I saw Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo at this perfectly sized theater (472 seats) on Eighth Avenue between 18th Street and 19th Street. Then I saw Compagnie Maguy Marin, with two women friends. The link will show you the performance. Afterward we had drinks next door in a too-loud Chelsea bar.
This is in no way a minor-league dance theater, but is where you go to see companies that are smaller than the big ones that perform at say, City Center, Lincoln Center or at BAM, in Brooklyn.
The Joyce showcases companies about which “the dance” is everything, and sometimes the only thing. Companies from all over the world perform for usually, five nights.
Ballet Trockadero, for instance, is a New York-based touring company of all male ballet dancers who dance en pointe. I saw them do Swan Lake excerpts which was both enchanting and well, hilarious because there was no pretension about scale. Men in toe shoes wearing appropriate costumes, that was it. At that scale it was possible to appreciate their passion.
The audience is usually passionate and knowledgeable and often many dancers can be seen in the audience checking out their friends who may be in these visiting companies. That can be discerned by the hooting and hollering during bows and curtain calls.
Nearby are many bars and restaurants, as the theater is the heart of Chelsea.