Lincoln Center’s BAAND Together Dance Festival Showcases Five Major NYC Dance Companies

August 10, 2021

What happens when five of New York City’s largest dance companies join forces? BAAND Together Dance Festival: five-nights of outdoor performances by Ballet Hispánico, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Held at Lincoln Center’s outdoor Restart Stage in Damrosch Park, the program runs August 17–21. It features five different mixed bills of celebrated repertoire, including Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Línea Recta, Justin Peck’s In Creases, Kyle Abraham’s Ces noms que nous portons and more. The festival also includes five dance workshops, one led by each performing company.

Since the pandemic’s onset, leaders from these organizations have conducted weekly or biweekly meetings focused on supporting each other and the city’s arts community. Plans for BAAND developed early on as an opportunity for artistic partnership. In an interview, Ballet Hispánico artistic director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro reflected on the groups’ commitment to collaboration and solidarity with one another: “It’s remarkable because as artistic directors, it can often be lonely and siloed. Coming together during this time of loss and insecurity was essential.”

Taylor Stanley, wearing a white unitard, jumps up with his left leg straight out and his right leg bending over it. He reaches his right arm out in front of him and looks over it while lifting his left arm up above his head. Behind him onstage are two grand pianos and musicians and dancers in silhouette.
NYCB principal Taylor Stanley in Justin Peck’s “In Creases.” Paul Kolnik, Courtesy Lincoln Center

Dance Theatre of Harlem company member Amanda Smith is excited to perform in the company’s first live show in New York City since the beginning of the pandemic. “It will be magical to be outside and see the audience members’ faces,” she says. “We’ll really be able to feel everyone’s energy—I think the city deserves a gift like this.” Smith will be dancing in Dianne McIntyre’s Change. She will also partner with Anthony Santos in the opening night performance of Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Harlem on My Mind pas de deux.

With three BIPOC-led companies and a diverse array of choreographers represented, Vilaro hopes that BAAND will also inspire dancers, leaders and dance enthusiasts to catalyze further action toward equity and allyship. “Our message is unity in diversity,” he explains. “We have a responsibility as citizens and artists, but we can’t do it alone. It makes you think, How else can we share?”

Melissa Verdecia wears a dramatic red costume with a long, ruffled skirt. She holds the skirt up with her right hand and jumps up while her partner, wearing red pants, lifts her from behind.
Ballet Hispánico’s Melissa Verdecia in Anabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Línea Recta.” Paula Lobo, Courtesy Lincoln Center

BAAND will be Smith’s first large-scale festival. She is looking forward to sharing the stage with fellow dancers and hopes it will continue as an annual event. “At the end of the day, we have to come together as a dance community,” she says. “I’m hoping that in the future, we’ll be closer and do more collaborations as companies together!”

For more details, including ticket and venue information, visit the Lincoln Center website.